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Bump Inside Your Cheek - Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Have you ever felt a strange bump on the inside of your cheek before? These tiny bumps inside the cheek or protrusions inside the mouth can seem like an annoyance or even cause discomfort when eating or talking. Bumps or lumps inside the cheek have several potential causes, ranging from mild irritation to possible signs of infection. Getting to the root of what’s behind cheek bumps is key to finding the right treatment.

Symptoms of Bumps Inside the Cheek

Canker Sore Symptoms

  • Small red or white bumps on the inner cheeks, gums, tongue, or lips

  • Burning or tingling pain at the bump site

  • Increased pain when eating acidic or spicy foods

  • Single or clustered bumps that appear reddened with a white/gray center

Mucocele Symptoms

  • Round, painless cysts on the inner lips or cheeks

  • Soft, fluid-filled bumps similar to blisters

  • Size ranges from a few millimeters up to a centimeter

Oral Wart Symptoms

  • Flesh-colored or whitish cauliflower-shaped growths

  • Clustered bumps with a textured surface

  • Commonly occur on gums, tongue, palate, throat and tonsils

Salivary Gland Swelling Symptoms

  • Round, soft fluid sacs on the inner cheek near molars

  • Tenderness with noticeable swelling around the jawline

  • Possible dry mouth sensation around the swollen lump

What Are Some Common Causes of Bumps Inside the Cheek?

There are a few common culprits behind those unexplained bumps that pop up inside the mouth:

  • Canker Sores - Also called aphthous ulcers, canker sores are small, painful lesions that can develop inside the mouth, including on the inner surface of the cheeks. They often first appear as red bumps inside the cheek before progressing into open sores. Canker sores are typically triggered by small injuries from rough foods, toothbrushes, or even stress. They usually go away on their own within 1-2 weeks.

  • Mucoceles - These harmless, painless cysts occur when salivary glands in the mouth become blocked. Mucoceles are soft, fluid-filled bumps often found on the inner lips or cheeks. While annoying, they don’t require treatment unless they grow or rupture frequently. Mucoceles can sometimes disappear on their own but may need to be drained or surgically removed if they persist.

  • Oral Warts - Some strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause bumps called oral warts to emerge inside the mouth. These small, cauliflower-like growths cluster on the cheeks and other moist surfaces, persisting for long periods if left untreated. HPV is very common - most sexually active adults will contract it at some point. Though warts don't always cause symptoms, some types of oral HPV are linked to cancers of the head and neck.

  • Swollen Salivary Glands - The salivary glands that produce spit can sometimes become obstructed, often forming noticeable bumps inside the cheek near the upper molars. Blocked glands may appear swollen for days before drainage occurs. Massaging the glands or sucking on sour candy can aid drainage. However, repeatedly swollen glands should be evaluated for underlying infection or chronic inflammation.

  • Allergic Reactions - Food allergies or irritation from oral care products can prompt bumps, redness, and swelling inside the mouth. Chemicals like mint flavoring or Cinnamon are common triggers. Switching tubes of toothpaste or eliminating trigger foods may solve the problem. However severe reactions require epinephrine and prompt medical care.

More serious conditions like oral cancer can also initially appear as strange spots, lumps, or bumps inside the mouth. Monitoring symptoms and having these evaluated promptly is key. Any mouth sore lasting longer than 2 weeks needs evaluation to rule out worrying causes.

When to See a Doctor About Cheek Bumps

In most cases, bumps on the inside of the cheek clear up on their own or respond well to simple home treatments. But it’s important to monitor any mouth bumps with the following red-flag symptoms:

  • Severe pain lasting over 5-7 days - This can signal infections or injuries needing medication to resolve properly.

  • Pus or discharge - Fluid leakage suggests a blocked gland or abscess needing drainage and antibiotics.

  • Repeated bleeding not caused by injury - Persistent bleeding could mean lowered platelets and other blood disorders.

  • Rapid growth over 2-3 weeks - Quickly expanding lumps must be analyzed via biopsy to check for oral cancer.

  • Numerous sores lasting over 2 weeks - Multiple canker sores persisting need further diagnosis, and treatment if infection is found.

See your dentist promptly if a mouth lump fits any of these criteria so testing can rule out worrying causes. Catching conditions like cancer early vastly improves outcomes. Surgery, radiation, or chemo have much better survival rates when oral tumors are found early before spreading. So persistent symptoms should never be ignored.

Home Treatments to Soothe Cheek Bumps

While waiting for any worrying cheek bumps to be evaluated, there are some simple home steps to help soothe symptoms:

  • Saltwater Rinses - Swishing the mouth with a saltwater solution helps reduce inflammation and pain from canker sores and swollen glands. The salt pulls fluid out of irritated tissues, easing swelling. Rinsing 2-3 times daily speeds healing.

  • Avoid Irritants - Prevent bumps from worsening by avoiding spicy foods as well as alcohol- or peroxide-based mouthwashes which can sting open sores. Chili peppers, cinnamon, citrus, and tomatoes commonly irritate.

  • Apply Protectants - For canker sores, products containing glycerin or oils help coat and protect irritated areas inside the mouth. These wet the damaged cells, preventing further injury while keeping food particles out.

  • Take Anti-Inflammatories - Over-the-counter ibuprofen gel rubbed directly onto canker sores can ease swelling and discomfort. Ibuprofen blocks pain chemicals to numb sore spots. Used sparingly, it won’t damage cheek tissues further.

  • Try Healing Gels - Products containing lidocaine or similar numbing ingredients can provide relief from painful mouth bumps. Benzocaine-based gels inhibit nerve signals temporarily to reduce pain until healing occurs. They should not be used for more than a few days.

  • See Your Dentist - For persistent, worsening, or discolored lesions inside the cheek, promptly consult your dentist. Testing is needed to diagnose and treat anything suspicious. What appears a mild irritation could be something more serious. Getting a professional opinion is critical.

When to Worry About Cheek Bumps

Though bumps inside the mouth often sort themselves out, it’s key to monitor for any warning signs of something more serious. Experiencing multiple lumps, rapidly enlarging growths, severe pain, or trouble eating/talking warrants an urgent trip to your dentist. Any non-healing sore lasting over 2 weeks must be evaluated.

Red flags to watch for include:

  • Single lumps bigger than 0.5 cm that persist over a month

  • Clumps of bumps on the gums, tongue, palate, or tonsils

  • White, red, or black discolored patches anywhere in the mouth

  • Bleeding from bumps unrelated to biting/brushing

  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue/jaw


Get on top of those strange bumps inside your cheek through regular self-exams. Feel carefully under your tongue and all around the gums, tonsils, and back of your throat every month after age 40. And when in doubt, reach out to your dentist right away - it’s always better to be safe. What appear like minor irritations could be red flags for serious illness - early symptoms matter. Addressing symptoms now prevents little bumps from turning into bigger problems later. The caring dentists at Forest Height Family Dental are experts at identifying any abnormal mouth lumps and getting patients the right specialist care when needed.  Stay vigilant and see your dentist promptly if those odd mouth bumps don’t disappear.


1.Should I pop cheekbumps myself if they contain pus/fluid? 

No, trying to pop mouth cysts risks further infection. See your dentist for safe drainage if needed.

2. What toothpaste ingredients tend to cause mouth bumps?

Common irritants are alcohol, peroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and strong mint/citrus flavors.

3. Could fasting/nutrition issues cause strange bumps inside my mouth? 

Yes, certain vitamin/mineral deficiencies manifest as mouth ulcers. Nutrition checks help diagnose.

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