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What causes bump on roof of mouth?

Jul 10, 2023Oral health

What causes bump on roof of mouth?

A lump on the hard palate may indicate a cold sore, canker sore, or a type of cyst. However, if the sore is bleeding or persists over an extended period of time, it could be indicative of a more serious condition, such as oral cancer.

It is not uncommon to experience bumps and lumps in the mouth, including on the tongue, lips, or back of the throat. Several possible causes may be responsible for a bump on the roof of the mouth, such as a canker sore or cysts. Generally, these causes are harmless.

1. Torus palatinus

Torus palatinus is a bony protrusion that may appear in the middle of the hard palate, which is commonly referred to as the roof of the mouth. The size of this growth can range from minuscule to prominent; however, it generally does not indicate any deeper health concerns. Some individuals may develop this bony protrusion, though it may not manifest itself until later on in life.

Symptoms include:

  • Patients may experience a hard lump in the center of the roof of their mouth.
  • Surface that has either a smooth or lumpy texture.
  • The size of the bump increases gradually over time.

Torus Palatinus is not typically a medical condition requiring treatment. However, if the lump becomes large enough to impede the use of dentures or causes irritation, surgery may be necessary as a means of removal.

2. Nasopalatine duct cyst

A nasopalatine duct cyst may manifest in the area behind the two upper front teeth, also known as the incisive papilla. This condition is sometimes referred to as a cyst of the palatine papilla.

Cysts are typically painless and may not be noticed without a medical examination. If the cyst becomes infected or causes any discomfort, surgical removal may be necessary.

3. Canker sores

Canker sores are ulcerative lesions that can manifest on the roof of the mouth, tongue, or inside of lips and cheeks. Such sores generally present as small, red, white, or yellow spots and are not contagious in nature. Canker sores may appear spontaneously and without warning at any time; other possible symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat

Canker sores typically heal naturally within 5-10 days. To reduce associated discomfort, over-the-counter numbing agents such as benzocaine (Orabase) may be beneficial. Additionally, there are 16 home remedies that may assist in managing the soreness from canker sores.

4. Cold sores

Cold sores, commonly referred to as Fluid-filled blisters, generally appear on the lips, however, they may sometimes form on the roof of the mouth. These are caused by the herpes simplex virus, which does not always lead to visible symptoms.

Other symptoms of cold sores include:

  • Patients may experience painful blisters, often grouped together in patches.
  • A sensation of tingling or itching prior to the formation of a blister.
  • The development of fluid-filled blisters that subsequently rupture and shield with a crust.
  • Blisters that appear to be exuding fluid or are open sores should be closely monitored.

Cold sores typically heal on their own within a few weeks, however they can be highly contagious during this time. To reduce healing time and risk of spread, medications such as valacyclovir (Valtrex) may be prescribed by a healthcare provider.

5. Epstein pearls

Epstein Pearls are a common phenomena found in four out of five newborns, as reported by Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. They appear as whitish-yellow cysts on the gums and roof of a newborn’s mouth. Epstein Pearls are a normal occurrence at birth and may be mistaken by parents as new teeth coming in. However, these are harmless and usually resolve within a few weeks afterwards.

6. Mucoceles

Oral mucoceles are mucus-filled cysts which can develop on the roof of the mouth. These cysts typically form when a salivary gland is irritated due to a minor injury, resulting in an accumulation of mucus.

Signs of mucoceles may include lumps that are:

  • Round, dome-shaped, and fluid-filled
  • Transparent, bluish, or red from bleeding
  • Alone or in groups
  • White, rough, and scaly
  • Painless

Mucoceles can persist for multiple days or weeks, but are typically self-resolving and do not require treatment. They may spontaneously rupture, often while eating, and resolve themselves within a few days.

7. Squamous papilloma

Oral squamous papillomas are benign growths caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). These can be found on the roof of the mouth or in other areas of the oral cavity.

Symptoms include a lump that:

  • Is painless
  • Grows slowly
  • Looks like a cauliflower
  • Is white or pink

In most cases, treatment is not necessary; however, surgical removal may be necessary if the growths cause any difficulties.

8. Injuries

The delicate mucosal tissue located on the roof of the mouth is susceptible to injuries, such as burns, cuts, and inflammation. In cases of severe burns, a blister filled with fluid may form during the healing process. A cut or puncture wound can also cause swelling and present as a lump. Additionally, chronic irritation from dentures or other oral devices may lead to the development of an oral fibroma, which is a lump composed of scar tissue.

Symptoms of a mouth injury include:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding or cut tissue
  • Burning sensation
  • Burn that blisters or crusts over
  • Bruising
  • A firm, smooth lump of scar tissue may form underneath dentures, creating a flat surface.

Minor oral injuries are generally known to resolve without intervention within a few days. To expedite the healing process and reduce risk of infection, rinsing the affected area with warm salt water or diluted hydrogen peroxide may be beneficial.

9. Hyperdontia

Hyperdontia is a condition wherein an individual develops more teeth than what is typically observed. In most cases, these additional teeth are located in the upper palate, behind the two front teeth. If a person notices a lump near the front of their upper palate, it may be indicative of an extra tooth developing.

Although it is rare, there is the possibility of an extra tooth developing on the roof of the mouth.

Those with hyperdontia may experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Jaw pain

Hyperdontia can be detected through routine dental X-rays. If your dentist does detect evidence of extra teeth, they are usually able to remove them without any significant issues.

10. Oral cancer

Oral cancer is a form of cancer that develops within the mouth or on the lips. While it is not a common occurrence, in certain cases cancer has been found to develop in the salivary glands located on the palate.

Symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Patients may experience an abnormal lump, growth, or thickening of the skin in their mouth.
  • A sore that doesn’t heal
  • A bleeding sore
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Sore throat
  • Red or white patches
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing or swallowing

Treatment for oral cancer largely depends on the location and stage at which it is diagnosed. It is important to note that using any tobacco-based products increases an individual’s risk of contracting the disease. If you notice a lump anywhere in your mouth and you smoke, it is advisable to have your doctor take a look. Furthermore, those with an increased risk of developing oral cancer should familiarize themselves with the early warning signs.

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