Mandibular tori or torus mandibularis is a condition that can occur in the inner part of the jaw caused by a benign bone growth. This condition is not usually harmful, but it can create discomfort and, rarely, lead to other associated issues.
Through this guide, you can find out more about mandibular tori, where it occurs, how fast it grows, what its size typically is, complications that can arise, and how you can treat it.
What Is Mandibular Tori?
Mandibular tori is a condition or disease in which a bone can grow in your mouth. Usually, this kind of bone grows on either side of the mouth, and it is rare for a singular growth to take place.
These bones generally appear swollen and can be of different sizes, although they are typically small.
Based on the size of this bone, along with other conditions relating to your dental health, the intensity of the symptoms exhibited can vary. On this basis, you can then figure out how to deal with them after consulting your dentist.
Where Does It Grow?
The mandibular tori tends to grow either right next to or under the tongue. Usually, you can see these bones close to your premolar teeth on both sides of your tongue.
In fact, these bones usually grow in pairs. It is relatively rare for them to grow alone, although it is not unheard of.
Typically, these bones are situated above the point where the mylohyoid muscle of the neck comes into contact with the mandible (or jaw bone).
These bones can further extend to a larger part of the mouth if they happen to grow bigger and faster than they usually do.
How Fast Does It Grow?
The mandibular tori normally grows slowly throughout their lifespan in your mouth. In this sense, its growth rate might gradually increase for a while and then become steady, retaining its size for the rest of the period.
It can be difficult to pinpoint or even track the growth rate of this bone since it can differ for different people.
How Big Is the Mandibular Tori?
The mandibular tori can differ in size based on their conditions of growth as well as the presence of other problems in your mouth or teeth. However, since this bone tends to have a generally slow growth rate, it usually does not end up growing too big, with its size becoming stable after a point.
You can expect the bone to resemble one or two of your molars in size. In some cases, however, the bone might become larger than expected, requiring you to have it removed so that it does not continue to interfere with the standard usage of your teeth and mouth.
Whom Does It Affect?
Nearly 5-40% of the world’s population sees the growth of the mandibular tori in their mouth. However, in the United States, around 10% is the standard rate of incidence of this kind of bone growth.
Some parts and ethnic groups of the world’s population are more likely to develop this condition than others. For instance, it is more prevalent among the Inuits and Asians.
This bone also appears more often among middle-aged populations, with men being more prone to this kind of growth compared to women. The reasons for this are unclear.
Are There Any Symptoms?
The mandibular tori commonly do not lead to any symptoms when it comes to your health. For this reason, it is possible to simply not notice their existence until you happen upon them by chance or if your dentist sees them and tells you about them.
Yet, symptomatic cases can still be seen, even though their occurrence is quite rare. For such people, common symptoms can include the following:
- General discomfort
- Swelling or inflammation
- Scratchy or painful throat
- Constant ache in the jaw
- Difficulty forming coherent speech
- Wobbly teeth
- Mouth ulcers
How Is It Caused?
Mandibular tori can develop due to several causes, with different cases likely to have different causes. Overall, however, it is possible to sum up the general and common causes through the following sections.
Bruxism refers to the habit of tightening your jaw or constantly grinding your teeth together. Generally, this habit does not affect the other essential functions that your teeth and jaw perform, but in severe cases, the health of your teeth can be affected.
Some people might exhibit this habit during the day, while many others might carry it out subconsciously in their sleep.
Bruxism can then lead to the formation of the mandibular tori since excessive grinding might damage the muscles around this area, leading to abnormal growth of these bones near the mandible, usually on both sides.
Genetics is another likely cause of this kind of growth. As a result, generations of people might develop this condition, with the possibility of it being passed down among men being more common than that of women.
This factor is particularly noticeable in twins. According to a study conducted on 81 twin pairs, 56.8% of them reported the presence of this condition, with 93.6% of monozygotic twins and 79.4% of dizygotic twins having this condition.
Of course, this is not the only major cause that can explain its occurrence since it tends to occur randomly in many people as well.
Local stresses or trauma caused to the surrounding area of your jaw or teeth can often weaken the muscles or the healthy functioning of the system. In some cases, this can lead to the growth of the mandibular tori, which can then grow to a certain size based on the impact of the stress or trauma.
In general, dental stress or trauma is usually associated with some kind of injury caused by an accident or due to some associated condition that your mouth might end up developing.
Usually, as long as this stress or trauma persists, the tori will continue to form and grow.
Other Treatment Impacts
If you have had a recent treatment due to a separate dental condition, then it is possible that the treatment might leave you with some side effects or even some rare chronic impacts.
Most commonly, this can be seen with a root canal treatment wherein you experience too much swelling, pain, damage to nearby tissues, removal of the filling or even an allergy from the medication you are taking.
Sometimes, you might even end up damaging the filling or treatment area due to frequent grinding or biting, ultimately leading to the growth of the mandibular tori.
An asymmetrical arrangement of your teeth or jaw can also end up forming mandibular tori. This misalignment or malocclusion, especially if severe or more deformed than usual, can cause strain to your mandible.
This can then create other associated issues such as speech incoherence, difficulty eating, too much grinding, decay and wobbly teeth. The muscles in that part can also wear out and become damaged, leading to unusual growths like that of the mandibular tori, which can worsen the damage.
It is important to correct this asymmetry in your teeth and jaw by wearing braces at the right age, followed by a retainer, to ensure that the fixed positioning stays in place.
If this is still not enough, you might have to undergo some kind of treatment recommended by your orthodontist so that you can prevent the later growth of the tori.
The calcium levels in your body could lead to the growth of the mandibular tori as well. In this case, excess calcium might not easily get absorbed by your body, leading to abnormalities such as the mandibular tori.
High calcium levels could arise if you take more calcium supplements than required. In other cases, the calcium already present in your bones and muscles might get absorbed into your blood. This can cause these bones and muscles to weaken and get damaged, leading to these kinds of results.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for our bodies’ healthy functioning and growth. If you are deficient in any major or essential vitamin, this could lead to a range of health issues, including weakness of the bones and muscles.
Once again, the lack of essential vitamins can create issues when it comes to growth. The strain on the muscles around the mandible can be high and can lead to the development of the mandibular tori.
Detecting these deficiencies early on, maintaining a healthy vitamin intake or taking supplements (if required) can help prevent this kind of growth or reduce their impact if they have already formed.
Other environmental or external factors can also end up causing the mandibular tori to grow in your jaw. Apart from injuries, impacts and trauma, environmental factors can include socioeconomic conditions, access to dental care, lack of proper meals, issues with the water and more.
Overall, these factors might then also impact the growth and size of this bone as well as the manifestation and severity of symptoms. Prevention, caution and care in combination with sufficient access to healthcare can help ease the symptoms or stop the growth of these bones.
While generally harmless, mandibular tori can lead to several complications if they end up growing too big or causing too many symptoms. You can go through some of these in further detail below.
There might be too much strain on parts of your jaw if the mandibular tori grows too big. This kind of strain can then make it difficult for you to move your jaw easily while also leading to issues during eating.
The pain might also become quite severe, leading to persistent and chronic discomfort. In such a case, the best possible option might be to see your dentist and proceed based on their directions.
It can be quite easy to develop dangerous infections in your mouth due to the growth of the mandibular tori. In particular, if the bone ends up growing larger, this, in combination with its uneven shape, can lead to the accumulation of germs and bacteria.
Accessing these can prove to be difficult and perhaps even painful given the presence of the bone, so it might be important to get the part cleaned by going to the dentist. Letting these germs fester can then lead to more severe dental diseases.
The presence of the mandibular tori can put your teeth and jaw at greater risk when it comes to external injuries or even performing tasks like biting, grinding your teeth, or chewing.
This can end up hurting quite a bit and can also lead to gashes or slits that can lead to potential diseases and pain.
This kind of damage can also prove to be chronic, requiring you to seek ways of dealing with the mandibular tori and getting it removed.
Smaller bone growths are unlikely to cause such damage, but larger ones might be detrimental.
Speech impairment can be another extreme complication that you might have to consider if your mandibular tori becomes too big. Due to the size of the bone and its extension to certain parts of your mouth, forming speech using your tongue and moving your jaw can prove to be painful and difficult.
This can then lead to speech incoherence or even impairment if you do not get the bone growth treated immediately.
Luckily, this kind of damage is extremely rare since the location and positioning of the mandibular tori are closer to the teeth and can also be treated easily.
Teeth replacement can be a bit difficult if you have an extreme growth of the mandibular tori. This is because these bone growths can interfere with the new teeth and can also lead to misalignment.
Scratches, cuts and a generally high amount of pain can also occur in this kind of situation. If you have recently had your teeth replaced and also have this kind of bone growth, then damage to the new teeth can take place, leading to further complications.
Try to avoid this kind of replacement or get these bones removed before you manage to do this.
Oral cancer is another potential complication that can arise if the bone growth becomes too big and damaging since it can weaken the tissues and muscles while also harming the overall ability of your mouth to chew, bite and swallow.
Sores, pain, bleeding, numbness, wobbly teeth, lumps and others are some symptoms that can arise and that you should watch out for.
The presence of bacteria and germs in your teeth due to the bone can also increase the risk of oral cancer, especially if you do not regularly clean them. The best solution here would be to consult your dentist first.
Are there are any treatment options when it comes to your mandibular tori? Take a look.
While it can seem scary to have such a bone growth in your mouth and so close to your teeth, there is not too much cause for concern since the mandibular tori is usually quite small and often inconspicuous.
In this case, it is also unlikely to cause any symptoms in your mouth or to your general health. Thus, you do not need to seek treatment, especially with the possibility of these bones disappearing at some point.
Nevertheless, you should consult your dentist if you notice the bone and are worried.
Surgery might be required if you find that the bones are growing too big and interfering with your regular health and routine. Symptoms might also develop of varying intensities and can get in the way to quite an extent.
In this case, opting for a surgical procedure and having the tori removed may be the best course of action. Visit your dentist and listen to what they say about this since they will first take x-rays and determine the intensity and size before recommending medication or surgery.
Should I See My Dentist Right Away?
Usually, you do not need to worry about seeing your dentist right away since the bone growth should be tiny and harmless. It is only if symptoms develop or if it becomes too big that you should see your dentist.
In case you want to clear it up, making a regular visit to the dentist can help as well.
You now know all you need to be aware of when it comes to the mandibular tori. As small and asymptomatic as the condition typically is, it also runs the risk of getting bigger, so make sure you maintain your dental hygiene and keep track of your dentist appointments.