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 www.youtube.com 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: