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Gum Diseases

Blister on gum

09/12/2008

Question:

Every few months, I get a small blister in the lower part of my gum; usually it`s on the inside of my cheek, but sometimes it`s in the gum below a tooth. It`s clear, like a blister, gets larger, then finally breaks open and then heals, usually over 5-7 days. It`s not white, and does not look like the "ulcers" posted in other articles I`ve read. When I`ve asked my dentists about them, they don`t know what they are, since I`ve never had one present at the time of an exam. They are painful and annoying, and I`d like to know what they are, and if they can be spread to someone else.

Answer:

Just as your dentist told you, “It is difficult to diagnose what is going on without actually seeing it.”

There are a couple of things that may be occurring, but I am confused by your description.

My first thought was that you may have small blocked minor salivary glands.

Based upon your mentioning that a small clear fluid-filled vesicle forms and then breaks -these are generally painless and can be the result of localized trauma (biting your cheek or lip). The problem is that these can occur on the gingival but are more likely to occur on the soft unattached oral mucosa.

As mentioned, they are generally painless, and you describe that they are “painful and annoying”. The other confounding item is that you mention that they occur below a tooth; it doesn’t sound like an abscess or “gum boil” but without seeing it I can only speculate. Also an abscess has more of a pronounced exudate and generally does not heal in 5-7 days. The location and time course of vesicle formation/healing are not indicative of Herpes simplex (HSV) infection, as they generally occur on attached gingival tissue or vermillion border of lips and take 10-14 days to heal.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University