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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, as you will feel a bump inside your mouth.

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

Causes and Prevention

Sucking on the tissue between your teeth is believed to cause these fluid sacs on the lips, gums or inside of the cheeks. Refraining from sucking your cheeks or lips may prevent some cysts from forming, although certain cysts can also appear at random.

Mouth Cyst Treatment

A mucous cyst often does not require treatment – it will usually rupture on its own, according to NIH. Continue your usual home oral care routine by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing every day.

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 and drain the fluid inside; the cyst will then go away eventually.

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 and involve the standard risks, such as infection or an adverse reaction to the local anaesthetic. Always talk to your dentist or dental specialist and make sure you understand the risks associated with the procedure.

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. Remember that your oral health is connected to your overall wellness.

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