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Mouth Diseases

`Skin tag` on tongue? Help...

10/22/2006

Question:

My husband had a red bump towards the end of his tongue over a month ago and now it is a small `flappy` piece of skin, almost resembeling a skin tag and is white. It is sensitive, almost like a canker sore. Any idea what this may be? I`m terrified! Thank you.

Answer:

This issue has come up several times in recent weeks.  What you are describing sounds like an inflamed taste bud of the tongue, a relatively common condition that many people call a "lie bump".  The formal name is transient lingual papillitis.  Although more of a nuisance than anything, most experts think the bump (formally called a fungiform papilla) becomes irritated or traumatized.  The inflammation turns the bump from red to white and the whole thing typically resolves without any treatment in 4-5 days.  If the condition persists, you should probably encourage him to have your dentist or dental specialist take a look, even though the likelihood that it is something serious is quite small.

Good luck!

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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