She is missing one of her first molar teeth and the bone has shrunk because it has been a long time since she lost the tooth. She came to me for a dental implant, but was also interested in removing the bumpy nodules next to her tongue. The plan was do have one surgery where the tori on each side would be removed and that same bone used to rebuild the area that is going to have the implant!
Mandibular tori are a bony growth (bumps) in the lower jaw along the surface nearest to the tongue. Mandibular tori are usually present near the premolars (middle teeth) and above the location of the mylohyoid muscle’s attachment to the mandible. In 90% of cases, there is a torus on both the left and right sides.
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. Look in the mirror; you might notice them in your own mouth!
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.
The prevalence of mandibular tori ranges from 5% – 40% and are less common than bony growths occurring on the palate, known as torus palatinus. They will not disappear unless surgically removed. Tori cannot be prevented.
It is believed that mandibular tori are caused by several factors. They are more common in early adult life and are simetimes associated with grinding. The size of the tori may fluctuate throughout life, and in some cases the tori can be large enough to touch each other in the midline of mouth!
Mandibular 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. The tori may also complicate the fabrication of dental implant or regular dentures. If removal of the tori is needed, surgery can be done to reduce the amount of bone.
Because they are on the roof of your mouth, tori palatini can be irritated by some foods. Hard foods, such as crusty bread, or hot foods, such as pizza, are most likely to cause problems. Large upper and lower tori can interfere with speech. Tori on the roof of the mouth can also be used for dental implant grafting, but there are other, easier areas to obtain your own bone if needed
Surgery can be done under IV sedation in the office.
So…do you have tori?
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Ramsey A. Amin, D.D.S.
Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology /Implant Dentistry
Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry