What is the role of sensory circuits in the pathophysiology of burning mouth syndrome (BMS)?

Updated: Jan 22, 2018
  • Author: Vincent D Eusterman, MD, DDS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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One small study proposed that unilateral chorda tympani (taste) hypofunction results in lingual nerve (somatosensory) hyperfunction by disruption of a centrally mediated equilibrium between the two. [13] Observation in other conditions has shown that when a sensory circuit loses afferent signals that hyperactivity may result in hallucinatory sensations. Examples of this include phantom limb sensation following amputation and tinnitus in hearing loss. It would tend to account both for pain and for gustatory disturbances in burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Metallic or sour tastes are considered symptomatic manifestations of an understimulated gustatory circuit while understimulated sensory circuitry manifests burning sensations. The cause of this proposed neuropathy is unknown.

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