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Mouth Diseases

Small growth under tongue

07/13/2006

Question:

Hello,

I have very recently discovered a small growth, perhaps 2-3 mm in diameter, under my tongue. This morning, it had seemed to shrink, but it is a bit larger again. I first noticed it when I felt a sudden dryness under my tongue after having drunk a Pepsi. I looked under my tongue and there was this small, spherical growth. It is painless and has the same color as the surrounding epithelial tissue. However, as of now, the border of the growth is slightly redder. I do not smoke, but I am very worried this may be a cancer.

Could you please help me understand what is wrong and what I should do?

Answer:

You don't mention exactly where under your tongue this problem is located.  If it is under the front part of the tongue, this probably represents what is known as a mucocele, which is a benign condition caused by having one of the little salivary gland ducts in this area cut.  The mucus leaks into the tissue, causing a small swelling, which often breaks, deflates, then fills up again.  Usually these have to be removed by an oral surgeon, who should send the tissue to an oral pathologist in order to confirm the diagnosis.

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Response by:

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