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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Purple Spot on Roof of Mouth

10/07/2009

Question:

My dad, age 81, nonsmoker, has had a raised soft purple place on the upper back roof of mouth about a month. The dentist is sending him to another doctor. There is no pain and it is kind of "mushy" feeling and can be moved a bit if you touch it. Any ideas on this? We are all very concerned. Thanks.

Answer:

In cases like this, it is difficult to provide much more than an educated guess, but I will do my best.

Given your father's age, the site of this lesion and the physical characteristics you describe, possible considerations could include a vascular tumor (growth of blood vessels), a tumor of salivary gland tissue (growth arising from small spit glands present normally in the roof of the mouth) and possibly a lymphoma (a tumor arising from certain white blood cells normally found in our circulation or in lymph nodes or glands). This short list does not cover every possibility, but fairly represents the most likely conditions.

I suspect that a surgical sample (or biopsy) of this mushy lump will be recommended to determine a precise final diagnosis. The diagnosis, in turn, will guide appropriate additional care if any is needed.

Good luck and thank you for visiting NetWellness!

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University