skip over navigation links
Maternal and Child Health Bureau logoA Health Professionals Guide to Pediatric Oral Health Management
HomeModuleModule 1: An Introduction to Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 2: Managing Infants' and Young Children's Oral HealthModule 3: Oral Conditions and AbnormalitiesModule 4: Prevention of Oral DiseaseModule 5: Non-Nutritive Sucking HabitsModule 6: Oral InjuryModule 7: Infants and Young Children with Special Health Care NeedsContentsGlossaryEvaluationHelp
Module 3: Oral Conditions and Abnormalities
Module Contents
3.1 Recognizing Healthy Teeth, Soft Tissues, and Facial Bones
3.2 Healthy Teeth
3.3 Healthy Soft Tissues
Lips, Tongue, and
Oral Mucosa
Frena & Gingiva
Major Salivary Glands
3.4 Healthy Facial Bones
3.5 Tooth Conditions and Abnormalities
Dental Caries
Untreated Tooth Decay
Hypodontia & Anodontia
Amelogenesis Imperfecta
Dentinogenesis Imperfecta
Extrinsic and Intrinsic Enamel Coloration
3.6 Soft Tissue Conditions and Abnormalities
Epithelial Cysts
Congenital Epulis
Natal or Neonatal Teeth
Eruption Cysts
Ankylogossia (current page)
Mucocele (current page)
Fibroma & Papilloma (current page)
Key Points
Additional Resources

3.6 Soft Tissue Conditions and Abnormalities, continued


photo of ankyloglossia
  Fig 24. Ankyloglossia

Ankyloglossia or “tongue tied” (Figure 24) is a congenital condition characterized by an abnormally short lingual frenum and the inability to extend the tongue. The frenum may lengthen with growth to produce normal function. If the extent of the ankyloglossia is severe, speech may be affected, necessitating speech therapy or surgical correction. If the child is able to extend his or her tongue far enough to moisten the lower lip, then a frenectomy usually is not indicated.[6]



photo of mucocele
  Fig 25. Mucocele

This retention of mucous in subepithelial (below the surface) tissues most commonly occurs on a child’s lower lip (Figure 25). The cause is mechanical trauma to a minor salivary gland, with pooling of mucous in an obstructed and dilated excretory duct. The lesions are usually painless; they are smooth-surfaced and bluish or translucent. Most mucoceles are less than 1 centimeter in diameter. Treatment typically involves surgical excision, with removal of associated minor salivary glands to prevent recurrence. If a mucocele is found on the floor of the mouth, it is called a ranula and is associated with the submandibular salivary glands.[6]


Fibroma and Papilloma

photo of fibroma
  Fig 26. Fibroma

  photo of papilloma
  Fig 27. Papilloma

Two common, tumor-like raised lesions of the oral cavity are the fibroma (Figure 26) and the papilloma (Figure 27), which result from reactive connective tissue hyperplasia caused by a chronic irritant. Most fibromas are less than 1 centimeter in diameter; are pale pink, smooth, and firm; and have a sessile or pedunculated base. Fibromas may be found on any area of the oral mucosa but are most often located on the palate, tongue, cheek, or lip. The papilloma has a soft, cauliflowerlike surface; is pink to white in color; and is generally a solitary lesion. It can be located anywhere in the mouth. Treatment involves surgical excision and removal of the source of the irritant. Recurrence is uncommon.[6]

previous pagenext page
logo: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau