Possible Causes of Bump on Roof of Mouth

Bumps on the Roof of the Mouth

Lumps sometimes appear in various places on the body; one common area is the roof of the mouth, but finding a bump there is not necessarily a cause for concern.

A lump may be a symptom of a bigger issue or merely indicate a reaction to some external stimulus. In other words, it might be a sign of a problem or it might not. Usually, a lump in this area is benign and treatable, but it depends on what caused the bump to form.

If you notice a bump on the roof of your mouth, consult your dentist to find out the source of the growth as soon as possible to determine what treatment is necessary. If the bump increases in size, the difficulty of treating it increases as well.


What Is the Lump on the Roof of My Mouth?

There are several possible causes for a bump on the roof of the mouth: it could be torus palatinus, mucocele, Epstein Pearls, or even a sign of oral cancer. Each one is detailed below. If you or someone you know has an undiagnosed bump, read each description below to help you understand its possible causes.

Hard Bump on the Roof of Mouth: Should I Worry?

Torus palatinus

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. Most palatal tori are less than 2 cm in diameter, but their size can vary from person to person and change over time. Tori palatinus sometimes increase in size as a person ages.

Several factors can cause an enlargement in this portion of the mouth. Researchers agree that the propensity of having a torus palatinus is largely inherited, meaning it runs in your family: the gene that causes tori is passed on to succeeding generations. Statistics show that mostly Asians and Native Americans are afflicted with the condition, and women get them more often than men. External factors that may cause the bump are frequent grinding of teeth and constant irritation of the palate.

Several symptoms are present among individuals who have palatal tori. The skin on the palate has increased vulnerability, which makes it easier to damage. The torus also makes it more difficult to fit, place, and remove dentures. The enlargement causes an obstruction in the passageway of food, so eating and drinking can become more difficult. You might feel pain due to inflammation caused by irritation.

Since the presence of palatal tori makes food consumption difficult, you should visit your dentist after detecting a possible growth. Your dentist will probably give you medication for the pain, if there is any. Most dentists agree that a small torus palatinus is not a dangerous condition. The torus does not have to be removed unless it impedes normal function. However, if it gets too big, it can be removed through a surgical operation. A maxillary tori reduction surgery is a procedure that involves an incision in the midpalatal region to remove the palatal torus.

After surgical removal, most patients have a good prognosis. Since the passageway of food is no longer blocked, eating and drinking become easier. Dentures will no longer cause pain. Although there is a possibility of complications such as bleeding and swelling, these seldom occur.

Right there, a bump the middle of the roof of your mouth.
Right there, a bump the middle of the roof of your mouth.

Soft Bump on Roof of Mouth: Should I Worry?


A mucocele is a harmless lump or cyst-like swelling that develops in the mouth, sometimes on the palate (roof) of mouth, which is caused by blocked salivary glands. Normally, saliva drains from the glands to the mouth, but when the ducts are obstructed, saliva gets stuck inside where it pools and creates a bump which is soft and somewhat pliable, pearly or bluish in color, and painless.

An obstructed salivary gland is primarily caused by frequent biting or sucking of the inside of your mouth and may also occur if your face is hit. Before you freak out, remember that this is a benign cyst that can be easily treated.

Since salivary glands are spread throughout the mouth, mucoceles may appear in different areas of the oral cavity: inside the cheeks, inside the lips, under the tongue, and on the roof of the mouth.

Generally, small mucoceles do not cause any harm to the mouth. They are usually soft and range from 2 to 10 millimeters in diameter. Dentists usually do not prescribe anything because mucoceles are painless. However, an enlarged bump on the roof of the mouth may cause pain in the entire oral cavity. If this occurs, do not try to drain or prick open the mucocele yourself: consult your dentist immediately.

Mucoceles often go away without treatment. If they don't, possible non-surgical treatments to alleviate swelling include steroid injections and topical medications. If surgery is necessary, dentists and oral surgeons may recommend one of two types of treatment: removal or marsupialization. The removal of mucocele may be performed with the use of either laser or surgical incision. Anesthetics may be applied in order to reduce pain. Some mucoceles may call for marsupialization, where the bump is cut and sutured only at the edges of the incision, leaving the site open so that it can drain freely. This treatment, which helps a new duct form, may be chosen when one single draining would not be enough to drain the mucocele.

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Bumps in Baby's Mouth: Should I Be Worried?

Epstein Pearls

A bump on the roof of the mouth of a newborn or very young child may also be caused by Epstein pearls which are common, normal, painless, and harmless cysts that affect approximately 80% of infants. Also called palatal or gingival cysts, these nodules are white or yellowish bumps found on the gums or roof of the mouth. They appear like, and sometimes may be mistaken for, emerging teeth.

Epstein pearls are caused in utero when mucous membranes become trapped during the palate formation.

These nodules do not require any treatment because they are harmless, painless, and usually subside within a few weeks. If the Epstein pearls are still present several weeks, discuss them with the pediatrician.

Persistent Lumps in Mouth: Should I Be Worried?

Oral Cancer

A bump on the roof of mouth which does not go away may be a sign of oral cancer, which is the presence of an uncontrollable, malignant outgrowth of cells in the oral cavity. Oral cancer can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated early. Often termed as the "head and neck cancer," this disease affects the lips, cheeks, palates, tonsils, floor of mouth, sinuses, throat, glands, and/or tongue and is characterized by dark, irregular lumps scattered in various areas of the mouth. Most cases begin in the tongue and lips before appearing in other areas and may metastasize elsewhere, most likely the lymph nodes of the neck.

Symptoms of oral cancer include new or persistent lumps, spots, sores, swellings, or lesions in the mouth, face, or neck; red or white speckled patches in the mouth; oral bleeding, numbness, or pain; throat discomfort, or a feeling as if something is stuck in the throat; difficulty swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw; earaches; sore throat, hoarseness, or change in voice; and/or dramatic weight loss.

Some risk factors for oral cancer are smoking, use of smokeless tobacco, drinking alcohol to excess, family history of cancer, excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, and HPV infection. Individuals who use tobacco while drinking have increased likelihood of developing oral cancer and if you have a family history of excessive drinking and smoking, you are more likely to develop oral cancer. However, over 25% of oral cancers occur in people who don't smoke and only occasionally drink alcohol. Men are twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer.

The death rate associated with oral cancer is particularly high: not because it is difficult to discover or diagnose but because it is often not discovered until it is too late. Therefore, if you discover bumps in your mouth, it is extremely important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

The most common options for oral cancer treatment are surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy to kill the damaged cells. Pain medications are also regularly provided to reduce the side-effects of treatment.

Torus Palatinus
Epstein Pearls
Oral Cancer
a hard, bony bump, usually less than 2 cm but may grow
a soft, pliable bump, usually 2-10 milimeters in diameter.
small, tooth-like bumps which are white or yellowish in color (may look like pearls or emerging teeth)
dark, irregular bump or bumps of various sizes which do not go away
1 or more
1 or more
1 or more
may persist and may grow with time
will usually go away without treatment
will usually go away after several weeks
will persist (will not go away) and may spread
maybe, depending on size and irritation
not usually
no pain
may not hurt
yes, if it hurts, grows, or impedes swallowing
only if it grows, if there is pain, and/or if it persists
no need (but if it persists, bring it up with the doctor)
YES, immediately.

Other Possibilities

Aside from those mentioned above, there are conditions that you need to be wary of. They may benign or uncommon, but it is important that you also aware of all the other possible medical conditions that you might.

Mandibular Tori
Mandibular tori or dental torus are usually benign growths and do not require treatment. However, if they begin to cause too much discomfort, pain, and interfere with the normal functions of the mouth, you may consult with your doctor on how the condition can be treated.

Torus is defined as a bone growth in the mouth. It is a benign growth of a new bone. Doctors consider it as non-harmful and the likelihood of it becoming a major health concern is remote. However, some people often mistake torus as a sign of cancer.

Mandibular tori (plural) is a version of a torus palatinus. In contrast, mandibular tori can be found in the lower jaw, occurring most of the time on the inner side of your lower jaw.

Hard bony lumps are found forming along the inside of the right lower jaw. While the position of the bone growth varies, they are most commonly found growing bilaterally and spontaneously. No amount of prevention, like improving your oral hygiene can stop them from growing.

Mandibular tori usually grow attached to the mandible, around the area where your premolars are and above the top spot of your mylohyoid muscle. If your surgeon suggests that it be removed, doctors will cut the growth whole or shave it to a smaller size, it will depend on the size and location.

While mandibular tori generally do not need treatment, your dentist or oral surgeon might suggest that you undergo treatment if the following conditions are met:

  • There is pain, particularly when eating sharp edged food like chips.
  • The growth is too large that food always gets stuck under it.
  • The growth blocks your tonsils.
  • It grows quite rapidly.
  • You need to get implants.

About 5 of 10% of the US adult population is suffering from this medical condition. Mandibular tori usually affect men more than women. The condition is passed down between father and son. There are approximately 27 out of every 1,000 adults are affected by mandibular tori, according to the Maxillofacial Center for Education and Research website. The condition is common among Asians. Mandibular tori, though, is less common than torus palatinus.

Doctors believe that mandibular tori may be caused by local stress rather than genetics alone. Oral stress may include bruxism of the teeth. Bruxism is the term used by doctors for grinding the teeth and clenching your jaw. Persistent grinding results in discomfort, pain, and damage to the teeth.

The causes of mandibular tori are still undergoing further studies to better understand and exactly find out what are its underlying causes. Mandibular tori could be an indication of a more serious medical condition, like TMJ or temporomandibular joint disorder. For others, development of the protrusions is completely random.

Symptoms are often inconclusive, since the condition is not a cause for alarm.

The only time you need to worry if you have mandibular tori is when you need to dentures or implants.

Though there is no need to remove growth since the condition doesn't have the likelihood to become serious. But there would be times that the area will heart.

To keep the area from continuously hurting, you may try one of more of the following changes that you can apply on yourself:

  • Refrain from eating sharp, hard, or acidic foods that may case irritation. Avoid crackers, chips, acidic foods, like lime juice and chili sauce. They may trigger more pain.
  • Do not consume small and hard foods; they have the tendency to get trapped in the torus. Such foods to avoid include hard candies, mints, nuts, and small chocolates like M&M's.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene. Traditional brushing and flossing around the torus is impossible, but you can still do other things to keep your gums in healthy condition. Try using a Waterpik after brushing your teeth, this treats the torus with salinated, warm water. This technique helps prevent the occurrence of dental abscesses, which can become painful, and gingivitis.
  • Choose a medium bristle toothbrush. Using toothbrush with hard bristles may cause irritation on the torus. On the other hand, it they are too soft, there won't be enough power to clean teeth, particularly, cleaning in between teeth. Choose toothbrushes with the label "advanced care. Dentists also suggest to get gum butler.

The above techniques will only alleviate the symptoms. If the torus is still as painful as before, your dentist might suggest that you undergo surgical removal of the torus. Local or general anesthesia is administered.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are small and shallow ulcers that develop in the mouth. They often cause discomfort while eating and talking, sometimes there is pain.

Two Types of Cancer Sores

  1. Simple canker sores - typically appear 3 or 4 times a year. They are felt for about a week then they disappear. Generally, people between 10 and 20 years of age are affected.
  2. Complex sores - there are less common. May develop in people who previously had them.

Doctors still have yet to discover the exact causes of canker sores. They believe that tissue injury or stress could cause the appearance of simple canker sores. Acidic or citrus fruits and vegetables, like oranges, lemons, pineapples, figs, apples, strawberries, and tomatoes, are believed to trigger the development of canker sores or make the condition worse. Sometimes a dental tool or a sharp tooth surface may cause canker sores. Ill-fitting dentures and braces could trigger canker sores.

There are cases of complex canker sores may be triggered by underlying health condition, like vitamin deficiency, impaired immune system, and gastrointestinal tract infection.

It is highly likely that you may have canker sores when the following conditions are present:

  • There are painful sores inside the mouth, whether on the roof of the mouth, on the soft palate, on the inside of your cheeks, or on your tongue.
  • You feel a burning or tingling sensation prior to the appearance of the sores.
  • The sores appear white or gray, round, with a red border.

In cases of severe canker sore attacks, you may experience these symptoms:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Feelings of sluggishness
  • High fever

Generally, pain will lessen after a few days and the canker sores will eventually heal after a week or two without any treatment. Though, they can be treated with dental lasers to get complete relief almost immediately.

Even though there are no cures of canker sores, they are preventable. For instance, avoid foods that cause irritation, like acidic vegetables, citrus foods, and spicy foods. Use only soft-bristled toothbrushes and make sure to floss daily to ensure that there's no food debris left between your teeth that may trigger the appearance of a sore.

There are ways to prevent the appearance of canker sores. Here are simple home remedies to try. Aside from alleviating the symptoms for canker sores, these remedies might be able to help keep lump types to appear on the roof of the mouth.

  1. Baking soda will help neutralize the acids in the food that you eat. It also helps kill bacteria and other viruses in the mouth. You simply rinse your mouth using a solution of 1 tsp baking soda an ½ cup warm water.
  2. Aloe Vera is a good "first-aid plant". Aloe gel helps speed up the healing process and offers soothing pain relief to the sufferer. First dry the area with cotton swab. Cut open a leaf and using a clean spoon, scoop a little of the aloe gel and directly dab on the sore. You can repeat as often as you need to.
  3. The milk of magnesia is an antacid. It will help neutralize the acids in the mouth that cause the appearance of canker sores. It can be used as a mouth rinse or you can dab directly on the sore using a cotton swab, at least 3 times a day or as needed. You can also mix 1 tsp of milk of magnesia with 1 tsp Benadryl liquid allergy med.
  4. Tea can help neutralize the acids that irritate the sore. It can also alleviate pain. Get a tea bag and just apply the tea bag (a little damp) directly to the canker sore for at least 5 minutes.
  5. Sage has compounds that help lessen inflammation. It can also help kill viruses and bacteria. Use sage like a tea. Steep 2 tsp dried sage in a cup of recently boiled water, cover until ready. Let the sage tea cool first before using as mouth rinse, you can use it 2 to 3 times daily. Make sure that you swish more briskly in the area of the mouth where the canker sores abound.
  6. Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile disinfectant. It is an alkaline which helps in neutralizing the acids in the mouth. It helps protect the sores from getting infected further. It also provides pain relief and healing. You can use hydrogen peroxide like a mouthwash. Be careful not swallow the liquid. You may also try mixing ¼ c hydrogen peroxide, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ cup water, use it as a mouthwash as well.
  7. Licorice tea helps eliminate canker sores. It is available in health specialty stores. You can use one tea bag and steep on a cup of boiled water. Cover cup for about 10 minutes before drinking.
  8. Antacids can help neutralize the acids in your mouth and eventually aid in the healing of the sores. Make sure to check the label for dosage instructions.
  9. Salt water has always been used as mouthwash when mixed with water. You can rinse your mouth, like a mouthwash, for 30 seconds. The high concentration of sodium chloride will draw water from the surrounding tissues to facilitate osmosis. This will help heal open wounds, abscesses.
  10. You can also use one Vitamin E capsule. Cut It open and squeeze out the liquid into the canker sore. The oil from the vitamin will cover the sore to protect it from infection, and facilitate faster healing.
  11. Experts do recommend taking other vitamin supplements. Amino acid and lysine are being eyed by experts to help fix the vitamin deficiency associated with canker sores. However, you have to touch base with your dentists or doctor first to know which dosage to take. Vitamin C may help heal the mucous membranes in your mouth. But you also need to consult your doctor on the dosage because if citrus foods and Vitamin C collide, it may trigger the appearance of more canker sores. Make sure you check with your doctor what you need to do.

Some of these home remedies can also be used to keep the mouth healthy to prevent other lump conditions to appear.

Consult your dentist if you suspect you have canker sores:

  • Appearance of large, painful sores
  • The sores are quickly spreading
  • You've had the sores for at least 3 weeks or more
  • Pain persists despite not eating trigger foods and taking pain medication
  • Onset of high fever as the sores appear
  • Difficulty to swallow or even drink fluid

Though there is nothing serious about canker sores, it is important to have the condition checked by a capable medical doctor or dentist.

Cold Sores

Cold sores or fever blisters are caused HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) Type 1. There are two types of the HSV virus: HSV-1 which causes cold sores around and inside the mouth area (herpes labialis), and HSV-2 which causes sores around the genital area (genital herpes).

Sores may appear on any body part, but they are most likely to be more prevalent around the mouth area (inside and out), nose, nose, cheeks, and fingers. The sores may last from 7 to 10 days. Cold sores are contagious.

The point of entry of the virus into the body is usually a break in the skin around the outside and inside the mouth area.

The first occurrence of cold sores is often the worst case. The condition could be fatal in children. After the initial infection, most people would develop antibodies, thus preventing recurrence in the future. Studies show that approximately 40% of American adults experienced repeated cold cores.

Cold sores are generally not serious, but there is more concern on patients with HIV-AIDS or those whose immune system are weak. There are reported cases of people with eczema as easily infected by HSV.

There are cases where a cold sore resulted in blindness, especially if the infection spreads to the eye. There is also the risk of developing encephalitis or meningitis if infection reaches the brain.

Causes vary, but the primary cause, as mentioned earlier is the exposure to the HSV Type 1 virus. The virus can be transmitted by kissing an infected person. Sharing towels, utensils, and razors may also result in virus spread.

Two or three days before the appearance of cold sores, you might experience severe itching or a feeling of sensitivity around the area where they are likely to appear. The virus development can be triggered by stress, high fever, severe colds, sunburn, menstruation, allergies, and certain foods.

Symptoms also include pain around the mouth and the lips, sore throat, high fever, and swollen glands around the neck or in other parts of the body. In small children, they drool excessively before cold sores manifest. Once the blisters appear, cold sores will generally break open, releasing clear fluid, crust over, and disappear in a matter of days, up to w weeks. For some people the sores can be painful, while there are others who don't feel any form of symptoms.

Incisive Papilla
There are cases of inflamed and swollen incisive papilla. There are a few reasons identified by doctors and dentists that cause this condition. It is highly likely that you might have deep periodontal pocket in the area around the teeth next to the papilla. Bacteria might have been lodged in it. Medications and oral rinses may not be able to help.

The inflammation might be an indication of the development of a cystic lesion just behind your upper front teeth. This is a common location for growth. Tooth infection may also cause inflammation of the incisive papilla.

Chewing a lot of tobacco may cause this condition.

If you have the symptoms, you may consult with your doctor or dentist as soon as you can.

When one is smoking with a pipe or cigar, it can result in a medical condition called nicotine stomatitis or smoker's palate. Whitish bumps may develop along the palate. These bumps could appear reddish at the center.

The best remedy would be to completely stop smoking, it's the only thing to do to prevent these bumps to appear.

Dental Issues
There are dental issues that are characterized by caries appearing in your upper jaw. It usually passes into your root canal which might result to the formation of abscess. The build-up of calculus and plaque may be caused by bad oral hygiene, which in return will cause swelling of the gum along the upper jaw. The swelling may manifest as small lumps on the roof of the mouth.

More by this Author


korynne currie 24 months ago

i have 5 of these lumps in my mouth, the newest one appearing on the roof of my mouth about 2 days ago. the first four are on my gums near my front teeth and pop several times everyday with a substantial amount of pus each time...anyone have any opinions or help for me?

Elliott Shifman L profile image

Elliott Shifman L 22 months ago

Usually it's because of a burn from food being too hot. #elliottshifmanl

Romekio profile image

Romekio 22 months ago from Egypt

Useful hub, thank you.

vote up,




chandrakant patil 22 months ago

I have a black spot generated on central portion of palette. that harmfull or not

Team Wiseman profile image

Team Wiseman 21 months ago

What a descriptive and in depth article. I don't currently have a bump in my mouth but have had in the past, I totally understand these bumps now and don't feel so bothered by it. This article is certainly advising many in a positive and informative manner. Great Job!

makayla 19 months ago

I have a lump right beside the middle of the room of my mouth, on the left side, ot hurts if i prees on it. It is also hard. Should i be worried or no?

jacie 18 months ago

I have a very sore lump on the right side of my mouth on roof and even if I pass my tongue across is very painful. Think I have severe gum problem now after smoking for over 25 years. Its not an abscess or any of these I read. Its not discoloured just feels as if my gum is tight and being stretched or receded with the painful lump to cue

Bri 14 months ago

I had a tooth growing under my gum on the roof of my mouth, that is why I had a bump...

Brandon Haist profile image

Brandon Haist 14 months ago

Hi um I am kind of scared that I have oral cancer but im not 100% sure and I wanted to ask for anonymous help first before paying to see a doctor. I've had these 2 lumps in the back of my mouth behind my 2 upper back wisdom teeth since they came in. These bumps are spheres or ovals really. They were identical in where they were placed until now. One feels like its sort of merging with the roof of my mouth or getting pushed up into the roof of my mouth. This is causing me headaches and kind of feels like a tooth ache even though its not a tooth. Let me know if I have reason to go straight to the doctor or if its a bacterial infection of some kind. I smoke maybe 5-7 smokes a day, I have gingivitis / periodontal disease, and these bumps have been here since before I started smoking.

Anonimaly 13 months ago

Didn't realize burns could make a hard bump, but that certainly makes sense considering when I got mine! Thank you, Elliott!

lucill. logan 13 months ago

I have one of those tore lumps.I noticed it 20 years ago and it seems like it is itching now and then.mine is quite large. and at 74 i dont want it removed.but am considering it as i think it is doesnt hurt at all.

Jasper 12 months ago

i have bumps also in the roof of my mouth and it's hard like bone growing in it.i experience pain in my head and my check.

LILY 8 months ago

I have a bump on the roof of my mouth, not so painful but what is giving me fear is if I draw in my mouth, I spit blood.

Steven 7 months ago

I woke up 4 days ago with a really bad sore throat and every time I swallowed it felt like I was swallowing razor blades. The pain went away after 2 days but the coughing then started.

I then woke up yesterday with a lump on the right hand side, just off centre, of the hard palette. It's affected the taste of food somewhat because of where it is and was a bearable annoyance yesterday, but the for the majority of today I've had a constant dull ache all day to the point where it's been a little painful. I hope someone has had these symptoms before and can reassure me that it's nothing to worry about.

TJ 7 months ago

Hey Steven

The first symptoms you described sound like Tonsillitis. It is a very common problem, and is not serious-unless the symptoms are recurring every month or week. If that is indeed the case, you should see a doctor immediately.

As for the second, I am currently experiencing the same. A small, plushy yet hard 2cm patch that is very irritable and aches when I move my tongue across the roof of my mouth. I am booked in to see my dentist later today, and I think you should do the same.

Kapil devdas 2 months ago

Hi..I am 33 years old and I used smoke and tobacco since 18-20 years...before 4 days I feel bumps on my upper palate near back teeth..its little bit friend advise me to gargle mouth with warm salt water and use vitamin B-complex..and I did it.but today I feel one bumps on my roof top palate ...and feels like skin scratch back of front teeth. ...Please help me ..advise me.

Susan 2 weeks ago

Some of these painful, pus filled lumps around teeth, are usually abscesses. I know, I've had 3. They hurt like hell, bust, then re-fill. You should see a dentist, asap. I didn't for my 2nd & red because I didn't have insurance. The second one was so bad, it ate thru my jaw bone. I have a hole there. The 3rd, I ignored it, took aspirin for about a year. Went to the dentist. My tooth had broken and he had a helluva time getting it out. Told me he had NEVER seen anyone with such a high pain level before! When you're poor, you put up with more sh*t than you should! You can get blood poisoning from them. GO TO THE DENTIST!!! NOW!!

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    Sree has been a nutritionist for over 8 years. She has written many articles educating people suffering from various diseases and ailments.

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