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Learn about your pain in the roof of the mouth, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your pain in the roof of the mouth from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Pain in the Roof of the Mouth Checker

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Your Pain in the Roof of the Mouth May Also be Known as:
Aches and pains in hard palate
Aches and pains in roof of mouth
Aches and pains in top of mouth
Hard palate ache
Hard palate discomfort
Hard palate hurts
Hard palate is painful
Hard palate pain
Hard palate soreness
He hurt his hard palate

Top 9 Pain in the Roof of the Mouth Causes

  1. 1.Gingivitis

    Gingivitis is the infection of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is caused by plaque and/or tartar that has built up on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky layer of gunk made by food particles, mucus, and bacteria. After a while, plaque hardens to become tartar (or calculus). Plaque and tartar at the bottom of the teeth causes the gums to become irritated and infected.

    You should go to the nearest dentist in the next few weeks. There, the dentist or dental hygenist will clean your teeth, getting rid of that nasty plaque/tartar. Once cleaned, you should rinse your mouth twice-a-day with chlorhexidine 0.12% oral rinse (PerioGard) or half-strength hydrogen peroxide. Flossing and brushing your teeth are also essential.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums, gum pain, gum swelling, gum redness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Common Cold

    The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract.

    The common cold is treated symptomatically. Since this is a viral infection, antibiotics are not effective. You can safely treat the symptoms of this condition with over-the-counter pain relievers, decongestants, antihistamines & cough medicines.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, sore throat, congestion
    Symptoms that never occur with common cold:
    being severely ill, severe muscle aches, rash, severe headache
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Cold Sore

    Cold sores (also called oral herpes or fever blisters), are viral infections of the mouth caused by the herpes virus type 1. You were probably infected very early in life as a child when an adult kissed you. The virus stays asleep (dormant) and causes infections every now and then after exposure to lots of sun or emotional/physical stress. It is contagious when an outbreak is happening, but treatment is limited unless you are immunocompromised.

    You can safely stay home or try some minor treatments. As a viral infection, it will go away on its own without antibiotics. Balm mint cream (1%) or topical rhubarb-sage cream may improve symptoms, but it's not standard treatment.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    mouth lesions, pain on the outside of the lips, itchy mouth, burning pain on the outside of the lips, lip numbness
    Symptoms that always occur with cold sore:
    mouth lesions
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  4. 4.Acute Viral Sinusitis

    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus spaces behind the nose and cheeks. These spaces produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If the nose is swollen or if the mucus does not drain, this can block the sinuses and cause pain or infection.

    You can treat your symptoms at home using ibuprofen (for pain) and Tylenol (for a fever). Antibiotics for this diagnosis are not helpful because this is likely a viral infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, cough, sore throat, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Pain in the Roof of the Mouth Checker

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  5. 5.Head and Neck Cancer

    There are five main types of head and neck cancer, which are all named according to the part of the body where they develop: laryngeal (voice box), nasal cavity and sinus, nasopharyngeal (air passage way behind the nose), oral (mouth), and salivary gland cancers. Most of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), meaning they begin in the flat (squamous) cells that make up the thin surface layer of the structures in the head and neck.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a cancer specialist (oncologist) for further testing. It is impossible to definitively diagnosis head and neck cancers without lab testing and biopsy. Treatment is likely to include surgery and chemotherapy.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    loss of appetite, unintentional weight loss, hoarse voice, trouble swallowing, pain with swallowing
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (Anug)

    Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG) is a relatively rare infection of the gums. It's also known as "trench mouth", as it was discovered in a large number of soldiers in WWI that were stuck in trenches. The pain caused by ANUG is what makes it different from chronic periodontitis, and it requires treatment by professionals.

    You should go to the nearest dentist as soon as possible, or to an urgent care if one is not open at this hour. There, you will be given antibiotics and mouth wash to relieve the pain. You should definitely see a dentist if you go to an urgent care first. The dentist will remove any dead gum tissue to promote healing and help reduce pain.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    bleeding gums, chronically bad breath, gum pain, severe mouth pain, gum redness
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  7. 7.Acute Bacterial Sinusitis

    Acute bacterial sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become infected and, in turn, inflamed, which causes pain and other symptoms. The sinuses are air-filled cavities in the face that are generally clean and empty but when sick collect excess mucus and can become infected.

    You should visit a physician or urgent care facility in the next day or two. It’s likely your sinus infection is caused by a bacterial infection, which requires treatment with antibiotics. In the mean time, ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to help with pain & fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, cough, muscle aches, sore throat
    Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis:
    clear runny nose, being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Strep Throat Requiring Throat Swab

    Strep throat is a bacterial throat infection that can make the throat feel sore and scratchy. Only a small portion of sore throats are the result of strep throat. And, if you do not show enough signs of a true strep throat, testing may be needed before treatment is begun.

    You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours, where a diagnosis can be made via a "rapid antigen test" (it's a throat swab). Treatment with simple antibiotics would be given only if the test is positive. It is important to get treatment, however, because of the possibility of getting a disease called "rheumatic fever" after the strep throat infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, sore throat, fever, rash
    Symptoms that always occur with strep throat requiring throat swab:
    sore throat
    Symptoms that never occur with strep throat requiring throat swab:
    general weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Influenza

    Influenza, or Flu, is an infection of the airway caused by the flu virus, which passes through the air and enters the body through the nose or mouth. The symptoms are similar to those of a cold, but the flu is usually more serious.

    If your flu-like symptoms are existing for less than 48 hours, it might be helpful to seek care by telephone or in a walk-in-clinic to get a course of oseltamivir (Tamiflu). Most people will get better on their own by drinking lots of fluids and taking an over-the-counter medication such as acetominophen (Tylenol) to help with aches or fever.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, cough, muscle aches
    Symptoms that never occur with influenza:
    headache resulting from a head injury
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Pain in the Roof of the Mouth

  • Q.Is your mouth pain constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.How long has your mouth pain been going on?
  • Q.Do you have a rash?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our pain in the roof of the mouth symptom checker.

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Pain in the Roof of the Mouth Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced pain in the roof of the mouth have also experienced:

    • 7% Sore Throat
    • 5% Headache
    • 4% Congestion
  • People who have experienced pain in the roof of the mouth had symptoms persist for:

    • 42% Less Than a Week
    • 24% Less Than a Day
    • 16% Over a Month
  • People who have experienced pain in the roof of the mouth were most often matched with:

    • 10% Common Cold
    • 8% Gingivitis
    • 6% Cold Sore

Pain in the Roof of the Mouth Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having pain in the roof of the mouth.

Take a quiz