White, Dark, Small, Hard Lump in Mouth: Inside, Under or on Bottom Lip

Bumps and lumps inside the lips are very common. Luckily, most of them are usually benign. Mild ones will resolve even without treatment. In some cases, medical treatment will be required such as for recurring lumps or malignant ones.

It is important to know the exact cause of a lump inside the lip. This is the only way you can know whether to seek treatment or not. In this article, we will discuss the common causes of lip lumps, their symptoms and available treatment options. Remember that your doctor will be in a better position to correctly identify the exact cause.

Hard lump inside lip; mucous cysts

Perhaps the most common cause of a lump inside the lip is a mucous cyst or a mucocele. Mucoceles usually form on the inside of lower lips but can appear in other parts of your mouth.

Causes and risk factors

A mucocele develops when a salivary gland duct is damaged or blocked with mucus. This leads to accumulation of fluid which later forms a fluid-filled sac under the skin of your lip. Risk factors include:

  • Sucking your lip, especially between lower teeth
  • Habitual or accidentally biting your lip or inside the cheeks
  • Lip piercings
  • Dental misalignment
  • Ruptured salivary glands
  • Stress or boredom


Mucoceles form round, soft and painless bumps. They can be bluish or whitish in color. Some are almost clear. Usually, the bumps will not exceed 1 cm in diameter.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your doctor will physically examine the bump. You will be asked some questions revolving the symptoms you have been experiencing and habits such as lip biting. If necessary, additional tests such as biopsy will be performed. This is in case the lump is large or is showing signs of malignancy.

If the cyst has formed in the superficial layers, it can be left without treatment. Ones that have formed deep in the skin rarely disappear if not removed. Such cysts usually form tender, whitish and rounded lumps.

Cysts are mostly removed through surgery. This ensures that the cyst will not come back. Surgery can involve removing the cyst alone or removing both the cyst and the affected salivary gland. Incisional surgery is common but laser therapy can also be used, especially for a mucous cyst.

Other options include treatment with anti-inflammatory medications, cryotherapy and marsupialization.

Other causes of lumps in mouth under lip

Canker sores

Canker sores resemble small ulcers with a red border and a yellow or white center. They form lumps in the mouth under the lip, inside cheeks and on the tongue. The exact cause of canker sores is not known. Risk factors include hot and spicy foods, stress, trauma and infections. Before the sores appear, patients experience a tingling or burning sensation. Treatment is not often required, for the sores heal on their own in about 2 weeks times. See your doctor if the sores are causing pain or difficulty in talking and eating.


Trauma is another cause of lumps inside lips. Many things and factors can contribute to trauma in the mouth. Physical injuries are most common. Others include ill-fitting dentals, piercings and lip biting. Blood clots that form under the skin cause blister-like dark lumps inside lip. With time, the lumps will flatten as the clotted blood is reabsorbed. You can try warm compressing on the bumps to speed up recovery.

Mouth infections

Mouth infections are commonly caused by bacteria. Viruses and fungi can also lead to oral infections. If a lump inside the lip is caused by an infection, it will be accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, general weakness and swollen lymph nodes. Infections require medical treatment.

Allergic reactions

Some medications and food products can lead to formation of lumps in the mouth the under lip and other parts. Note that some allergic reactions can manifest much later after contact or ingestion.

Signs and symptoms of lump inside lip

Canker sores will mostly cause a tingling or burning sensation before appearance. Trauma in the mouth usually leads formation of a dark lump almost immediately after injury. Infections will always cause additional symptoms other than a bump or bumps inside the lip. As for cancer, the most common symptom is appearance of a painless, persistent bump, ulcer or white spot.

It is important to keep a record of the symptoms you have been experiencing. The information will help your doctor confirm diagnosis.

White lump on inside of lip causes

A white lump on inside lip should cause you concern. This is mostly because many oral cancer lumps initially appear as white lumps. The good news is that chances are high that oral cancer isn’t the cause. Common causes of white lumps in mouth and inside lips include:


Herpes is caused by a virus. Once the virus enters your body, it stays dormant for most of its life but is periodically triggered. When active, the infection appears in form of small, fluid-filled lesions that later develop into blisters. Note that oral herpes is a bit different from genital herpes. Either can occur individually. All the same, it is not hard to see symptoms such as pea sized lump in scrotum, on penis, vulva and mouth at the same time.

Canker sores

Canker sores usually form white centers and red borders. The center can however be yellowish.

Fordyce spots

‘Fordyce spots’ is the name given to oil-producing glands under the skin on the inside of the lips. Naturally, the glands are white in color and grow slightly bigger as you get older. Fordyce spots are not painful and will not cause any symptoms. Note that these are the same glands associated with masses such as a hard lump on back of head, on the face or back due to clogged hair follicles.

Oral thrush

This is a fungal infection characterized by white bumps inside the mouth, on the lips and tonsils. You may feel a lump in throat after eating when oral lichen bumps develop on tonsils. The infection occurs when a harmless fungal strain multiplies abnormally.

Oral cancer

Oral cancer is also referred to as mouth cancer. In most cases, it begins as a painless, white bump in mouth that later develops into a chronic ulcer.

Diagnosis and treatment for lump inside lip

Your doctor will most probably start with a physical exam. This will involve checking the texture, color, number of lumps and other signs such as swollen lymph nodes. A biopsy will rule out infections and cancer.

The best treatment option depends on the cause and severity of the lump. Pain medications and home remedies such as aloe Vera or gargling salt water in your mouth will help when treating canker sores.

Infections such as herpes and oral lichens require medically prescribed medications. In most cases, infections result in multiple lesions rather than a solitary bump.

Cancerous tumors require immediate medical attention. As you may already know, cancerous cells keep spreading and invading other body tissues or organs. It is therefore possible to encounter a situation such as a hard bony lump on clavicle or on breast prompting appearance of another one in mouth or armpit. This is a very serious sign. It probably means that cancer cells have started metastasizing.

At home, try maintaining oral hygiene so as to avoid bacterial and fungal infections. Also, minimize potential sources of trauma in mouth such as ill-fitting dentals and hot or spicy foods.

When to see a doctor for lump inside lip

Based on the information in this article, it will be a bit easier to predict the cause of a lump inside your lip. Try the available treatment options proposed here and in other similar articles. If improvements are not noted, see your doctor.

Infections and diseases almost always require medical attention. Avoid attempting home treatments on them. This is especially for a small hard lump or white spot that persists for more than 2 weeks and causes no pain. Cancer is not the only reason as to why medical treatment is important. Some infections can travel to vital organs such as the brain or lungs.

Consider learning more on topics discussing body masses such as lump in middle of sternum, types of breast lumps, lump above belly button and so on. You find that many types of diseases and health conditions have found a way into today’s world. The best chance we have against them is learning everything we can and most importantly going for medical diagnosis the earliest possible.


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