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Hard Bump on Roof of Mouth

You go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and then you notice it: a hard bump on the roof of your mouth.

Your first thought is, “I’ve got oral cancer!” Oral growths can be tricky to diagnose since there are so many potential causes.

You might find comfort in the fact that oral cancer isn’t the most common one.

In this post, we’re going to show you what could cause a hard bump on roof of mouth.

1. Trauma

bump on roof of mouthIn otherwise healthy people, a bump on the roof of your mouth is the result of physical trauma- specifically, burns.

The hard palate isn’t as tough as you might think. If you consume a hot meal before it has time to cool down, then you can easily damage your hard palate.

Dentists refer to this as “pizza palate” because people often bite down on very hot pizza and burn their mouths.

But it’s not just pizza that can do this to you. It’s any hot food or drink: coffee, tea, etc.

If you’ve burned your hard palate, there’s no need to worry- it will heal itself within 3-7 days.

In the meantime, you can sooth your pain by consuming cool drinks as well as soft foods.

If your sore hasn’t healed within 7 days, then schedule a visit with your dentist.

Summary: A bump on the roof of the mouth can be due to burns or cuts from eating hard or hot foods.

2. Canker Sores

Normally, canker sores grow on the inside of the cheek. However, it’s possible for them to grow on the roof of your mouth.

What exactly is a canker sore? It’s basically a shallow ulcer about the size of an eraser head that appears in the mouth.

It can make talking or chewing food extremely uncomfortable.

Researchers and dentists aren’t entirely sure what causes them, but they do have some theories.

They believe it’s related to the malfunctioning of the immune system due factors like stress, dietary changes, or changes in blood hormone levels.

Some patients have reported having as many as 10 sores at the same time. Fortunately, they go away on their own without you having to do anything.

Summary: Canker sores are painful, shallow ulcers that occur in the mouth and that have many different triggers.

3. Enlarged Incisive Papilla

The incisive papilla is a fleshy projection located on the palate near the incisors.

Due to its location, it can easily become damaged whenever you eat hot or hard foods.

If you’ve got a bump on the roof of your mouth just behind the incisors, then the incisive papilla is most likely enlarged.

This isn’t a cause for concern and it should go away on its own within a week.

If it doesn’t go away, or if the bump is becoming increasingly painful, then go see your dentist.

Summary: Your symptom could be due to the enlargement of the incisive papilla. This is considered benign and should go away by itself.

4. Oral Cancer

If the bump hasn’t gone away after a long period of time, then this could be oral cancer.

If not diagnosed early, oral cancer can be deadly. The most common risk factor for this type of cancer is tobacco use, so if you don’t smoke, cancer isn’t likely.

As with any form of cancer, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the better your chances of survival.

If the cancerous cells manage to spread to other parts of the body then your chances of survival decrease.

Oral cancer can manifest as a bump on the roof of the mouth that doesn’t go away.

Oral cancer can also affect the cheeks, tongue, and floor of mouth. If your bump hasn’t gone away after a few weeks, then you should have a dentist look at it.

Summary:  Any palate bump that doesn’t go away after a few weeks should be looked at by a dentist to rule out oral cancer.

5. Palatal Cysts

Palatal cysts are cysts that grow on the palate of newborn babies. They are whitish-yellow in color and are considered harmless.

They are also painless and can occur in up to 80% of newborns. Since they are painless and harmless, there is no need to treat them.

Palatal cysts will often go away on their own within a month or two.

If you notice that your child still has them after a few weeks, then schedule a visit with your pediatrician. Note that these are also called “Epstein pearls”.

Summary: Palatal cysts, or Epstein pearls, can cause a bump on the roof of the mouth in newborn babies.

6. Torus Palatinus

A torus palatinus is a semi-hard mass that can grow on the roof of the mouth. Although the name sounds scary, it’s a benign growth.

These masses can vary in their shape and size, as well as in their location on the palate. They are typically round and don’t present any pain.

What causes them? Researchers aren’t entirely sure. They believe that it’s related to genetics, or it could be due to forceful chewing.

While these growths aren’t painful, they can get in the way of eating. Visit your dentist to have them removed.

Summary: A torus palatinus is a bony mass that grows on the palate of the oral cavity.

When Should You See a Dentist or Doctor?

A palate bump by itself typically isn’t a cause for concern.

They are usually benign in nature and often go away on their own within a few weeks. When should you see a dentist or doctor then?

If the bump is getting bigger each week, then you should schedule an appointment as this is a sign of uncontrolled cell growth (cancer).

You should also be on the lookout for bleeding coming from the bump, or any bumps that are painful.

But by far the most common thing to watch out for is how long you’ve had it. Most benign causes will resolve on their own within a few weeks.

If you’ve had your bump on the roof of the mouth for longer than that, and it’s showing no signs of healing or going away, then it’s time to see a medical practitioner.

Summary: Any oral growth that hasn’t gone away after a month should be looked at by a medical practitioner.

Bottom Line

Most of the causes of bumps on the roof of the mouth are benign and should go away on their own.

The only one that’s considered life-threatening is cancer. But if you don’t use tobacco, and/or you’re young, then oral cancer isn’t likely.

If the growth doesn’t go away in a reasonable amount of time, then ask your dentist what it could be. While it’s probably nothing, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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