Geographic Tongue

Online Dental Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Preventive Measures
Preventive dentistry is the first component in a total treatment plan.

Our preventive care plan begins with a review of your medical history, and other important components, such as:

Regular Check-ups every 3, 4, 6 months
Flouride treatments and sealants Evaluation of existing oral conditions Early intervention to reduce the indidence of dental and oral diseases.

Dentistry Doctors and hygienists help patients understand exactly what their oral health issues are, and what might happen if suggested treatment plans are not followed. Children are taught proper brushing and flossing techniques by our pediatric staff as the very first steps in a lifetime of dental health. We also encourage patients who smoke to quit, providing advice and support as they work to give up this difficult habit.

As part of a preventive plan, we also perform:

  • Complete tooth and gum examination
  • Interpretation of dental x-rays
  • Oral cancer screening
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Evaluation of jaw joint problems

And, should your care involve more than preventive measures, 
our dental specialists are here to provide you the optimum in patient care you need.

Geographic Tongue.Geographic tongue is characterized by harmless lesions, or patches, that can suddenly materialize on the tongue's top surface. The condition gets its name from the physical appearance of the lesions, which resemble smooth, red islands, possibly rimmed with white. Their smoothness comes from the absence of the tiny bumps or “papillae” that normally cover the entire surface of the tongue. These variations in color and texture give the whole tongue a map-like appearance.

The pattern on the tongue can change daily as the lesions appear to move or migrate, healing in one spot only to reappear in another. That's why the medical term for this condition is benign migratory glossitis. It's scary looking, but does not compromise a person's health.

Discomfort from the condition can sometimes be relieved with over-the-counter pain relievers; mouthrinses containing anesthetics, antihistamines, or steroids; and by avoiding certain irritants such as tobacco, alcohol, and foods that are spicy, salty or acidic.

No one knows exactly what causes geographic tongue. Some factors that may play a role include vitamin B deficiency, irritation from alcohol or spicy foods, and genetics.

This condition can be diagnosed simply by examining your tongue; laboratory tests are usually not necessary. Geographic tongue normally resolves on its own, but a dental professional should be consulted if you notice any changes in your tongue's appearance.