A Guide to Clinical Differential Diagnosis of Oral Mucosal Lesions
Table 4. Soft Tissue Enlargements

Course Author(s): Michael W. Finkelstein, DDS, MS;Emily Lanzel, DDS, MS;John W. Hellstein, DDS, MS

Table 4. Soft Tissue Enlargements

ReactiveTumors
Regress, resolvePersistent and progressive
Often symptomaticOften asymptomatic
Growth rate: hours, days, weeksGrowth rate: weeks, months, years
Fluctuate in sizePersistent & progressive
Sometimes associated with tender, soft lymph nodesLymph nodes not enlarged unless associated with metastatic cancer; then they are firm & non-tender
Sometimes associated with systemic manifestationsSystemic manifestations occur late in the course of cancer
Benign TumorsMalignant Neoplasms
Slow growth: months, yearsRapid growth: weeks, months
Overlying mucosa is usually normal unless traumatizedOverlying mucosa more likely to be ulcerated
Often not fixed to surrounding structuresFixed to surrounding structures
May move teethMay loosen teeth
AsymptomaticMore likely to be painful
Well circumscribedPoorly circumscribed