Papillary and verruciform epithelial proliferations are quite common in the oral and paraoral region, representing at least 3% of biopsied oral lesions. Many are thought to be induced by viral infection of the epithelium, especially from human papillomavirus (HPV).
Of the several types of papillomas, the one occurring in the mouth and oropharynx is almost always the squamous papilloma. It is the fourth most common oral mucosal mass and is found in 4 of every 1,000 U.S. adults.
It is important to recognize that the squamous papilloma of the mouth behaves differently from those of the nasal, paranasal and laryngeal regions. While the others are clinically and microscopically identical to their oral counterparts, they have a much higher recurrence rate, are almost always multiple and will often proliferate continuously over time.