What is the role of spatial testing in the diagnosis of taste and smell disorders?

Updated: Jan 08, 2021
  • Author: Eric H Holbrook, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Taste function in the various areas of the tongue and oral cavity can be measured using a spatial test. Because the gustatory system is multiply innervated, damage to one of the three major nerves (ie, the chorda tympani branch of the facial nerve, the glossopharyngeal nerve, the vagus nerve) or their ganglia may cause a disturbance of taste that can be evaluated only by testing the anatomic areas supplied by those nerves.

To test these areas, 4 standardized sizes of filter paper are soaked with strong concentrations of the 4 basic tastes. The papers are randomly placed on the 4 quadrants of the tongue and on both sides of the soft palate. Patients then identify the quality of the taste and rate its intensity using the same scale as in whole mouth assessment.

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