Dental tori have a prevalence of five to 40 percent worldwide and affect seven to 10 percent of people in the US. Tori are extra bone growths that can develop on the roof of your mouth or near your lower teeth roots. If you move your tongue around your mouth and can feel a bump in these areas, it could be a torus.
These growths of bone usually affect both sides of the mouth, but it is possible to have one on only the left or right side. The bone that grows gets covered with gum tissue. While these are not present in all people, they are considered harmless. However, if they are causing discomfort or growing too large, you can talk to your dentist about removing them.
What Causes a Dental Tori
Experts believe that there is a genetic component to dental tori. Another theory is that grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw increase your risk of this condition. Dentists say that people who do this do tend to have an increased incidence of this condition. Other dentists believe that you are at an increased risk of you experience jaw or facial trauma.
It is known that men develop dental tori more often than women. One study showed that men with dental tori on their palate had much lower levels of the cortisol hormone in their saliva. Bone mineral density might also play a role in developing tori.
How Are Dental Tori Treated?
Tori do not go away on their own. While they stop growing eventually, they will not shrink. Because of this, those experiencing issues or discomfort (if they don’t bother you, you don’t need to have them removed) will need to consult with their dentist to receive treatment. A surgical procedure is necessary to remove dental tori.
The first step is a pre-surgical evaluation. Here your dentist will get information about your general health and do another assessment of the torus. They will explain the procedure and the possible risks so that you are fully prepared before the day of your surgery.
Once you arrive for the day of the surgery, you will get prepped and ready and anesthesia will be administered. For a palate torus, local anesthesia to numb the area is common. However, if you have a mandibular torus, your dentist may use general anesthesia so that you sleep during the surgery. If your torus is especially big, general anesthesia might be used even if it is being removed from your palate.
The surgeon starts by opening the gum tissue using a scalpel. Once the bone is exposed and the tissue is reflected, the surgeon will use hand pieces and instruments to smooth down and remove the excess bone that caused your torus. After everything is fully removed, saline or another local irritant is applied to the area to clean it. Once this part is done, the wound is closed using sutures.
Your dentist might choose to use dissolvable sutures, or you might need to come back and have them removed. It is important that you follow all of the post-surgical instructions so that you can heal from the procedure and reduce your risk of experiencing an infection.
It is rare for a dental torus to regrow after you have it removed. While your dentist might recommend a second surgery to remove extra bone, the torus itself will be gone.
In the rare cases where regrowth does happen, it is generally associated with certain genetic diseases. Should this happen, the regrowth of the torus is usually very slow.
How Painful is it to Remove Dental Tori?
The dentist will ensure that you are comfortable by administering a local anesthetic or a general anesthetic, depending on the locatio0n and size of the torus. Once the procedure is over, you are provided with pain medicine to help alleviate any discomfort during the healing period. Your dentist will also prescribe antibiotics to reduce your risk of infection which can increase your discomfort.
How Much Does it Cost?
The average price for dental tori removal is $600. This is for an individual torus. You can expect increased costs if you need to have more than one removed. It could also cost more if your torus is especially large. Not all insurance carriers will pay for the removal of dental tori, so it is important to check with them first to see if they cover the procedure and how much of it they will cover.
What is the Recovery Like for Removing Dental Tori
For the first week following your surgery, it is not uncommon to have some swelling and soreness. Taking your medicines as prescribed can help to keep this discomfort at a tolerable level. On average, you can expect about eight weeks of total recovery time, but most people do not have discomfort for more than a week.
During the healing process, your dentist might recommend that you use saltwater rinses. These can help to reduce your total recovery time. Rinsing with saltwater can also help to remove any debris that get stuck at the surgical site to reduce your risk of an infection.
Dental tori are not considered to be harmful, but some people will need to have them removed. With this information you can ensure that you are more informed about what removal entails. Visit your dentist to get an examination to determine if removal is necessary.