The wavy or undulating indentations that occur along the sides of a person’s tongue give rise to the phrase “Scalloped Tongue”. Other names for this include:

  • Crenated Tongue
  • Lingua Indentata
  • Pie Crust Tongue
  • Wavy Tongue

It rarely hurts in the notches. The underlying disease that is creating the ripples may be the source of any pain. Your mouth’s lining, particularly on the sides closest to your tongue, may get red or feel sensitive. This is uncommon, but more likely if there is a lot of friction or pressure on the skin. Rarely can ridges on side of the tongue indicate an extremely serious issue, like cancer. This is necessarily nothing to be concerned about, though.

understanding scalloped tongue

Common Scalloped Tongue Causes

It typically develops as a result of tongue swelling or irritation. The term macroglossia also refers to tongue enlargement or ridged tongue. Each cause of macroglossia or tongue swelling results in additional symptoms as well. Understanding the various symptoms might help you determine what may be scalloped tongue causes.

Inherited Disorder:

Macroglossia and these are conditions that can develop from birth due to certain diseases or disorders. These consist of:

  • Apert Syndrome
  • Congenital Hypothyroidism
  • Down Syndrome

These illnesses all have different symptoms.

Scalloped tongue and Hypothyroidism:

Low amounts of thyroid hormone are a feature of this thyroid condition. Along with tongue inflation and ridges on side of the tongue, people with low thyroid hormone levels may also suffer the following symptoms:

  • Aches And Cramps
  • Bruising
  • Hair Loss
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Tiredness


This illness is characterized by protein accumulation in the organs. Your muscles and body tissues, including your tongue, are susceptible to accumulation. There may be edema or inflammation if it affects the tongue or mouth. Your teeth may eventually have scalloped edges as a result of the huge, swollen tongue pressing on them.


Your entire body, particularly your tongue, might swell as a result of dehydration.


Is this condition from anxiety common? Yes, excessive stress or worry may be the cause of several oral symptoms. There are several of these, including jaw discomfort, teeth grinding, and tongue-to-tooth contact. Long-term tongue-to-tooth contact can produce indentations on the teeth.

Parafunctional Habits:

You can acquire tongue or mouth habits, such as this leading to increased risk for difficulties and negative effects over time. A few of these habits you may not even be aware of. To be able to quit doing things, might involve counseling and occupational therapy.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD or TMJ)

Sometimes, the hinge part that joins your bottom jaw to your brain might become uncomfortably misplaced or trapped. Your tongue has to work hard in this situation to keep your bottom jaw in place. It can be required to apply pressure by pressing your tongue firmly against your teeth and jawbone. On the side of your tongue, this may leave a scalloped indentation pattern or ridges on side of your tongue.

Sleep Apnea:

Due to breathing difficulties, while you’re sleeping, this may indicate sleep apnea. Inadvertently opening your airway may cause you to force your tongue into your teeth, which can result in a scalloped tongue.

When You Should Consult To Your Doctor?

Typically, this is not a major warning indication. If you notice the distinctive markings of a tongue or ridges on side of the tongue, you shouldn’t go to the emergency room, but you should schedule a meeting with your physician.

consult to doctor for scalloped tongue

If the probable reasons are left untreated, they may result in additional symptoms and consequences. Make a list of any additional symptoms you may be experiencing if you realize you have this condition. Your doctor can reduce the number of potential reasons by using all of the signs and symptoms you can provide.


No issues are anticipated to arise from this condition. When your tongue brushes up against your teeth, it may irritate the organ and potentially become painful. A scalloped tongue isn’t harmful or serious, though.

Any problems brought on by a scalloped tongue are probably related to the underlying problem. Greater, more severe symptoms and signs may develop from illnesses that are not treated. However, it is usually ridged tongue.

For instance, untreated sleep apnea may lead to:

  • Cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue

Hypothyroidism left untreated might result in consequences like:

  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Nerve damage

Identifying A Scalloped Tongue

identifying scalloped tongue

A correct diagnosis must be obtained. Knowing the underlying reason for this condition will help you and your doctor choose the best course of action. Additionally, it lessens the chance of problems.

Your general health, any recent changes, and any symptoms you’ve seen other than this will all be discussed with your doctor when you see him or her.

To diagnose an illness, a history of symptoms may be sufficient. However, to be certain, your doctor might order several tests. In this context, blood tests to look for erroneous concentrations of proteins, vitamins, minerals, or poisons are included. An examination of protein levels or the search for additional symptoms that might explain your symptoms may be aided by a biopsy or tissue sample.

How To Treat Scalloped Tongue?

The underlying problem must frequently be addressed to treat an enlarged tongue:

  • Inherited Circumstances: Your tongue’s size can be decreased by surgery. Your mouth may be able to be made larger through dental or orthodontic procedures, improving the fit of your tongue.
  • Hypothyroidism: Typically, the first treatment option for this thyroid problem is a prescription medicine. They can try to get the hormone levels back to normal, which will stop or lessen the symptoms.
  • Amyloidosis: This disease cannot be cured, however, treatment can lessen symptoms. Chemotherapy and stem cell transplants are frequent forms of treatment.
  • Dehydration: Every day, throughout the day, drinking plenty of fluids can assist to ward against dehydration and reduce any discomfort or inflammation that may result.
  • Anxiety: Therapy and prescription anti-anxiety drugs may assist to lessen or remove the anxiety as well as the underlying problems that cause the behavior that results in tongue indentations.
  • Parafunctional habits: These habits, like clenching your teeth and sticking out your tongue, are frequently picked up by others. You can overcome them with the aid of an occupational therapist.

Home Therapies

mouth guard min

In addition to these medical procedures, certain natural therapies can help minimize swelling and potential pain or irritation. These comprise:

  • Dental equipment: Mouthguards and other tools can lessen clenching and relieve pressure. These are especially useful when you’re sleepy and unable to control your tongue deliberately.
  • Heat compress: Heat can calm irritated tissues and lessen pain.
  • An ice pack or cold compress: Similar to how heat can help reduce inflammation and soothe pain, ice or a cold compress may do the same.