Burning mouth syndrome is a pain in the mouth described as a burning sensation when no obvious cause for the pain is present. If you experience symptoms, you’re not alone. It is estimated as many as 350,000 people worldwide suffer from BMS ever year.
Ever bitten into a hot slice of pizza or taken a sip of too hot coffee? If you have, then you know the painful sensation that accompanies a burned mouth. While taking an impatient bite or sip is the cause of many acute, painful, burning sensations in the mouth and gums, you can experience the same stinging pain without an actual burn at all. This chronic condition is referred to as burning mouth syndrome and it can easily be diagnosed and treated by your dentist.
What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome, also called scalded mouth syndrome, causes an ongoing and painful burning of one or more portions of the mouth. The tongue, lips, gums, and even the inside of your cheeks can be affected makes it painful and difficult to eat and enjoy food. The symptoms may come and go and change over time, but tend to be chronic and uncomfortable.
Common symptoms of burning mouth syndrome include:
- Burning sensation in tongue, gums, and lips
- Dry mouth and increased thirst
- Varying pain levels throughout the day
- Metallic or other unusual taste in mouth
- Loss of taste, or inability to taste and enjoy food
There are two main types of burning mouth syndrome – primary and secondary, and both have similar symptoms. Primary burning mouth syndrome is local to the mouth and is not caused by another problem. Secondary burning mouth syndrome is caused by another underlying condition and is a symptom of another condition such as stress, depression, poorly fitted dentures, or even a reaction to a medication.
Diagnosing and Treating Burning Mouth Syndrome
Your dentist can diagnose burning mouth syndrome by examining your mouth, lips, and gums and asking you about your lifestyle, habits, and health. In some cases, blood tests, oral cultures, or imaging can help determine what is causing your burning pain and if there is an underlying condition. Persistent oral pain can be a sign of another illness, so it is important to find out the actual reason your mouth is burning.
After diagnosing burning mouth syndrome, your dentist may prescribe a medication or other treatment and suggest lifestyle changes to prevent a recurrence. Although every patient’s treatment plan is unique, common recommended changes include avoiding spicy foods, reducing stress levels, eliminating tobacco products and increasing daily water consumption.
Just as every patient is unique, every case of burning mouth syndrome is as well; most cases will resolve with medication, lifestyle changes, and treatment of any accompanying medical conditions. If you are experiencing unexplained burning mouth pain, seeking prompt treatment will give you relief and peace of mind. Schedule an appointment at Arkansas Family Dental to find relief from your chronic burning mouth symptoms or call us at 501.683.8886 if you have questions.