Burning mouth syndrome. A retrospective analysis of clinical characteristics and treatment outcomes.

Andres Pinto, Thomas P. Sollecito, Scott S. DeRossi

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26 Scopus citations


Burning mouth syndrome is a condition characterized by burning sensations of the oral cavity in the absence of physical abnormalities of the mucosa or a detectable underlying medical disorder. It is a multifactorial disorder with unclear etiology, affecting predominatly middle-aged women. Multiple approaches to treatment have been described in the literature, with few controlled clinical trials regarding their efficacy. The objectives of this retrospective study were to: 1. determine the epidemiologic characteristics of BMS patients referred to an oral medicine practice; 2. determine if BMS classification correlates with response to treatment; 3. determine the efficacy of a variety of known therapies for BMS. A database was constructed from the charts of 150 consecutive patients diagnosed with BMS; and these charts were reviewed. Patients were classified according to previously published criteria for BMS. Presumed etiologies were grouped into depression/anxiety-associated; hematinic deficiencies, including iron, folate and vitamin B complex; oral habits: and idiopathic BMS. Treatment approaches were divided into seven categories: soft desensitizing appliance; tricyclic antidepressants (TCA); benzodiazepines (BZD); topical analgesics; hematinic supplements; habit awareness counseling; and multi-modal therapy (combining two or more of the above). Improvement was recorded using a zero to 100% VAS scale and classified as no relief (0%); mild (0-40%); meaningful/moderate (41-80%); and profound relief (81-100%). Burning mouth syndrome without any identifiable cause (idiopathic) was diagnosed in 33 patients (46.6%). Patients were followed up at one month (4 weeks) after the initial visit. Nine patients (12.7%) reported profound relief; 17 patients (23.9%) reported meaningful relief; 39 patients (54.9%) reported mild relief. This retrospective review showed no significant correlation between classification of BMS and response to therapy. The most effective treatment modalities were habit awareness, followed by TCAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-24
Number of pages7
JournalThe New York state dental journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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