Tormented by Mandibular Tori: Why Some People Get Bony Growths Under Their Tongue

Dentist Blog

If you have been noticing one or more bony growths on the roof of your mouth or on the inside of your lower jaw, you are likely seeing what is known as tori. A torus mandibularis (lower jaw growth) or torus palatinus (roof of mouth) is a benign, bony growth that appears bulbous and rounded. In general, they do not cause any pain nor are they a sign of oral cancer or other serious dental issues.

Tori pose no threat to your health. Most commonly found in females and in younger members of a population, there is usually no need to remove tori. If you have located one of these bony growths in your mouth you are probably thinking, why me?

The Cause of Tori Growth

It is unclear exactly what causes tori, but it could be due to trapped air within the temporal mandibular joint. It is also believed that the roots of the lower teeth could be causing the bony growths to appear because of the pressure they exert on the area. However, this has yet to be clarified. What is known, however, is that tori can be inherited. Therefore, if your parents had tori, then you likely will too.

Tori May Interfere With Dentures or Retainers

Although toris are rarely large enough to cause discomfort, they do grow over time. This means that in a few years they could become large enough to interfere with dentures. In this case, your dentist will either have to refer you to an oral surgeon to have them removed, or adjust your dentures to accommodate the bony growth.

Orthodontic retainers may also come into contact with tori when worn by younger patients and so may need to be adjusted to avoid discomfort. For more information, contact an orthodontist.

Your Dental Health Could Suffer

Mandibular tori, those present in the lower jaw often appear bilaterally, in other words, on both sides of the inner jaw. When they grow large enough to be tough, they can cause teeth to shift and even contribute to gum disease because of the difficulty affected patients have in cleaning those areas. In this case, you might consider having them removed.

Removing Your Tori

Currently, the process to remove mandibular and palatal tori is quite unpleasant for patients, as considerable force is necessary in order to remove these solid growths. The surgery may involve chisels, mallets and drills, and thus is not something that you can recover from quickly. The recovery period is generally around 3-4 weeks but the pain should subside within about a week.

If you have mandibular or palatal tori, unless they are causing you discomfort or are affecting your oral health, you can leave them as they are. However, make sure you have your dentist examine them, especially if they only appear on one side of your lower jaw, as mouth cancer growths do not appear bilaterally. 


11 October 2017

Dental Health: Not To Be Taken For Granted

As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.