Why do I have a bump on my mouth inside the cheekYou have recently noticed that a bump has formed in your mouth inside your cheek, and you may be wondering why it has appeared and what it could mean.
In this article, we have gathered the necessary information to help you understand and identify what it could be and guide you to act correctly.
Please keep in mind that this is not a diagnosis. Although a lump in the mouth is harmless in most cases, it is wise to consult a dentist as soon as you notice one. He will do a thorough clinical examination to make an accurate diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment.
Why are bumps more likely to form on the inside of cheeks?To understand how and why bumps can appear on the inside of your cheek, you must first understand their origin.
Every lump or pimple in the mouth has a tissue that gave birth to it. It can be the cells of skin, fat, nerve, glands, or blood vessels.
Their abnormal and rapid proliferation will form a mass with a name derived from its original tissue.
For example, lipoma is a mass of fat formed by the proliferation of fat-producing cells, while fibroma is a mass resulting from the excessive growth of collagen fiber-producing cells. Only a microscopic examination can identify the nature of these lesions.
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.
Fortunately, most of them are benign, do not spread to other body parts, and are not life-threatening.
In general, they remain for a long time in the area where they first appear and evolve slowly without invading the surrounding tissue.
Different factors can cause lumps to appear inside the mouth. The most common are repetitive and continuous irritation triggered by ill-fitting dentures, biting the same area of your mouth several times, viral and bacterial infection, or chemical irritation such as tobacco and alcohol.
The mouth tissues to adapt and defend themselves will grow rapidly and wildly, forming a bump.
In other cases, the lump is not due to tissue overgrowth but to the formation of a fluid-filled cavity surrounded by cells, known as a cyst. The most common form is the inflammatory cyst, often caused by an infection.
What can a bump on the mouth, inside the cheek mean?Most mouth bumps are benign, so you shouldn't panic or overthink them. The appearance of these lesions can sometimes give us an idea of what it might be, but only a microscopic examination can tell for sure.
Here are some symptoms that may help you identify what it could be, but remember that a visit to a health care professional is necessary to establish the exact diagnosis and provide the appropriate treatment.
You have a single non-painful bump on your cheek
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 its 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 due to injury.
Rarely, the bump may be red and bleed easily to the touch. When this happens, the mass 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.
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. Their injury leads to the blockage of the saliva flow and its accumulation inside the oral mucosa, causing a swelling that can vary from a few millimeters to a few centimeters.
They usually do not cause pain, but when they are multiple or appear frequently, they can cause intense pain.
You have multiple blister-like lesions and painful ulcerations
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 have almost the same symptoms are mucous membrane pemphigoid and pemphigus. These are autoimmune diseases where the body attacks its own cells. They lead to painful blisters and ulcers on the oral mucosa.
You have a painless lump with a cauliflower-like surface
This type of lesion is not uncommon and appears most often on the inside of cheeks, the gum, and the lips.
It can be a wart, papilloma, or condyloma acuminata. These are all benign tumors that affect the outer layer of the oral mucosa. They are associated with HPV (Human Papillomavirus) and cause the formation of single or multiple, painless, and rapidly-growing bumps that stop when they reach the maximum size ranging from a few millimeters to 1 centimeter.
They are covered with a pink or white layer with a striated surface similar to that of a cauliflower.
These oral lesions develop following transmission of the infection through hands or oral sex.
Your cheek is swollen
If you notice swelling inside your cheek with a covering layer similar to the surrounding tissue, it may be a benign salivary gland tumor. The most common one is called a pleomorphic adenoma, which appears as a firm mass with a 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 visible on the outside of the cheek.
If the swelling is associated with pain that worsens during meals, it may be due to an obstruction in the parotid duct that blocks saliva flow. This condition is serious because 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 the obstacle.
What are the warning symptoms?The lesions we have seen above are benign and without any cancerous potential, usually treated by surgical excision. However, some mouth lesions can be dangerous and have significant malignant potential.
The most common symptom to watch for is the appearance of white patches in different parts of your mouth.
These spots may indicate a pre-cancerous lesion called leukoplakia. They are stuck to the oral mucosa and cannot be removed by rubbing. The most affected parts of the mouth are the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, and the lower lip.
The most involved factors in leukoplakia are smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, viral, bacterial, or fungal infection, hormonal disorder, and nutritional deficiency.
Other conditions that can lead to white patches in the mouth include:
- Lichen planus: This is one of the most common skin and mucosal diseases, affecting 0.2% to 1% of the world's population. It is due to abnormal immune reactions that lead to whitish spots or streaks in the oral mucosa. These lesions have a certain tendency to undergo a malignant transformation.
- Chronic Candidiasis: Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by a germ called Candida albicans. When the infection persists, it can lead to chronic hyperplastic candidiasis, affecting the outer layer of the oral mucosa. This condition is often associated with smoking and leads to thick, irregular, or smooth patches that are difficult to remove. The most affected areas of the mouth are the tongue and both sides of the lips.
- Nicotine stomatitis: It is the most common oral condition related to smoking. The most affected area is the mouth roof, appearing as whitish patches with red spots due to inflammation of the salivary glands. The severity of the condition is proportional to the number of tobacco products consumed. Nicotine stomatitis lesions are reactive to the heat generated by the tobacco product and the chemicals present.
Other symptoms to watch for include:
- Swollen neck nodes: Swollen lymph nodes in the neck always indicate inflammation or infection. They consist of small balls that form in the neck or under the lower jaw and often mean the early stage of a tooth abscess or wisdom tooth eruption. In extreme cases, they can signal the beginning of oral cancer. As a precaution, it is best to seek professional advice.
- Persistent pain: A continuous pain when swallowing or chewing that lasts more than 15 days should lead you to consult your dentist. He 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 bumpsMany 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 them:
- 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. Individuals 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 lead to abnormal cell proliferation and the development of tumors.
- Nutritional deficiency: The deficiency of certain nutrients, especially vitamin A, C, and B-complex, can contribute to the development of certain malignant tumors.
How to deal with a bump in the mouth?Bumps or limps that appear in the mouth are usually benign. They develop slowly, do not damage the surrounding tissue, and are not life-threatening.
Some more severe conditions, but fortunately rare, may appear in the early stage as a pimple or ulceration in the mouth. If your mouth lesion does not heal after 10 days, visit your dentist to clear any doubts. He will assess the injuries and may refer you to an orofacial specialist for further examination.
Do not try to remove or scratch the mouth lump at home, as this may make it worse and cause an infection.
Once the diagnosis is made, treatment usually involves surgical removal of the lump or tumor. Risk factors such as infection, smoking, or chronic irritation must be removed or treated to prevent a recurrence.