Torus Palatinus: When Minor Surgery Can Be Needed Before Dentures

Posted on

Obviously, receiving your first set of dentures requires some preparation. Your dentures are being made specifically for you, and it's not as though such an essential aid can be pre-made and used as-is. This preparation requires your dentist to take measurements and a physical impression of your gums and palate, which shouldn't be a surprise. What might be a surprise is when you're told that you need minor surgery before you can receive dentures. 

Bony Protrusion

A torus palatinus is a small bony protrusion in the roof of your mouth (your upper palate). It's usually quite centralised in the palate, tends to develop in adulthood, and can grow in size over the years. It can be inherited as a genetic trait (a process called autosomal dominant inheritance) with various lifestyle and dietary factors also playing the role. Some ethnicities may be more susceptible than others. In any event, it's a common condition, affecting anywhere between 9% and 60% of the population. 

A Harmless Growth

In addition to being common, a torus palatinus is harmless. A biopsy may be taken to ensure that it's not a potentially malignant growth, but when torus palatinus is positively diagnosed, it's quite typical for no further action to be taken. Surgical removal is only recommended if the growth is affecting oral hygiene, speech, and/or your ability to chew food. It's a different story for a patient who needs dentures.

Complete or Partial Dentures

The surgical removal of a torus palatinus can be a prerequisite for dentures. This is more likely to be mandatory for complete dentures, which rely on the physical connection between the palate and the denture base plate. Partial dentures, affixed to an existing tooth via a clasp, may be unaffected by the presence of a torus palatinus.

Removal of the Growth

Under anaesthetic, the torus palatinus will be removed using a dental fissure bur. This is a small handheld tool designed to cut through bony tissues. Laser removal may also be possible. There will be some bleeding and swelling during recovery. As the lining of your mouth (the mucosal membrane) heals, the natural dimensions of your upper palate are restored. This means you can now be measured for the dental impression that will be used to fabricate your dentures, resulting in a base plate that matches the exact contours of the underlying mucosal membrane. This ensures a perfect fit, which would not have been possible with the presence of the torus palatinus.

Removal of a torus palatinus prior to being measured for dentures can be a complication, but rest assured that, as far as complications go, it's extremely easy to overcome.