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Mouth Diseases

White spot on my lower left lip

03/27/2009

Question:

For the past couple of months, I have had a white spot on my lip that can`t be popped if I bite down on it. Not sure what this could be. It appears to keep getting larger. It doesn`t bother me. I am just concerned that it is there. What could this be.

Answer:

There are a number of things that may be causing the "white spot" on your lip. If you are concerned, you should have it evaluated by your dentist or primary care physician.

White spots on the lip can be caused by localized trauma, irritation, or anatomical variants. Most likely what you are describing is an irritation fibroma caused by biting the lip or some other form of trauma, or a Fordyce granule (sebaceous gland), both benign lesions that look abnormal.

The other possibility is a blocked minor salivary gland (labial minor salivary gland). In some instances the appearance of these lesions is similar to what you have described, and in most cases will resolve after a short period of time, after the entrapped saliva being released.

White lesions may be the result of an increase of keratin building up on the tissue surface. The density of keratin causes a reflection of white light (polychromatic) and thus appears as a white patch. Keratin is the skin material calluses are composed of and results in some cases as a response to trauma or irritation (protective effect). In your case, it may have been the result of lip chewing or cigarette irritation. White lesions need to be evaluated and monitored since in some cases they can be associated with abnormal tissues changes, especially if they are enlarging or become symptomatic.

Again, without seeing what you are describing and the asymptomatic nature, it may be nothing to worry about, but I would strongly suggest having it evaluated to rule out the possibility of potential pathology.

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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