Sore Swollen Bump (Lump) on Roof of Mouth, Causes & Treatment Options

Feeling a hard or sore spot on the palate is uncomfortable. While small spots can be ignored, big hard lumps on the roof of mouth can mean a serious health problem.

A bump on the roof of mouth can mean oral cancer, ulcers, some STDs, allergies, canker sores etc. In some cases, sinus infections can also cause painful bumps behind your front teeth.

Such may appear as growths on the palate or upper part of your mouth and can feel hard and painful especially when just behind your front teeth.

  • A small lump starts as small pimple-like spot. It then toughens and grows into a bigger growth that can become sore and irritated.
  • Depending on the cause, mouth lumps can appear as red or white.
  • Some may bleed while others may not.

Regardless of the size, it is important you see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Large bump on roof of mouth
Lumps on the palate can vary in size. Some are small, others are large growths.

Allergies, cancers, some STDs, smoking, some dentures etc. are known to cause growths, white coatings and lumps in the mouth.

When the causes are not serious, home treatments can get rid the symptom. But in serious cases such as cancer and mouth ulcers, proper treatment must be given. That is why it is important to know exact cause of your problem.

1. Sinus infection

A growth on the roof of mouth can also be a sinus growth, also referred to as maxillary sinus growths. According to Healthy Life Med, these growths occur on the maxilla bone which is present in the upper jaw.

If this bone is attacked by cancer (maxillary sinus cancer), small growths can protrude through the upper palate. These growths can appear as small bumps on the roof of your mouth. Your palate may also swell and other than the lumps, you might experience additional symptoms such as nasal sores  and scabs, reduced sense of smell and headaches.


2. Oral cancer

Bumps that won’t heal or won’t go away could be a sign of mouth cancer? Oral cancer can manifest with symptoms such as hard lumps anywhere in your mouth. They can be bumps on lips, mouth, palate, tonsils, throat and even on your tongue.

Cancerous lumps appear dark and keep growing or becoming bigger with time. Co-occurring symptoms of mouth cancer include unusual swellings on the head, neck area, gums and lips.

See a doctor if you discover any hard spots on your palate that won’t go away after 3 weeks and feel painless or painful.

3. Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers appear as oval sores that usually develop in the oral cavity. The common areas affected are the inside of cheeks and lips.

The ulcers can appear as yellow, red or white bumps. Possible causes of mouth ulcers include “feeling stressed or anxious, eating certain foods, hormonal changes and stopping smoking… underlying health condition, such as iron deficiency anaemia or Crohn’s disease.” []

4. Canker sores

A canker sore on the palate is a small bump or shallow lesion usually developing on the soft tissues of the soft palate. Canker sores can appear on the gums and may feel painful.

Before canker sores form in the oral cavity and near the throat, you might experience a tingling, burning or prickling sensation.

The resultant growths can appear as yellow, white or gray in color. The boarder appears as a red ring around the sore.

5. Allergies

Itchy bumps in the mouth could be an allergic reaction to something. Most allergic reactions are caused by some foods, medications and even vaccines.

In most cases, lichen planus produces similar small itchy bumps on the roof of mouth that can be confused with an allergic reaction.

  • If the spots are caused by an allergy, identify the irritant and stop using it.
  • Some allergies can be severe and cause a swollen roof of mouth, enlarged uvula and throat, difficulty in swallowing, talking and breathing.

Such is an emergency situation and should be rushed to the hospital.

6. STDs, Herpes and HIV

Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV and oral herpes can show symptoms similar to bumps in the mouth. Herpes simplex virus is known to cause small bumps that appear as painful blisters on the lips, mouth, gums and roof of mouth.

According to NLM, although the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is the main cause of mouth roof bumps, “sometimes HSV-2 is spread to the mouth during oral sex, causing oral herpes.” This is why some people also get a bump on roof of mouth after kissing.

HIV and AIDS is also a viral infection that weakens the immune system, causing oral thrush or yeast infections in the mouth that manifest as painful bumps on the palate, back of throat and generally around the mouth.

7. Lump after root canal – from dentures or braces

After root canal after surgery or root extraction, you might experience a hard lump on the roof of mouth near the gums of the upper teeth. Some of these may start as pimples on gums or near gums, but the bumps may be persistent and remain after a while. Root canal or after dentist bumps may occur as a result of yeast infections in the mouth as a result of improper brushing of the teeth.

According to Dr. James Jacobs writing on Everyday Health’s dental health section, “The “bumps” you feel on your palate are probably caused by rubbing of the back edge of your denture against your soft palate.” These bumps from irritation are common in people with dental braces or dentures that don’t fit well.

Papillary hyperplasia is also another condition that causes inflamed cold sores on the roof of mouth. It occurs a lot in people who have dentures.

8. Tongue ring

Do you have a tongue piercing? Well, a sore bump on roof of mouth might be related to the tongue ring you wear. The tongue rests on the palate when your mouth is closed with a little pressure. The ring, being a foreign body in the mouth can irritate the palate and cause a bump to form.

An infection on the tongue piercing can also spread to the roof of your mouth and cause painful lumps to form as well.

9. Torus Palatinus

A hard bump on the roof of the mouth could also be what is called torus palatinus. This is a benign growth that feels bony or tough. The shape of this kind of lump varies. Some appear as hard nodules, others lobes, spindles or even rounded.

A hard torus platinus growth on roof of mouth is not cancerous and may not feel painful at all. Most cases occur as a result of genetic factors, injury in the oral cavity and even forceful mastication of food.

Your dentist might use local anesthesia to remove these growths – if there is need, usually if they cause problems when eating.

10. Smoking and burns from hot foods

Smoking and drinking excessively are both associated with growths on the roof of the mouth.

According to DermNet NZ, lumps on the palate occur as a result of a condition called a smoker’s palate or nicotine stomatitis. Some sources refer to the condition as smoker’s keratosis.

  • Smoking causes white bumps that may have a sunken red dot in the middle.
  • The reason is extreme heat in the mouth due to smoking cigarettes.
  • Pipe smokers are at a higher risk of getting a smoker’s palate.

The palate can also develop blisters and hard growths due to burning. Cigarette smoke burns the mouth as well as the throat.

If you also get this symptom after eating certain foods such as chips, try to eat cooler foods to prevent the problems. Eating hot food and drinking hot fluids also burns the roof of your mouth and can cause such symptoms to occur.

11. Adenocarcinoma and swollen salivary glands

The palate, or upper part of the mouth has minor salivary glands. These glands often swell with infections or even cancer. Adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that affects the salivary glands located on the palate.

Adenocarcinoma is common in reverse smokers (those who smoke with the lit end of the cigarette placed inside the mouth) as well as pipe smokers. If you experience pain associated with the roof of mouth bumps, your doctor will prescribe painkillers.

12. Mucocele (white cyst)

A white bump or a clear lump on roof of mouth that appears as a soft cyst is likely to be a mucocele. These are mostly harmless cysts or swellings in the mouth.

They occur when salivary glands are blocked or injured. A mucocele swelling will only form where there are salivary glands – “the inside of your lower lips, your gums, the roof of your mouth, or under your tongue. Those on the floor of the mouth are called ranulas.” [].

13. Tooth abscess or bone lumps

Some lumps may feel as bone lumps. A tooth abscess feels like bone and may appear on the palate near teeth on the upper jaw.

When you suffer from tooth decay, abscesses form and surround the roots of your teeth. As the abscess increases in size, it causes plaque buildup.

Bulges near the palate may be felt. These feel like small bony protrusions and can cause a lot of discomfort in the mouth.

14. Small lump from Epstein pearls

Epstein pearls are sometimes called palatal cysts of the newborn. They appear little white or yellow bumps on gums and roof of mouth. These tiny palatal cysts are harmless protein-filled lumps and do not need treatment.

Apart from these 14 causes of a lump on roof of mouth, some people complain of the same after a cold, when they have strep throat or sore throat and generally when sick. It is also fairly common that mono (mononucleosis), vomiting and drinking excessively can cause bumps on the palate, back of tongue and throat.


Is it a bump, a pimple or a sore on the roof of your mouth? What does it look like? Hard spots are usually different from blisters in the mouth.

Blisters are tender and soft but most palatal bumps are hard. When you feel with your tongue, the growth may be hard and painful, usually right behind your front teeth. Here are pictures to help you identify your symptoms.

Painful bumps on roof of mouth (hurts)

Painful lumps may make it hard to swallow. If you have large growths in your mouth, they can easily get bruised or injured when eating. Tooth abscesses and oral infections are all known to cause bumps that hurt in the upper part of the mouth.

It is normal to feel pain when the salivary glands get any kind of infection. The same happens when the mucosa on the palate or upper side of your mouth becomes bruised, scalded or injured. When at the back of the throat, a painful bump will make it difficult to swallow.

In some instances, you can get a painless bump on roof of the mouth. While these are common, it is advisable that you do not ignore them. Some serious diseases such as cancer can produce a growth that doesn’t hurt in the oral cavity.

Hard bumps

Protruding bones near the gum line due to a dental abscess normally cause a hard bump. Abscesses are common with hard bumps behind teeth or between the front teeth or and near the back of the palate. These can cause tooth pain and difficulty in chewing.

Another possible cause is torus palatinus, a hard protrusion of a bony structure that appears on the upper part of the mouth.

The size of palatal tori may differ from one person to another, though it is normal to find them less than 2 centimeters in diameter. These hard lumps can however change in size, growing or getting bigger than this over time.

Other symptoms

Other related symptoms you might experience include itching, bleeding and sore to touch bumps. Bumps may bleed when you pop them.

Cysts and sores may contain green or yellow pus, and these can translate to infections in the back of throat – near the uvula towards the back of the throat.

Pimple like bumps or zits inside the mouth are also common with bacterial infections. Some bumps, however, may start out and feel like small pimples in the mouth.

Make an appointment with the doctor if you experience signs and symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches and severe pain, lumps near ears and neck, and bleeding.


Bumps in mouth are mostly harmless. But they can become uncomfortable if they become sore and painful because they hurt when swallowing or eating food.

People who smoke are prone to getting white spots on the palate, gums and back of tongue. To get rid of them, medical treatments can help, as well as some home remedies.

a) Radiation, chemotherapy and surgery

In cases of cancer – oral cancer and adenocarcinoma, surgery to remove the cancerous cells may be done, usually with the help of a local anesthesia.

In other cases, treatment for a cancerous bump on roof of mouth may be done through chemotherapy and radiotherapy or radiation treatment. These two kill cancer infested cells and prevent its spread.

b) Excision

Mucoceles go away without treatment. However, if they won’t go away and keep coming back at the same point, excision of the bump may appropriate.

Marsupialization can also be applied to help a new salivary gland to develop and drain the saliva and mucus in the bump.

c) Antibiotics and antiviral medications

If you have an infection, an antiviral or antibiotic will be prescribed to get rid of the pathogens causing the bumps. Oral antibiotics may be given depending on the cause.

Usually, if you have strep throat or other signs of a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe a course of medications.

Viral infections such as HIV, herpes etc. may require antiviral treatments to manage the symptoms. Overall, taking vitamin supplements can help improve your immune system and fight viral infections.

d) Quit smoking

With smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol, your mouth is prone to a white coat and white or yellowish patches. These contribute to bad odor and increased instances of bacterial infection in your mouth and back of throat.

To get rid of the white bump on roof of mouth, quit smoking or chewing tobacco. Dink plenty of water to help hydrate your mouth. It prevents dryness, bad odor and unnecessary irritation in the mouth.


    1. DermNet NZ: Nicotine Stomatitis Symptoms
    2. Mouth Cancer Organization: Oral cancer signs and symptoms
    3. NHS: Mouth Ulcers Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment


  1. I have like a white bump on the roof of my mouth it’s irritating and I itchy. I’ve had it for around 2 weeks. It’s while with a type of liquid on the middle.
    Please help.

  2. I have braces and a metal thing on the roof of my mouth with half the bump on it. My orthodontist said I wasn’t brushing that area well,but I honestly am. The bump feels like a smooth oval and my brother said it looked purple. Any diagnosis?

  3. I have a bump not that big right on the gums under my two front teeth and it hurts to touch bybfood or something they said it could happen from growing of teeth I think my teeth are moving because I haven’t been wearing my ritainer my sister said it’s kinda white

  4. Good day.

    I appreciate this time to relate my problem.

    I stay in South Africa.

    My problem began 6 years ago when u started by small pus forming under my right front teeth. I used to squash it out, by pressing hard on it I think it affected my teeth. It started to get painful esp both front tooth.

    Then pus formed in the gums on top front of the teeth. Every time this pus burst on its own or when I smile it would drip and fill the right front teeth and it is sore painful.

    Now the tooth has began to grow longer than the rest.

    It is fragile I can’t bite with it.

    Please help.

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