The just released December issue of the American Dental Association Journal features an article on a problem often seen in a specialist's office such as ours--burning mouth syndrome (BMS). BMS is classified as either primary, a burning sensation of the tissues of the mouth or around the mouth, usually on both sides and distributed symmetrically, or secondary, occurring as a result of clinical abnormalities such as oral lesions, systemic disease, certain psychological conditions, or side effects of medications.
Diagnosis is challenging. BMS is most common in women, with symptoms beginning during the period between three years before menopause and twelve years after menopause. The most frequent location is the surface or side of the front two-thirds of the tongue. Symptoms can develop spontaneously, or have been reported to follow respiratory infections, dental work, prescribed medications, or traumatic life events. The symptoms can last months or years, and be worse at different times of the day or exacerbated by certain foods.
Treatment involves behavioral strategies, topical therapies and systemic approaches.
For greater detail, and information regarding clinical implications, see the JADA, December 1, 2012, vol. 143, no. 12, 1317-1319