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What are Tori, And Why Do I Have Them?

Tori midline of palate.

Tori midline of palate.

What are Tori, And Why Do I Have Them?

More prominent lingual mandibular tori

More prominent lingual mandibular tori

Tori are simply bony growths in the upper or lower jaws. A Torus mandibularis (pl. tori mandibular) (or mandibular torus (pl. mandibular tori) in English) is a bony growth on the Mandible or the lower jaw.  Mandibular tori are usually present on the tongue side of the jaw near the bicuspids ( also known as premolars).  They usually – 90% of the time – occur on both sides of the mouth (bilaterally).

Mandibular tori are not particularly common – about 5 – 10% of the population will have noticeable mandibular tori.  Some estimates are as high as 40% but we are not seeing that in our office.  If a tori occurs on the palate of the upper jaw, it is known as a torus palatinus and they are usually near the midline of the palate.  Tori can also occur on the cheek side (buccal side) of upper and lower teeth as well and they are usually seen by the molars and premolars. In these areas tori are almost always present on both sides (bilaterally).  Tori are slightly more common in males.

It is believed that tori are caused by several factors but there is not one thing that always causes tori.  They may be associated with bruxism or tooth clenching and grinding however no.  The size of the tori may fluctuate throughout life but they do tend to get bigger over time.  In some cases the tori can be large enough to touch each other in the midline of mouth. Consequently, it is believed that mandibular tori are the result of local stresses and not solely on genetic influences.

Tori are usually a clinical finding with no treatment necessary. It is possible for ulcers to form on the area of the tori due to trauma and rubbing against other things like food.  Chips are a common culprit. Hard foods, such as crusty bread, or hot foods, such as pizza, may cause problems. Large palatal and lingual tori can interfere with speech. The tori may make it difficult to make dentures if this is needed as the bone may interfere with the seating of the denture or the tori may be irritated by the denture.  We usually tell our patients this is just another reason to maintain their healthy teeth so that dentures are not ever needed!  If the tori must be removed, an oral surgeon or your dentist can do this for you.

Tori on lower jaw below tongue (see lingual frenum or attachment of tongue to floor of mouth).

A torus (plural “tori”) is a harmless growth of bone. Tori tend to grow in three parts of  the mouth:

Lingual tori almost always appear on both sides of the lower jaw at the same time.

Tori are slow-growing and vary in size. Most of them do not interfere with eating or speech. Many people have tori without knowing it. Your dentist may find a torus during an exam, or you might notice one on your own.

Many people who notice tori are concerned about oral cancer. Tori are not cancerous. They also do not turn into cancer.  A torus is normal bone covered with normal tissue. However, other types of growths in the mouth can turn out to be oral cancer. You should have your dentist check any growths you find.

If a tori is removed surgically, will it grow back?

The best answer to this question is sometimes.  Some studies show that the return of tori may be more frequent in older patients.  Sometimes they do not return.  The important thing is to know is that tori do not have to be removed unless they are bothering you.  If the tori do grow back, this will happen very slowly!

A common place for tori is below the tongue.

Tori may continue to grow over time and may become irritated easily with food.

If you would like more information our office would be happy to help! Our office is located in Grand Junction, Colorado.  Our phone number is (970) 242-3635.  Please visit us on Facebook or call us if you have any questions or concerns.  You can also email our office at jgillis@rosemontdev.com for further information.

If teeth are lost it may be difficult to place a partial over tori. Best to keep your teeth healthy!

This information shared with you by Julie Gillis, DDS PC .  We feel that your dental health is the top priority, and if we can make your smile more attractive while improving your health that is wonderful! Dr. Gillis practices restorative and cosmetic dentistry including porcelain veneers, tooth whitening, implants, crowns, bridges and periodontal care.  Our office website is www.juliegillisds.com.  For further information, please contact us at (970) 242-3635.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, AAACD

Restoring Teeth, Restoring Smiles