There are many oral conditions which individuals may experience from time to time. Some of the most common include cavities, damaged teeth, issues with the gums, and short-term infections.
However, other scenarios occur less frequently and are unfamiliar to the majority of individuals. Mandibular tori are a perfect example.
What are mandibular tori? What are the symptoms and how can they be treated?
Mandibular Tori at a Glance
Mandibular tori are benign growths that can sometimes occur on the surface of the lower jaw bone and directly beneath the tongue. Note that these should not be confused with palatal tori (growths associated with the roof of the mouth).
There are times when these bumps can be detected by moving the tip of the tongue around the lower area of the oral cavity.
Some lumps may be nearly imperceptible to the touch while on rare occasions, they can enlarge to the point where physical discomfort is noted. It has also been shown that males are more likely to develop this condition than females.
What are the Causes of Mandibular Tori?
A great deal of research surrounding this condition is ongoing and new causal factors are being found on a regular basis. However, scientists have still been able to draw a handful of conclusions.
It is thought that genetics may play an important role. Studies seem to indicate that the genes associated with oral tori can be passed from father to son (one of the reasons why it tends to be more common in men).
Additionally, a handful of physical factors correlate with developing these tori over time. Examples include (but may not be limited to):
- Acute injuries to the lower jawbone or the surrounding area.
- Stresses resulting from bruxism (grinding the teeth).
- Diets lacking certain nutrients or an abnormally high intake of calcium.
- Certain dental appliances such as implants and dentures.
Another school of thought hints that tori may develop as a result psychological or physiological stress, as this condition tends to occur during early adulthood. Therefore, certain hormones could also play an important role. This has yet to be conclusively determined.
A Brief Look at Some Common Symptoms
There are many symptoms associated with this condition and as you might have already guessed, these will often be determined by the size and location of the tori themselves. Here are some common indications that a problem may be present:
- Difficulties with speech.
- Lower teeth that have become loose or changed position over time.
- Pain or soreness in the jaw and/or upper throat.
- Inflammation of the gums.
- Tonsils that have become swollen or painful.
The tori themselves also come in a variety of shapes. Some may feel flat or spindle-shaped while others could appear to be round and uniform in nature. The size of these bony nodules can also increase over time although there are other instances when their dimensions will remain the same. Once again, this is based on the individual.
What Treatment Options are Available?
Let us now assume that you suspect tori are present within your lower mouth. How can this condition be treated?
It is always important to mention that the majority of mandibular tori are benign in nature. In other words, smaller nodules are generally no cause for alarm.
Treatment may nonetheless be desirable if they have significantly increased in size or they are leading to a fair amount of discomfort. Some other reasons why professional remedies might be the best solutions include:
- If you experience a great deal of pain when eating.
- In the event that they begin to interfere with dental prosthetics.
- If the tori have grown to the point where they impede the functionality of your tongue.
Note that scraping these tori also increases the risk of developing a bacterial infection. This is when expert advice is required.
In terms of treatments, there may be instances when surgical intervention is the most logical solution. In this case, you will be referred to a maxillofacial surgeon. He or she will evaluate the condition in order to determine if an extraction is the best option.
Should you require surgery, this can normally be performed on an outpatient basis. Similar to any type of invasive oral treatment, it may take up to eight weeks for your mouth to fully recover (similar to many other types of oral procedures).
At-Home Ways to Mitigate the Risks and Effects of Mandibular Tori
Assuming that surgery is not warranted, there are several ways in which you can address the symptoms of this condition. For instance, it is wise to purchase a toothbrush with soft bristles. This will help to avoid any unnecessary irritation when brushing.
It is also important to adopt an effective oral care routine.
Abstain from eating unhealthy foods, use a mouthwash on a daily basis and floss between your teeth. A clean mouth is much less likely to develop more severe symptoms in the event that the skin above the tori is scraped or otherwise damaged.
Although mandibular tori are not familiar to the majority of individuals, it is still wise to appreciate some of the most common warning signs that these benign nodules may be present.
Your dentist will be able to provide you with an expert evaluation in order to better determine if intervention may be required.