10 Causes of a Bump on The Roof of Your Mouth

Discovering a bump on the roof of your mouth can be a worrisome experience. While it’s natural to feel concerned, it’s essential to remember that there are several causes for bumps in the oral cavity, and many are relatively harmless. In this article, we will explore ten possible causes of a bump on the roof of your mouth, aiming to provide you with peace of mind and guidance for any necessary next steps. These most common causes for bumps on the roof of your mouth include:

  1. Canker Sores
  2. Trauma, Injury, or Burn
  3. Nasopalatine Duct Cyst
  4. Cold Sores
  5. Epstein Pearls
  6. Torus Palatinius
  7. Mucoceles
  8. Oral Cancer
  9. Hyperdontia or Ectopic Teeth
  10. Squamous Papilloma

1. Canker Sores

One of the most common causes of bumps on the roof of your mouth is canker sores, medically known as aphthous ulcers. These small, shallow, and round or oval-shaped sores can be painful, but tend to heal on their own within a week or two. The exact cause of canker sores is unknown, but they can be triggered by factors such as stress, hormonal fluctuations, and food sensitivities.

It is important to note that canker sores are not contagious, and they are not the same as cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus. Canker sores can occur anywhere on the unattached tissue of the mouth, including on the soft palate, as bumps on your tongue, and inside the cheeks.

If you experience frequent canker sores, it may be helpful to keep a food diary to identify any trigger foods. Some common culprits include citrus fruits, spicy foods, and acidic foods like tomatoes and vinegar. Hormonal changes during menstruation or pregnancy can also increase the likelihood of developing canker sores.

If your canker sore doesn’t improve or worsens, consult your dentist or doctor for further evaluation. In rare cases, canker sores can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as an autoimmune disease or vitamin deficiency.

2. Trauma, Injury, or Burn

Biting the roof of your mouth, eating hot or abrasive foods, or even aggressive brushing can cause an oral injury. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more serious burns or fractures. If you experience severe pain, bleeding, or swelling, it is important to seek medical attention right away.

In most cases, minor bumps and swelling will heal naturally over a few days or weeks. To aid the healing process and manage discomfort, try rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater solution or using over-the-counter pain relievers. Avoid consuming spicy, acidic, or hot foods and beverages to prevent further irritation.

For more serious injuries or burns, your dentist or doctor may recommend additional treatment options, such as antibiotics, oral rinses, or pain medication. They may also recommend a soft or liquid diet to help prevent further irritation and promote healing.

It is important to take care of your oral health and seek medical attention if you experience any pain or discomfort in your mouth. By practicing good oral hygiene, avoiding harmful foods and activities, and seeking prompt medical attention when necessary, you can help prevent oral injuries and promote overall health and wellness.

3. Nasopalatine Duct Cyst

Nasopalatine duct cysts are a common occurrence in the oral cavity. They develop in the nasopalatine canal which is a small canal that connects the oral and nasal cavities. These cysts are usually non-cancerous and are not related to any dental issues. 

However, in some cases, these cysts can cause discomfort and interfere with daily activities such as speaking, swallowing, and eating. The symptoms of a nasopalatine duct cyst may include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. 

If you suspect that you have a nasopalatine duct cyst, it is important to visit your dentist or oral surgeon for an evaluation. Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of the affected area and may recommend further tests such as an X-ray or CT scan to determine the size and severity of the cyst. 

Depending on the size and severity of the cyst, your dentist may recommend draining the cyst or surgically removing it. In most cases, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia and is relatively quick and painless. After the procedure, your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to care for the affected area to prevent complications such as infection or bleeding. 

It is important to note that while nasopalatine duct cysts are generally benign, there is a small risk of recurrence. Your dentist will monitor the affected area and may recommend follow-up appointments to ensure that the cyst does not return. 

In conclusion, if you suspect that you have a nasopalatine duct cyst, it is important to seek prompt evaluation and treatment from your dentist or oral surgeon. With proper care and treatment, you can alleviate your symptoms and prevent complications.

4. Cold Sores

Caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1), cold sores are usually small, painful blisters that can appear on or around the lips, as well as inside the mouth on any attached tissue. Cold sores are contagious viruses, and can spread through direct contact with an infected person or saliva.

When someone gets infected with HSV-1, the virus can remain dormant in the body for years. However, certain triggers such as stress, illness, or exposure to sunlight can cause the virus to reactivate, leading to a cold sore outbreak.

Although cold sores are generally not a serious health concern, they can be uncomfortable and unsightly. The blisters can take up to two weeks to heal and may leave scarring or discoloration behind.

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help manage cold sore outbreaks. Topical creams and ointments containing antiviral medications such as acyclovir or penciclovir can help reduce the duration and severity of symptoms. In some cases, oral antiviral medications may also be prescribed.

Avoiding triggers such as excessive sun exposure or stress can help try to prevent cold sores. Additionally, it is recommended to avoid sharing personal items such as utensils, towels, and lip balms with others to prevent spreading the virus.

If you experience frequent or severe cold sore outbreaks, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider. They can provide further guidance on managing your symptoms and preventing future outbreaks.

5. Epstein Pearls

Epstein pearls are small, benign cysts that typically present in newborns and infants. These whitish-yellow bumps usually form on the roof of the mouth and do not cause discomfort or pain. They are relatively common, affecting approximately 80% of newborns, and often disappear within a few weeks of birth.

While Epstein pearls are generally harmless, it is important to understand their origin and how they form. These cysts are actually a type of dental lamina cyst, and are formed from remnants of tissue that were involved in the development of the mouth and teeth during fetal development. They are not contagious, and are not caused by poor hygiene or any other external factors.

It is also important to note that while Epstein pearls are usually found on the roof of the mouth, they can also occur as bumps on the back of the tongue or gums. If you notice any unusual bumps or growths in your child’s mouth, it is always best to consult with your pediatrician to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

Since Epstein pearls are harmless and self-resolving, no treatment is necessary. However, it is important to monitor the cysts and ensure that they do not become infected or cause any discomfort to your child. If you have concerns about the appearance of your child’s mouth or if the bump does not resolve within several weeks, consult with your pediatrician for further evaluation and reassurance.

6. Torus Palatinus

A torus palatinus is a common and benign bony growth that appears on the roof of the mouth. It is typically slow-growing and painless, and is covered by a thin layer of tissue. While it may initially cause concern for those who discover it, it is important to know that torus palatinus is not a serious medical condition, and does not increase the risk of oral cancer.

While the exact cause of torus palatinus is unknown, there are several factors that are thought to contribute to its development. Genetic factors may play a role, as it tends to run in families.

Although torus palatinus is generally not a cause for concern, there are some cases where it may interfere with daily activities such as eating, speaking, or wearing dental appliances such as dentures. In such cases, surgical removal may be considered to improve function, and comfort in the oral cavity. However, it is important to note that surgery is not always necessary and should only be considered if the torus palatinus is causing significant discomfort or interfering with daily activities.

If you have discovered a torus palatinus that is causing you discomfort in your mouth, it is important to consult with a dental professional to determine the best course of action. Your dentist or oral surgeon can provide you with more information on the condition and help you decide whether or not treatment is necessary.

It is also important to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, to prevent the development of other oral health issues.

7. Mucoceles

Mucoceles are small, benign, fluid-filled cysts that develop in the oral cavity due to blockage or rupture of a salivary gland duct. They are generally painless, appearing as small, dome-shaped bumps covered by thin, translucent tissue. Mucoceles are typically harmless and may resolve on their own or require minor surgical intervention to remove the affected gland.

If you suspect a mucocele, visit your dentist or oral surgeon for a proper evaluation and treatment recommendation. In some cases, the mucocele may need to be drained or surgically removed to alleviate symptoms and prevent recurrence.

8. Oral Cancer

Although rare, oral cancer can present as a bump, sore, or mass on the roof of your mouth. Early detection is crucial, as timely treatment can significantly improve prognosis and survival rates. Risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, and a history of HPV infection.

If a bump in your mouth doesn’t heal within two to three weeks, is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or weight loss, or you have risk factors for oral cancer, visit your healthcare professional for a thorough examination and evaluation.

9. Hyperdontia or Ectopic Teeth

Hyperdontia is a dental condition characterized by the presence of extra (supernumerary) teeth. Ectopic teeth are teeth that develop outside the dental arch.  Additional teeth can form on the roof of the mouth or other areas of the oral cavity. Hyperdontia and ectopic teeth can lead to a range of dental issues, such as crowding, impaction, and malocclusion, and may require intervention from a dentist or orthodontist.

Treatment for hyperdontia and ectopic teeth depends on the severity of the condition, the location of the supernumerary teeth, and associated dental health concerns. In some cases, surgical removal of the extra teeth and orthodontic treatment to align the remaining dentition may be necessary.

10. Squamous Papilloma

Squamous papillomas are benign growths that can develop on the roof of your mouth, as well as other areas of the oral cavity. These small, wart-like bumps are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and generally do not cause pain or discomfort. In most cases, squamous papillomas do not require treatment unless they become irritated, painful, or compromise oral function.

If you are concerned about a squamous papilloma, consult your dentist or oral surgeon for an evaluation. If necessary, the papilloma can be surgically removed or treated using alternative methods, such as laser therapy or cryotherapy.

In conclusion, a bump on the roof of your mouth can have various causes, ranging from harmless to more significant health concerns. If you notice a bump that doesn’t resolve within two to three weeks or experience other concerning symptoms, consult your healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and treatment recommendations.


All Second Opinion Dentist content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

  1. Dedhia, P., Dedhia, S., Dhokar, A., & Desai, A. (2013). Nasopalatine Duct Cyst. Case Reports in Dentistry, 2013, 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/869516
  2. Cold sores: Diagnosis and treatment. (n.d.). Www.aad.org. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/cold-sores-treatment
  3. ‌Diaz de Ortiz, L. E., & Mendez, M. D. (2020). Epstein Pearls. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493177/
  4. Mouth Sores and Pain. (n.d.). Www.cancer.org. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/eating-problems/mouth-sores.html

About the author

Dr. Latecia Miller is a board-certified dentist and graduate of The University of Utah School of Dentistry. She has several years of clinical practice experience across a wide variety of cases, treatment, and research. Dr. Miller's primary goal is to spread her love of dental health to her patients and the public.