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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Unexplained Swelling of Tongue

07/13/2010

Question:

My husband has had a second occurance of swelling under the tongue. This has occurred after he has been severly dehydraded. We have had CAT Scans and other tests done with no explanation given. He is an alcoholic and the swelling usually appears after 2 or 3 days of no alcohol, the shakes and vomitting. The dehydration was brought on the first time because of vomitting and he had pneumonia and a collaped lung. The second time was the vomitting and a severly broken foot. Could the swelling be brought on by the vomitting or a body`s reaction to any type of trauma to the body? We have gone to the dentist, ENT, and other doctors with no solution.

Answer:

With your description, there is nothing that fits it. Swellings under the tongue can occur from blocked salivary glands or cystic lesions called mucoceles. Hemorrhagic mucoceles can be caused by trauma. The next time this swelling occurs, have your husband see an oral pathologist. They should be able to accurately diagnose the lesion. If it is a mucocele, these lesions are benign and have no serious consequences.

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Response by:

D Stanley Sharples, DDS
Clinical Assistant Professor of Primary Care Dentistry
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University