What Are the Causes of a Growth on the Roof of the Mouth?

You may be concerned if you suddenly notice a strange lump or bump anywhere on your body, including in your mouth. Lumps or growths on the roof of your mouth are often benign and easily treated, but sometimes can indicate a more serious condition. If you notice any strange lesion, growth, bump or cyst on the roof of your mouth, see your dentist as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Torus Palatinus

A torus palatinus is a lump of bone that grows on the roof of the mouth. According to the Atlanta Dental Group, this condition may be more likely if you grind your teeth. It may consist of one large bump or several smaller bumps. They are usually painless, unless you bump or scratch them while eating. You might not notice that it is growing at all until it gets quite large. Most of the time, it doesn't require any treatment. If you need to have dentures fitted, though, the torus might get in the way. Your dentist can remove it with local anesthesia in his office.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, or cancer of the mouth, can be present as a growth, irritation or sore on any area of the mouth, including the roof of the mouth. If you notice a lump, bump, crusty area or patches of irregular skin or tissue on the roof of your mouth, see your dentist promptly for evaluation. If you smoke, you are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than if you don't, says the Cleveland Clinic. Other risk factors include a family history of cancer and heavy alcohol use. If your dentist discovers that you have oral cancer, she will refer you to an oncologist, or cancer specialist, for treatment.


A mucocele is a clear or blue-tinged growth that looks like a bubble. Mucoceles are caused by blocked salivary glands. Most appear under your tongue or on your lips, but sometimes you may notice them on the roof of your mouth. Mucoceles are harmless, says Net Wellness, but can be annoying. If you injure your mucocele, it may bleed internally, making it look red or purple. Sometimes they swell and break, but they usually come back. If you have a mucocele, your dentist can refer you to an oral surgeon for removal.

Epstein Pearls

If you notice white or yellowish pearl-like growths on the roof of your baby's mouth, do not panic. They are most likely Epstein pearls, which are small protein-filled cysts. According to Medline Plus, these harmless cysts are present in four out of five babies. Some new mothers mistake Epstein pearls for teeth. No treatment is necessary; they clear up on their own within two weeks.