Do you have small bony projections in your mouth?
Some people have bony projections in the mouth known as torus. A torus (plural “tori”) is a harmless growth of bone. Tori tend to grow in three parts of the mouth:
- The roof of the mouth (tori palatini)
- The inside of the lower jaw (tori mandibulari, or lingual tori)
- The cheek side of the upper molars (buccal exostoses)
- Lingual tori almost always appear on both sides of the lower jaw at the same time.
Tori are slow-growing and vary in size. Most of them do not interfere with eating or speech. Many people have tori without knowing it. Your dentist may find a torus during an exam, or you might notice one on your own.
Many people who notice tori are concerned about oral cancer. Tori are not cancerous. They also do not turn into cancer. A torus is normal bone covered with normal tissue. However, other types of growths in the mouth can turn out to be oral cancer. You should have your dentist check any growths you find.
Because they are on the roof of your mouth, tori palatini can be irritated by some foods. Hard foods, such as crusty bread, or hot foods, such as pizza, are most likely to cause problems. Large palatal and lingual tori can interfere with speech.
Tori also can interfere with dentures. Otherwise, there are no symptoms.
Your dentist can diagnose a torus during a dental exam. You may need to have X-rays taken. You also may need a biopsy if the torus is getting larger or if it is in an unusual place, such as on only one side of the lower jaw.
Tori are bone growths. They will not disappear unless surgically removed.
Tori cannot be prevented.
If the growths are causing problems or interfering with daily life, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can remove them. This often can be done as an office procedure. They also should be removed if you are having dentures made.
If you need treatment, removing tori is a straightforward procedure. It usually is performed in an oral surgeon’s office. Very large ones are sometimes removed in the operating room. For removal of a torus in the palate, your surgeon may make a plastic splint similar to a mouth guard. This will cover the palate to assist in healing.