Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)

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Burning mouth syndrome facts*

*Burning mouth syndrome facts medical author: Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

  • Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) describes a painful sensation of the tongue, lips, or palate. It also may involve a general sensation of discomfort of the whole mouth.
  • Burning mouth syndrome can result from a number of causes; BMS is not itself a disease, but describes symptoms.
  • In addition to pain, other symptoms may include tingling or numbness, a metallic taste, and dry mouth.
  • There are many different potential causes of burning mouth syndrome and diagnosis may require examination of the mouth, as well as evaluation for illnesses and diseases that can affect other organs of the body.
  • On occasion, no obvious diagnosis or cause for burning mouth syndrome can be found.
  • Treatment options are tailored to the cause of the syndrome.

Key Points

  • Burning mouth syndrome is burning pain in the mouth that may occur every day for months or longer.
  • Doctors and dentists do not have a specific test for burning mouth syndrome, which makes it hard to diagnose.
  • No specific treatment works for all people. However, your doctor can prescribe medicine to help you manage mouth pain, dry mouth, or other symptoms.

Symptoms

The main symptom of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is pain in the mouth that is burning, scalding, or tingling. Or, the pain may be a feeling of numbness. Other symptoms include dry mouth or altered taste in the mouth.

BMS is a painful condition. Usually, the tongue is affected, but the pain may also be in the lips or roof of the mouth, or throughout the mouth.

BMS pain can last for months or years. Some people feel constant pain every day. For others, pain increases throughout the day. For many people, the pain is reduced when eating or drinking.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/1/2014

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