Hairy tongue is a disease caused by hypertrophy of filiform papillae on the tongue dorsum. Clinically, it occurs on the posterior 1/3 of the tongue dorsum and is rarely observed on the lateral and tip of the tongue. Several types of colored pigmentation from white to brown and black appear depending on the ingested food and the existing pigmentation inducing bacteria. Although clinically asymptomatic, patients will visit the clinic for esthetic problems and at rare intervals experience nausea, halitosis, dysgeusia and unpleasant sensation.
The exact etiology is yet not known but causes such as inappropriate oral hygiene control, a shift in oral bacterium, infection, radiotherapy, use of antibacterial drugs or immunosuppressants, excessive smoking or alcohol drinking and decrease of salivary flow rate may be a factor of the disease.
Clinical symptoms are quite typical and diagnosis may be made simply by observation, not necessarily biopsy.
Treatment of hairy tongue is done by eliminating the etiology factors, brushing the tongue gently with a tongue cleaner and in some cases using keratolytic agent. Although it is rare to treat hairy tongue surgically, we will introduce a case successfully treated using carbondioxide laser(CO2 laser), after no sufficient improvement had been made by conservative treatment.