Why do I have a bump on my mouth inside the cheek?

bump inside of mouth on cheek
If you've recently noticed a bump on the inside of your cheek, you might be wondering what it is and what you should do about it.

In this article, we'll provide you with the information you need to identify the bump and give you guidance on what steps to take next.

Please keep in mind that while most bumps in the mouth are harmless, it's always a good idea to see a dentist if you notice one. A dentist can give you an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.

Why are bumps more likely to form on the inside of cheeks?

Why are bumps more likely to form on the inside of the cheeks? Well, the inside of your cheek is lined with delicate tissue that's more susceptible to irritation and injury than the tougher skin on the outside.

This can lead to the formation of lumps or bumps when the tissue reacts to the irritation.

The medical term for each type of bump is derived from the original tissue that gave rise to it. For example, it can be the cells of skin, fat, nerve, glands, or blood vessels. Only a microscopic examination can identify the nature of these lesions.

cheek anatomy

There are different organs and tissues on the cheeks, including the salivary glands, the mucosa that covers the inner part of the mouth, as well as nerve, vascular and fatty tissues. So, bumps that appear in this area could have different origins.

Thankfully, most bumps that form inside the mouth are benign and don't pose a threat to your health. They tend to remain in the area where they first appear for a long time and grow slowly without invading the surrounding tissue.

There are many factors that can lead to the formation of bumps in the mouth. The most common causes are repetitive and continuous irritation, such as from ill-fitting dentures or accidentally biting the same spot repeatedly.

Viral and bacterial infections or exposure to certain chemicals like tobacco and alcohol can also cause bumps to form.

These irritants trigger rapid and wild growth of mouth tissues, causing a bump to show up.

In some cases, the bump is not due to tissue overgrowth but instead the formation of a fluid-filled cavity surrounded by cells, known as a cyst, which often arises due to an infection.

It's important to remember that while most bumps are harmless, some can be a sign of a more serious condition. Only a dentist can accurately diagnose the type of bump you have. So be sure to make an appointment if you're concerned.

What can a bump on the mouth, inside the cheek mean?

If you notice a bump on the inside of your cheek, there's no need to worry too much. The majority of these bumps are benign and not a cause for concern.

While some symptoms may give you a clue as to what the bump might be, only a microscopic examination can provide an accurate diagnosis. So, it's always a good idea to see a healthcare professional. Here are some of the most common oral lesions:

1. You have a single non-painful bump on your cheek

fibrous overgrowth

This type of lesion is relatively common in the mouth, and most often appears due to an injury or long-term continuous irritation from an ill-fitting denture or accidentally injuring an area of your cheek.

We call them fibrous overgrowth because they result from the benign proliferation of fibroblast cells with the synthesis of a large amount of collagen fiber.

They appear as a single mass, between 1 and 2 centimeters in size, which may be firm or soft to the touch. They can be attached to a part of your mouth by their base or a stem.

Its surface is usually smooth and has the same color as the surrounding tissue, but it can sometimes be inflamed and turn white or red due to injury.

In rare cases, the lump may bleed easily when touched. When this happens, the growth is made up primarily of blood vessels and rapidly grows to about half an inch in size. They are often found in pregnant women because of hormonal changes.

2. You have a soft, blister-like lump


The appearance of a soft, fluid-filled, and often bluish lump at any site in your mouth, especially on the inside of the lower lip, commonly indicates a condition called mucoceles or mucoid cysts. They are the most common cause of salivary gland problems.

The salivary glands are connected to the mouth surface by ducts that release saliva. When injured, saliva becomes trapped in the inner layer of your mouth. A painful swelling may appear, ranging from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.

3. You have multiple blister-like lesions and painful ulcerations

mouth blisters due to viral infection

The appearance of multiple, painful, blister-like lesions may indicate a viral infection such as the herpes simplex virus and varicella-zoster virus. They cause blisters to appear in different mouth sites, including the lips, inside of cheeks, and gums. These blisters will break off to leave painful ulcers.

Other conditions that can cause blister lesions are mucosal pemphigoid and pemphigus. These are autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its own cells.

4. You have a painless lump with a cauliflower-like surface


This type of lesion is not uncommon and appears most often inside the cheeks, the gum, and the lips.

They are associated with the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes single or multiple bumps to appear on the inner layer of the mouth. They are often painless and have a rapid growth rate that stops when they reach the size of about one centimeter. They are covered with a pink or white layer with a striated surface similar to that of a cauliflower.

These oral lesions develop as a result of the transmission of HPV through the mouth.

5. Your cheek is swollen from the outside

salivary gland tumors

Swelling inside your cheek with a covering layer similar to the surrounding tissue may indicate a benign salivary gland tumor. The most common one is called a pleomorphic adenoma, which appears as a firm mass, ranging from a few millimeters to several centimeters, and grows slowly without causing pain.

If the parotid gland is affected, the swelling will be noticeable outside your mouth.

If the swelling is associated with pain that worsens during meals, it may be due to a clogged gland duct that blocks saliva flow. This condition is serious as it can lead to a severe infection.

If you have these symptoms, visit your doctor as soon as possible. He will suggest a treatment to relieve the pain and eliminate any obstacles.

What are the warning symptoms?

While most lumps inside the mouth are harmless and don't have any cancerous potential, some oral lesions can be dangerous and have a significant risk of becoming malignant.

One common symptom to watch out for is the appearance of white patches in various parts of your mouth. These spots may indicate a pre-cancerous condition known as leukoplakia.

These patches are firmly attached to the oral mucosa and cannot be removed by rubbing.

The most commonly affected areas of the mouth include the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, and the lower lip.

Several factors can contribute to the development of leukoplakia, including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, viral, bacterial, or fungal infections, hormonal disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.

Here are other symptoms to watch for:

  • Swollen neck nodes: Swollen lymph nodes in the neck often indicate inflammation or infection. They appear as small balls in the neck or under the lower jaw. In extreme cases, they can be a sign of oral cancer.

  • Persistent pain: A continuous pain when swallowing or chewing that lasts more than 15 days should lead you to consult your dentist. They will do a thorough examination to identify the cause and treat it.

  • Shifting Teeth: Moving or shifting teeth can indicate advanced gum disease, but it can also mean that a tumor has grown so large that it is pushing the teeth out.

Factors that promote and worsen mouth bumps

Many factors can significantly increase the risk of developing lumpy mouth lesions and worsening them. The combination of these factors with genetics makes some people more vulnerable. Among these factors:

  • Smoking: Tobacco contains a large number of carcinogens and toxins that can affect the oral mucosa. Smoking also increases the temperature of the mouth, which can irritate it.

  • Alcohol: Alcohol has a synergistic effect with tobacco. People who smoke and drink at the same time have a 35 times higher risk of developing oral cancer.

  • Infections: Some viral infections such as herpes virus, human papillomavirus, and HIV increase the risk of oral lesions.

  • Hormonal imbalance: Some hormonal conditions can affect the mouth resulting in red, swollen, and bleeding gums, swollen salivary glands, and the development of canker sores.

  • Chronic irritation: Repeated and long-lasting mouth irritation from ill-fitting dentures, biting your cheeks, or hot and spicy foods can injure your mouth tissues.

  • Nutritional deficiency: The deficiency of certain nutrients, especially vitamins A, C, and B-complex, can be associated with certain mouth lesions.

How to deal with a bump in the mouth?

Bumps or pimples that appear in the mouth are usually harmless. They develop slowly, do not damage surrounding tissue, and are not life-threatening.

Some more serious, but fortunately rare, conditions may appear early as a bump or ulceration. If your mouth lesion does not heal after 10 days, to clear up any doubts see your dentist. He will assess the lesions and may refer you to an orofacial specialist for further examination.

Do not attempt to remove or scrape the mouth lump at home as this may aggravate the lesion and cause an infection.

Once diagnosed, treatment usually involves surgical excision. Risk factors such as infection, smoking, or chronic irritation must be eliminated or treated to prevent a recurrence.


  1. What is oral (irritated) fibroma? https://dermnetnz.org/topics/oral-irritated-fibroma
  2. A Color Handbook of Oral Medicine - Richard C. K. Jordan, Michael A. O. Lewis
  3. Papillome buccal/Condylomeacuminé/Verrue vulgaire http://dermatologiebuccale-nice.fr