I have a growth in my mouth

Question: I have what appears to be a skin tag in the back of my mouth.  My general physician has monitored this growth in my mouth, and it has not grown in size and is fleshy in substance.  I would feel much better seeing a specialist, but not sure which specialist to see.

Answer:

Any unusual growth in the mouth should be evaluated by a doctor. While most mouth growths are noncancerous (benign), they could also be precancerous (dysplastic) or cancerous (malignant). However, this also depends on how long this growth has been in your mouth. Typically lesions that are noncancerous resolve in a few weeks. Sometimes your doctor can tell by looking, but the growth may have to be biopsied or even removed to make sure it is not cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion.

It’s common for noncancerous growths to occur due to irritation, and can be surgically removed if necessary. Even ordinary, noncancerous warts (verrucae vulgaris) can be transferred to the mouth if a person has one growing on their finger, and they put it in their mouth. However, there is a new understanding of oral papillomas, which are basically warts, in the oral cavity.  These may look like skin tags, but can be precancerous and should be removed. Obviously, anything that has not grown is less likely to be worrisome, but that is not always the case. To be on the safe side, get this checked out as soon as possible.

Specialists in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (ENT) are the specialists one would usually see for this. Although one may also see a dentist with a subspecialty in oral surgery. Especially if the growth in your mouth is located on your gums.

I hope this clears things up.

Robert Pincus MD

NY Sinus Center

NY Otolaryngology Group