Bump on Gums: Causes And Treatment

bump on gums

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 bump you notice checked out by your dentist.

Bumps on the gum can be as a result of irritation, gum disease and a host of other things. This article aims at explaining the causes of these bumps and the treatment options.

What Can Cause A Bump On My Gum?

1. Cyst

A cyst is a small bump filled with air, liquid, or other soft materials. Cysts usually form on your gums around roots of dead or buried teeth. They grow slowly over time and usually has no pain unless they become infected.

When this happens, you might feel some pain and there will be swelling. If it’s large enough, a cyst can put pressure on your teeth and lead to jaw weakness over time.

2. Abscess

Smoking
An abscess is an accumulation of pus caused by bacteria and it usually occurs in the gums. 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.

4. Tumors

Denture

A tumor is an abnormal swelling and it can occur on the gum. The most common type is called a fibroma.

A fibroma is a bump that forms on the gum due to irritation or injury of the gums. 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.

One of such bumps is called pyogenic granuloma and is usually associated with pregnancy. It typically appears as a swollen, blood-filled lump that bleeds easily and is usually soft and painless.

6. Torus

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

newspaper clipping of cancer
Oral cancer, also called mouth 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 and so on.

8. Burns

Hot coffee
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 smoking and tobacco use.

10. Cold Sores

Cold sores are a viral infection caused by herpes simplex virus. In younger children between the ages 0 to 6yrs, 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

Growing teeth

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.

Treatment of Bumps On Gums

Bumps on gums can be treated in the following ways.

Analgesic

• Bumps due to injury to the gum or burns from hot food or beverages will resolve in a few days or a week. The cause of the irritation such as a faulty filling or ill-fitting dentures needs to be adjusted. Warm water and salt rinse, analgesic gel, vitamin C tablets and analgesics like Paracetamol will help reduce pain and promote fast healing.
• 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.
• If the bump is caused by an abscess due to gum disease or an infected tooth, it is managed by your dentist either doing a root canal to save the tooth or outrightly extracting the tooth. The abscess is also drained. Gum disease is managed by proper oral hygiene practices, professional cleaning in the dental clinic and also antibiotic prescription.

Underlying medical conditions like poorly controlled diabetes should also be addressed by your doctor.

 tooth extraction

• As soon as the tooth comes out, the bump caused as a result of this usually resolves. 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.

Brushing

• Hormonal causes of bumps on gums are usually managed by regular dental check-ups, proper oral hygiene practices like brushing twice daily and flossing, and also using mouthwash. The bump may be removed surgically.
• 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.

When To See Your Doctor

Foul breath

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 right way.

  • Fever
  • Throbbing pain
  • Foul taste or foul-smelling breath
  • A non-healing sore
  • Bumps that last longer than a few weeks
  • Red or white patches inside your mouth or on your lips
  • A bump that bleeds

There are many things that can cause you to have bumps on your gum ranging from very mild to very severe. The most important thing is to know when you need to get it checked out. This article has done just that. Also, when in doubt, check it out with your doctor.

Dr. Onyeka Mgbemere

Dr. Onyeka is a graduate of Dental surgery. She is a licensed dentist who is passionate about the promotion of oral health education and prevention of oral diseases. Her hobbies are watching movies and reading.