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Mouth Diseases

White bump on tongue



About 14 months ago I noticed a white bump directly in the center of the dorsal surface of my tongue. I initially only noticed it because I could feel it rubbing on the roof of my mouth. After a few days the bump went away. However, a few months later it reappeared in the same spot. This has happened several times now. The bump always appears in the same spot and is gone in 3-5 days. The bump is white, about the size of a poppy seed, and feels firm. There is usually very little soreness, if any at all. The most discomfort I have felt was when I ate something salty. I was wondering what this might be. "Lie bumps" maybe? My biggest concern about this is its recurrence in the same spot.


Given the history you provide, I think you have self-diagnosed correctly. The most unusual feature in your case is the lack of significant discomfort, but since pain is a very personal and subjective thing, it cannot be used to exclude the possibility of transient lingual papillitis or "lie bump".

If the problem persists and you need a higher degree of assurance, try to get a "walk-in" appointment with your dentist in the 2-3 days that the bump is most apparent.

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