The first thing that comes to any person's mind while speaking about their mouth is their teeth. However, the mouth is made up of multiple organs that help us eat, talk, taste, and look good. The primary organs that make up the mouth other than the teeth include the upper and lower jaws, tongue, uvula, gums, and oral mucosa.
Sometimes, people develop various diseases of the mouth that have nothing to do with their teeth. A rare one, known as mandibular tori, affects the lower jaw and the tongue and appears under the tongue on both sides of the mouth in most cases. Luckily, treatments for the condition and even terrific electric toothbrushes you can use if you have it.
In today’s article, we are going to talk about how you can spot whether or not you have mandibular tori and how you can deal with it. In many minor cases, you should be able to deal with mandibular tori right in the comfort of your own home with some simple home remedies. But, if you find that your mouth changes in ways that are foreign to you, then you need to be sure to visit your dentist as soon as possible.
It should be noted that if you do happen to have this condition, speaking with your dentist before you do anything is the best first step to take when you are looking for a course of treatment.
What Does the Lower Jaw Do?
Have you ever considered the importance of the lower jaw in your life? Apart from making you look good, the lower jaw performs essential functions to keep your body up and running. For starters, the lower jaw also known as the mandible, couples with the upper jaw to form the basic structure of the mouth.
The mandible's movements allow for the opening of the mouth and chewing of the food. It seats the roots of the lower teeth. Another neglected part of the mouth is the tongue. The muscular organ sits in the middle of the mouth and helps in the crushing and tasting of food. Furthermore, it enables speech in humans and serves as a natural means of cleaning teeth.
What Are Tori and Its Types?
A torus is harmless bone growth in the mouth. Plurally known as tori, these bone growths can often confuse people. Most of you misinterpret it as an appearance of a cancerous tumor. It is easy to see why as a sudden, hard bump in your mouth could be a cause for concern. However, these are mostly harmless and natural. The protrusions are classified into three types based on their location of occurrence.
In this condition, the roof of the mouth also known as the palate (hard palate) develops a bony mass.
Mandibular tori or lingual tori
When the bony structures are found on the inside of the lower jaw (mandible) and near the tongue, they are called mandibular tori or lingual tori.
You may come across a protruding structure on the side of the upper and lower teeth near the cheek. The structure feels bony and emerges from the outer side of the ridge of the bone that surrounds the teeth. The buccal exostosis may remain unnoticeable until they gain in size. However, these bony structures pose no health concerns and are considered a variation of the normal.
Mandibular Tori Causes
As explained earlier, mandibular tori or torus mandibularis is a bony structure found on the inside of the lower jaw and the tongue. The bone growth is generally present in the canine or premolar region, above the attachment of the mylohyoid muscle. The mylohyoid muscle is part of a group of neck muscles that control the tongue.
The condition may go unnoticed until the bony outgrowth grows so big that it interferes with the normal functioning of the organs in the mouth. The skeletal mass can be found on either side of the oral cavity. However, in 90 percent of the cases, the bone growth is located on both the left and right sides of the mouth making it a bilateral condition.
According to a study published in the US National Institute of Health journal, the disease affects only eight percent of the white people. Meanwhile, 16 percent of Black people may be diagnosed with it, and an even higher prevalence was recorded among the Asian and Inuit populations. Also, the bony structures are more common in men than women.
Multiple causes can lead to the growth of mandibular tori. However, the proper reason behind why the condition develops is still unclear:
One of the main reasons that doctors have been able to trace with a rather certainty is a hereditary one. The condition is commonly passed down from generation to generation.
Bruxism is the medical term for clenching or grinding of teeth. The habit of grinding your teeth can trigger the formation of the bony protrusions in your mouth. According to recent research, people with bruxism are more likely to develop mandibular tori throughout their lifetime. Moreover, the paper states that bruxism also affects the size of the tori in the mouth. If you find that you clench or grind your teeth, this may be an additional reason to think about investing in a mouthguard. Especially when you go to sleep because that is when clenching of teeth is likely to happen.
Elevated periods of stress and anxiety may be the cause for the bony protrusions emerging in your mouth. Stress is one of the reasons why the condition is prominent in adults and barely exists in children. Mastication, a mechanism to cope up with stress is the main reason that can lead to the formation of a new bone in the lower jaw. People under stress tend to grind their teeth and put more pressure on their teeth. These movements lead to increased tension on the periodontal ligament which can activate the formation of a new bone.
Natural continuous process
In some instances, the bony growths continue to reappear even after removal. This process of reoccurrence suggests that the formation of the bone is a continuous natural process in the oral cavity and not a one time defect.
Mandibular Tori Growth Rate
The hard, non-movable and smooth structures start forming during the teenage years. These start as small lumps on the inside of the lower jaw and remain unnoticeable until adulthood. The mandibular tori grow gradually and do not impact the normal functioning of the body unless they considerably gain in size.
Symptoms of Mandibular Tori
In most of the cases, the bony protrusions go unnoticed until they gain in size. Once the tori become more prominent, they start interfering with the oral and dental health. Food consumption leads to irritated tori which causes severe discomfort and pain. The increased size of the bony outgrowths increases the risk of oral infections and becomes an obstruction in the airway management system in some cases. But of course, this too is very minimal in happening.
Another symptom is slurred speech. It is noticeable when the tori become big enough to rub against each other. That creates a problem in swallowing food and increases discomfort. Your speech will slur because your mouth simply does not know how to deal with the foreign formation in your mouth.
The enlarged bony protrusions may touch the tonsils causing irritation and leading to throat pain. The outgrowths sever the nerve endings in the lower jaw causing pain and discomfort.
Complications of Mandibular Tori
Some patients might need dentures for their teeth. When the need for dentures arises, the bony outgrowths pose as obstructions. The only possible way to counter the condition is the removal of the mandibular tori. However, there still exists a possibility of the bone growing again.
The presence of bony outgrowths results in accumulation of plaque between teeth and gums. The increase in plaque happens due to the presence of the tori that act as obstructions and prevent thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums. An increased amount of plaque can lead to severe conditions like periodontitis. The best way to prevent this is by flossing routinely and regularly. If you have not already thought about it, investing in a water pick is a great way to ensure that you are remove plaque as effectively as possible.
Ways to Avoid Pain in the Tori
There are multiple ways to reduce pain and irritation in the tori before taking a decisive step to curb the condition. The methods include:
- Avoid eating hard or sharp-edged food like chips
- Avoid eating foodstuff that easily sticks to the bony protrusions
- While experiencing tori, it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene
- It is advisable to use a medium bristle toothbrush
Electric Toothbrushes to Use
The following are all toothbrushes that you could buy to help lessen irritability in the area.
The Sonicare 2 electric toothbrush with a sensitive brush head is perfect if you have this disorder. The toothbrush has 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. It removes up to six times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, and its Smartimer encourages you to brush for the two minutes recommended by dentists.
The Oral-B Pro 1000 is another toothbrush that will help reduce the chances of the area becoming irritated. The Oral-B has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon. The toothbrush's pressure sensor stops its pulsation movement if you brush too hard which will also help keep the area pain free.
You can buy the Oral-B on Amazon, with a suggested retail price of $39.94.
Treatment and Protection from Post-Surgical complications
It is usually unnecessary to go under the knife for the extraction or removal of small-sized mandibular tori. However, if the lesions become large enough to interfere with oral functions, then their removal becomes mandatory.
A maxillofacial surgeon commonly known as a cosmetic surgeon handles the surgery. The mallet and chisel surgical removal technique is mostly used for the extraction of the excess bone from the oral cavity. The method uses the saw and burring mechanism to get rid of the tori. Nerve-blocking anesthesia is applied to numb the area before the bony mass is cut-off using chiseling or burring procedure.
Peppermint oil can help relieve some of the pain. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and pain. It also prevents the development of other bacterial infections such as tooth abscess and reduces swelling.
Dip a clean cotton swab into peppermint oil and apply it over the affected area. Using it regularly can bring down swelling and pain drastically.
You can also use garlic, clove oil, salt water, turmeric, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide to treat the wound post surgery. All the ingredients reduce pain, bring down inflammation and prevent the occurrence of any infection in the area.
Speak to Your Dentist
Mandibular tori is a condition that is beyond the scope of our control and can affect anyone. Fortunately, if you use a good toothbrush and avoid things like sharp foods like chips, you may be able to control the pain from it. Speak to your dentist and see if they have any other recommendations.