Fibromas are commonly found at the oral cavity – essentially outgrowths of tissue that can come hard or soft and white or pink, depending on its makeup. Rest assured they're usually benign. Here's what causes one to develop and what types are often found in and around the mouth. You should also know how and where they develop, as well as which treatment is recommended for those who may have one.
How Fibromas Develop
A fibroma is a mass of connective tissue that usually grows in response to trauma or localized irritation. And although they are rarely cancerous, they may get bigger when irritated or simply grow bigger over time. Avoid brushing the sore for this reason, using a mouthrinse such as Colgate Total® Mouthwash for Gum Health to ensure your soft tissue remains healthy without the added irritation of alcohol. Fibromas can also develop on the face, or in and around the mouth, and may become raised from the skin or gum tissue.
How They're Found
On rare occasions, fibromas can show up in the maxilla (upper jaw) or mandible (lower jaw), but studies in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest these types of fibromas are more likely to be discovered in digital imaging. Nonetheless, because fibromas are usually distinguished from similar outgrowths of fat tissue – called lipomas – based on their hardness and color, they are usually discovered by the patient, a dentist or physician upon routine examination.
Where They Occur
The most common places to find fibromas are on the top or sides of the tongue, the inside of your cheeks or anywhere on the lips. Keep in mind these fibromas primarily develop from repeatedly biting the area, irritation by a foreign object or trauma to the surrounding tissue. Ill-fitting dentures that rub along the gumline are also a likely cause, according to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.
How to Treat Them
Removing the fibroma is usually your best treatment. Even though most of them are benign, your dentist may determine that a biopsy of the removed tissue should be done as a precaution to rule out the presence of cancer. So, depending on its size and location, your dentist may remove the fibroma, refer you to an oral maxillofacial surgeon or ultimately recommend a plastic surgeon for treatment that maintains a healthy residual appearance. The biopsy is then sent to a pathologist who specializes in this type of tissue sample to make sure no cancer cells are detected.
The treatment and removal of fibromas is a fairly uncomplicated (and safe) procedure, involving a team of medical and dental experts. The healing process is usually quite short, allowing you to continue your regular oral care despite such a specific dental problem.