Thursday, February 7, 2013

Torus Paltinus

As a Speech-Language Pathologist one of my main tasks when I am assessing a person for speech concerns (articulation, intelligibility, dysarthria, or apraxia) or dysphagia concerns (swallowing difficulty) I always perform an oral-mechanism evaluation.

The purpose of the oral-mechanism evaluation is to look at the structures and the functions within the oral-cavity. If I notice anything that is atypical I assess to see if this will negatively impact speech production or swallowing capabilities.

Though I never want any of my patients to have anything atypical within their oral cavity it is somewhat exciting to see something new. This brings me to my post tonight regarding Torus Palatinus!

I have only encountered two people so far with Torus Palatinus. One was a patient of mine for a Modified Barium Swallow study and another is actually a friend mine! Luckily for me my friend is amazing and she has allowed for me to post the below picture of her atypical structure.


So first, what is a Torus Palatinus? Basically is a bony prominence in the center of the hard palate, specifically at the junction of the intermaxillary suture. They can come in all types of sizes and various forms of shapes! Torus palatinus is more coming amongst females and is most common in people who are Native American, Asians, and Inuit Eskimos. Typically it will appear in young adult hood with the possibility of it growing in size. I find it interesting that this occurs in approximately 20% of the general population and 7% can have a torus mandibulars (that’s a blog post for another day)!

Now typically torus palatinus are not dangerous, they usually can cause difficulty later in life with denture fitting. Some people can have a large torus palatinus, which can make it difficult for them to manipulate their tongue for speech tasks and can also create mastication and swallowing difficulty. Torus palatinus can also have a higher incidence of ulcers that can obviously make things painful within the oral cavity.  Torus palatinus can be surgically removed if needed.

I found an interesting article entitled “Torus Palatinus: A new Anatomical Correlation with Bone Density in Postmenopausal Women.” It was found in this study that their “observations strongly suggest that postmenopausal Caucasian women with large torus palatinus have a higher mean bone density than their peers as well as a higher bone density than much younger women.” Very interesting.

If you are interested below is a video from that gives a more up-close and personal look into Torus Palatinus. It also shows a surgery to remove a Torus Paltinus, so if you feel squeamish watching those kinds of things I suggest skipping over it, though if you think you can handle it this video is really something else!

Do you have a Torus Palatinus? If you do there is really nothing to be alarmed about though I do suggest letting your physician take a look at it if it is new or there are any atypical changes that occur. If you do have something atypical you notice in your oral cavity and you are not sure if it is a Torus Palatinus or not then let your physician know, they will be able to do a proper evaluation.

What is the strangest thing you have seen during an oral mechanism evaluation?

Here are just a few of my resources:


  1. I just found out about this yesterday because my palate was sore on one side and my dentist explained it. The video was great! Thanks for this post.

  2. I have a rather large torus palatanus (my own opinion having looked at pictures of others), and have always had some difficulty saying the s sound in normal speech. I sound similar to Drew Barrymore with how I pronounce certain words. As a child my speech pathologist diagnosed me with "lazy S's, but as an adult I have wondered if my pronunciation could actually be the result of the shape of my oral cavity. Have you come across this with anyone else? Others having the same symptoms?

  3. Hi Mary,

    I have not but certainly if it is large enough it could impact your ability to make certain speech sounds. May I ask a few questions? Where does your tongue naturally rest? When you make your /s/ what does your tongue want to naturally do? Point up or down?

    Mallory Mahon M.S. CCC-SLP

  4. Hi Mallory, my tongue naturally rests up. When I make an s the tip goes down. While talking to a friend who is an SLP, we realized that my tongue doesn't curl up on the sides, instead it lays flat or even curls down. I've never thought of all this before. Tell me more.

  5. Hi Mary,
    Have you tried making your /s/ or /z/ sounds with your tongue in the upward and downward positions?
    Mallory Moore M.S. CCC-SLP

  6. Hi, a friend of mine just noticed I have one of these in the roof of my mouth right in the middle of the hard palate. I’ve always struggled with pronunciation of the sound /r/ I do recall my speech therapist in school insisting I should curve my touge upwards to the roof of my mouth and I have always tried that with no success. Words like Bird, Birth and other strong r’s are especially difficult for me to pronounce, could this be why?