Commonly found at the oral cavity, fibromas are essentially outgrowths of tissue that can be hard or soft, and white or pink, depending on their composition. Rest assured – they are usually benign. Read on to discover what causes a fibroma to develop, and what types of fibroma are regularly found in and around the mouth. You will also learn how and where they develop, and possible treatment options.
A fibroma is a mass of connective tissue that usually grows in response to trauma or localised irritation. Although these growths are rarely cancerous, they may grow bigger when irritated, or simply over time. For this reason, you should avoid brushing the sore. Instead, use an alcohol-free mouthwash to ensure your soft tissue remains healthy without any irritation. Fibromas can also develop on the face or in and around the mouth. They may become raised from the skin or gum tissue.
On rare occasions, fibromas can be found in the maxilla (upper jaw) or mandible (lower jaw), but studies published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest these types of fibromas are more likely to be discovered through digital imaging. Nonetheless, given that fibromas are generally distinguished from similar outgrowths of fat tissue – called lipomas – based on their hardness and colour, they are usually discovered by the patient, a dentist or physician upon routine examination.
Fibromas tend to occur on the top or sides of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, or anywhere on the lips. Bear in mind that fibromas primarily develop from repeatedly biting the area, irritation by a foreign object, or trauma to surrounding tissue. Ill-fitting dentures that rub along the gumline are also a likely cause.
Removing the fibroma is usually your best treatment. Although most fibromas 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. Depending on the fibroma's size and location, your dentist may remove it, refer you to an oral maxillofacial surgeon, or ultimately recommend a plastic surgeon for treatment that maintains a healthy appearance. The biopsy is then sent to a pathologist specialised in this type of tissue sample, to make sure no cancer cells are detected.
The treatment and removal of fibromas is a fairly safe and uncomplicated procedure, involving a team of medical and dental experts. The healing process is usually quite short, allowing you to continue your regular oral care routine despite such a specific dental problem.