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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

White Spots on Top Lip

04/19/2010

Question:

I am 31 and have just got a heap of little white spots on my top lip and in the corner on my lips ( 50 -60 spots). Some of them are bigger than others and sometimes they have a burning feel. What could they be?

Answer:

The most likely explanation for what you are describing is a normal anatomic presentation of sebaceous glands or "Fordyce Granules" that can occur on the lips and also on the mucosal surfaces of the oral cavity.

These are painless whitish yellow papular lesions generally occurring on the buccal mucosa, upper lip and corners of the lip. Because you mention that the lesion in question is associated with a "burning sensation", I would expand my list of possibilities to include contact stomatitis or "allergic reaction" and the outside possibility of aphthous ulceration (herpetiform variety, resembling herpes infection but not due to viral infection).

I would strongly suggest that you have this evaluated by your primary care provider or dentist to rule out the two later possibilities. Although not serious, the burning sensation can be quite bothersome and could be treated by removing the noxious stimuli or pharmacologically treating the lesion by decreasing the inflammatory response.

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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