Waterlase MD Fibroma removal on tongue
Extra Skin on the Tongue
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This morning my granddaughter had what appeared to be a layer of skin about the size of a quarter come off the center part of her tongue. When she brushed her teeth and tongue this evening, there was no discomfort. Her tongue does not appear to be white, nor does it have pimples. The skin was fairly thick. Should she see a physician, dentist, or is this something that tongue brushing would take care of?
— Debbie, Indiana
Often the tongue develops a thick layer of outer skin on top. These are actually extra cells that accumulate in the area and do not fall (or slough) off. Daily tongue brushing with a toothbrush or tongue scraper can remove this buildup. It is possible that this is what came off of your granddaughter's tongue. While such dead skin cells cause no harm, removing this layer is probably better for your overall oral and digestive health. Many dentists, including me, recommend regular tongue brushing with a toothbrush and/or a tongue scraper. Considering that your granddaughter did not describe any discomfort, and you didn't notice any white or red patches, pimples, or bleeding, it is unlikely that she is dealing with anything serious. Still, it is always wise to check with a dentist.
There are products that some dentists use to help evaluate whether an abnormal growth is present in the area. I use one such product in my office called a VELscope, which emits a fluorescent light that reveals growth patterns of soft tissue in the mouth that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Dental patients can also rinse with a solution called ViziLite before being examined with a VELscope; this solution produces color changes of the oral tissues when benign or cancerous growths are present.
Often, if an abnormal growth in the mouth is suspected, it is necessary to consult a dentist, oral surgeon, or periodontist who can determine whether there are in fact any growth changes. Unfortunately, the mouth's coloring is generally either pink, white, or red, with very little variation. For this reason, a diagnosis often cannot be made based on what can be seen with the naked eye, and therefore the above products help a clinician to determine whether any abnormal growth exists.
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Houman Danesh, MD
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