Transient Lingual Papillitis

Transient Lingual Papillitis

transient lingual papillitis
transient lingual papillitis

What is Transient Lingual Papillitis?

Transient lingual papillitis is a medical condition in which the surface of the tongue, especially the fungiform papillae, is inflamed. These enlarged papillae are also known as lie bumps and there is also for the condition to take a papulo-keratic form, without any additional pain or other symptoms. The tongue has a lot of receptors or taste buds on it, the fungiform papillae being one of them. These are found on the entire surface of the tongue, with a large disposition in the back of the tongue, where the bitter taste is actually felt.

The fungiform papillae also identify temperature and they are well vascularized. The classic form affects half of the general population and mostly young women. There is also an eruptive form, encountered especially in children. This condition appears most often during springtime.


Depending on the form, the following symptoms can be encountered:

  • Classic form – the tip of the tongue presents a bump, accompanied by redness and pain. The inflammation lasts for one or two days, it goes away and reoccurs later. It is not associated with other medical conditions and the lymph glands are not swollen. In less common situations, the lesions can be numerous and accompanied by a tingling or burning sensation. Often seen in patients who have been diagnosed with geographic tongue.
  • Papulo-keratic form – the entire surface of the tongue presents white bumps, without any additional symptoms.
  • Eruptive form – this form is accompanied by high fever and lymph gland enlargement. In children, it produces sialorrhea and loss of appetite, appearing suddenly. The fungiform papillae are inflamed, especially on the tip and side of the tongue. The lesions might transform into pustules and angular cheilitis might also be present. This can least up to two weeks, with recurrence after one or two months. It is easily transmitted to the family, the main symptom in adults being a burning sensation on the tongue.

Causes of Transient Lingual Papillitis

Transient lingual papillitis can have any of the following causes:

  • Tongue environmental sensitivity
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes or fluctuations (such as with menstruation)
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Eating certain types of foods (especially those that are acidic or sour)
  • Viral infections (especially those with herpes simplex virus)
  • Cold sores
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Hay fever
  • Smoking
  • Constant irritation of the tongue
  • Trauma or biting the tongue
  • Splitting taste buds


In the case of the classic form of transient lingual papillitis, no medical treatment is necessary, as the symptoms go away on their own. However, for the other forms, these are the most common courses of treatment undertaken:

  • Corticosteroids – oral and topical administration
  • Anti-inflammatory medication for the eruptive form
  • Topical antiseptics for the same eruptive form
  • Antiretroviral medication for viral infections
  • Anti-allergy medication (antihistamines) for allergies
  • Inhalers and bronchodilators for asthma

This medical condition can also be improve if you take the following measures yourself:

  • Mouth rinse – mix warm water with salt and rinse your mouth at least two or three times a day.
  • Drink cold fluids to cool down the inflamed areas.
  • Chew ice chips or keep a cool Popsicle on the tongue for the same purpose as above. However, do not keep them on the tongue for too long or you may have problems with the blood circulation (constricted blood vessels).
  • Eat foods that will soothe the inflamed tongue, such as yoghurt.
  • Use a mouthwash that has antiseptic properties, protecting you from potential secondary infections.
  • Chew mint leaves, as these can help with the inflammation as well.
  • Eat healthy, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet, so as to avoid potential digestive problems that can lead to tongue inflammation.
  • Drink plenty of water, as the tongue and other mucosa need to be hydrated.

Transient Lingual Papillitis Pictures

transient lingual papillitis pictures

transient lingual papillitis

transient lingual papillitis 2

transient lingual papillitis 3

Is transient lingual papillitis contagious?

This is an inflammatory condition and, given the fact that there are no infectious factors involved, it is not contagious. However, it should be treated with proper care, especially if the condition appears as the eruptive form, in a small child.

(Visited 28,605 times, 1 visits today)