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Dentistry/sore itchy tongue


QUESTION: Hello, Im writing to you to find out about what may be wrong with my tongue. I have been diagnosed with Lichen Planus and am being treated with antihistamines. This seems to be effective in relieving my symptoms to a manageable level. I have just been to the dentist however to have an infected molar removed and almost immediately my tongue was left with a burning and itchy and rather painful feeling and I can not taste my food. I feel that this is totally unrelated to the lichen planus and I cant see anything else on my tongue but it is terribly uncomfortable and makes eating very difficult. Especially some foods. It just seemed to have come on incredibly suddenly and coincidentally after having a toothe removed. Im just wondering if you have any answers for me as to what may have caused it. Id be very grateful. Sincerely Maree

ANSWER: Maree one of the most common appearance of lichen planus is white filmy lines and recurring area of ulceration of these area.  They are very sore and occur over and over again.  The use of an antihistamine for this situation is only for the mildest lesions that quickly resolve on their own.  

Do you have any whitening on the surface of the tongue or throat area?

The only definitive way to completely diagnose what is occurring is via biopsy.  The tongue is not one of the common places for lichen planus.  My suggestion is for you to see an oral surgeon to look are the areas and possibly biopsy if the diagnosis is not simple.  There are other medications that can control this if it is lichen planus.  The question I have of the whitening on the surface is a possible fungus.

So you can get back to me and answer my question, but a surgeon may be the best to diagnose and possibly biopsy the area.  

I wish I could be more definitive, but it is a little difficult without examining you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi there thankyou so much for getting back to me. I have been to an oral surgeon an had a biopsy for the Lichen Planus. Its been diagnosed as such. My main concern is that when I came away from the dentist recently to have a toothe taken out, after the painless wore off I was left with a sore itchy burning tongue and now a week later that has improved a bit but I now cant taste anything and my tongue just feels a bit numb. I wondered maybe if a nerve has been severed in the process of taking my toothe out and what can I do to improve this situation. Sincerely Maree

Maree - That is a difficult question for me to answer.  It is not unheard pf after the extraction of an infected molar for the nerves in the area to go through a period of numbness.  The other possibility is that the surgeon, during the injection may have slightly traumatized the lingual nerve (the one the provides sensation to the tongue).  This can last for a short period of time or could last a few months, but does not sound like a situation that will not resolve.  So you need to be a little patient and wait for the numbness to improve.

I wish you well and hope it heals quickly.


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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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