Lumps on the gums are fairly common. This is partly because many things can result in the formation of such lumps. Some will only last a few days while others persist for quite a while.
People often associate lumps with cancer. While a lump on your gums could actually be a malignant tumor, chances are higher that it is not. Other causes such as flawed dentals, tooth abscess and gum irritation are more common.
It is always advisable to check with your doctor if you notice a lump on your gums, in your mouth and basically on any part of your body. In this article, we will examine the common causes of lumps on the gums, their symptoms and available treatment options. Note that your doctor will be best suited to direct on the best treatment option to go with.
Common causes of lump on gums
Medical diagnosis may be required to confirm the actual cause of a lump on your gums. Below are the common causes:
A lump on the gums caused by irritation is a consequence of your immune system protecting from further damage. Irritation can be caused by physical objects pressing on gums or after contact with an irritant. Presence of bacteria can also cause irritation on gums.
Symptoms of irritation include redness on gums and pain. The symptoms will mostly appear not long after contact. Treatment involves getting rid of the irritant. Lumps will resolve on their own soon after.
Gingivitis is a mild gum disease. It is caused by slow growing bacteria. When infected, the gums will get inflamed. Repeatedly irritated gums can also contract this disease.
Symptoms appear around the base of teeth. They include redness, inflammation and irritation. Treatment revolves around practicing oral hygiene to get rid of causal bacteria.
Canker sores can appear in mouth and on base of gums. They are quite common and not dangerous or contagious. It is not clear what causes canker sores. They are usually triggered by viral infections, spicy foods, stress and other forms of trauma in the mouth.
These sores mostly appear in form of painful lesions or lumps. They can be red, pink or white. Treatment revolves around minimizing trauma in the mouth. Canker sores heal without treatment in a couple of weeks.
Dental cysts develop around the roots of a dead tooth. They form painful lumps on the gums. If not removed, dental cysts can spread to other teeth.
Symptoms revolve around formation of a painful hard lump on the gum under a dead tooth. In a clinic, imaging tests will be required since a dental cyst cannot be seen with a naked eye. Treatment involves getting rid of the cyst and probably the affected tooth.
A tooth abscess is a bacterial infection. It leads to inflammation of the gum covering the affected tooth. As a result, a painful lump will appear.
Tooth abscess is characterized by pain, tooth ache and swollen gums. It is also common to have a swollen lymph node, characterized by a hard lump under the chin, due to tooth abscess. Treatment can be done by removing the affected tooth and administering antibiotics.
During tooth extraction, a blood vessel can get damaged. Leaked blood from the damaged vessel may clot to form a hard lump on the gum after tooth extraction. The gum can also become irritated during the extraction process.
Lumps formed this way do not require treatment.
Other possible causes
- Physical injuries, including burns
- Weak immunity
- Sugary food products
Symptoms of lump on gums
The cause of a lump on the gums will determine which symptoms occur. Simple irritation of gums may only cause slight reddening of the gums alongside a lump. Lumps associated with bacterial infections will most likely be accompanied by swelling and pain. Fever will develop if the infection is severe. Multiple lesions or sores in mouth and on base of gums are known as canker sores.
Oral cancer produces symptoms such as hard lump on the gum or in the mouth. Generally, cancerous lumps keep growing in size and mass over a short period of time. Most are painless.
White lump on gums
If you notice a white lump on the gums, it could have resulted from any of the following conditions:
This is a fungal infection that occurs in mouth. In most cases, oral thrush lesions will be white but can also be yellow in color. The lesions appear on gums, inner cheeks, mouth roof and tongue.
Canker sores appear as red bumps initially. After some time, they will form small lumps with white centers.
Small white patches on your gums and in mouth can be Leukoplakia. Sometimes, these patches may thicken to form white lumps on the gums and in the mouth. Multiple-colored leukoplakia are associated with malignancy.
Oral lichen planus
This is a chronic condition that leads to formation of white patches on gums and throat. In most cases, the patches are not painful. Sores can originate from the patches and cause pain.
Hard lump on gum or inside mouth; mouth cancer
A hard lump on any part of your body should cause you some concern. Inside the mouth, a hard lump can for example be a sign of mouth cancer, also referred to as oral cancer.
Mouth cancer can develop on the:
- Upper gum line
- Lower gum line
- Roof or floor of mouth
- Inner cheeks
Mouth cancer lumps often start as white sores or lumps. Other symptoms include:
- A sore that takes too long to heal or doesn’t heal at all
- Difficulty when chewing
- Sore throat
It is not guaranteed that these symptoms will translate into oral cancer. Make sure to see your doctor if such symptoms are to last for more than 2 weeks. This is especially true if you develop lumps elsewhere in the body, including unlikely places such as a painful lump in the calf muscle or hand.
Cancer lumps can be removed through surgery. If surgical removal is not an open option, chemotherapy and radiation therapy will be considered. All these treatment options can be used however. As you may already know, cancer is more treatable if diagnosed early. It is therefore very important that you get a potentially malignant lump in the mouth checked by a doctor.
Lump on gum child causes
Teething is the most probable cause of lump on gum child symptoms. Some children teethe by the third month after birth while others can teethe after a year. Most teethe by the time they are six months old.
Your baby can go through teething without any symptoms. Sometimes, the following symptoms may occur:
- Swelling of gums
- Trouble sleeping
- gnawing on objects
Some parents associate diarrhea, fever and a lump on the neck of a child symptoms with teething. It however should be understood that no provable data is available to support this claim. See your doctor if such symptoms occur.
Treatment and diagnosis for lump on gums
Some causes of lumps on gums are identifiable through physical exam. If not, imaging tests and biopsies may be performed. Imaging tests show the size, shape and location of a lump on gums. Biopsies check for malignant cells and signs of infection.
Use of antibiotics
Antibiotics are medications used to fight bacterial infections. Your doctor will prescribe them depending on the severity of infection. Mild infections in mouth may not even cause swollen lymph nodes under chin. Severe ones on the other hand may cause multiple lymph node swellings such as a lump under the armpit, chin and throat.
Anti-inflammatory medications are prescribed to shrink lumps on the gums. They are more effective if a lump is caused by an inflammatory disease.
Surgical removal of gum lumps can take several forms. For example, a dead tooth can be extracted to avoid tooth abscess. A cystic gum lump can be removed without necessarily removing a tooth. Mouth cancer lumps are completely removed in surgery.
Treatment at home
At home, you can try the following treatment approaches:
- Observing oral hygiene such as brushing your teeth after meals
- Rinsing your mouth with salt water. It shrinks gum lumps and eases pain
- Using mouth washes with antibacterial properties
- Applying raw garlic to affected gums. Garlic is an antibacterial remedy
- Swishing oil around your mouth. In theory, the oil will collect harmful bacteria from your mouth.
- Quitting smoking. Smoking is known to increase risk of gum diseases
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you notice signs of infection, if a lump on gum is causing discomfort or if symptoms don’t improve after a week.
Consider learning a thing or two on topics such as causes of painful lump on rib cage left side, how to self-check for breast lumps, painful lump in earlobe symptoms and so on. You find that causes and types of lumps that can occur in the body are many. While medical diagnosis is important, some lumps are not harmful and rarely require treatment.