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Mouth Diseases

swollen inside lip

01/09/2006

Question:

my 15 year old grandson has a swollen area inside the right side of his lip. looks soft

Answer:

From your description, this probably is what is known as a "mucocele." These are common and harmless, although they can be annoying for the patient. The mucocele is probably caused by minor injury to one of the little tubes, called a duct, that leads from a minor salivary gland in the lower lip out to the surface of the mouth. When the injury occurs, the mucus that the damaged gland produces is released into the tissues instead of going into the mouth with the rest of the saliva. If untreated, these will often swell, break (like a water balloon), and heal over, only to swell again and repeat the cycle. Usually the mucocele has to be treated by an oral surgeon in order to control the problem.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University