The term torus palatinus is used to describe the presence of a hard bony protrusion on the hard palate in the upper part of the oral cavity.
Torus Palatinus Definition
The name torus palatinus, like most medical terms, is derived from Latin. The word torus has several different meanings but in this case is used to signify a bulge, protrusion or projection. Palatinus also has a variety of different meanings but its use here simply indicates that the palate is involved. Whereas the name torus palatinus is used where a single feature is present, in many cases there may be more than one and the plural form of the name, tori palatini, may be encountered. In English, the names palatinus torus and palatal tori are also commonly used.
Torus Palatinus Pictures
By examining pictures of this condition, it can be seen that these protrusions occur in a variety of different shapes varying from simple fairly flat swellings to being ridge shaped or in the form of separate nodules or of lobular form. The thing that they all have in common is that they are located along the centre line of the roof of the mouth. Having regard to the position of bones in this area, torus palatinus is to be found at the junction of the intermaxillary suture and the transverse palatine suture.
Torus Palatinus Causes and Medical Significance
Tori palatini are extremely common and can be seen to some extent in around 20% of the adult population. They are therefore considered to be a normal anatomical variance. There is no known causative factor but the condition can run in families so there is almost certainly some genetic predisposition in some individuals. Race may also play a part in the condition and eastern Asian populations show higher incidences as do the Native American and Inuit peoples. Females are twice as likely to be affected as males.
In the majority of cases, the tori remain fairly small, typically less than 20 mm across and cause no problems but occasionally, they may give rise to ulcers due to trauma. The thinness of the covering skin may also result in some abrasions. In cases where the tori are large or rapid growth is experienced, they may affect speech and of course they can cause some problems for denture wearers. In most cases, dentures will be made to fit perfectly but there can be problems obtaining a suitable seal depending on the shape, size and location of the tori. Tori palatini most frequently arise during early adulthood and they can increase in size. In old age, they may actually reduce in size. Obviously the appearance of any hard lump which seems to be growing in size can be extremely worrying and medical examination is always required but torus palatinus is considered to be perfectly normal and a doctor will soon dispel any concerns about the possibility of cancer.
Torus Palatinus Treatment and Removal
In the vast majority of cases, no form of treatment will be deemed necessary but occasionally the tori may cause some physical problems especially if particularly large or positioned so as to interfere with dentures and removal may be considered appropriate. This will of course be carried out under a general anaesthetic by a specialist in oral surgery but it is considered to be an extremely straightforward procedure. A successful outcome and uneventful recovery is to be expected and there is no reason to expect any recurrence of the condition. Torus palatinus is therefore usually considered to be of no medical significance but a very common variation of normal. A similar condition, torus mandibularis, can also occur in the lower jaw with bony growth developing but this is completely unrelated. It is very important to have any unexplained oral lesions medically examined as soon as they appear in order to have them correctly diagnosed and treated appropriately.