Clin Dermatol 2016 Jul-Aug;34(4):449-57. Epub 2016 Mar 2.
Department of Oral Medicine, Leeds Dental Institute and School of Dentistry, The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust/University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. Electronic address:
There are many etiologic factors to consider in a patient who presents with symptoms or sensations of a sore burning mouth. These range from local causes within the oral cavity to underlying systemic disease, including psychologic factors. This paper aims to describe the different clinical presentations and to outline a systematic approach to the evaluation and management of such patients. The clinician will be directed to the relevant diagnosis by following the traditional medical model of taking a focused history, performing a thorough clinical examination, considering the potential differential diagnoses, and requesting pertinent and appropriate investigations. The various differential diagnoses and broad treatment options will also be discussed and outlined. This paper will not, however, discuss burning mouth syndrome (oral dysesthesia), which is a diagnosis of exclusion, whereby the oral mucosa is clinically normal and there are no identifiable medical or dental causes to account for the patient's symptoms.