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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Subsurface yellow pustules in lips

02/13/2009

Question:

I have reoccuring yellow subsurface pustules in my lips. They are easily observable as liitle yellow dots. At their largest they are about the size of a head of a pin. They occur ever few weeks, never seem to errupt and then disappear. The pustules are not associated with any particular discomfort. What are they, and what is the recommended treatment?

Answer:

It would be difficult to say what this represents without doing an examination. Very commonly, adults will have small sebaceous (oil) glands just underneath the lining of the upper lip. These are called Fordyce granules, would be about the size of the head of a pin, would not hurt, and they are perfectly normal. These would not come and go, however. 

If the problem persists and you are interested in an accurate diagnosis, you should make an appointment to see an oral pathologist for further evaluation.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University