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Dentistry/Follitate papilla


I was wandering on the left side of my tongue I have these slits and bumps on the very back lateral border of my tongue. The one groove seems to always be more red than the surrounding tissue. Is this normal? Would these be considered follitate papilla or lingual tonsils? Is the redness since its been this way for years concerning.

Circled area- taken over a year ago

Same area taken months later

I also suffer from geographic tongue on this side

ANSWER: Kim -  Relax, the slits and bumps on the side of your tongue are totally normal.  Many of us have similar areas that appear irregular, but are normal.  The increase redness of the groove has to do with its depth and it is not pathologic.  So relax, everything appears normal.  

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QUESTION: Would you consider these to be foliate papilla?

ANSWER: Kim -  I cannot be sure without examining you, but they do look like foliate papillae.

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QUESTION: One more thing. They are only on the left side of my tongue not on the right. Is it normal to only have them on one side? Would foliate papilla be only on one side or does it have to be symetrical?

Kim - I, again, cannot be sure, but from the second picture, what appears as foliate, may actually be salivary glands.  Those glands are very prevalent in that area of the tongue and the appearance on the picture tends to look like salivary glands. Again I cannot be sure without examining you.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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