My husband has suffered from geographic tongue for a few years now. Everything he visits his dentist who uses the velescope the area on the left side of his tongue always shows up darker. He also has a spot on the tip of his tongue but that area never shows up darker. The dentist doesn't have a very good explanation for it other than its gt proven by biopsy and it looks and acts like gt. my question is why does the left side always show darker when the tip of his tongue doesn't not show darker and there both amused by geographic tongue. Should I be concerned or just forget about it?

Left side


ANSWER: Kim  - I am really not sure the causes.  If you live in or near a large city, see if there is a dental school nearby or find the one closest to you.  Call the school and make an appointment for your husband to be examined by an oral pathologist.  These doctors are specialists in diagnosing and treating lesions such as your husbands.  

I think seeing one of those doctors will give you and your husband peace of mind.

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QUESTION: To my knowledge there is not a dental school near us. I know he had the biopsy done which showed chronic glossitis consistent with gt. this dentist said the velescope will show dark on areas of inflammation which is what gt is. He said if the area is chronically inflamed which there is constantly a lesion there changing that could be why it's dark. Should I still be worried even though the biopsy showed gt and the dentist is not at all concerned?

Kim -  Darkened areas are usually due to fungus accumulation.  This is not totally unusual and for that reason all patients should brush their tongue twice a day, when they brush their teeth.  This will clean the area, but it will take a little time to go away.  Using the Veloscope is fine.  It might help in better defining the areas.  If you are still unsure, rather than the Veloscope, the dentist should take a scraping of the tongue and send it to a laboratory for definition of what might be growing there.


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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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