Q: The patient in the photo has:
A. Geographic tongue
B. Oral candidiasis
C. Median rhomboid glossitis
D. Smooth tongue
Geographic tongue and median rhomboid glossitis… For some reason, the two get mixed up in our head sometimes. Let’s review them a little more closely today and perfect our knowledge about oral pathology for the dental assisting board exam (GC). This information could also be very important for the AMP® dental assisting boards, which is a component of the NELDA® exam.
- Geographic tongue, also called erythema migrans or benign migratory glossitis, appears as smooth patches devoid of filiform. Those patches develop on the dorsal and lateral borders of the tongue, which can also move around different areas on the tongue. The condition is benign and does not require any treatment.
- Median rhomboid glossitis appears as a flat or slightly raised oval/rectangular erythematous (red) area in the midline of the dorsal surface of the tongue. When associated with fungus, primarily Candida albicans, median rhomboid glossitis responds well to antifungal medications.
- Candidiasis, commonly known as thrush, is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. This fungus is part of the normal oral microflora, but a weakened immune system can allow the fungus to grow. Candidiasis usually presents as white patches that can be wiped off. But not all candidiasis appears as white lesions; erythematous candidiasis and denture stomatitis are red.
Answer: (A). Geographic tongue
Now look at the image. Can you see some “smooth” patches on different parts of the tongue (not the middle area)? This is an indication for geographic tongue. I hope this all makes sense! There are so many conditions to review for the dental assisting board exam (CDA®, NELDA®, DANB®), so take the time to make flashcards with the keywords you need to know for each condition. You can also use SmarterDA to see the summary of oral pathology and matching images.
Believe in yourself and keep being amazing!
Author: Claire RDH, CDA, MS
Claire is the founder of StudentRDH and SmarterDA – exams prep solutions for the dental hygiene and dental assisting students. The exam review online solutions quickly became the #1 choice among students. “Studying is now “addictive!”
Prior to her career in the dental field, Claire Jeong was an education specialist at Boston Children’s Museum. Claire is licensed to practice in the United States and Canada. She can be reached at ClaireJ@SmarterDA.com and support@SmarterDA.com