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Mouth Diseases

Clear bump under tongue

07/14/2008

Question:

for about the past three months i have noticed a clear bumb under my tongue. It last at the most about three days and then 2-7 days later reoccurs. recently i had not noticed any occurances of the little bump for about 2 weeks maybe more i thought it was gone then i woke up with one again it does not hurt... the third time one came out i got a needle and poked it and clear stuff came out... like i said it does not hurt and im just irritated cause everytime i think its gone a few days later a new one comes up and its almost always in the same spot under the tongue on the tongue.... what could it be? and is it contagous?

Answer:

In response to your question of a “clear bump under your tongue”, I would presume that you have what is referred to as a mucocele or mucous extravasation phenomenon. When this occurs on the floor of the mouth it is known as a ranula or “frog belly”. This is a common oral lesion that results from the leakage of mucin from the salivary ducts into the surrounding mucosal tissues. This occurs in many cases as a result of localized trauma and rupture of the ductal tissues of the salivary gland. The gland continues to produce saliva/mucin and the surrounding tissues swell, producing a localized fluctuant mass that can appear red, blue or pink, dependent upon the underlying tissues and depth of the lesion.

These swellings can persist for hours or days and are usually painless. They can periodically rupture and release the mucin contents into the oral cavity and then swell again. You mentioned that you popped it with a pin. That is a dangerous thing to do because of the chance of infection and continual irritation that will perpetuate the swelling. The lower lip is the most common site for these to occur with buccal mucosa (cheek), floor of mouth and ventral surface of the tongue (bottom side) other common sites.

If this condition persists, I would advise you to see your dentist to find out what is causing the problem.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University