Teeth, gingiva, lips, tongue, floor of the mouth and palate make up the oral cavity.
The palate is made up of two parts. The anterior two third is the hard palate. The posterior one third is called the soft palate.
Lumps and bumps frequently develop in the oral cavity. They are most commonly visible on the palate or on the roof of the mouth.
The formation of bumps can sometimes be troublesome, especially if it does not go away quickly.
There can be various reasons for formation of bump on roof of mouth. Some bumps may be present naturally.
However, sometimes there can be a severe underlying condition. One should consult a dental professional to know the exact cause.
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Causes for bump on roof of mouth
Given below are a few possible reasons for the formation of bumps on the roof of the mouth:
1. Incisive papilla
The incisive papilla is naturally present on the roof of the palate, posterior to the front teeth.
It overlies a foramen present on the hard bony palate. This foramen is known as the incisive foramen.
The incisive foramen is an exit point for nasopalatine nerves and vessels.
Irritation or trauma to the papilla may result in its enlargement. It is called the nasopalatine duct cyst.
Consult a dental professional in case of enlargement of the incisive papilla.
The presence of an extra number of teeth in the oral cavity is known as hyperdontia.
The extra teeth may appear in the palate in the form of a bump. They commonly appear behind the teeth.
But sometimes they may even develop on the roof of the mouth. An individual having hyperdontia may experience jaw pain and headache.
Bumps on the palate because of the presence of extra teeth can be treated by getting these teeth extracted.
3. Torus palatinus
Torus palatinus is a smooth, bony enlargement present on the roof of the mouth.
It is present along the midline and may vary in size. It is present congenitally.
It does not indicate any underlying pathology. The torus may also be present on the floor of the mouth.
Torus palatinus does not require any treatment. However, it can be surgically removed in patients wearing dentures.
4. Epstein pearls
Epstein pearls are small creamy colored cysts. They are commonly seen in newborns.
Epstein pearls form along the midline of the palate due to the entrapment of epithelium during growth.
They are harmless and disappear a few weeks after birth.
There are many minor salivary glands present on the roof of the mouth.
Trauma to these salivary glands may cause the formation of mucoceles.
They may be formed due to salivary duct obstruction or the accumulation of mucus in the surrounding tissue.
They are painless, dome-shaped, transparent, or bluish in color.
Frequent biting and sucking lead to the formation of mucoceles.
They are removed through surgical excision.
6. Dental abscess
Dental caries in maxillary teeth, if left untreated, may result in pulpal infection.
The resulting dental abscess may appear in the form of bumps on the palate.
Root canal treatment of the infected tooth is the treatment of choice.
The presence of plaque and calculus may also form, resulting in a swelling.
Smoking can result in a condition called as nicotine stomatitis or smoker’s palate.
This condition is marked by the presence of bumps on the palate.
The bumps are white in color, with a red depression in between.
The best way to treat smoker’s palate is to quit smoking.
Severe burns can cause bumps or blisters in the mouth.
Drinking hot beverages or hot meals are the most common causes of burns in the oral cavity.
Minor burns heal without treatment.
Candidiasis is the most common type of mycotic or fungal infection.
It is caused by Candida albicans. They appear as red or white bumps on the palate.
Antifungals help in treating fungal infections. One should visit a dental professional for its treatment.
10. Cold sores
Cold sores form due to infection by herpes simplex virus infection.
They mostly form on the lips.
Core sores cause itching and are painful. Cold sores appear in clusters.
They do not rupture, but they form a crust while healing.
Cold sores are fluid-filled blisters and are contagious.
Consult a dental professional to get the cold sores treated.
11. Canker Sores
Canker sores are painless sores seen on the roof of the mouth.
They may be white, yellow, or pale pink.
They may also be seen on the tongue and cheeks.
Canker sores may also cause difficulty in swallowing.
Canker sores heal after 5 to 10 days.
In case if the canker sores get painful, consult a dentist for relief.
12. Maxillary sinus growth
The facial skeleton is made up of many bones, including the maxilla.
The maxillary sinus lies within the maxilla.
Cancer of the maxillary sinus may cause an overgrowth of the maxillary bone.
This bony growth appears as a bump on the roof of the mouth.
Loss in the sense of smell, headaches, and nasal sores.
Consult a dental professional to get it treated.
13. Squamous papilloma
Squamous papilloma clinically appears as a bumpy swelling on the palate.
It is white in color and grows slowly. It has a cauliflower-like texture.
Infection by human papillomavirus causes squamous papilloma.
It can be treated through conservative surgical excision.
14. Hand, foot, and mouth disease
Infection by Coxsackievirus causes hand, foot, and mouth disease.
This disease affects the palate. It also affects hands and feet.
Fever and body aches are other symptoms of hand, foot, and mouth disease.
Bumps are red-colored and painful in this infection.
Children are commonly affected.
A dental professional prescribes a mouthwash and some antiviral drugs for its treatment.
15. Oral cancer
Numerous bumps lasting for a long time, is indicative of oral cancer.
These bumps proliferate and are uneven in shape.
It may appear on the tongue, lips, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth or throat.
They are white, gray, or bright red in color.
They have a smooth and velvety texture.
Oral cancer should be diagnosed and treated at the earliest.
Delay in screening oral cancer can be fatal
16. Trauma or Injury
The soft tissue covering the palate is thin and delicate.
It can easily get lacerated by burns or cuts.
Blisters can form on the palate due to trauma.
Bumps may also form due to trauma from the denture.
Bruising, bleeding, pain and burning sensation are symptoms of mouth injury.
One can replace old retainers and dentures with a new prosthesis.
When should you visit a dentist?
Some bumps may resolve themselves after some time. However, some may need urgent attention from a doctor. Consult a dentist if there is:
- A painful bump
- Fast-growing bump
- A bump that changes its shape with time
- Foul smell in the mouth
- Excessive Discoloration
- A lump that does not go away after 1 to 2 weeks
- A Retainer or denture that do not fit properly
- Difficulty in breathing, chewing or swallowing
- Severe Burn/s
Bump on roof of mouth may be present congenitally or may be due to trauma or infection. Visiting a dental professional helps us know the exact cause. Removing the etiology is the best way to resolve such problems.