Lumps on the palate: are they dangerous?

Lumps on the roof of your mouth can scare and worry anyone who finds them in your mouth. To be attentive to these injuries, it is necessary to know what the structure of the oral cavity looks like in a normal way.

The palate is the upper wall of the inside of the mouth. It is made up of bone lined with thick mucosa with pale pink streaks. It has salivary glands, blood vessels, and nerves.

When noticing a lump on the palate it is necessary to go to a dentist, who through clinical examination and complementary studies will make a diagnosis. Knowing what it is, you can plan the most appropriate treatment.

Is it normal to have lumps on the palate?

Finding lumps on the palate is not normal; it is actually an abnormality that needs medical attention. There are lumps of different nature and it does not mean that they are all malignant, but you have to determine its origin to know how to proceed.

The dentist will examine the location, shape, color, boundaries, and consistency of the lump. In addition, in some cases it will be necessary to take radiographic plates and take tissue samples or biopsies to reach the diagnosis. For this reason, a timely consultation is important if any hardness or enlargement is found in this area of ​​the mouth.

Why can it happen?

As we already mentioned, lumps on the palate can appear for different reasons. Most are harmless, but you have to have an accurate diagnosis to know how to act. An experienced professional will be able to differentiate the nature of it and thus know how to treat it. Here we tell you some causes and how they manifest themselves.

Torus palatine

The torus palatine It is a bony lump of hard consistency that is located in the middle of the palate. Some people have it from birth, but it can also appear later.

In general, it is due to genetic causes. It does not hurt or cause discomfort. It can grow in size slowly throughout life.

Being asymptomatic and benign does not require treatment, unless it interferes with the ability to eat, speak, or fit a denture. In those cases it is removed surgically.

The torus Palatine is a formation of the palate that is hard, since it derives from bone tissue.

Epstein pearls

They are small bumps on the palate that newborns present. They are very common whitish yellow cysts in neonates. They are benign, painless, and usually go away on their own within a few weeks after birth.

Lumps on the palate from infections

Some infections, when they are located on the palate, can manifest with the presence of lumps. The most frequent are the following:

  • Odontogenic abscess or cyst: It is a small inflammatory lump that is located on the palate, close to a dental piece. It is due to an infection of the tooth that spreads, appearing an elevation in the palatal mucosa. This elevation can ooze and hurt. For its removal, the infection of the tooth that gives rise to it must be treated and, in some cases, its removal with a surgical procedure is necessary.
  • Herpes simplex: the herpes simplex virus produces painful clustered blisters that can be located on the palate. They are filled with fluid and break easily. They are contagious and heal on their own after a few weeks. The process can be accelerated and symptoms reduced by using medication prescribed by a medical professional.
  • Squamous papilloma: are non-cancerous growths caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). They usually look like a cauliflower, white or pale pink in color. They do not hurt and grow slowly. They can be controlled or removed with surgery.

Lumps on the palate from external injuries

Any irritation in the palatal mucosa can manifest itself with the appearance of lumps on the palate. They are harmless and heal on their own within a few days. Some common causes are as follows:

  • Trauma: a cut in the mucosa may swell and feel like a painful lump on the roof of the mouth.
  • Chronic irritation: friction and irritation from misfit prostheses cause mucosal enlargement, such as scar tissue. A larger, smooth, firm area can be seen under the dentures. It is necessary to readjust or redo the dental prosthesis.
  • Burns: ingesting very hot food or drink can burn the palate. This develops fluid-filled blisters that hurt.

Hyperodontia

Hyperodontia is a condition in which more dental elements develop than normal. In case there is an extra tooth on the palate, it can manifest with a painful lump.

It appears frequently in the area behind the front teeth. An extra tooth is found with an X-ray and removed with minor surgery.

Pyogenic granuloma

It is a common palate lump in pregnant women. This bump is pink in color, soft, and if irritated, it may bleed.

The most common location is in the center of the palate. Although it is a benign alteration, it is annoying for the patient, so its treatment is removal with a simple surgery.

Read this article: Oral health and pregnancy: what should you know?

Mucocele or mucous cyst

It is produced by the accumulation of mucus or saliva inside a salivary gland. When a glandular duct is injured, the content cannot escape and is stored inside, giving rise to this lump on the palate.

Although the palatal location is not the most frequent, the presence of minor salivary glands enables its appearance. It is a rounded, soft, liquid-containing, transparent or bluish lump with inflamed edges. Its growth is slow and can break down and disappear.

They do not hurt and do not need treatment. Although if they persist or bother the patient, they can be eliminated with a simple surgery.

Pleomorphic adenoma

It is a benign, non-cancerous tumor of the salivary glands. It manifests as a single, rounded mass, the same color as the palatal mucosa, firm on palpation and painless. It is located on one of the sides of the palate, in the posterior sector. Its growth is slow.

Treatment is surgical. It is completely excised, taking advantage of the fact that, in general, it is a well-defined, encapsulated tumor without infiltrations.

Malignant tumor of the salivary glands

It presents as a mass similar to a pleomorphic adenoma, but with a faster and more painful growth. The skin is thickened. They can be white, gray, or bright red. They can also look like a bleeding sore that doesn't heal. It affects speech and the ability to swallow.

Although it can be given to anyone, smokers and alcoholics are at higher risk. There are varying degrees of malignancy, so it is ideal to go to the specialist as soon as the lesion appears.

Upon making the diagnosis, treatment should be started immediately. It will depend on the stage of the tumor and can be surgical, with radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

When to see a doctor for a lump on the palate?

Most of the time, lumps on the roof of your mouth are usually harmless. In any case, it is always advisable to go to a dentist to reach an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.

An immediate consultation is ideal in the case of presenting some of these symptoms:

  • Intense pain during several days.
  • The lump does not go away after two weeks.
  • The lump has wounds or ulcers that do not heal.
  • The lump on the palate changes in appearance or increases in size.
  • Discomfort or pain when chewing drink, swallow or talk.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Presence of bad breath or foul odor in the mouth
  • Dentures move or don't fit as usual.

A poorly fitting denture can hurt the palate. In such a case, it should be adjusted by a professional to avoid lumps.

Possible Treatments for Palate Lumps

As we already mentioned, When noticing something strange on the roof of the mouth, it is always advisable to consult the dentist. The professional will explore the lump on the palate and request complementary studies to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.

Surgical removal

They are outpatient surgeries with local anesthesia in which the tumor mass located on the palate is removed. They are used, for example, in cases of torus that disturb or interfere with the use of a prosthesis.

Infection control

It is the treatment to remove the lumps that are caused by infections, such as abscesses or cysts. In these cases, the endodontics of the tooth is performed and is supplemented with antibiotics. In some cases, surgery must be added if the problem persists.

Excisional biopsy

It consists of removing the lesion or cyst and sending it for analysis to determine its nature and malignancy. It is useful when the clinic was not enough to know what type of injury it is or there are doubts about its benignity or not.

It is used in cases of pyogenic granuloma, pleomorphic adenoma and other tumors of the palate. The biopsy will serve to assess the need for some more intensive treatment.

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Identifying the lumps on the palate is the first step

Now you know that the lumps on the palate are due to different causes and are even the manifestation of various pathologies. Most of the time they are harmless and benign.

In any case, they are not something normal in the mouth and malignancy is still a possibility. Identifying and treating them early can avoid further consequences. Assessment of the injury by a dentist is the first step in managing these injuries.