I’ve got a sort of vexing issue that’s plagued me for a good 18 months. Multiple doctors and dentists haven’t been able to figure it out; in fact, no one can say for sure if it’s the problem is dental or more of an HENT issue.
Anyway, the crux of the problem is that I’ve got mild inflammation in and around the right lower-rear part of my mouth, right where my wisdom tooth was pulled from a good 15+ years ago. It stretches to the point where my gums meet my cheek. I wouldn’t describe the sensation as giving me “pain,” just irritation. It swells up ever-so-slightly – enough to rub on other parts of my mouth and feel sort of “raw,” but not enough to really notice on physical examination. My dentists have said they don’t see anything. Took some antibiotics once and it seemed to help a bit, but then just came back to normal after about 2 weeks.
After six months ago (a point where my gum/mouth had been swollen for about a year), I noticed that two of my submandibular lymph nodes were swollen. They aren’t huge, maybe 1 cm or 1.5 cm, but it’s hard to measure them because they’re sort of deep. They don’t really hurt, and I still have them to this day, which of course makes me concerned about lymphoma. But I’m not experienced enough to say if they’re “hard” or “rubbery” or “fixed” or all the other key descriptors. I swear that when I push on them, I feel a reaction in my swollen gums! It seems associated.
A GP has recently checked out the swollen nodes and said they were insignificant – too small and not very hard. That makes me feel somewhat better, but doesn’t change the fact that this 18-month-old problem is still there!
Any thoughts or theories appreciated! Thanks in advance.
Last edited by bruxy; 06-22-2009 at 09:05 AM.
The Following User Says Thank You to bruxy For This Useful Post: magicboy124 (06-23-2011)
I would suggest a follow-up with an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist. My husband is currently recovering from oral cancer treatments - base of tongue cancer. His ONLY symptom was a pain free lump in his neck which he thought was a swollen gland. It turned out to be a maligant lymph node.
BTW, what was the approximate size and characteristics of the lump, if you don't mind me asking.
I saw an ENT about 12 months ago who found nothing -- looked with one of those scopes they stick through your nose and down the throat. Just saw lots of postnasal drip, so she did a CT scan on my sinuses. They were pretty congested, but they've always been that way. The problem could be related to that as well.
The lump in his neck didn't feel that big but turned out to be a 3 1/2 cm malignant lymph node. His ENT stuck a needle in it and withdrew fluid which was thick and difficult to remove. He called 3 days later to let us know that the fluid he withdrew was malignant. He also had a CT scan with IV contrast of his neck which showed thickening tissue at the base of his tongue. I hope everything turns out o.k. for you.
Let me ask a few questions. Does the irritation come and go? Have you ever noticed any little blisters in the area or any little ulcers? Do the submandibular glands seem to be smaller when you are less symptomatic and larger when you are more symptomatic. Does anything seem to trigger the irritation such as stress or certain foods? I had a patient present with similar symptoms quite a while back and it turned out that this was due to an oral herpes virus. Oral herpes is very very common and while it normally pops up on the corners of the mouth (the common cold sore), it can show up on the gums. This can be treatable with certain antiviral drugs. The virus could contribute to some swelling in your submandibular glands as well. I'm surprised that, with this going on for so long, nobody has done a biopsy of the inflamed tissue. This serves many purposes. One, it rules any of the big scary cancer stuff out (which I doubt you have, but it's always better to be safe), and two, it can show us what the tissue looks like under a microscope, so we can see if there are any microorganisms that could be contributing to the problem. Anyway, these are just my thoughts, based on what you've written, but I can't make a diagnosis or anything without seeing the whole picture. The ENT isn't a bad idea either, or better yet, find a dentist and an ENT that are willing to work together on your case. I hate it when dentists and physicians refer back and forth to eachother but never actually sit down and discuss the patient together. Good Luck!
The rear gum irritation does come and go, but itís been fairly consistent in that itís never totally gone away. Occasionally I also get what seems to be related pain in my tongue Ė particularly just before and after I get a cold (though sometimes it feels random, actually). The tongue pain is sharper and more noticeable, and seems to radiate from one or more of the large tastebuds on the back of my tongue. When I look, I see one in particular thatís slightly enlarged (red in color) and it feels like it might be rubbing on the back of my throat (or roof of my mouth) as well.
The glands have seemed more or less the same size since I first noticed them. Iíve been feeling them often Ė perhaps a bit too much.
Iíve never actually *seen* any blisters in the corners of my mouth, but thatís what the swelling feels like. When I feel the back areas of my mouth with my tongue, thereís a lot more puffiness on the right side.
The gum irritation doesnít seem reactive to foods, but the tongue irritation does seem to react to spicy foods, and maybe a bit to alcohol and smoking.
Another (perhaps) relevant bit of info is that Iíve got some teeth grinding and TMJ issues, which is what both the ENT and dentists seemed to focus on to the exclusion of everything else. (This was before the lymph nodes got swollen). Iím sure the grinding doesnít help, but it doesnít seem thatís the root cause. The ENT also suggested sinus problems and/or excessive snoring (Iíve got both issues) as a possible cause.
Hi sorry to bring up an old post. Was just wondering if the post originator had had any update on their situation as I have a very similar problem :
For approximatley a year my left cheek has been swollen, on the inside. no pain, though a bit of sensitivity on my top left gum, where a wisdom tooth is coming through. over the year this swelling has never went down, and slowly got bigger. No one can really see it apart from me, unless i ask them to look very closely. However over the last few weeks i have felt the other cheek swelling too. Again no pain, however when i shave my skin feels extremely sensitive and i feel as if my face is massive.
If i move my tongue up and down inside my cheek i can feel what appears to be a swollen muscle? .. on both cheeks now. Also it feels as if the bit underneath my chin where my windpipe is has 2 solid oval objects in it, one at left and one at right? The swelling has now spread up to my just below my eyes (where the cheekbone just ends and there is a hole where my eye is. And I am extremely scared my eyes are going to be swollen over. Another thing that may be linked which has plagued me for even longer, probably about a year and a half now, is i have had quite a thick coating of fur on my tongue, and although scraping helps somewhat, there is always some there and it also thickens again, and have also noticed just last night that towards the back of my tongue there is a sort of rough patch which is harder than the rest, and slightly painful if i scratch at it.
Have been to see an ear nose and throat specialist who stuck a scope up my nose, gave me all clear on that. Am due to see a oral surgeon maxollifacial(sp?) specialist in a few weeks. This is having a severe impact on my confidence now and is really really making me feel down. The swelling isnt very evident on the outside.. it does feel mostly inside. but because it has never stopped and now my other cheek has started to swell i am extremely frightned that my face is never going to return to normal, and that there is something wrong with me (facial tumor perhaps?) ... sorry for the long winded post, I am just at my wits end and dont know what to do, or what is wrong with me and am extremely worried my face wont stop swelling until i look like a monstrosity.