“ I am a middle aged woman, and I work in marketing, so I take very good care of my teeth. I do not smoke and drink only once or twice a month, and only a cocktail or two. My problem is, I have noticed a bump on my gum, above my left canine on my upper jaw. What is this from? Can it be oral cancer? The bump is roughly 5-6 millimeters in diameter, and is raised some 3-4 millimeters. What could it be?”
Relax! Just to let you know, oral cancer is extremely rare, and a recent study just confirmed that people who drink caffeinated coffee are about half as likely to develop this already unlikely form of cancer. There are several things it can be, and I will list them, but I must give you the disclaimer first; this is not a proper diagnosis, as i have never seen you in my life. In order to let you know what this growth is, I would need to see it first.
- A cyst: A cyst is a sterile bubble of flesh created by your immune system around some invading foreign body or antibodies created by your own body. This will cause a smallish bubble like the one you just mentioned. This usually happens if you have some sort of infection on the teeth that this cyst is near. Usually the appearance of a cyst in the position you described means that you have some sort of infection on the tooth that got through the tooth, out the root, vűcreating an aperture on the root, and now pus and bacteria are collecting above the roots apex. Good news is your body has reacted and has separated the offending material in a cyst. You can get the cyst removed very easily, in a half hour oral surgical procedure, done with local anaesthetic.
- A granuloma: A granuloma is basically what is inside of a cyst, without the cyst. This is a problem. It means that your tooth is infected, may need to be removed, or you may need to have the apex of your root amputated through a root resection surgery. If it is a granuloma, that means you have infectious material inside of your gums, making the bump.
- A Fistula: Part of a cyst is a tiny aperture that allows the surmounting pus in your cyst to drain out into your mouth. Check the raised area; is there an opening on it? Is there anything leaking from it? If there is, you have a fistula, or an opening of a cyst. This is good news, it means your body is handling the situation. It also means that you have a cyst somewhere, and it may be deeper, as the fistula can be located in a different place than the cyst itself (but still connected to it).
- Cancer: There is an off chance that this is indeed a carcinoma, or a malignant cancerous growth in your mouth. The first thing you need to do is go to a dentist, and they can tell you what the problem is, and fix it.