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Mouth Diseases

Sore Bump on Inner Upper Lip

02/01/2011

Question:

A couple days ago I realized I was getting a little pain on my inner upper lip right by where my lip and gum attach . I looked in the mirror and at first didn`t see anything so I figured it was a cut but then I realized there is a tiny clear bump there. What could it possibly be? I believe I had one before but it didn`t hurt maybe a few months ago , maybe a year. I want to know how to get rid of it and not get it back.

Answer:

What you are describing may be related to HSV-1 (Herpes simplex-1) infection. The pain and symptoms like your lip was cut could be the prodromal symptoms associated with an HSV infection. The clear vesicle on the vermillion border/mucosal junction is classic, this is usually followed by a rupture of the clear bump followed with “crusting” (brownish yellow coloration, and reddened margins with some ulceration) and then healing. Time period for HSV course is 10-14 days or so.

Sometimes these lesions can be quite painful and usually occur in the same place or very close by (they follow the nerve distribution). They occur at very in opportune times (just before a major event like Prom or wedding etc.!)

Treatment of them if they are problematic consists of topical antiviral medication (Zovirax) or just palliative treatment (Campho-phenique).

If they continue or occur more frequently I would strongly suggest you have it evaluated by your primary care provider or dentist.

As an aside in my differential since I did not see you and exam the site and lesion, clear vesicle can also be related to blocked salivary gland (in your case minor salivary glands). But, since you describe the prodromal symptoms and reoccurrence strongly suggests HSV -1 infection.

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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