If you’ve found a painless hard lump on a gum, it’s not likely to be cancer, but a tumor needs to be ruled out – especially if you can’t tell if the lump is truly hard or is somewhat soft.

Your mouth will often get a number of sores and other events, and most of them are not going to amount to anything.

Many of them will usually heal and often disappear rather quickly.

One such feature that is permanent is a bony growth that often occurs on the gums – usually on the tongue side of your teeth on the lower jaw, under your tongue or on the roof of your mouth.

This painless growth is called a dental tori or torus mandibularis.

About Dental Tori

Dental tori will be pink colored – the same color as the inside of your mouth. They often grow bilaterally, growing on both sides of your mouth at the same time, and are harmless.

This bone growth, which may appear as a single, painless hard lump or as several, are generally covered by the same tissue that lines your mouth, and it’s smooth.

They really are not unusual and mostly do not require any treatment. About 27 out of 1,000 people or about five percent of the population will develop dental tori.

Oral Cancer

The lump that you’re seeing on your gum is not likely going to be oral cancer. Although a lump is often one of the first signs of mouth cancer, those lumps are almost always soft.

Because a tori in the mouth (tori means bone growth) is always hard, a hard lump is unlikely to be cancerous.

Causes of Torus Mandibularis

Dental tori can occur at any stage of life, but it more commonly starts in young adults.

Several factors can influence the development of tori, including genetics and the stress placed on the jawbone (clenching of teeth and teeth grinding).

Males have a slightly higher risk of developing them than females

Removal of Dental Tori

In most cases, it’s not necessary to remove the tori. It only becomes necessary when it starts to interfere with your eating or talking.

They will continue to grow but at different rates at different times of your life. Another occasion that may require removal of the tori is when you’re being fitted for dentures.

When to See the Dentist

Dental tori will produce a hard lump, but if you have a sore that does not disappear after two weeks, or if you have other suspicious sores or developments, see a dentist quickly for a diagnosis.

Keep in mind that if a dentist suspects cancer, you will be urged to see your primary care physician who can then get the ball rolling for diagnostics.

dr. vadivel

Dr. Vadivel, DDS, is a board certified periodontal surgeon, and Founder-CEO of Implants & Gumcare of Texas, offering affordable restorative and cosmetic dental procedures. Dr. Vadivel has over 25 years of experience.


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