Is Mandibular Tori Genetic?

Q: Is mandibular tori a genetic gum disorder? My dad has mandibular tori – he developed large protrusions in his mouth at 42 years old. I questioned him about these bony mouth invaders, and he basically told me “don’t worry son, your time is coming. I never thought I would grow tori either.” 

The thought of growing torus bones in my gums worries me – my dad can barely eat, they’re so large! Is mandibular tori genetic, like passed down from father to son? If my family’s medical history helps, my grandfather also has large mandibular along with palatal tori. He can’t afford the tori removal surgery, and they are interfering with fitting his dentures.

A: Yes, sorry to worry you. Mandibular torus is a genetic disorder passed down from father to son, or less commonly, from mother to daughter. Mandibular tori growths run in families (it’s hereditary.) If your father had mandibular torus, as well as your grandfather, you will develop this dental disorder, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent the growths. Mandibular tori is also more common in males (56% of dental patients) vs. females (44% of oral tori patients.)

Is your family of Asian descent? Certain ethnicities are more likely to get mandibular tori, maxillary palatal tori, or sub tori. It’s estimated that 60% of dental patients with mandibular torus are Asian, 30% are of Inuit/Eskimo descent, 5% are Caucasian, and the remaining 5% are all other combined races, including African American. Less than 1% of the total Hispanic population suffers from mandibular tori.

Bottom line: Mandibular torus is a very hereditary, genetic disease, caused by a small gene abnormality. Torus are harmless growths, unless they grow so large they interfere with denture fitting (your grandfather), speech, eating, or dental hygiene. Otherwise, this genetic disorder doesn’t bother the majority of mandibular tori patients.