What is a Mouth Cyst?

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A mouth cyst is a thin, fluid-filled sac on the inside of your mouth. Also called a mucous cyst or mucocele, the sac is harmless and painless, says the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It may annoy you though, because you feel a bump inside your mouth.

These cysts commonly occur on the inside of the lips but can also form on your tongue, palate, inside of the cheeks, floor of the mouth or around piercings on the tongue or lips. A cyst on the floor of your mouth is called a ranula, and a cyst on the gum is called an epulis. The mucocele sac is bluish and clear and contains clear fluid. Your dentist can usually diagnose a mucous cyst just by looking at it.

Causes and Prevention

The cause of these fluid sacs on the lips, gums or inside of the cheeks is believed to be sucking the tissue between your teeth. Not intentionally sucking your cheeks or lips may prevent some cysts from forming, but some cysts can appear at random.

Mouth Cyst Treatment

A mucous cyst often does not require treatment because it will usually rupture on its own, according to NIH. Continue your usual home oral care using products like Colgate Total® Advanced Deep Clean Toothpaste.

If a mouth cyst becomes uncomfortable or irritated, interferes with chewing, or does not go away in a couple of weeks, see a dentist. Your dentist may use a sterile needle to open the top of the cyst to drain the fluid from it and eventually will go away.

Removing a Cyst

Sometimes, your dentist or an oral surgeon will choose to surgically remove the cyst, especially if it returns after being opened. Complications of surgery are very rare, involving the standard risks of surgery such as infection or an adverse reaction to the local anesthesia. Always talk to your dentist or dental specialist and make sure you understand the risks.

If the cyst does not open on its own and you do not receive treatment, a permanent bump may form. These bumps are harmless, but see your dentist if something new forms in your mouth and you have concerns. It is important to make sure that the dentist evaluates this area by examination and an x-ray, if needed. Your oral health is a part of your total health.

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