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Mouth Diseases

Lump Inside Right Cheek

03/10/2011

Question:

I have a small hard lump on the inside of my right cheek. It’s just in front of the opening of my senses duct. I can feel it on the inside when I press against the outside of my check with my fingers. It feels like it’s below the skin and not attached to the skin. I visited my dentist and he said that he can’t tell what it is by feeling it and that I should come back if it gets larger. He said that he was not concerned. I’m still concerned though. I want another opinion. It has not gone away in the last month. What are the possible causes for this? Should I be worried?

Answer:

If this lump is rock-hard, then it probably represents a sialolith involving one of the minor salivary glands in the area. Sialoliths (salivary duct stones) are similar to kidney stones, although people who have a sialolith usually don't develop kidney stones as well.

While this lump could just sit there and not cause problems for months or years, we occasionally see stones that have caused the salivary gland to become infected, so we usually recommend that they be removed by an oral surgeon and sent to an oral pathologist for evaluation.
 
If the lump is rubbery firm, then many other possibilities exist as far as the diagnosis is concerned, ranging from harmless benign cysts and tumors to early, small malignancy. Such bumps should be removed by an oral surgeon and examined microscopically by an oral pathologist. Even in the unlikely event that it is an early malignancy, the outlook should be excellent because it was so small when it was treated. 

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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