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Burning Mouth Syndrome: a review

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Charlotte CurrieORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a review published in its final definitive form in 2020. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is characterised by chronic daily intraoral burning or dysaesthetic sensations, often combined with taste alterations and dry mouth, which cannot be explained by any clinically evident oral or systemic pathology. Around 1-3.7% of the population suffer from the condition, with highest prevalence figures in menopausal and postmenopausal women up to 12% - 18%, and BMS can have a significant impact on quality of life. BMS still seems to be poorly understood in terms of aetiology, although there is growing evidence from multiple lines of research that neuropathic changes at different levels of the neuraxis are critically involved in its pathogenesis. With accurate neurophysiological, psychophysical, neuropathological, and neuroimaging methods, clinically homogenous BMS can be subdivided into three major types of neuropathic pain, that may coexist. According to some preliminary evidence, efficacy of different treatments may depend on the neurophysiologic subtype of BMS. However, as these subtypes cannot be distinguished with standard clinical examination and detailed diagnostic methods are not routinely applied in the clinic nor in the treatment trials, management of BMS remains challenging, with little high quality evidence available. This review aims to address the current evidence and understanding in relation to aetiology, diagnosis and management of BMS.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Currie CC, Jääskeläinen SK

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Oral Surgery

Year: 2020

Volume: 13

Issue: 4

Pages: 379-388

Print publication date: 01/11/2020

Online publication date: 24/10/2019

Acceptance date: 21/10/2019

ISSN (print): 1752-2471

ISSN (electronic): 1752-248X


DOI: 10.1111/ors.12456