What is going on in my mouth ?
December 13, 2013 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I just discovered a hard, white, roughly quarter-inch lump in my mouth, just behind my incisors on my jaw. It is painless, and I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday, but I am curious and slightly freaking out as to what this could be.

I had a similar white, painless, benign lump removed about five years ago, but it was considerably smaller than this.

Thanks, everyone.
posted by 4ster to Health & Fitness (17 answers total)
A supernumerary tooth?
posted by ssg at 12:25 PM on December 13, 2013

I would think given your history that it is similar to whatever it was before, just bigger. It was benign last time, nothing to freak out about, right? So just try to talk yourself down for now and let your doctor tell you whether or not to worry come Tuesday. Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 12:30 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

is it fleshy or is it bone? The reason that I ask is I had a tooth with an infected root and the root would build up dead white blood cells and it built a gum fistula (WARNING: GROSS). The dentist X-rayed, found the tooth, and then performed a root canal and crowned the tooth.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:31 PM on December 13, 2013

I also a gum fistula when I was young - it was also painless and was also the sign of an infection. Making a dental appointment was a good choice, don't freak out! You're fine until Tuesday. Deep breaths. =)
posted by maryr at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2013

Years ago my girlfriend had some weird bit of excess tooth growth in her mouth, like a root overgrew or something. It poked through the gums, but didn't hurt. Her dentist filed it off in 30 seconds and that was the end of it. Bodies are weird.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:15 PM on December 13, 2013

I had a very similar sounding bony lump on the roof of my mouth a few years ago. The dentist theorized that I'd probably burned or scraped the flesh, and had actually exposed a bit of bone. The skin (or whatever you'd call the inside of your mouth) eventually did grow back over the exposed bone bump. It was weird.
posted by Kriesa at 1:24 PM on December 13, 2013

I had something like this once that turned out to be a torus mandibularis. I can't diagnose you, but if this is what you have, it's totally benign and nothing to worry about.
posted by googly at 1:29 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Torus mandibularis was my first thought too. (Well, OK, my first thought was "Oh, I know this! It's that thing, that bony overgrowth thing that happens because of. . . because of reasons. Crap, what is wrong with my memory?!" but you get the idea.) My husband has a bilateral pair, they are benign.
posted by KathrynT at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had something like this in the same area. I asked a question about it here. Use the search term "osteonecrosis of the jaw" to find it. My dentist, an old guy, had never seen anything like it. He sent me to an oral surgeon. It's not rare to them.

What I had in that area was kind of like a torus but it was actually a piece of my jawbone that for whatever reason had started to jut out and die.

It was benign for a few months after I noticed it and then it got irritated. Once that happened I was in severe pain.

I tried to treat it with Peridex following the oral surgeon's instructions, and it got better. As soon as I stopped with the Peridex, it got inflamed again.

The oral surgeon went in and shaved off the bit that was causing a problem and then tucked the gum over the area. I was certain I'd be miserable for a week but I was feeling fine the day after the procedure. It healed and I haven't had a problem since.

The other thing it could be is a leftover piece of a tooth fragment if you have had a tooth extraction in that general area, it's very common for a piece to get left behind. Since you had a lump removed from that area it could be related to that mass.

Having been through that ordeal, if I were to do it again I'd have moved quickly and get the thing removed before it started trouble. Conservative treatment is not good when you're dealing with potential open sores and exposed bone in your mouth!

Best of luck!
posted by vincele at 1:50 PM on December 13, 2013

Most likely it's a torus. They are no biggie.
posted by ravioli at 2:11 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Too big to be a Fordyce spot? I get those.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:12 PM on December 13, 2013

Maybe a tonsil stone/tonsil calculus?
posted by jabes at 2:38 PM on December 13, 2013 [3 favorites]

Could be what I looked up and found to be an enameloma, or what my dentist suggested I think of instead as an enamel pearl. I like that wording better, too. ;] I've still got mine, it seems to have stopped growing, and I hardly ever think about it.
posted by fiercecupcake at 5:23 PM on December 13, 2013

Tonsillith would be my first thought.
posted by padraigin at 7:46 PM on December 13, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bone shard? My wife had a few emerge from her gum. Gross and irritating, but not a big deal in and of themselves. The clenching her jaw and grinding of her teeth hat the dentist thought was the cause was a bigger issue, but was already being addressed.
posted by Good Brain at 11:00 PM on December 13, 2013

Even though it might appear to be directly on a tonsil, it could be (as others have stated) a tonsillolith. My contribution is this: give it a squeeze to see if it moves. Because if it IS a tonsillolith, you can cancel your dental appointment, AND removing it will be one of the grossest and yet most eerily satisfying things you ever experience.
posted by sarling at 10:59 AM on December 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Torus FTW. Thanks everyone for your help!
posted by 4ster at 1:41 PM on December 18, 2013

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