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Bump Inside Lip – Understanding the Reasons, Complications, and Treatments

Have you ever noticed a small clear bump inside your lip, a clear bubble inside the lip, a pimple on the inside of the lip, or even a ball inside the lip? While these bumps or lumps may seem harmless, it's essential to understand the potential reasons, complications, and appropriate treatments for these oral bumps. 

In this blog, we'll explore everything you need to know about bumps inside the lip, ensuring you can make informed decisions about your oral health.

What Is a Mucous Cyst?

One of the most common causes of a bump inside the lip, including clear bumps inside the lip, or a tiny bump inside the lip, is a mucous cyst (also known as a mucocele). A mucous cyst is a benign (non-cancerous) fluid-filled sac that can form in various parts of the mouth, including the inside of the lips, gums, roof of the mouth, or even under the tongue.

These cysts, often referred to as mucous cyst lip or lip cyst, typically develop as a result of trauma to the mouth or a blockage in the salivary gland. When the cysts form on the roof of the mouth, they are specifically referred to as "ranulas," which can potentially impact speech, swallowing, and even breathing if they become large enough.

Identifying a Mucous Cyst

Mucous cysts can present themselves in various forms, but they often exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Painless and movable

  • Soft and round or dome-shaped

  • Translucent with a red, pink, or blue tinge

  • Ranging in size from 2 to 10 millimetres (mm)

Ranulas, on the other hand, may appear as a cup-shaped, bluish-coloured swelling and can reach up to 7 centimetres in diameter.

Symptoms of Mucous Cysts

While mucous cysts are generally not painful, they can cause discomfort and tenderness, especially if they occur repeatedly in the same area. Additionally, if the cyst is located under the skin, it may be more painful than those on the outer layer of the mouth. Some common symptoms include a clear blister in the mouth or a clear blister inside the lip.

Causes of Mucous Cysts

Mucous cysts can develop at any age, but they are more prevalent between the ages of 10 and 25, affecting both males and females equally. Some common causes of these cysts include:

  • Lip or cheek-biting

  • Lip or cheek piercings

  • Rupture of a salivary gland

  • Friction from teeth

  • Poor dental hygiene

  • Certain oral products containing tartar-control agents or hydrogen peroxide

When to See a Dentist?

While mucous cysts are generally benign, it's crucial to seek professional advice if you notice any swelling or bumps in your mouth that persist for more than 24-48 hours. If you find yourself wondering, "Why do I have a bump inside my lip," or "What is this clear bump on the inside of my lip," it's best to consult a dentist. Their expertise and experience are invaluable in accurately diagnosing and treating oral health issues, ensuring that any potential complications are promptly addressed.

Diagnosis of a Mucous Cyst

During your appointment, your dentist will inquire about any history of lip or cheek biting and may perform a biopsy to determine whether the cyst is benign or potentially malignant. The biopsy sample will be sent to a laboratory for analysis, providing a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Mucous Cysts

In many cases, mucous cysts do not require clinical treatment and will often resolve on their own within approximately 8 weeks. However, if the cyst persists for more than 2 months, it's advisable to seek professional treatment. Never attempt to drain or treat a cyst on your own, as this could lead to further complications.

If you experience recurring cysts, your dentist may recommend one of the following treatment options:

  1. Laser Therapy: A high-powered beam of light is used to remove the cyst.

  2. Cryotherapy: Liquid nitrogen is applied to freeze and destroy the mucocele.

  3. Intralesional Corticosteroid Injection: These injections reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Distinguishing Mucous Cysts from Other Oral Lesions

While mucous cysts are a common cause of bumps inside the lip, it's essential to differentiate them from other types of oral lesions. Some conditions that may mimic the appearance of a mucous cyst include:

  1. Mucoceles: These are similar to mucous cysts but are caused by a different mechanism, such as trauma or injury to the minor salivary glands.

  2. Fibroma: A benign, non-cancerous growth that can appear as a smooth, rounded lump inside the mouth.

  3. Papilloma: A small, wart-like growth that can develop on the lips, tongue, or inside the cheeks.

  4. Canker sores: While not a bump per se, these painful mouth ulcers can sometimes be mistaken for a mucous cyst.

  5. Your dentist will likely perform a thorough examination and, if necessary, a biopsy to rule out any potentially serious conditions and provide an accurate diagnosis.

Managing Lip-Biting Habits

As mentioned earlier, one of the primary causes of mucous cysts is chronic lip or cheek biting. Breaking this habit is crucial not only for preventing the formation of cysts but also for maintaining overall oral health. Here are some strategies that may help:

  • Identify triggers: Recognize the situations or emotions that lead to lip-biting, such as stress, anxiety, or boredom.

  • Use reminders: Place sticky notes or set reminders on your phone to bring awareness to the habit when you catch yourself biting your lips.

  • Keep lips moisturized: Dry, chapped lips can make lip biting more tempting. Use a lip balm or petroleum jelly to keep them hydrated.

  • Seek professional help: If the habit is severe or stems from an underlying psychological issue, consider seeking the guidance of a therapist or counsellor.

By addressing the root cause of lip-biting, you can reduce the risk of developing mucous cysts and other oral health problems.

Home Remedies for Bumps Inside the Lip

While home remedies should only be used as a last resort, some options may provide temporary relief for minor bumps or lumps on the lip, bubbles inside the mouth, or water blisters in the mouth with no pain. Over-the-counter medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen can help alleviate pain and discomfort if the bump is not severe and there is no swelling or redness.

However, it's crucial to understand that home remedies may not address the underlying cause of the bump, and professional medical or dental treatment may be necessary, particularly if the bump is severe or persistent, like a hard ball in lip, clear pimple inside lip, hard bump on inside of lip, cyst on inner lip, or white bump inside lip.

Complications of Untreated Mucous Cysts

While mucous cysts are generally harmless, leaving them untreated can lead to potential complications. In rare cases, untreated cysts may increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Additionally, large or persistent cysts can cause discomfort, interfere with speech or eating, and potentially lead to infections if they rupture.


Bumps or lumps inside the lip can be alarming, but understanding their potential causes and appropriate treatments is crucial for maintaining good oral health. Mucous cysts, while common and typically benign, should not be ignored, and seeking professional medical or dental advice is recommended, especially if the cyst persists or causes discomfort.

By following proper oral hygiene practices, being mindful of habits like lip or cheek biting, and promptly addressing any abnormalities in your mouth, you can prevent the formation of mucous cysts and ensure optimal oral health. Remember, early intervention and professional guidance are key to managing and treating bumps inside the lip effectively.

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