Bump Inside Lip – Reasons, Complications, Treatments

Excerpt: Abnormalities in the mouth are not only annoying, but they can also be scary...
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Abnormalities in the mouth are not only annoying, but they can also be scary, and painful as well. If you do notice any bumps or unusual sensations in your mouth. You should definitely consider making a dentist appointment. If you do have a bump inside your lip, it may be a mucous cyst.

What Is A Mucous Cyst?

This is a benign (harmless) fluid-filled sac that can form in the mouth, usually on the inside of the lip, however, they have been known to form in other parts of the mouth as well. The cause for mucous cysts usually involves trauma of some kind to the mouth or salivary gland blockage. These cysts are also the most common non-cancerous salivary gland lesions.

 

Even though the most common area for development is on the inside of the lips, they can form on the gums, the roof of the mouth, or even under the tongue. The reason the form on the lip most often is due to people biting the lip, either accidentally, or on purpose. This can be traumatic enough for the cyst to form. When these cysts form on the roof of the mouth, however, they are known as “ranulas”. Ranulas are typically more common in older patients and can impact speech, swallowing, as well as breathing, if they are large enough.

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Mucous Cyst – What Does It Look Like?

mucous cyst (or mucocele) may appear as a single nodule, or it may have more than one nodule. Typically, they will exhibit the following characteristics:
 
  • Painless
  • Movable
  • Soft
  • Round or dome-shaped
  • Translucent with a red, pink, or blue tinge
  • 2 to 10 mm in size
 

If you have a ranula, it may appear as a cup-shaped, bluish-colored swelling. Ranulas will usually be larger than other mucoceles and they can even be as large as 7 centimeters in diameter!

Mucous Cyst – Symptoms

Typically, mucoceles are not painful, however, they are definitely uncomfortable. If they happen more than once the affected area can also be tender. They can also appear on the outer layer of the skin inside the mouth, or under the skin. If it is under the skin, it may be more painful than its outer-layer counterparts.

What Can Cause Mucous Cysts?

You can be diagnosed with a mucocele at any age, however, they are more prevalent between the ages of 10-25, and both male and female genders are equally susceptible to them. Lip biting is a very common cause of these cysts, however, other causes for these cysts include:
 
  • Cheek biting
  • Cheek or lip piercings
  • Rupture of a salivary gland
  • Friction from teeth
  • Poor dental hygiene
 
Certain oral products may even cause these cysts to appear, generally, these products are tartar-control toothpaste, or products containing hydrogen peroxide
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Should You See A Dentist?

Anytime you notice any swelling in the mouth that lasts longer than 24-48 hours, you should make a dentist appointment. Even if these are painless and benign, you don’t want to assume that they can’t cause damage. If you diagnose it on your own and you are wrong, it could lead to serious complications in the future. A dentist will have significantly more experience and training in diagnosing oral health issues, and their experience should be relied upon.

Diagnosis Of A Mucous Cyst

A dentist will want to know if it is a benign cyst or something more malignant like cancer. To properly assess this, they will most likely ask you if you are prone to lip biting, and they will also take a biopsy of the cyst. The sample will then be taken to a lab to be analyzed.

Mucous Cyst – Treatment Options

Even though these cysts may cause you discomfort, they generally don’t require any clinical treatment and will often resolve on their own. The healing time for a mucous cyst is usually around 8 weeks. If you notice it lasting longer than 2 months, you should consider making a dentist appointment to get it looked at. You should never consider draining a cyst, or treating it on your own, as you could cause damage. If you have recurring cysts, there are specific treatments you can get, these are:

 

  • Laser therapy – A high-powered beam of light is used to remove the cyst.
  • Cryotherapy – Liquid nitrogen will be used to freeze the cyst, destroying the mucocele.
  • Intralesional corticosteroid injection – These injections reduce inflammation and promote healing.

How To Prevent A Mucous Cyst

The best way to prevent a mucocele from forming is to prevent mouth trauma and have great oral care. If you are prone to biting your lips and cheeks, you should seek therapy to prevent this. This action could be formed out of a bad habit, stress related, or something else. If you bite your lip too much, or too hard, you could be risking serious complications. The formation of a mucous cyst may be not be preventable, and therefore it is not your fault. In this case, one potential option is to remove the salivary gland surgically if the cysts are an ongoing problem.
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