Which history findings suggest burning mouth syndrome (BMS)?

Updated: Apr 15, 2021
  • Author: Vincent D Eusterman, MD, DDS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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History is the cornerstone of diagnosis. [24] Although burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a diagnosis of exclusion, several elements are supportive:

  • Bilateral mouth discomfort (burning/pain)

  • Pain deep in the oral mucosa

  • Symptoms present for at least 4-6 months

  • Xerostomia

  • Dysgeusia

  • Symptoms that are nearly constant throughout the day

  • No clear precipitating factors

  • Alleviated or aggravated by drinking/eating

  • Mood or personality disruptions

The absence of any of the above symptoms does not exclude a diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome (BMS). See the image shown below.

A 55-year-old female with tongue burning for 15 mo A 55-year-old female with tongue burning for 15 months. The history for cancer risk factors was negative. Examination failed to reveal any systemic or local causes. Diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) was made, and the patient received no medical treatment except for serial examinations.

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