Transient Lingual Papillitis: Location, Symptoms and Treatment

Transient lingual papillitis (TLP) is a condition of the tongue that has no known cause. Transient means it's temporary, and lingual papillitis refers to painful inflammation of the tongue's papillae, which are the small bumps on your tongue's surface. While it's common, the condition often goes undiagnosed.

Location and Symptoms of Transient Lingual Papillitis

According to a literature review in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry, TLP generally affects the tip of the tongue, either in an isolated area or on both sides. The enlarged bumps may appear as the tongue's normal color, or they may be red, white or yellow. Researchers have found that the affected papillae don't contain taste buds as they usually do.

The condition comes on suddenly, causing acute pain, burning, tingling or itching. It can also cause dry mouth, difficulty eating and discomfort while eating hot foods. The inflammation and symptoms can last anywhere from a few hours to a couple days to several weeks, depending on the case.

Causes and Risk Factors of Transient Lingual Papillitis

Transient lingual papillitis can affect males and females as early as 3 years of age. In many cases, the cause is unknown. Some dental professionals believe the inflammation is due to chronic irritation from teeth, calculus, fillings or dental appliances. Stress, poor nutrition, smoking and alcohol use may also be initiating factors.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Transient Lingual Papillitis

The diagnosis of transient lingual papillitis does not require a biopsy. Your dentist can make a diagnosis based on a visual exam and your health history alone. The severity of your symptoms helps your dentist determine the appropriate treatment for relief.

Cases that are not very painful can be managed with warm salt water rinses and over-the-counter pain medications. Consider swishing with a mouthwash, such as Colgate Total Advanced Pro-Shield. It kills 99 percent of germs on contact with no burn of alcohol. Your dentist may recommend topical local anesthetics or topical corticosteroids if your TLP is very painful. Most often, though, the condition resolves on its own in just a few days and doesn't return.

Your dentist and dental hygienist are experts on the tongue. If you develop any tongue pain or changes in the appearance of your tongue, schedule a visit. They can give you an accurate diagnosis and the proper treatment for your needs.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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Common Conditions During ADULTHOOD

As we get older, dental care for adults is crucial. Here are a few of the conditions to be aware of:

Gum disease – if your home care routine of brushing and flossing has slipped and you have skipped your regular dental cleanings, bacterial plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth. The plaque and tartar, if left untreated, may eventually cause irreparable damage to your jawbone and support structures, and could lead to tooth loss.

Oral cancer – according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, men over the age of 40 have the greatest risk for oral cancer. About approximately 43,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth, tongue or throat area, and the ACS estimates that about 7,000 people will die from these cancers. The use of tobacco products and alcohol increases the risk of oral cancer. Most oral cancers are first diagnosed by the dentist during a routine checkup.

Dental fillings break down – fillings have a life expectancy of eight to 10 years. However, they can last 20 years or longer. When the fillings in your mouth start to break down, food and bacteria can get underneath them and can cause decay deep in the tooth.