Did you know there’s an oral disease that affects between 5 and 7 percent of the U.S. adult population? This condition is called Mandibular Tori, which causes pain and discomfort, and some of its symptoms are almost unnoticeable. It is a bony growth that develops on the lower jaw, beneath and on the side of the tongue. Tori affects about 27 out of every 1,000 adults, reports the National Institutes of Health, though it’s not as well-known as other oral health conditions. While not indicative of any dangerous disease or health condition, some people consider them unsightly or uncomfortable when eating certain foods. Here is what you need to know about this uncommon condition.

What is mandibular tori?
This condition occurs on the inner side of the lower jaw. Torus or Tori (plural) is a benign bone growth in the mouth, and in 90 percent of cases, there is a torus on both the left and right sides of your oral cavity, making this an overwhelmingly bilateral condition. This oral abnormality normally does not cause any serious damage. It will cause discomfort and if the growth continues, mandibular tori can cause pain or disturbed mouths functions. The size of the tori may fluctuate throughout life, and in some cases, it can be large enough to touch each other in the midline of your mouth. This condition can complicate the fabrication of dentures. If removal of the tori is needed, surgery can be done to reduce the amount of bone, but the tori may reform in cases where nearby teeth still receive local stress.

What causes mandibular tori?
There can be several factors associated with mandibular tori. Starting with genetics, this condition is more common in men than in women and can be passed down from father to son. Stress in the jaw bone and bruxism are other factors. This condition is more common in early adult life, and consequently, it is believed that mandibular tori are the result of local stresses and not solely on genetic influences. The genetic influence can best be seen in studies of twins. In one study, a whopping 93.6 percent of identical twins either both had tori or both lacked them. Among fraternal twins, this concordance was observed in 79.4 percent of pairs.

What are the symptoms?
This condition presents as a bony growth beneath and on the side of the tongue. You may have one growth or multiple growths, and they can develop on one side of your mouth or on both sides. While it’s usually asymptomatic, this condition can sometimes cause problems. If you wear dentures, the growth can interfere with the fit of your lower denture. Your denture may be uncomfortable and may not stay in place. The soft tissues that cover the growth can also become ulcerated in some cases. While mandibular torus symptoms are harmless, the most common are the following:

  • Inflammation of the gums
  • Irritated Tonsils
  • Loose teeth
  • Slurred Speech
  • Throat Pain
  • Sore jaw

How is it treated?
Even if your growth is without symptoms, it needs to be evaluated by your dentist. If your dentist confirms that your growth is torus mandibularis, he may recommend not treating it. That is because these benign growths should usually remain undisturbed. However, if your growth is painful or is interfering with your dentures, surgical removal may be performed. Surgery is an option when the tori begin to interfere with speech. Or in the case of using a dental denture, your dentist could consider surgery because the overgrowth bone will interfere with denture placement. A visit to your dentist is necessary for a complete diagnosis. For the surgery, depending on the bone growth and where it is located, a dental professional can remove the growth with traditional surgical tools or with newer methods, like lasers.

Do you have any questions about mandibular tori? Call Westermeier Martin Dental care to schedule an appointment with your dentist 716-508-4547.