Have a Bump on the Inside of Your Lip? Here’s When to Worry

Have a Bump on the Inside of Your Lip? Here’s When to Worry

Most bumps on the inner lip are harmless and go away on their own, but some are signs of a bigger health problem. If you or a loved one has a suspicious oral bump, it’s worth it to let a dentist or doctor take a look.   

Common Bumps on the Inner Lip

Most of us have experienced the following sores or lesions in the mouth at some point. For the most part, they are not a cause for concern, but it’s important to keep an eye on them to avoid complications. 

Mucus-filled Cyst (Oral Mucoceles)

A blocked salivary gland can result in a dome-shaped bluish or clear bump inside the lower lip. It’s usually caused by accidentally biting the lip while chewing, which opens up the gland and allows saliva to drain into it, forming a small cyst. Biting or poking an oral cyst in an attempt to drain it can cause infection, so it’s best to leave it alone. 

Most of the time, these are painless and heal on their own in 3-6 weeks. They are usually nothing to worry about. But if the cyst doesn’t go away, it can get in the way of chewing and talking. A dentist can examine a persistent cyst and may offer to remove it using extreme cold (cryotherapy), laser treatment, or surgery. 

Canker Sore

Injury to the mouth, poor oral hygiene, hormones, and even stress can cause a yellow or white open wound to form inside the lip. Although canker sores usually heal within two weeks, they can cause a lot of pain when eating, drinking, or talking. Antiseptic mouthwash that contains an anesthetic can relieve pain and prevent bacteria from settling in. Home remedies like rinsing with salt water or applying a paste made of baking soda and water can help too.

If canker sores are severe, a doctor or dentist may prescribe an oral corticosteroid, such as prednisone, to speed up the healing process.

Bumps on the Inside of the Lip That Cause Concern

Oral lumps that are unusual should always be assessed by a doctor or dentist. Either one will be able to tell you if there is something to worry about and explain treatment options. 

Squamous Papilloma

A bump that has a lumpy, cauliflower appearance can be a symptom of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Patients who see this kind of oral bump should see a doctor, who will likely do a biopsy for diagnosis. HPV is highly contagious, so it’s important to avoid kissing or sharing beverages with anyone while waiting for results. 

Although rare, oral HPV can turn into throat cancer, so it’s important to see a doctor if you are infected with HPV and experience:

  • Unexplained weight loss.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Hoarseness that doesn’t go away.
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
  • Sore throat.
  • Earaches.
  • A white or red patch on your tonsils.
  • Jaw pain or swelling.

Lip Abscess

If a bump on the inner lip is filled with pus, it’s critical to see a doctor. A lip abscess is extremely rare and usually forms in response to a bacterial infection in the body or from trauma complications. Just as a dental abscess that forms in the teeth and gums can enter into the bloodstream if not addressed promptly, so can an infected bump on the inside of the lip. A doctor will need to administer antibiotics and drain the abscess to keep the infection from spreading.   

Oral Cancer (Squamous Cell Carcinoma)

White, red, or speckled lesions inside of the lip could be cancerous. The American Cancer Society states that mouth sores that don’t go away within two weeks or that keep coming back should be addressed by a physician. Oral cancer sores can also appear in the cheeks and on the tongue, gums, and roof of the mouth. According to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, more than 90% of oral cancer patients use tobacco. 

When it Comes to Oral Health, It’s Always Better to Be Proactive

Whether a clear bump inside the lower lip seems harmless but won’t go away, or a lesion forms in your mouth that you’ve never seen before, it’s worth it to see a dentist about your concerns. A clear diagnosis will offer peace of mind, and if there is something wrong, it will ensure you get the medical treatment needed to prevent further problems. To find a dentist near you to discuss your concerns about oral health, click here.