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Mucocele: what is it, main symptoms and treatment options

Mucocele, also known as mucous cyst, is a type of blister, which forms on the lip, tongue, cheeks or roof of the mouth, usually due to a blow to the region, repetitive bites or a blocked salivary gland.

This benign lesion can range from a few millimeters to 2 or 3 centimeters in diameter, and does not usually cause pain, except when it is accompanied by some type of injury.

Mucocele is not contagious and usually goes away naturally without the need for treatment. However, in some cases, minor surgery by a dentist may be necessary to remove the affected cyst and salivary gland.

Mucocele: what is it, main symptoms and treatment options
Mucocele: what is it, main symptoms and treatment options

Main symptoms

Mucocele forms a kind of bubble, which contains saliva in its interior, being generally painless, and transparent or purplish in color. Sometimes it can be confused with a canker sore, though canker sores do not usually cause blisters, but ulcers in the mouth.

After some time, the mucocele may regress or rupture, after a bite or blow to the region, and may cause a small wound in the region, which heals naturally.

In the presence of symptoms that indicate mucocele and persist for more than 2 weeks, it is important to go to a dentist so he can evaluate the situation because there is a type of cancer, called mucoepidermoid carcinoma, that can cause similar symptoms, but instead of improving, usually worsens over time.

Treatment options

Mucocele is curable, which usually occurs naturally, with the disappearance of the cyst in a few days without the need for treatment. However, in cases where the lesion continues to grow and gets too big or when there is no natural regression, the dentist may indicate a minor surgery in the office to remove the affected salivary gland and reduce swelling.

This surgery is a simple procedure, which does not require hospitalization and therefore, the patient can return home a few hours after the treatment, able to go to work 1 to 2 days after the surgery.

In addition, in some cases, the mucocele may recur, and further surgery may be necessary.

Possible causes for mucocele

The causes of mucocele are related to the blockage or lesion of a salivary gland or duct, and the most common situations include:

  • Biting or sucking the lips or the inside of the cheeks;
  • Blows to the face, especially on the cheeks;
  • History of other diseases that affect the mucous membranes, such as Sjogren’s syndrome or sarcoidosis, for example.

In addition, mucocele may also appear in newborns soon after birth due to traumas during birth, but rarely require treatment.

Bibliography >

  • UNIOESTE/ CASCAVEL – CURSO DE ODONTOLOGIA. Mucocele. Available on: <https://www5.unioeste.br/portalunioeste/images/estomatologia/lesoesfundamentais/pibe/4Vesicula-e-bolha/2Mucocele.pdf>. Access in 13 Mar 2020
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