Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS)


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Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a poorly understood condition in which a person experiences ongoing moderate to severe pain in the tongue and/or mouth. Although the cause of BMS remains unclear, some patterns have become clear to researchers. The pain is generally worst in the late afternoon and early evening, but disappears at night. Most often, more than one part of the mouth is involved. Common areas of burning pain include the tongue, the hard palate (the front part of the roof of the mouth), and the lower lip. Many people recover spontaneously within six or seven years. Dry mouth and altered taste sensations often, but not always, accompany the pain.BMS is thought to fall in the general category of “neuropathic pain,” meaning that it probably results from altered nerve function, possibly in the nerves carrying taste sensation. Use of drugs in the ACE inhibitor family has been implicated in some cases of burning mouth syndrome, but the reason for this apparent connection remains unclear.Conventional treatment for BMS consists of drugs used to treat neuropathic pain in general, including anticonvulsants, sedatives in the benzodiazepine family, and tricyclic antidepressants. There is inadequate research at present to determine the precise efficacy of these treatments.

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