My Mouth Is Burning! Burning Mouth Syndrome: what is it?

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a complex condition characterized by a burning, painful or tingling sensation in the mouth in the absence of disease which is often accompanied by a sensation of dry mouth (also known as xerostomia). It commonly affects the tongue, and individuals with burning mouth syndrome may complain that their mouths feel scalded or that their sense of taste is altered (dysguesia). It may also involve the palate, lips and gums (gingiva). Burning mouth syndrome is often classified as primary or secondary burning mouth syndrome.

Primary burning mouth syndrome presents in the absence of systemic disease, while secondary burning mouth syndrome is often a result of an underlying medical condition. Treating the underlying medical condition usually resolves the symptoms of secondary burning mouth syndrome.

How long does burning mouth syndrome last? 

Burning mouth syndrome differs amongst individuals. For some people, it may lasts for a few months, for others it may last a few years. It may also change in symptoms and severity over time.

Who does burning mouth syndrome affect?

Burning mouth syndrome can affect anyone, but it is more commonly seen in women.

How is it diagnosed?

Burning mouth syndrome is not always easily diagnosed, and thus your dentist or primary care physician may refer you to an orofacial pain focused dentist who has additional experience and knowledge in treating and diagnosing burning mouth syndrome. An orofacial pain dentist may order tests including blood tests, oral swabs to rule out infections, allergy tests and imaging.