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Mouth Diseases

Lump under tongue

06/09/2006

Question:

I HAVE A LUMP ON THE LEFT UNDERSIDE OF MY TONGUE THAT IS FAIRLY BIG. IT IS A CLEAR-LOOKING BUBBLE THAT HAS POPPED AND REFILLED SEVERAL TIMES. IT IS NOT REALLY PAINFUL. CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT THIS COULD POSSIBLE BE?

Answer:

What you are describing sounds very suggestive of a benign condition known as mucocele or mucus extravasation phenomenon.  It results from damage to the saliva (spit) glands that are found on the underside (ventral surface) of the tongue.  The damage allows saliva to spill out under the skin and may produce a clear or bluish bubble or blister.  The bubble can be popped with escape of the saliva back into the mouth.  Unfortunately, the damage to the gland is often long-term, and recurrence is quite common.

Treatment is minor oral surgery to remove the pool of spilled saliva as well as the damaged gland.

You should seek the help of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to confirm this diagnosis and schedule treatment if needed.

Good luck!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University