3 Potential Dental Treatments For Tongue Problems

Posted on: 10 July 2015

Dentists perform more services than teeth cleanings, fillings, and dental crowns. Your dentist is dedicated to helping improve your overall oral health, and that can include treating problems with the gums, lips, and tongue. If you have tongue discoloration, soreness, or swelling, visit your dentist as soon as possible for treatment.

Here are three of the most common tongue problems and their potential treatments.


Glossitis presents with tongue soreness, minor swelling, and discoloration that can make the tongue look yellow or bright red. The pain can make it difficult to chew or swallow.

The most common causes of glossitis are an oral infection, injury, or an allergic reaction to a food, drink, or oral medication. If you haven't experienced an injury, eaten a new food or taken a new medication, it's likely due to an infection.

Visit your dentist for treatment that might include an antibiotic regimen, deep cleaning including a tongue scraping, and detailed aftercare instructions. If allergies are a suspected cause, you might need to undergo a blood test to narrow down what food, drink, or medication caused the reaction.


Thrush is an oral yeast infection that presents with soreness and a white film of small sores across the surface of the tongue. The sores can make it difficult to swallow or talk properly.

Certain conditions and medications can make you more susceptible to thrush. A weakened immune system due to diabetes, HIV, or cancer can increase the risk. Certain chemotherapy medications, steroids, and antibiotics can also increase risk.

Visit your dentist for proper diagnostic testing. You might receive a prescription for an antifungal syrup or pills as well as soothing lozenges to calm surface irritation and make it easier for you to chew and swallow while your tongue is healing.

Ludwig's Angina

If your tongue starts to swell, make a dentist appointment immediately. The swelling can be the sign of a minor infection or can be the start of the potentially fatal condition, Ludwig's angina.

Ludwig's angina is an infection of the soft tissues of your mouth such as the roof, floor, gums, or tongue. The infectious material enters the soft tissue due to a tooth abscess. You can have an abscessed tooth without feeling any pain, so don't ignore a swollen tongue because you think you don't have any tooth problems.

The swelling associated with Ludwig's angina can cause your tongue to swell up so severely that it blocks your airway. But if you visit a dentist, like those at Claremont Dental Institute, as soon as swelling presents, antibiotics can clear up the problem. Note that you should visit the emergency room immediately if your tongue starts to swell quickly.