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Thyroid Scalloped Tongue- An Overview

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Thyroid Scalloped Tongue- An Overview

3 min read


The scalloped tongue of the thyroid is indicative of thyroid dysfunction and highlights the need for early detection and individualized therapy.

Written by

Dr. Leenus A. E

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop

Published At November 29, 2023
Reviewed AtMay 16, 2024


A thyroid scalloped tongue is a disorder marked by scallops or indentations on the tongue's lateral borders and is frequently linked to thyroid dysfunction. Changes in the size and appearance of the tongue can result from thyroid gland dysfunction, whether in hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. This disorder may result in pain, trouble speaking, and difficulty swallowing. A comprehensive evaluation that includes a thyroid function test, physical examination, and medical history is necessary for the diagnosis. The goal of treatment is to address the underlying thyroid issue by using medicine or other therapeutic approaches; frequent monitoring is crucial for the successful management of the condition.

Continued research enhances our comprehension of the complex correlation between thyroid disease and oral symptoms, improving early detection techniques. Novel technology and treatments might provide more specialized interventions, enhancing the results for impacted persons. Faster diagnosis and better treatment can be achieved via expanded patient education and increased awareness among the medical community. Research and collaborations among endocrinologists, oral health professionals, and researchers might result in novel approaches to treating thyroid scalloped tongue that are more patient-centered and customized.

What Is Thyroid Scalloped Tongue?

A scalloped tongue is a disorder marked by indentations or scallops along the lateral borders of the tongue. It is sometimes referred to as thyroid scalloping or lingual thyroid indentations. Thyroid malfunction, especially hypothyroidism, is frequently linked to this illness. The thyroid gland is essential for controlling metabolism; when it is not functioning correctly, it can cause a number of symptoms, including tongue abnormalities. When a person has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland does not create enough thyroid hormones, which affects many body systems. Glycosaminoglycan buildup can cause the tongue to expand, pressing on the teeth when swallowed and making scallops appear. Thyroid scalloping is a condition that can arise in cases of thyroid diseases other than hypothyroidism. Thyroid function tests, a comprehensive medical history, and a physical examination are usually required for the diagnosis. Treatment includes taking care of the underlying thyroid issue, frequently with medicine or other therapeutic measures. Regular thyroid function monitoring and treatment are crucial to avoid problems and relieve the symptoms of thyroid scalloped tongue.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Thyroid Scalloped Tongue?

Specific indications and symptoms associated with the underlying thyroid condition and the anatomical modifications of the tongue are evident in the thyroid-scalloped tongue. Visibly enlarged or swollen tongue with teeth-mark-like or scallop-shaped indentations around the margins are common symptoms. Other symptoms of thyroid dysfunction that patients may encounter include

  1. Weariness.

  2. Weight gain.

  3. Dry skin,

  4. Hair loss in hypothyroidism.

  5. Anxiety, weight loss.

  6. Accelerated pulse in hyperthyroidism.

Thyroid Scalloped Tongue

The swollen tongue may cause patients to experience discomfort in the mouth, difficulty swallowing, or difficulty speaking. A medical examination, thyroid function testing, and other pertinent studies are part of the diagnosis process.

The goal of treatment is to address the underlying thyroid issue, which frequently calls for medication, lifestyle modifications, or, in extreme situations, surgery. Scalloped tongue and other related symptoms must be managed with the thyroid condition, which requires routine monitoring and follow-up.

How is Thyroid Scalloped Tongue Diagnosed?

A thorough method must be used to diagnose thyroid scalloped tongue. Medical experts usually start with a complete medical history to evaluate symptoms and risk factors. A physical examination is essential, where the size, texture, and existence of indentations around the borders of the tongue should be carefully examined. To measure thyroid hormone (T3, T4) and Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) levels, clinicians can also do thyroid function tests.

Imaging tests like ultrasounds or scans may be used to assess the shape of the thyroid gland and find any anomalies. A reliable diagnosis in certain circumstances could need a thyroid tissue sample. Coordinating efforts between endocrinologists, oral health experts, and general care physicians guarantee a thorough evaluation.

In order to start proper therapy, address the underlying thyroid condition, and reduce related symptoms, a timely and precise diagnosis of thyroid scalloped tongue is essential. Effective condition management involves routine monitoring and follow-up assessments.

How is the Thyroid Scalloped Tongue Treated?

Treating the underlying thyroid condition that causes tongue alterations is the mainstay of treatment for thyroid scalloped tongue. The usual course of treatment for hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland is underactive, is hormone replacement therapy using synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine. This aids in restoring the body's natural thyroid hormone levels, which frequently results in a decrease in tongue swelling and scalloping.

Treatment options for hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid include radioactive iodine therapy, antithyroid drugs, and in certain situations, thyroid surgery to remove all or a portion of the thyroid gland. The course of therapy is customized for each patient's condition and may entail working with surgeons, primary care physicians, and endocrinologists.

To guarantee ideal thyroid function, regular monitoring and dose modifications are crucial. To promote overall thyroid health, patients are recommended to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes frequent exercise and a balanced diet. Treatment options may also include dental hygiene procedures to reduce discomfort from the scalloped tongue. Patients with thyroid scalloped tongue receive complete therapy when a multidisciplinary approach is used.


Thyroid scalloping of the tongue is a symptomatic manifestation of underlying thyroid disease. When identified, a thorough diagnostic procedure that includes a physical examination, medical history, and thyroid function testing is initiated. Treatment plans usually focus on treating the underlying condition, either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, using hormone replacement, antithyroid drugs, or surgery. Effective treatment requires holistic healthcare that involves several medical specialists working together and routine monitoring. By treating the thyroid problem, medical professionals hope to reduce the symptoms of scalloped tongue and improve the general health and comfort of those who suffer from it.

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Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop
Dr. Achanta Krishna Swaroop



thyroid dysfunction
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