A bump on the roof of your mouth can be painful and bothersome, especially if it doesn’t go away quickly. While a bump on the roof of your mouth isn’t often cause for worry, it can be a symptom of a more serious condition.
What causes a bump on the roof of your mouth?
There are a number of reasons a bump may appear on the roof of your mouth. While many bumps are harmless, there are several types of bumps that could require medical attention.
A minor injury such as a cut, puncture, or irritation (e.g., from dentures or braces) can cause scar tissue to form on the inside of your mouth, which may feel raised or bumpy.
Consuming hot food or beverages can burn the inside of your mouth. If this happens, a blister or fluid-filled bump can form inside the mouth. If the burn is minor, it should heal without medical treatment.
Dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance can occasionally cause a bump on the roof of the mouth. Your mouth may also feel dry and sore.
An inflamed salivary gland can cause mucoceles, or a mucous-filled cyst, to form. Mucoceles usually don’t require treatment and often disappear on their own within several weeks.
Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, caused by the herpes virus HSV1. They’re small, painful blisters that usually appear around the lips. The virus lives in the mouth and can cause sores to appear on the gums, tongue, or on the roof of your mouth. Cold sores are highly contagious, so it’s important to avoid kissing and sharing utensils, cups, towels, and toothbrushes with others until the cold sore is completely healed.
Canker sores are round, white ulcers of the mouth that usually appear on the soft tissue near your teeth or on the roof of your mouth. Unlike cold sores, canker sores aren’t contagious and usually go away within a couple of weeks.
Epstein pearls are small white or yellow bumps found on the roof of your mouth or along your gums. They’re benign, painless, and often disappear within a couple of weeks without any treatment. However, it’s recommended to seek treatment for epstein pearls if they become painful.
Torus palatinus is a hard bump on the roof of the mouth that may indicate an additional bone growth. Torus palatinus isn’t a harmful condition and therefore doesn’t usually require treatment unless it interferes with your ability to eat, drink, or speak.
If you have white, creamy-looking lesions inside or on the roof of your mouth accompanied by soreness, bleeding, or difficulty eating and swallowing, you may have candidiasis. Candidiasis is a fungal overgrowth that usually ails individuals with compromised immune systems.
Benign, or noncancerous, tumors are growths that can affect any area of the mouth. While they may be irritating, they are unlikely to spread. Benign tumors are most often caused by constant irritation or viruses.
Oral cancer is usually found on the mouth or lips, but in some cases, oral cancer can attack the salivary glands, which may cause a painful bump on the roof of your mouth. Symptoms of oral cancer include sores that bleed and don’t heal, thick mucus, and jaw pain. Tobacco users who notice these symptoms should contact a doctor right away.
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When should you see a doctor about a bump on the roof of your mouth?
If you’ve suffered from a major burn, trauma, or injury to the mouth, it’s wise to seek treatment from a healthcare professional right away. Alternatively, if a bump on the roof of your mouth hasn’t healed after two weeks, changes significantly in shape or size, bleeds persistently, makes it too painful to eat, drink, or talk, or causes your dentures to fit improperly, it’s time to see a doctor.
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Johnson, J. Bump on the Roof of the Mouth: 12 Causes. Medical News Today. MediLexicon International
Komaroff, Anthony L. The Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide. Free Press. 2005.