Oral mucous cyst

Definition

An oral mucous cyst is a painless, thin sac on the inner surface of the mouth. It contains clear fluid.

Causes

Mucous cysts most often appear near salivary gland openings (ducts). Common sites and causes of cysts include:

Symptoms

Symptoms of mucoceles include:

Symptoms of ranula include:

Exams and Tests

Your health care provider can usually diagnose a mucocele or ranula simply by looking at it. Other tests that may be done include:

Treatment

A mucous cyst often can be left alone. It usually will rupture on its own. If the cyst returns, it may need to be removed.

To remove a mucocele, the provider may perform any of the following:

A ranula is usually removed using laser or surgery. The best outcome is removing both the cyst and the gland that caused the cyst.

To prevent infection and damage to the tissue, DO NOT try to open the sac yourself. Treatment should only be done by your provider. Oral surgeons and some dentists can remove the sac.

Possible Complications

Complications may include:

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Contact your provider if you:

These may be a sign of more serious problem, such as mouth cancer.

Prevention

Avoiding intentionally sucking the cheeks or biting the lips may help prevent some mucoceles.


Review Date: 6/28/2018
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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