What is Exostosis? Is It Dangerous?


Exostosis is a benign mass that manifests itself in the form of a bone-cartilaginous growth (osteophyte). It’s completely painless and does not cause any inconvenience at an early stage. However, increasing over time, exostosis begins to give a lot of discomforts – it complicates food intake, affects pronunciation, interferes with prosthetics. In addition, the risk of injury to the oral mucosa increases. At the initial stage, exostosis may be invisible, and only a doctor can detect it during a dental examination or on an X-ray.

Symptoms of Exostosis

This pathology has no pronounced symptoms. Exostosis of the tooth can only be detected by palpation. This manifests itself in the form of a bulging growth that appeared for no apparent reason. Bone build-up on the gums is not dangerous until it begins to grow. Increasing in volume, the osteophyte presses on the dentition and bone structures, which leads to displacement of the teeth. Because of this, the bite is disturbed, the jaw is deformed, which interferes with the normal chewing of food, and diction also becomes difficult.

The main symptoms of exostosis are:

  • a sensation of a foreign body in the mouth;
  • inconvenience when eating, talking;
  • pain when pressing on the neoplasm;
  • in the place where the growth appears, the gum becomes light;
  • redness, thinning of the mucous membrane in the pathological zone.

Small exostosis may not cause complaints from the patient – there is no pain syndrome, the opening of the mouth is free, the mucous membrane in the growth area does not have pronounced pathological changes. Therefore, most often, exostosis is detected by a dentist – during a routine examination or in preparation for prosthetics.

The main indicators that it’s necessary to start treatment can be:

  • the rapid growth of osteophyte;
  • exostosis after wisdom tooth extraction;
  • discomfort, soreness;
  • the appearance of cosmetic defects in the lower or upper jaw;
  • the need for implantation or prosthetics;
  • the risk of degeneration of a neoplasm from benign to malignant.

Keep in mind that such a disease will not disappear by itself, so you should contact your dentist for a further treatment plan.

Causes of Exostosis

It should be noted right away that exostosis is not always the cause of discomfort. In most cases, it can only be found on an X-ray. But this is far from a reason to leave the problem without a solution, otherwise, the neoplasm may eventually degenerate into a malignant tumor. Very often, the appearance of exostosis in the mouth can be avoided with timely treatment.

There can be several causes of exostosis that appears in the mouth:

  • Genetic predisposition;
  • Congenital anomaly of the jaw region;
  • Infectious inflammation;
  • Postponed injuries;
  • Exostosis after tooth extraction (which resulted in improper bone fusion);
  • Diseases of the endocrine system.

The risk of developing this disease increases if there were different inflammatory processes in the bone tissue. Exostosis can be provoked by a prolonged or advanced periodontal disease process. One way or another, if you find dental exostosis, this is a serious reason to see a specialist. Fortunately, the problem is fixable.

Exostosis Treatment

The only effective method of treating exostosis is surgical – a complete extraction of the growths. Depending on the extent of the lesions, the patient is given general or local anesthesia. The procedure has its limitations: contraindications include diabetes mellitus, problems with the endocrine system and adrenal glands, poor blood clotting. If the exostosis is small and does not cause any inconvenience, there is no need to rush to carry out the correction by the surgical method. However, do not forget about it altogether. Multiple exostoses will interfere not only with the tongue but also with the neighboring teeth, which threatens with deformation. And if a removable denture is needed, it’s the growths on the jaw that will become the main obstacle for the installation of implants, as well as for the successful use of it.

As a rule, the operation takes place without complications. The first days after the operation, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the stitches and do everything so that they do not disperse. It’s necessary to temporarily give up solid and tough foods. Very hot or cold drinks, alcohol and cigarettes can negatively affect the healing process. Also, you have to reduce physical activity and avoid stress. Small swelling and pain are possible; during the recovery period, pain relievers and decongestants can be used. For exostosis treatment to have a long-term effect, special attention should be paid to oral hygiene: it’s better to consult with a dentist about the best means to rinse the mouth to prevent bacterial contamination. If the patient follows all the recommendations of the attending physician, takes medications, then soon his smile will acquire not only beauty but absolute health.

It’s essential to understand that although exostosis has very mild symptoms and often does not cause discomfort, it is still a serious pathology that can often be seen only during diagnosis. A timely visit to the dentist for an oral examination will help avoid dental problems in the future.