Ulcers or bumps in the mouth can be a painful experience. The pain may be caused by swelling, inflammation or irritation of some sort. The bumps that cause this discomfort may be a sore, a blister or a protrusion of some kind. The resulting pain can be very frustrating as the skin in the mouth is rather delicate.
Plus, you use the mouth all day long for different activities like talking, eating, smiling and even breathing. All this activity can make the pain seem even more intense.
As far as bumps are concerned, most of these will be found on the roof of the mouth. This part of the mouth, also known as the palate, is divided into two parts. There is a hard part of the palate and a soft part of the palate.
The hard part refers to the area behind the teeth on the roof of the mouth. The soft part of the palate is the part at the back of the mouth.
Now, mouth ulcers are not a common occurrence but developing a bump on the roof of your mouth may have you concerned. Some causes that can be traced to the formation of such bumps include the following:
A torus is an outgrowth of bone in the mouth. It is defined as a protrusion of bone topped by gum tissue. A single torus or multiple tori can present themselves on a single side of the mouth or on both.
There are three different types of tori with the first being mandibular tori positioned on the tongue side of the lower jaw. The second type is buccal exostoses which are found on the cheek side of upper molars. The third one is torus palatinus found on the roof of the mouth.
The torus palatinus is a bony outgrowth on the palate of the mouth. Usually, it is a benign growth that can occur in the mid-section of the hard part of the palate. While most of these bumps are fairly small, measuring about 2 cms in diameter, there can be some exceptions. Some people may have a torus palatinus that is slightly larger and may alter over time.
This bump on the roof of the mouth can come in different shapes such as nodular, lobular spindle like or even irregular. The growth can be broad, flat or knob shaped. And while the bump is usually not painful, bigger growths can present the possibility of irritation in the mouth.
A bigger sized bump could cause problems with eating and drinking or it may interfere with the placement of dentures.
However, since it is a normal growth, there are no symptoms associated with it. For this reason, the bump needs no treatment as its essential features appear to be normal.
If you do injure your mouth at the site of the torus palatinus, it could be slow to heal. This is because there is lack of sufficient blood vessels in the area and the bump may become painful if ulcers start to develop.
If you want to have the torus palatinus removed, then the standard procedure is surgery. In most cases, there are no complications after having surgery.
A mucocele is a cyst-like bulge or harmless lump that grows in the mouth. Often this growth presents itself as a bump on the roof of the mouth. The cause is some kind of blockage in the salivary glands.
Under normal circumstances, saliva gets drained from the salivary glands into the mouth. However, when salivary ducts get obstructed, the saliva stays where it collects and develops a soft bump on the hard palate.
Mucoceles can appear almost anywhere inside the mouth because salivary glands occur everywhere in the mouth. But these soft growths are not harmful.
The only time that they may hurt is if you eat food that is too hot and irritates the bump. Or if you knock something hard against the bump.
Most mucoceles dissipate without treatment. But if that is not the case, then some non-surgical options like topical medications or steroid injections may be used.
These protruding bumps are rather common in newborns and are not a cause for concern. They are benign nodules that appear as bumps on the roof of the mouth. Typically they will be located just behind the baby’s gums and are white or yellow in color.
Epstein pearls are found in about 80% of infants and will dissolve on their own without any need for treatment.
Canker sores are small, non-contagious ulcers that can develop in the mouth. They can cause a lot of distress while eating or talking and can last for about a week.
Sometimes canker sores may develop as a result of nutritional deficiencies, a compromised immune system, or an infection in the gastrointestinal tract. They may also be caused by injury from dental tools or ill-fitting braces or dentures.
Canker sores can also develop as bumps on the roof of the mouth or on the soft palate. They can also appear on the inside of the cheeks or on the tongue. The sores can cause a tingling or burning sensation before making an appearance.
When you suffer from canker sores, you may also suffer from other symptoms like swollen lymph nodes and high fever.
Canker sores usually heal by themselves after a week without treatment. But because the condition can be painful, you can avoid foods like citric fruits, acidic vegetables and spicy foods.
Cold sores are also called fever blisters. The sores are caused by a virus that causes sore formation around and inside the mouth. Typical symptoms include pain around the mouth and lips.
Once the blister forms, the cold sore usually breaks open. At this stage, it releases a clear fluid, crusts over and then disappears.
Cold sores can also appear on other parts of the body, but it is not very common. Often the first occurrence of the cold sores is the worst. Once the initial infection is over, most people develop antibodies to the virus making recurrent outbreaks milder.
An abscessed tooth is a painful infection that occurs at the root of the tooth. It can also occur between the gum and the tooth. If the infection becomes severe enough, it may cause the appearance of bumps on the roof of the mouth.
Typically, these bumps will be located on the sloping end of the palate, near the infected tooth. An abscessed tooth can bring about several uncomfortable symptoms including fever, pain when chewing, bitter taste in mouth and foul smelling breath. In addition you may also feel swollen neck glands, swollen gums and sensitivity of teeth to hot and cold.
To eliminate the infection, your dentist may drain the abscess. Plus there may also be some root surgery done to remove traces of diseased tissue. Once the infection is treated and subsides, the associated bump in the roof of the mouth will also disappear.
You can get a painful bump on the roof of the mouth if you eat very hot food. The skin found on this part of the mouth is much more delicate than the tongue and can burn easily. These burns can turn into blisters and swelling causing damage to the palate.
Also known as pizza palate, the burn will cause the affected area to become raw and slightly swollen. Most such burns will heal and go away in a few days and the skin return to normal.
To ease the discomfort of a pizza palate, stick with eating soft foods and cool drinks until the symptoms abate.
It is fairly easy to prevent this type of skin damage to the mouth by avoiding food that is piping hot. Instead, take food and beverage at a comfortable temperature, preferably room temperature.
Smoker’s palate is a condition that is medically known as nicotine stomatitis. The condition occurs as a reaction to prolonged smoking and the heat created in the mouth by smoking.
The condition occurs in persons who smoke cigars and pipes. This is because pipe smoking tends to produce more heat than other forms of smoking. The condition may also be aggravated by regular consumption of very hot beverages. But there is still an associated history of smoking.
Nicotine stomatitis does not create any symptoms and is usually identified during routine examination of the mouth. Initially there may be some redness of the hard palate and sometimes the neighboring soft palate. Over time the palate becomes white, displaying cracks that resemble cracked mud.
In smoker’s palate, elevated areas or bumps on the roof of the mouth are called papules and have a red colored center. There will also be numerous scattered red dots which are inflamed duct openings of minor salivary glands.
The only treatment for smoker’s palate is to quit smoking. The good news is that the condition is completely reversible even if you have been smoking for a long time. The palate has the ability to recover in only 1- 2 weeks after smoking stops completely.
Sometimes dental procedures can cause bumps on the roof of your mouth to form. This is very possible after a procedure like root canal or extraction. The bump may be the result of an injury inflicted by dental tools. Or it could be due to a yeast infection in the mouth. Even improper brushing of teeth after dental procedures can bring about bumps.
Infections in the mouth can bring about discomfort, swelling and ulcers apparent as bumps on the roof of the mouth. The resulting infection could be caused by tooth decay, bacteria or a viral infection. Or, a fungal infection like thrush can cause white, curd like plaque to appear in different parts of the mouth.
When infection sprouts from the teeth or gums, the result can be a pus filled bump. The infection needs to be treated with antibiotics to prevent it from spreading.
Injury or Trauma to the Palate
Injury to the hard palate can be caused by dental tools and devices. For example, ill-fitting braces or dentures can cause friction and break or scar the skin of the palate causing bump to form there.
It can also just as easily be brought on by eating sharp foods like nachos or chips. And if you have an injury and also eat hot and spicy foods, you will feel the pain.
But once the source of the injury is removed, the damaged tissue in the mouth should heal naturally.
A long existing bump on the roof of the mouth may be an indication of oral cancer. Oral cancer can affect all parts of the mouth including the cheeks, lips, floor and roof of the mouth. It can also spread to other areas like the sinuses, throat, and glands.
In most cases, the malignant outgrowths start with the tongue and lips before progressing elsewhere. Some of the symptoms of oral cancer include new or persistent lumps in different parts of the oral cavity. You may also experience white or red speckled patches in the mouth along with throat discomfort or oral bleeding.
Some people may also experience difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving the tongue. For some others, there may be frequent earaches, a sore throat and significant weight loss.
If oral cancer is not diagnosed early on, it can easily become life threatening. So if you notice persistent irregularities in the mouth, consult with your doctor as soon as possible.
When to See Your Doctor
While most irregularities are benign, concerns for bumps on the roof of the mouth may be due if there are also red and white patches along with it. If bumps last for more than two weeks or become painful, you should consult with your doctor. Bumps in the mouth that get bigger, bleed or keep coming back need to be evaluated by a medical professional.
If there are accompanying symptoms like vomiting or high fever talk to your doctor.