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Mouth Diseases

White bump on tip of tongue

12/01/2008

Question:

Hello, I had a small white bump on the tip of my tongue that was there for about 6 weeks, so i went to my doctor he looked at it and said don`t touch it just brush your teeth. He said if its not gone in 1 month we will biopsy it ? Of course it go`s away two weeks later, when i see him he says told you. Well its three weeks later and I`m getting another one in the same spot, is this anything to worry about or is this something I`m allergic to or stress, or something i did to my tongue years ago that will always act this way in that area. I stress about this and my family all say its nothing. Thankyou.

Answer:

Without seeing you in person I can only give my impression on what might be occurring. I am pleased that you did go and have it evaluated by your primary care provider, and I agree that it should have been biopsied had it remained.

The possibilities of a white bump on the tip of the tongue are huge, as it could be nothing more than a papilla overgrowth, papillary hyperplasia secondary to trauma, chemical injury, or rough incissal edge of an opposing tooth or teeth.

Based on the fact that it is reoccurring on the same site may be related to trauma, and because it seems to resolve with you not touching it further reinforces this hypothesis. You did not mention the "bump's" consistency or whether it is fluid filled (blistering). The epithelial covering of the tongue has a fast turnover, and white bumps may be related to an increase of keratin formation similar to a callous on your foot or hands, and with time goes away.

I would suggest that next time it occurs you see you dentist to evaluate this condition.

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Response by:

Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD Richard J Jurevic, DDS, PhD
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Case Western Reserve University