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Mouth Diseases

Enlarged taste bud

10/05/2006

Question:

Hi, I`ve found a lot of reports online of people experiencing enlarged white taste buds temporarily as a result of eating certain foods, or from geographic tongue. I believe I probably do have geographic tongue, but my case seems to differ in that I just have this one enlarged white taste bud towards the front of my tongue, and it doesn`t seem to be a temporary thing. I first noticed it after slightly burning my tongue on some hot food about 3 months ago, although I`m not sure if that directly caused it. I was hoping it would eventually go away but it hasn`t yet. The taste bud does not cause me any pain, but I would like to know what it is and whether I can expect to ever get rid of it. Most importantly I want to know whether it`s something I should get checked out, to see if it`s cancerous. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Answer:

Although an enlarged taste bud is a possibility, what you are describing may be a tiny benign surface growth known as a squamous papilloma.  These are related to the common warts that usually occur on the skin.  They typically do not hurt and often grow very little once detected.  Although it seems unlikely that this this bump could be cancerous or precancerous, I suggest you have it examined by your dentist or a dental specialist, such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

Good luck!

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Response by:

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