The mouth is a complex part of the body, with lots of activity occurring. We speak, eat, and otherwise use our mouths without really thinking about what is going on inside. While most of these activities are harmless, some of these activities may lead us to develop a type of mouth sore called an oral fibroma.

What is an oral fibroma?

An oral fibroma is a type of mouth sore that consists of localized connective tissue that becomes irritated and inflamed. Oral fibroma can be pink or white and are generally smooth and raised. Unlike their softer, fat-filled cousins, the lipoma, an oral fibroma is usually firm to the touch.

Fibromas most often appear inside the cheeks, on the sides of the tongue, or the lips and are usually less than one centimeter in diameter. The incidence among men and women is the same, with all ages susceptible to them.

What causes oral fibromas?

The major cause of oral fibroma is trauma or irritation to the sensitive tissues of the mouth. This can occur through injury to the mouth, or it can be a result of a habit, such as biting the inside of your cheek.

Another cause of oral fibroma is ill-fitting dentures or other dental appliances that rub or otherwise irritate the same area of the mouth over a period of time.

Are oral fibromas cancerous?

Although they can look scary, oral fibromas are not generally cancerous. Because they can resemble the initial stages of some types of oral cancers, your dentist will most likely order removal and a biopsy to be on the safe side.

Oral fibroma symptoms

Oral fibromas have symptoms that occur before the actual mouth sore appears. Look for the following to see if you may be developing a fibroma:

  • Unusual lumps in the mouth
  • Rough surfaces inside the cheeks or on the gums
  • Pale or dark patches of cheek and gum tissue

If you notice these symptoms, you may be able to head off developing a full-on fibroma. If the fibroma is caused by a habit such as cheek biting, breaking the habit can head off an oral fibroma. Similarly, ill-fitting dental appliances can be adjusted.

How can I treat oral fibromas?

Treatment of oral fibroma often begins with identifying the source of the irritation. If the fibroma is a result of biting the inside of your cheek or the lip, take steps to become aware of this behavior. This might be as simple as retraining yourself by wearing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it when you notice yourself biting your cheek.

If the fibroma is a result of an ill-fitting dental appliance (e.g., dentures or a night guard), treatment without remedying the ill-fitting appliance will be ineffective.

Oral fibroma home remedies

A few oral fibroma home remedies have had some anecdotal success. The following ten solutions or essential oils can be swabbed on the fibroma or swished in the mouth twice a day.

  1. Salt water rinse
  2. Hydrogen peroxide
  3. Apple cider vinegar: Swab on, as the acid can harm the teeth
  4. Honey and tea tree oil: Mix together and swab on
  5. Baking soda: Make a paste with water and swab on
  6. Antiseptic mouthwash: Non-alcoholic mouthwash is best for teeth
  7. Yogurt: Swab on full-fat plain yogurt
  8. Moist, chilled tea bags: Black tea may work best
  9. Turmeric: Make a paste with honey or water and dab on
  10. Sage or myrrh: Dab these essential oils directly onto the fibroma

The best part about home remedies is that they are non-invasive, have no side effects, and can usually be found in your kitchen cabinet. If you do not have success with any of these options, there are other oral fibroma treatments available.

Laser removal of oral fibroma

Oral fibroma removal is easily and safely done with a laser. For smaller oral fibromas, this procedure can usually be performed in your dentist’s office. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area. You may feel a pinch or a sting from the injection, but that will quickly disappear as the anesthetic begins to work.

Using a laser, your dentist will sweep the area several times until the fibroma is completely removed. As the laser removes the fibroma, it also cauterizes and seals the surgical area. This means that usually additional stitches are not necessary.

Laser surgery performed by a trained and skilled dentist is typically pain-free and nearly or completely without bleeding. The surgery itself is often less than 15 minutes long, with few issues during the recovery period.

Anesthetic may take a few hours to wear off, but you will not need to restrict activities or take any special care during recovery.

Surgical removal of oral fibroma

The surgical removal of an oral fibroma is similar to laser surgery, except that the cutting instrument is different. After numbing the area, your dentist uses a scalpel to remove the fibroma. Stitches are required during this procedure, as the area is an open wound