The roof of the mouth or the palate divides the oral cavity from the nasal space. The Palate has two distinct sections, the hard palate, hard and ridged, sited towards the front of the mouth and the soft palate, smooth and situated further back towards the throat. When you swallow, part of the soft palate rises up against the back of the pharynx which links the mouth and nose to the oesophagus or gullet. There are countless causes of lumps, bumps and swellings in the roof of your mouth easily detected and felt with your tongue.
Potential causes of a hard bony lump on the roof of my mouth?
Torus Palatinus, an impressive name for a simple hard bony lump on the roof of the mouth. Usually congenital, it frequently increases in diameter throughout the lifetime or remains static rather similar to a bone spur. Smooth or roughened, they commonly are not problematical unless their size impedes normal function in which case they can be removed surgically.
I have a soft painful lump on the roof of my mouth
Soft lumps are often a cyst, a fluid-filled pocket, firmer and tougher than a blister. A Nasopalatine duct cyst can arise behind your two front teeth – incisive papilla. Usually little lumps and painless, they remain undetected coming to light if infected and developing into a swollen, uncomfortable lump. Another potential cause of a soft painful lump on the roof of your mouth is canker sores. They are red, white or yellow blemishes which hurt, tiny lumps that restrict swallowing and mimic the lump that occurs with a sore throat. Non-contagious, they usually resolve spontaneously although, for comfort, you can administer a treatment like benzocaine – Orabase – a dental paste with an adhesive quality which numbs the lesions whilst they heal.
Squamous papillomas are caused by the human papilloma virus or HPV, manifesting as a hard white or pink lump, slow growing and with a distinctive cauliflower-like appearance. They are benign and commonly are left untreated.
What are Epstein pearls?
Peculiar to newborn babies, this rather glamorous sounding condition consists of small lumps or cysts on the gums and roof of the mouth. The causation is trapped epithelium during the formation of the palate prior to birth. They disappear without intervention and do not herald the commencement of the teething process.
Common or garden family conditions
One of the most prevalent and familiar is cold sores a by-product of the herpes simplex virus forming painful sores that blister then rupture. They populate the palate as well as the lips, appearing unsightly and are highly contagious. They heal without assistance but most people treat them if they are visible on the face with over the counter remedies like Docosanol or Zovirax. If they are stubborn, then your medical practice can prescribe something stronger, topical or oral.
Mouth ulcers have multiple triggers and are usually solitary. For something trivial, they can become incredibly sore. A coating medication like Bonjela gel eases discomfort whilst healing. Care with the toothbrush and avoidance of certain foods will minimise irritation.
Orthodontics, are teeth be the cause of this hard lump on the roof of your mouth?
For those with small jaws, teeth can erupt in strange locations. For instance, if there is insufficient room for wisdom teeth, they can sit beneath the last tooth at the back of the jaw referred to as impaction. Teeth can also thrive in the roof of the mouth and in growing adolescents, average age 11-13, may be initially noticed as a hard lump or two lumps on the roof of the mouth.
Some teeth sit too recessed to be felt and are diagnosed by X-ray if absent, others erupt through the palate. Incisors called eye teeth or canines are the usual culprits. Referral to a specialist at an Oral and Maxillofacial Department will be recommended. Options include removal via an operation or exposure of the teeth and intervention resulting in correct alignment and positioning in the arcade.
Hyperdontia is the presence of an additional tooth or supernumerary, meaning all the anticipated teeth are present and this one is a bonus.
Unexplained sore lump, could it be cancer?
Oral cancer occurs anywhere in the mouth. The roof of the mouth is not its favoured location but rarely, it can develop in the salivary glands positioned in the palate. There are numerous symptoms of mouth cancer, unfortunately, and unhelpfully identical to those of more trivial conditions. Persistent sores which don’t heal, thickening of the cheek flesh, red or white patches which are not ulceration are all key indicators to watch out for plus difficulty masticating. Smoking increases the risk of oral cancer.
Should the hospital examine this painful lump on the roof of my mouth?
If it is sudden in onset and does not have an obvious cause such as an ulcer caused by vigorous activity with the toothbrush or an outbreak of cold sores, it is best to have a painful lump on the roof of your mouth examined by a suitably qualified professional. This will determine exact identity, possible remedial therapies and rule out anything serious.
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