The frequency and anatomical features of torus mandibularis in a Black South African population

Document Type



Brain and Mind Institute


Torus mandibularis is a rounded bony protuberance on the lingual surface of the mandible and usually found above the myolohyoid line, medial to the molar roots. This report describes the frequency and morphology of torus and also proffers the likely cause among black South Africans. A total of 284 modern skeletal specimens were obtained from the Raymond Dart Collection of Human Skeletons at the School of Anatomical Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand. The mandibles were classified into dentate and edentulous, while those with torus, especially in dentate mandibles, were reviewed for side location, type and shape. No measurements were made, consistent with the view that these characteristics are non-metrical and should be assessed by means of a standard observatory procedure. Out of 246 dentate mandibles, 60 (24.4%) were found to have torus and only 1 (4.3%) out of the 23 male edentulous mandibles; the difference is statistically significant (P=2.8%). The torus distribution among males and females was 48 (80%) and 12 (20%), respectively, and again statistically significant (P< 0.05). Prevalence of torus was highest in the 40–60 years age group. The morphology of the torus showed that 37 (61.7%) were bilateral in location, 42 (70%) were of the solitary type and 31 (51.7%) were round in shape. The formation of torus follows the threshold model which holds that this is primarily a genetic trait, but with environmental factors such as mechanical stress necessary for its development.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

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