Finding a bump in your body may be quite scary and alarming but a bump on your gums isn’t usually a medical emergency. However, it can be a symptom of something serious, so it’s important to have any unusual oral bump checked out by your dentist.
A cyst is a small fluid-filled bump. Cysts usually form on your gums around the roots of dead or buried teeth. They grow slowly over time and usually have no pain unless they become infected.
An abscess is an accumulation of pus caused by bacteria. It is usually caused by an infected tooth or gum disease.
Other conditions like poorly controlled diabetes mellitus or smoking can be risk factors for developing an abscess on the gum. The abscess may feel warm and soft and is often very painful.
3. Canker Sores
Canker sores are small ulcers that can form on the gums, lips and other parts of the mouth. Canker sores are relatively harmless but they can be painful, especially when they are inside your mouth.
The ulcers are usually flat or slightly raised bumps which may be white or yellow in color. The ulcers cause severe pain which makes eating and drinking difficult.
A tumor is an abnormal swelling and it can occur on the gum. Not every tumor is cancerous, some are benign.
A fibroma is a benign bump that forms on the gum due to gum irritation or injury. Irritation is usually due to oral devices like dentures or braces.
They can also appear inside your cheeks, on the sides of your tongue or on the inside of your lips. They are usually painless, firm and the same color as the normal gum tissue.
5. Hormonal Changes
Conditions that bring about hormonal changes like pregnancy, puberty, and menstruation can cause bumps on the gums.
A torus is a bony growth in the upper or lower jaw and the cause is unknown. You can have them on one or both sides of your jaw. They usually appear on the gums, around the sides of your tongue.
7. Oral Cancer
Oral cancer refers to cancer in any part of the mouth. Mouth cancer can appear like a small painful bump or growth in your gum that bleeds easily.
Other symptoms include tongue pain, jaw pain, pain while chewing or swallowing.
Hot beverages, such as tea or coffee or hot foods can burn the inside of the mouth, including the gum. If the burn is severe enough, a bump or blister can form which can be very painful.
9. Trauma Or Injury To The Gum
The inside of the mouth is a sensitive area, so an injury to any part of the mouth can lead to bump formation. This injury can be caused by irritation from dentures, faulty or sharp end of fillings, cuts, and damage to the mouth from tobacco use.
10. Cold Sores
Cold sores are a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus. In younger children between under 6 years, the bumps usually appear on the gums, tongue, and lips.
A tingling sensation is felt before the blister appears. The blister ruptures which is very painful and causes a loss of appetite, drooling of saliva and difficulty in eating.
11. Un-erupted tooth
A tooth that is yet to come out in the mouth can show up as a bump in the gum. The bump may or may not be painless and if painful, pain may resolve once the tooth comes out.
The teeth usually affected are the upper central incisors and the lower wisdom teeth.
12. Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease
Hand, foot and mouth disease is a viral infection that can affect anyone but it is more common in young children. The disease infects the mouth, causing painful blisters and red bumps. As the name implies, it also appears on the hands and feet as rash or blisters.
13. Heck’s Disease
This is a condition that presents as multiple white to pinkish bumps that occur in the mouth – on the lips, inner cheek, and gums. It is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It occurs more in younger children.
When To See Your Doctor
A bump on your gums may not be anything serious but if you notice any of these symptoms in addition to the bump, see your doctor or dentist.
- Throbbing pain
- Foul taste or foul-smelling breath
- A non-healing sore
- Bumps that last longer than a week
- Red or white patches inside your mouth or on your lips
- A bump that bleeds
- Bumps due to injury to the gum or burns from hot food or beverages will resolve in a few days or a week. Warm water and salt rinse, analgesic gel, vitamin C tablets and analgesics like Paracetamol will help reduce pain and promote fast healing.
- Bumps caused by an abscess due to gum disease or an infected tooth will be managed by your dentist either doing a root canal to save the tooth or outrightly extracting the tooth. The abscess will also be drained and antibiotics prescribed.
- Bumps due to a cyst, tumor or oral cancer should be reviewed by an oral surgeon. A small sample is taken and viewed under a microscope to confirm the exact diagnosis. The treatment may include surgical removal of the bump, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of the three.
- Underlying medical conditions like poorly controlled diabetes should also be addressed by your doctor.
- For an unerupted tooth, once it erupts, the bump should resolve. Sometimes, your dentist may need to make a cut on the gum to expose the tooth and facilitate its eruption. If the tooth is trapped in the jaw (impacted) and is causing pain and infection, surgical extraction of the tooth may be recommended by your dentist.
- Bumps caused by viral infections like cold sores, heck’s disease, and Hand-Foot-and-Mouth disease are usually self-limiting and would resolve in about a week or two. Antiviral medication may also be prescribed by your dentist.
- Hormonal causes of bumps on gums are usually managed by regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene practices like brushing twice daily and flossing.
- A torus is not usually a cause for concern except if it becomes painful, causes discomfort or affects the fit of dentures. In this case, it is surgically reduced.
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