The presence of a lump, or mass, on the gums can be caused by several different conditions. It may be felt as a bump or hard or soft lump anywhere on the gums. An infection, such as a bacterial infection or localized abscess, can appear as a mass on the gums. Oral cancers (gum or mouth cancer) or tumors of the teeth or jaw are rarer causes of a mass on the gums. A cyst of the jaw is also a possible cause of a lump or mass on the gums. Traumatic injuries and canker sores are some of the more common causes of a mass on the gums. Sometimes, the hormonal changes of pregnancy can cause a small lump or bump to form near the gum line, known as a pyogenic granuloma or granuloma gravidarum.
Other causes of lump or mass on gums
- Bacterial Infection
- Congenital Gingival Epulis
- Excessively Hard Toothbrushing
- Gingival Granular Cell Tumor
- Odontogenic Keratocyst
- Poorly Fitting Dentures
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Pyogenic Granuloma
- Trauma to the Mouth and/or Gums
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Causes of Lump or Mass on Gums
An abscessed tooth is an infection within a tooth that has spread to the root. Symptoms of an abscessed tooth may include pain, swelling, tenderness, redness, and the presence of a pus-filled lesion on the gum. A dental professional diagnoses an abscessed tooth and dental X-rays may be required. An abscessed tooth is treated with a root canal.
Canker sores are a common complaint, and are small ulcers on the inside of the mouth. Canker sores aren't contagious (as opposed to cold sores), and typically last for 10-14 days usually healing without scarring. A variety of things cause canker sores, for example, medications (aspirin, beta-blockers, NSAIDs, high blood pressure medication, and antibiotics); injury to the mouth from dental work, braces, or sports accidents; acidic foods; allergies; and diseases or conditions like celiac disease, Crohn's disease, and lupus. Canker sores can be cure with home remedies, and prescription and OTC topical and oral medication.
Cysts are sac-like structures that may be filled with gas, liquid, or solid materials. Cysts may produce symptoms and signs depending on their location. Treatment of a cyst depends upon what caused the cyst in the first place.
Gardner's Syndrome (Familial Adenomatous Polyposis)
Gardners' syndrome, or familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), is an inherited condition in which cancer of the colon and rectum develop. Colon polyps and growths may develop as early as the teens. If these polyps are not removed, they will become cancerous. There are different inheritance patterns for familial adenomatous polyposis.
Gum Disease (Gingivitis)
Gum disease is caused by plaque and may result in tooth loss without proper treatment. Symptoms and signs of gum disease (gingivitis or periodontal disease) include receding gums, bad breath and pocket formation between the teeth and gums. Treatment depends upon the stage of the gum disease, how you responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.
Gum problems may be caused by improper brushing and flossing, gum disease, canker sores, treatments and hormonal changes. Symptoms of gum problems include red, swollen, sore and bleeding gums. These symptoms can be prevented by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating a well-balanced diet, drinking enough water, not smoking, and relaxing.
The term oral cancer includes cancer of the mouth (oral cavity) and the back of the mouth (oropharynx). Red and white patches inside the mouth, bleeding, loose teeth, pain upon swallowing, a lump in the neck, earache, and a sore on your lip or in your mouth that won't heal are all symptoms of oral cancer. Treatment for oral cancer depends upon the staging of the disease and usually involves surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.
Pregnancy (Week by Week, Trimesters)
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary by stage (trimester). The earliest pregnancy symptom is typically a missed period, but others include breast swelling and tenderness, nausea and sometimes vomiting, fatigue, and bloating. Second trimester symptoms include backache, weight gain, itching, and possible stretch marks. Third trimester symptoms are additional weight gain, heartburn, hemorrhoids, swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face, breast tenderness, and trouble sleeping. Eating a healthy diet, getting a moderate amount of exercise, also are recommended for a healthy pregnancy. Information about the week by week growth of your baby in the womb are provided.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
Stephen, James M. "Gingivitis." Medscape.com. Jan. 18, 2018. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/763801-overview>.