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Mouth Diseases

Small red bump (papilla) at the tip of tongue

01/28/2008

Question:

This small red bump (papilla) at the tip of tongue gets irritated and a bit swollen when eating something hard (like cold cereal flakes or something hard to bite) when eating,it cuts into it and it bleeds. It also happens, when brushing teeth or just going over my teeth with tip of my tongue. This happened twice in a year. Is this serious ? It should be noted that most of the time it is healed and it doen`t bother me. However, it`s still there. Do I need to get rid of it ? Use laser ? Please advise. Thank You

Answer:

In this area, the little bump could be one of the normal fungiform papillae of the tongue. These are less numerous and somewhat larger than the filiform papillae that cover most of the top of the tongue. Or it could be a small fibroma, which is a common benign bump of what is basically scar tissue. It is not unusual for either one of these to get its mucosa ("skin") scraped off while eating.

In the South, this condition is sometimes known as a "lie bump" because it presumably occurs as punishment when the affected person tells a lie! In any event, this is a harmless, but annoying, problem that could be treated by removal of the little bump (but the treatment might be worse than the disease in this case).

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University