Anatomy,  Health

Plica Fimbriata – Sore, Causes, Treatment, Cancer, Removal, Inflamed, Pictures, HPV, Function

Key Facts

  • Plica Fimbriata is a normal anatomical structure found under the human tongue
  • They are small, fringe-like folds of mucous membrane that run parallel to the lingual frenulum
  • Plica Fimbriata is not usually noticeable and doesn’t serve any significant purpose
  • In rare cases, it can get irritated or caught between the teeth
  • Basic oral hygiene practices are usually sufficient to maintain the health of the Plica Fimbriata
  • It is one of several structures that can be found under the tongue

What Is the Plica Fimbriata and Where Is It Located in the Oral Cavity?

The Plica Fimbriata are small, mucosal folds that are situated on the underside of the tongue. In other words, it is the elevated crest of mucous membrane on the underside of your tongue. There are typically two Plica Fimbriata, one on each side of the lingual frenulum, which are the small folds of tissue that connects the bottom of the tongue to the horseshoe-shaped area of tissue known as the floor of the mouth. The Plica Fimbriata folds tend to run parallel to the frenulum, and sometimes it has small, fringe-like extensions.
Though Plica Fimbriata doesn’t serve any significant purpose in oral function, it is considered a normal anatomical structure. In most individuals, the Plica Fimbriata is not noticeable and does not cause any problems or symptoms. However, in some cases, this fold of tissue may become temporarily irritated or get caught between the teeth, which can cause a bit of discomfort.
Plica: This Latin word means fold or crease. In medical terminology, it is often used to describe a folding of tissue.
Fimbriata: Derived from the Latin word fimbriae, meaning fringes. In a medical or anatomical context, it refers to a fringed or bordered structure.

What Are the Structures Under the Tongue?

The under-surface of the tongue and the floor of the mouth contain several structures, each serving different functions.
These structures include:

  • Lingual Frenulum: This is a small fold of soft tissues – mucous membrane that connects the underside of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It helps in the movement and flexibility of the tongue.
  • Sublingual Caruncle: These are small papillae found on either side of the lingual frenulum. The ducts of the submandibular and sublingual salivary glands open at these caruncles, allowing saliva to enter the mouth.
  • Sublingual Fold: This is a V-shaped structure that extends laterally from the sublingual caruncle. The sublingual salivary glands are located in this fold.
  • Salivary Glands: The floor of the mouth houses the sublingual and submandibular salivary glands. These glands produce saliva, which helps in digestion and maintaining oral health.
  • Blood Vessels and Nerves: Several blood vessels and nerves supply the tongue and floor of the mouth. These include the lingual artery and veins, and the lingual nerve.

Each of these structures plays a role in the functions of the mouth and tongue, including speech, taste, and the digestion of food.

Plica Fimbriata and Your Salivary Gland System

The Plica Fimbriata is located close to the salivary glands, particularly the sublingual glands, which are responsible for producing saliva. While Plica Fimbriata itself doesn’t play a direct role in saliva production, its proximity to the salivary glands means that it could be affected by changes or problems in the salivary system. In fact, the Plica Fimbriata is even considered to be part of the salivary gland system. Saliva produced close to the mouth’s base is secreted by the salivary glands. It then flows beneath the tongue via the submandibular ducts and sublingual channels. The Plica Fimbriata serves as an outlet where these ducts dispense saliva into the oral cavity. Saliva plays an essential role in maintaining oral health, aiding in digestion, and protecting from infections. It is important to recognize that though they are situated close to each other, the Plica Fimbriata and the salivary gland system serve different functions.

What Causes Plica Fimbriata?

Plica Fimbriata is a natural anatomical structure, so there’s no cause behind its presence – it’s just a part of the human anatomy. However, sometimes it can become more prominent or get irritated.
The irritation can be caused by a number of risk factors including:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Not maintaining proper oral hygiene can lead to bacterial buildup which might irritate the Plica Fimbriata.
  • Accidental Bites: Occasionally, people might accidentally bite this area, causing it to swell or become more noticeable.
  • Spicy Foods or Allergens: Eating very spicy food or something you are allergic to might cause a reaction.

Another possible situation is when the salivary gland and duct system under the tongue get disturbed by oral health problems. The salivary gland can sometimes get blocked by a calcified formation, also known as a salivary stone. In this situation, the whole area can become swollen and painful leading to discomfort located near Plica Fimbriata.

How to Get Rid of Plica Fimbriata

It’s important to understand that Plica Fimbriata is a normal part of the mouth’s anatomy, and in most cases, doesn’t need to be removed or altered.
If you are a patient experiencing discomfort associated with Plica Fimbriata, consider the following steps:

  • Maintain Oral Hygiene: Brush twice a day and use a mouthwash to keep your mouth clean.
  • Avoid Irritants: If you notice that certain foods irritate the area, try to avoid them.
  • Consult a Dentist: If the irritation is persistent, it’s important to consult a dentist to rule out any underlying issues or infections.

Sore Plica Fimbriata Hurts: Treatment When Swollen or Causing Pain

Occasionally your Plica Fimbriata can become irritated or sore, usually from accidental bites or certain foods. Another possible reason which may cause it is getting it stuck between your lower teeth.
If you believe you have a sore or swollen plica fimbriata, consider the following steps:
1. Avoid Irritants: Refrain from consuming spicy, acidic, or very hot foods/beverages, as they might exacerbate already existing irritation or swelling.
2. Maintain Oral Hygiene (but in a Gentle Manner): Maintain good oral hygiene to prevent any infections. This includes brushing gently at least twice a day and considering rinsing with a saltwater solution. Avoid aggressive toothbrushing and skip mouthwash.
3. Saltwater Rinse: Gargling with a warm saltwater solution can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Use about half a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, swish around your mouth, then spit out.
4. Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: Non-prescription medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help reduce pain and inflammation. Always use as directed and ensure there are no medical contraindications for you.
5. Topical Gel: Over-the-counter oral gels or ointments, designed to alleviate mouth ulcers or sores, can be applied to the affected area for temporary relief.
6. Avoid Further Trauma: Be conscious of your chewing to avoid accidentally biting the affected area further.
7. Check for Sharp Edges: Occasionally, sharp edges from broken teeth or dental restorations can cause recurrent trauma. If you suspect this might be the case, see your dentist.
8. Consult a Dentist or Physician: If the problem persists, worsens, or if you’re concerned, it’s always a good idea to see a dental professional. If the measures listed above do not alleviate the condition, you may be a patient requiring a surgery. If the stone is located near the surface it should be possible to remove it in a simple procedure involving local anesthesia and making a small incision to the area. In the case the stone is deep in the tissue, your oral surgeon would need to use a technique called salivary sialendoscopy. This involves using a tiny scope to visualize the duct while using a special tool to retrieve the stone.

Plica Fimbriata Cancer: Is Plica Fimbriata Cancerous?

Most oral cancers tend to occur or develop on the lips, the sides of the tongue, the floor of the mouth, or the back of the throat. Although any tissue in the body can theoretically develop cancer, it’s worth noting that plica fimbriata cancer is extremely rare. On its own, the plica fimbriata is not cancerous, and it’s a normal part of oral anatomy for many people.
If you’re one of the patients concerned about Oral Cancer, here’s a list of typical signs and symptoms:

  • A sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal
  • Persistent pain in the mouth
  • White or red patches inside the mouth
  • A lump or thickening in the cheek or neck
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing or chewing
  • Feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Numbness in a part of the mouth
  • Change in voice or speech difficulties
  • Swelling of the jaw
  • Loose teeth or pain around the teeth or jaw

Early detection is vital for the successful treatment of oral cancer. If you notice any unusual changes, growths, or persisting sores anywhere in your mouth, including near the plica fimbriata, it’s essential to consult with a dental professional. They can assess the situation, provide guidance, and, if necessary, take a biopsy to rule out cancer or other pathological conditions.

Plica Fimbriata HPV

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of related viruses, some of which are known to be sexually transmitted and can lead to the development of cancers, including oropharyngeal (throat) cancers. While the plica fimbriata itself is a normal anatomical structure on the underside of the tongue, any area of the oral cavity, including the plica fimbriata, can theoretically be infected by HPV or show manifestations of an HPV infection.
In the oral cavity, HPV-related lesions might present as:

  • Warts or papillomas: These are small, benign (non-cancerous) growths
  • Focal epithelial hyperplasia: Small white or pinkish nodules
  • Squamous cell papillomas: Small, benign growths that may appear cauliflower-like

Bottom Line

Plica fimbriata refers to a natural part of the oral anatomy located on the underside of your tongue and generally doesn’t cause any problems. If you experience irritation, it’s likely due to external factors such as food irritants or poor oral hygiene. In the majority of cases, there is no need to get rid of Plica Fimbriata. Maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding irritants is often all that’s needed. However, if you have persistent issues, consulting a dental professionalis advisable to ensure there isn’t an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

This article is complete and was published on July 15, 2023, and last updated on November 22, 2023.

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