Finding a lump on the roof of your mouth can be quite unnerving. No matter the circumstances, it can be difficult not to imagine the worst. However, there are many different disorders that can lead to lumps. At our Houston dental practice, Dr. Craig Armstrong and our team are here to assist you with all of your oral health concerns. We understand how difficult it can be to deal with an inexplicable symptom, so we’re happy to offer advice. Read on to learn the answer(s) to the question: “why is there a lump on the roof of my mouth?”
What qualifies as a lump? Generally, a lump is exactly as it sounds: a bump, nodule, or swollen region on the palate. The lump may be soft or hard, smooth or irregular, small or large, barely noticeable or highly uncomfortable, unchanging or growing, and it may be a variety of colors. The vast variety of symptoms demonstrate why you shouldn’t jump to conclusions about what your lump means, or worry about a condition that you probably don’t have. The more you know about the potential sources, the better you can manage your oral health.
What Could Cause a Lump?
There are numerous reasons a lump could develop on the roof of your mouth. These include:
- Torus palatinus. This condition has a complex name, but it’s actually relatively simple. Heal Dove explains: “a torus palatinus is a bony protrusion on the palate (roof) of mouth. This growth is a normal and usually harmless bony elevation that occurs in the middle portion of the hard palate.” Basically, the bone begins to grow irregularly, causing a lump.
- Mucocele. If your lump has the markings of a cyst, it may be a mucocele. According to Heal Dove, “a mucocele is a harmless lump or cyst-like swelling that develops in the mouth, sometimes on the palate (roof) of the mouth, which is caused by blocked salivary glands.” Injury to the mouth, as well as “frequent biting or sucking of the inside of the mouth,” can create this condition. Fortunately, “this is a benign cyst that can be easily treated.”
- Incisive papilla. Your front teeth naturally have papilla, or small bumps, behind them. However, New Health Advisor notes: “these bumps can get enlarged” or temporarily irritated.
- Plaque buildup. In addition to cavities, an accumulation of sticky, bacteria-hosting film on your teeth and gums can lead to a periodontal infection or even an abscess, which may cause lump formation. This is just one more reason why we recommend coming for an examination and cleaning at least twice per year.
- Smoking. As if you needed another reason not to smoke! New Health Advisor explains: “smoking, particularly when using a pipe or cigar, could result in a condition referred to as smoker’s palate or nicotine stomatitis, which is marked by some whitish bumps appearing in the palate. These bumps could be marked by a reddish depression occurring at the center.”
- Oral cancer. While it shouldn’t necessarily be your first thought, it is possible that a lump on the roof of your mouth is a symptom of oral cancer.
These are just some of the possible sources of lumps. Dr. Armstrong can provide a more definitive list of possible diagnoses.
For those who believe prevention is the best medicine, Dr. Armstrong and our team conduct oral cancer screenings and examine your mouth for lumps at your biannual appointments. If you have a lump, we can utilize oral pathology to pinpoint the exact cause, diagnose it, and suggest the proper course of treatment. Our recommendations are as diverse as the conditions themselves, and may range from a round of antibiotics to oral surgery, depending on the diagnosis.
Do You Have a Lump on the Roof of Your Mouth?
Dr. Armstrong and our team are here to help you! Contact our Houston dental practice today to find out more and schedule our next appointment.