How Do You Get Rid of Transient Lingual Papillitis?

Reviewed on 4/1/2021
Transient lingual papillitis is the small, painful, reddish-white bumps or spots on the tongue
Transient lingual papillitis is the small, painful, reddish-white bumps or spots on the tongue

Transient lingual papillitis is the small, painful, reddish-white bumps or spots on the tongue that come and go away on their own. They are completely harmless, although they tend to recur. It is also known as “lie bumps”.

Usually, the classic form of transient lingual papillitis (lie bump) may not require any treatment because the condition may resolve within hours or days. Some people may get relief from remedies, such as:

In the case of an eruption, Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and topical antiseptics may relieve pain and inflammation, as well as change the duration and severity of the symptoms, especially in children.

Though the above measures help to relieve these bumps faster, most people may not completely relieve the symptoms or prevent a recurrence.

What does transient lingual papillitis look like?

The bumps of transient lingual papillitis may have different features. They are:

  • Classic form: Over 50% of the population gets the classic form of transient lingual papillitis anytime in their life. The classic form of transient lingual papillitis shows up as a single painful red or white bump, usually on the tip of the tongue. It may last for 1-2 days and then disappear on its own. It often recurs after weeks, months, or years. No other associated signs or symptoms of the disease can be noticed. However, in some people, this classic form of the lesion may appear in more numbers and present with a burning or tingling sensation. Sometimes, these lesions may look like a geographic tongue or scalloped markings on the side of the tongue. If the condition is detected in childhood, then it may reoccur throughout life.
  • Papulokeratotic form: The papulokeratotic form of lingual papillitis looks like multiple white bumps over the tongue with no other symptoms. These bumps may show up persistently on the tongue.
  • Eruptive form: Eruptive lingual papillitis is a systemic illness often associated with fever and lymph node swelling. It appears suddenly. The affected child may refuse to eat and secrete excessive saliva. The tongue appears enlarged and inflamed.

In some people, fungiform papillae (bump on the tongue due to fungal infection) may appear on the surface of the tongue, especially at the tip of the tongue. It is known as fungiform papillary glossitis. It mostly affects taste buds (especially for bitter taste), temperature receptors, and has a good blood supply. Usually, they do not appear obvious and are flat and pink. It may look like a pustule (bump containing pus). Sometimes, it may further appear with inflammation and small cracks on one or both sides of the mouth (angular cheilitis). This illness may last for 2-15 days. However, it reappears 1-2 months later with similar presentation or symptoms. In adults, this form of bumps on the tongue may appear suddenly with an intense burning sensation of the tongue, which is worsened by food. Similar symptoms can be seen in a child.

The doctor may diagnose these eruptive types of bumps on the tongue by:

  • Thoroughly evaluating it clinically.
  • Mucosal biopsy to check for any inflammation or swelling.

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References
Dyall-Smith D. Transient Lingual Papillitis. DermNet New Zealand Trust. 2010. https://dermnetnz.org/topics/transient-lingual-papillitis/

WebMD. What Your Tongue Says About Your Health. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-tongue-your-health

WebMD. Top Problems in Your Mouth. https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-mouth-problems

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