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Dental and Oral Health (Children)

Lump on hard palate of 3-month-old infant

09/03/2008

Question:

WHAT WOULD CAUSE A HARD LUMP IN THE CENTER OF THE HARD PALATE ON A 3-MONTH OLD BABY? CAN CONTINUOUS PACIFIER USE CAUSE A CALLOUS? IT`S HARD LIKE THERE IS BONE UNDER IT; NOT WIGGLY LIKE A BLISTER. THERE ARE NO DISCOLORATIONS. THE REST OF THE MOUTH IS CLEAR OF THRUSH, AND THE PEDIATRICIAN DOESN`T KNOW WHAT IT IS. SHE IS REFERRING US TO A PEDIATRIC DENTIST IN TWO WEEKS TO GET X-RAYS. CAN A BABY TOOTH COME THROUGH THE ROOF OF THE MOUTH? WE NOTICED THE LUMP WHEN LOOKING FOR TOOTH BUDS BECAUSE THE BABY IS DROOLING AND CHEWING FINGERS. TOUCHING IT CAUSES A GAG REFLEX. THE BABY EATS AND SWALLOWS OKAY; OTHERWISE, NICE AND ROUND AND HEALTHY.

Answer:

There is a common benign (harmless) bony bump that develops in the middle of the posterior (back part) of the hard palate in about 25% of the population. It is called a palatal torus, but normally these start developing a bit later in childhood. That would be more likely, however, than a tooth developing in this area, and it would be highly unlikely that it is related to pacifier use. It would be appropriate for the pediatric dentist to examine this lesion.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University