Do you suffer from abnormal growth on the roof of your mouth? You may have torus palatinus. It is not a disease or a sign of any illness, but if it’s large, you may have trouble wearing dentures. As with most medical conditions, you can manage your symptoms better if you have a good understanding of what you are facing. The same is true with torus palatinus. The more you know about this oral growth, the easier it is to live with this condition.
What is Torus Palatinus?
Torus palatinus is a bony protrusion that forms at the midline of the roof of your mouth. This term originates from the Latin language. “Torus” means “lump” and “palatinus” means “from the palate.”
Experts say that torus palatinus forms during the early stages of adulthood. Notably, it begins to shrink during the later stages of life due to the re-absorption of bones. The prevalence of this condition is higher in women than in men. Furthermore, this condition is common among Asians, Eskimos, Native Americans and other ethnic groups. The bony growths do not contain blood vessels. If you injure a torus palatinus, the healing may be slow and can cause ulcers.
What are the Symptoms?
For the most part, this condition does not usually cause any pain unless you suffer from ulcers. But if you have torus palatinus, you may have the following symptoms:
- Unusual growth of about 2-6 millimeters on the roof of your mouth
- The growth of the protrusion is slow and takes on various shapes such as nodular, flat or spindle-shaped.
- Alternatively, they can appear as one connected cluster of growths.
- Difficulty in eating, drinking, and swallowing
- The growth is pink in color and may cause irritation
- You’ll experience pain if there are ulcers on the tori (plural for torus)
- Interference when you place dentures.
What Are the Risk Factors?
Torus palatinus not only occurs among the adult population but also among babies and young kids. It is not contagious. Specific genetic, physical or environmental factors cause this condition. Listed below are some of the causative factors of torus palatinus.
This condition follows a prototype called autosomal dominance inheritance. It is a phenomenon in which the disease gets passed on from one generation to the other. Chances of transferring this condition are usually 40-60 percent if one or both parents are affected. On the other hand when neither of the parents is affected the chances drop to 4-8 percent.
Blocked salivary glands
Generally, salivary glands produce saliva that flows into your oral cavity. When your ducts get blocked, saliva gets accumulated and creates a bump.
Researchers say that this condition is widespread in countries where people eat a lot of saltwater fish. For instance people in countries like Croatia, Japan, and Norway. The saltwater fish contains significant amounts of polyunsaturated fats, and vitamin D. These nutrients boost bone growth.
Other causes include
- Calcium and vitamin D deficiency
- Clenching and grinding of teeth
- Any damage or injury to the bones of the oral cavity
- Chewing forcefully
- Using certain medications such as phenytoin.
Cancer or Torus Palatinus?
The occurrence of oral cancer is rare, while torus palatinus is common and found in 7-10 percent of Americans. Usually, you can detect cancer in the soft tissues such as the cheek or tongue. It is mainly asymmetrical (grows in one side of the mouth) and red. When cancer occurs in the lower jaw, it may cause numbness of the lower lips. It may harden the lymph nodes under the angle of the mandible.
On the other hand, you feel no pain with tori unless it gets injured and it does not involve lymph nodes. Moreover, they do not cause tingling or numbness of the tongue.
How is Torus Palatinus Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of this problem is generally based on clinical observations of the bony protrusion in the roof of your mouth. The dentist will interview, observe and examine your condition. Depending upon the seriousness, he may decide to refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon. Occasionally, the doctors might recommend a lab test or biopsy.
Treatment and Surgery
The most common treatment for torus palatinus is surgery, but doctors don’t recommend it unless it affects your life in some way. Your dentist may recommend surgery if the torus palatinus interferes with any of the following:
- Affects your fitting of dental prosthetics
- Makes you feel uncomfortable while you eat, drink or speak.
- Obtrudes and scratches when you eat chips or other hard foods.
A maxillofacial surgeon – a specialist in neck, face and jaw surgery, will operate on the tori. The surgeon will give you local anesthesia before working on your bone mass. He’ll make an incision in the middle of your hard palate and will remove the bony protrusion. The surgeon will smooth the bone then close the opening with sutures.
Generally, torus palatinus removal is safe. However, there may be some problems during the recovery period. The dangers include:
- Excess of bleeding
- Infection of the exposed tissue
- Nicking the nasal cavity
Torus Palatinus Surgery Costs
Oral surgeons tend to charge more, so expect a hefty bill. The surgery also includes anesthesia costs. Be aware that Medicare doesn’t cover dental benefits. However, if you have Part B Medicare, your insurance provider will cover the surgical procedure. Consult with your surgeon to find out if they offer any payment plans. Discount plans will help you to pay less for your surgery.
Torus Palatinus Surgery Recovery
It might take three to four weeks for you to recover from torus palatinus surgery. While you improve, you must be careful about post-op dehiscence, otherwise known as the pulling apart of your wound margins. The surgeons will place an acrylic stent as a bandage to cover your wound for the first two weeks of the recovery period.
The doctor will recommend a soft diet to prevent the sutures from opening. To avoid infection, you need to rinse your mouth with salt water or oral antiseptic. Taking a few days off from work will speed up the recovery process, and pain medication will ease your discomfort. Patience is the key because the road to recovery may vary for different individuals.
Torus Mandibularis vs. Torus Palatinus
They are both different clinical findings of intraoral exostosis. Exostosis means an overgrowth of calcified bone in your oral cavity. Torus mandibularis refers to the bony outgrowth that appears in the lower jawbone also known as the mandible. On the other hand, torus palatinus is a fixed bony protrusion found on the midline of the roof of your mouth.
Home Remedies for Torus Palatinus
When you don’t need surgery, you can follow these home remedies to take good care of your oral health.
Apply baking soda
Baking soda balances the levels of acids in your mouth and prevents halitosis (bad breath).
Remedy: Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of warm water and thoroughly rinse your mouth. You can also make a paste of baking soda and witch hazel and apply on the torus palatinus to reduce discomfort. Rinse your mouth after 5-10 minutes.
This action helps to produce more saliva, which hydrates your mouth and reduces irritation.
This ancient medicinal treasure possesses wound healing and antimicrobial properties. The high viscosity of honey forms a protective barrier in your mouth and prevents infection.
Remedy: Take some raw Manuka honey and apply it on the roof of your mouth with a soft cotton dab.
Aloe vera gel
The gel contains bioactive compounds like antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. The powerful antioxidants belong to the family of polyphenols. These compounds inhibit the growth of certain bacteria which cause infections. Aloe vera reduces dental plaque, helps treat canker sores and heals wounds.
Remedy: Take some aloe vera juice and rinse your mouth.
Other home remedies include
- Using mouthwash to boost oral hygiene
- Drinking cold milk or buttermilk to reduce the irritation of the ulcers
- Trying to avoid spicy foods which dehydrate your mouth and increase the risk of infection
- Eating a nourishing and well-balanced diet will boost your immunity
- Including plain yogurt will soothe the canker sores.
- Avoiding acidic and salty foods such as popcorn, peanuts, lemons, and oranges
- Using a soft toothbrush to avoid causing injury to the torus palatinus
In the light of all we’ve discussed, torus palatinus is a pain-free, common and benign condition. However, if you feel uncomfortable then seek medical advice and go in for surgery. To sum up, here are a few pointers to remember:
- Torus Palatinus removal is not a complicated medical procedure
- For best results choose a maxillofacial surgeon for your operation
- During your recovery period eat soft foods
- Rinse your mouth with an oral antiseptic or salt water to speed healing after surgery
- Try to follow the home remedies which we’ve discussed
In essence, surgical removal is necessary if the protrusion interferes with your way of life. Despite a torus palatinus growth many people lead normal, healthy lives.
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