Tori Mouth: A Detailed Guide on the Bony Bumps in the Mouth

  Jan 18, 2024
Reviewed by Geeta Singh

Have you ever discovered a bony prominence under the tongue? These uninvited bumps are what we call mandibular tori. Tori mouth is a benign bony growth typically occurring in the lower jaw.

They are usually painless and do not cause any harm. However, some people are not even aware of the fact that they have bones under the tongue.

Mandibular tori

Surprisingly, dental tori are observed in 5 to 40% of the population and, therefore, a common occurrence. There’s a direct link between your oral and mental health; having bone growth in your mouth can have negative effect on your life. That’s why you should learn how to deal with Mandibular Tori.

This article will help you learn more about mandibular tori, along with its complications and diagnosis.

What is Mandibular Tori?

Torus mandibularis, commonly known as mandibular tori, are bony, flesh-covered outgrowths that arise along the inner surface of the lower jaw. The number, size, and shape of these outgrowths can vary from person to person. The overgrowth, however, is not cancerous and is usually harmless.

The size of tori in the mouth is typically 2 mm. However, its size also depends on your mandibular tori bone size. 

Usually, it has a round and bulgy appearance on the inner surface of your lower premolars. Most of the time, they appear on both sides of the mouth. However, they sometimes also occur on only one side at a time. 

Is it Normal to Have Mandibular Tori?

The occurrence of mandibular tori is not usual. At the same time, it is not a rare condition either. A lot of people develop these bony outgrowths at some point in their lives. 

According to the record, mandibular tori are relatively less prevalent than palatal tori. Another study suggests that 80% of people who suffer from it have outgrowths on both sides of their mouths.

What are the Causes of Mandibular Tori?

The exact cause of tori bones in the mouth is still unknown. However, numerous studies and research are in progress to find out the definite cause of this condition. 

Despite that, several factors may promote the occurrence of mandibular tori. Some of them are as follows:

  1. Genetic factors: Genes play a significant role in developing mandibular and palatal tori, as they are often hereditary.
  1. Anatomy of mouth: The shape of your jaw and mouth can indicate the presence of bony prominence. 
  1. Clenching and grinding of teeth: Excessive pressure and tension from chronic teeth grinding and clenching are associated with an increased risk of mandibular tori. 
  1. Dietary causes: Consistent consumption of tough food substances such as raw or frozen meat might contribute to the development of mandibular tori.
  1. Stress response: Your bones develop a coping mechanism for excessive stress and tension. Mandibular tori may result in bone’s response to stress in the area.
  1. Trauma: An injury related to the mouth and jaw may lead to the development of these outgrowths.
  1. Bone density: If you have high bone density, it may be indicative of a tori mouth.
  1. Calcium content in diet: Research shows that diets with high or low calcium content may be a risk factor for mandibular tori.
  1. Raw fish consumption: Regular consumption of undercooked or raw fish may be a factor that contributes to its development. 
  1. Age: You are more likely to develop a dental tori post 30s. 

What are the Symptoms of Mandibular Tori?

Usually, no signs or symptoms are associated with mandibular tori. People detect them while examining their oral cavity or during dental check-ups. 

However, some typical symptoms may include the following:

  • Overgrowth: You might notice a bony outgrowth inside your lower jaw. 
  • Discomfort: Tori mouth is generally not painful. Even so, they can cause discomfort during eating and chewing.
  • Pain: In some cases, dental tori can also lead to the occurrence of ulcers in the mucosa (inner lining) of the mouth. These ulcers can cause excruciating pain and discomfort.
  • Difficulty in speech delivery: In some rare cases, the size of the growth is abnormally large. It might hinder tongue movements, leading to speech difficulties. 
  • Gum irritation: Gum irritation and pain may be indicative of tori mouth.

Suggested Read: What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal? – Top 25 Recommendations

Types of Dental Tori and How They are Different? 

There are two types of dental tori: mandibular tori and palatal tori. Let’s see how similar and different both of these conditions can be. 

FactorsMandibular ToriPalatal Tori
LocationOccur below the tongue and the lower jawPresent on the hard palate, which is the roof of the mouth
AppearanceRound, bulbous outgrowths that vary in shape and sizeA bony protrusion on the midline of the hard palate
Occurrence rateLess commonMore common
SymptomsCause discomfort if the size is too largeDo not cause any noticeable discomfort
Risk factorsGenetic factors, bruxism, dietary habitsGrowing age
Surgical interventionRemoved through surgery if there’s too much discomfortSurgical removal is uncommon

Are Mandibular Tori Harmful?

Mandibular tori are not harmful; they are non-cancerous outgrowths. They can cause mild discomfort in your daily activities. But they do not lead to any critical complications. 

Sometimes, the size of the tori is too large and causes extreme discomfort. In that case, a dentist might suggest a surgical removal.  

When to See a Dentist if You Have Mandibular Tori?

You should immediately consult your dentist when you notice extra bumps in your mouth. If you don’t have one, it is better to consider things before choosing a family Orthodontist. They can help you get a proper diagnosis and treatment, if required. 

If you are already diagnosed with mandibular tori, you should consult your dentist in case:

  • The size of the outgrowths increases.
  • There is noticeable pain and discomfort.
  • You experience difficulty speaking.
  • The tissue covering the tori turns red.
  • You face difficulty chewing and swallowing.
  • You notice bony development on only one side of the mouth, as there is a slight chance they may be cancerous. 

If you want to know more about the treatment process, watch this YouTube video by Elite Oral and Facial Surgery about Mandibular Tori management:

What are the Complications of Mandibular Tori?

Although rare, Mandibular Tori may lead to potential dental complications like:

  • Oral discomfort: The prominence is usually harmless, but larger growths may lead to some discomfort. 
  • Lack of oral hygiene: Mouth tori can make it difficult for you to brush and floss your mouth because they may restrict access to certain areas of your mouth.
  • Infection: Due to their bulbous shape, these can trap food debris. It can lead to plaque buildup and bacterial infections. Also, difficulty in brushing around the tori areas may contribute to issues like gingivitis or bad breath. 
  • Speech difficulties: Large-sized outgrowths may pose a hindrance to smooth tongue movement. It may lead to improper speech delivery.
  • Application of dentures: Mandibular tori can make it difficult for you to get the right fit of dentures when required. It may also lead to difficulty in wearing and removing the dentures.
  • Inflammation: In rare cases, the tissues around the tori get inflamed. This swelling may be painful and uncomfortable.

How is Mandibular Tori Diagnosed?

Mandibular tori can be easily detected during a routine dental examination. It is hard to identify them on X-rays. Therefore, dentists either resort to intraoral examination or rely on the results of CT scans.

However, your dentist must differentiate it from the other oral outgrowths. If the outgrowth is present on only one side of the mouth, that may indicate cancerous outgrowth. 

Dental checkup

Other potential causes of oral outgrowth may include the following conditions:

  • Mucoceles: Cystic outgrowths that develop after surgery or salivary gland trauma.
  • Cancerous tumors like osteosarcoma.
  • Benign bone tumors like osteoma, osteochondroma, etc.
  • Peripheral ossifying fibroma: It is the benign swelling of gums.

In addition, dental tori can be distinguished by their physical appearance. However, your dentist may recommend a biopsy to check for other conditions. 

A biopsy generally requires taking tiny pieces of tissues from the extra outgrowth. The tissues are then closely observed under a microscope. It helps figure out if the outgrowth is harmless or cancerous. 

How is Mandibular Tori Treated?

Most of the time, you don’t need a treatment for tori mouth bones. Sometimes, it can cause lots of discomfort and other complications. In those cases, your dentist may recommend tori removal through oral surgery. 

During the surgery:

  • Your surgeon will administer anesthesia in your mouth to numb your gums. They might as well offer sedative methods to keep you calm and composed throughout the surgery. Hence, the surgery is not painful at all.
  • Then, the surgeon will cut your gums to get to the bony outgrowth.
  • The next step is the removal of tori. Any excess bone that may be present in that area is removed during this step.
  • Finally, the surgeon concludes the surgery by stitching back the incision. 

Post-Surgery Recovery Time from Mandibular Tori Removal

Typically, it takes up to four weeks to recover from the aftereffects of surgical removal of mandibular tori. It may take longer in some cases, depending on the size of the outgrowth.

During the recovery period, you should:

  • Take the medicines on time, without skipping.
  • Eat soft foods like pudding, yogurt, and mashed potatoes.
  • Avoid food items that induce swelling.
  • Use antibacterial mouthwash to keep the incision area clean.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy food.
  • Avoid lengthy conversations, as they may trigger pain.

Complications of Mandibular Tori Removal

Usually, no complications arise after surgical tori removal. However, in some cases, the post-surgery complications may include the following:

  • Oral infection
  • Swelling of gums
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Damage to nerves, gums, and teeth
  • Lockjaw
  • Lip and chin numbness
  • Scarring

Careful surgery and post-operation care help avoid these complications. 

How Can You Prevent Mandibular Tori?

It is impossible to entirely prevent mandibular tori, as its causes are still a mystery. However, practicing oral care tips can help maintain overall dental health.

  • Regular dental checkups: You should visit your dentist once every six months. It can help in the early diagnosis of mandibular tori and monitor the already existing ones. 
  • Using mouthguards: If you suffer from chronic teeth clenching and grinding, you should consider using a mouthguard. Continuous teeth grinding can exert excessive pressure on the teeth and jaw.
  • Balanced diet: The growth can also result from dietary imbalance. Having a proper diet can help you prevent it.
  • Oral hygiene: Practicing oral hygiene is the key to preventing dental problems such as tori mouth. 

Read Next: Smile Confidently Again: 4 Teeth Replacement Options Dentists Recommend

Bottom Line

In conclusion, mandibular tori are the bony outgrowths that may develop below your lower jaw. The actual cause of this dental condition is still unknown. However, studies suggest factors like genetics, bruxism, and dietary habits may play a crucial role in its occurrence. 

You can either be born with a torus mouth or develop it later in life. Although generally harmless, they may lead to certain complications.

Regular dental checkups help in the timely diagnosis and monitoring of the condition.


Mandibular tori – PMC (