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Section Questions and Answers

Abnormalities of the Tongue

"Birth defects and developmental disorders frequently affect the craniofacial complex." - U.S. Surgeon General's Report

  1. Are tongue abnormalities common?
  2. What is Tongue-Tie?
  3. What is Macroglossia?
  4. What is Fissured Tongue?
  5. What is Hairy Tongue?
  6. What is a Geographic Tongue?
  7. What is Sore Tongue?

 
1. Are tongue abnormalities common?

  • They are fairly common.
    There are many types of tongue abnormalities.

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2. What is Tongue-Tie?

  • Tongue-Tie (Ankyloglossia) is a problem caused by abnormal development of the tongue.
    It is a congenital condition, in which the tongue is tied down to the floor of the mouth.
    • The tongue is normally connected to the floor of the mouth by a thin cord, called a frenum.
    • With tongue-tie the frenum is too short and thick
    • It prevents the tongue from moving freely.
    • The treatment is to cut the frenum and free the tongue.

Click to enlarge
Normal frenum

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3. What is Macroglossia?

  • This is an abnormally large tongue.
    • It is sometimes associated with congenital problems like Down's Syndrome.
    • Surgery may be possible to correct the problem.

Click to enlarge
Large tongue

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4. What is Fissured Tongue?

  • This is a tongue with deep fissures or crevices on its surface.
    • Bacteria may collect in the fissures and cause infections.
    • Many people have fissured tongues and do not experience any problems.

Click to enlarge
Fissured tongue

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5. What is Hairy Tongue?

  • The surface of the tongue looks dark and hairy.
    • It sounds terrible, but this is usually a benign condition, which will eventually go away.
    • It may be related to antibiotic treatment, but the cause is unknown.
    • An operation to shave the tongue may improve the condition, if it persists.

Click to enlarge
Hairy tongue

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6. What is Geographic Tongue?

  • Smooth reddish patches surrounded by white areas, appear on the top of the tongue.
    • These areas seem to move around or migrate.
    • The condition usually disappears without treatment.

Click to enlarge
Geographic tongue

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7. What is Sore Tongue?

  • Sore Tongue (Glossodynia), may have psychological or physical causes.
    Anaemia could be a cause.
    The dentist or medical specialist will be able to diagnose and treat the condition.

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