Who Can Diagnose Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Those who suffer from it know that burning mouth syndrome (BMS) can be every bit as painful as the name sounds. This condition can appear suddenly, tormenting those afflicted with lingering pain and other symptoms that make living day to day much less pleasant.
To add to the problem, both diagnosing and treating burning mouth syndrome can be quite difficult because of the unique challenges it presents. If you believe that you or someone you know might have BMS, it’s important that you contact a health professional soon to discuss your symptoms, test for causes, and ultimately render a diagnosis. You might ask, “Who can diagnose burning mouth syndrome?” To find out, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ provide some answers.
What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?
It might seem like the name says it all – and for some patients, it may – but burning mouth syndrome comes with a few possible symptoms in addition to the obvious burning sensations. While some might experience a burning or scalded feeling due to BMS, others might feel tingling or numbness; these sensations often affect the tongue, but they can also appear along the cheeks, lips, gums, palate, or throat. In some cases, a person with burning mouth syndrome might develop dry mouth – with or without excessive thirst – along with a loss of their sense of taste or an unpleasant bitter or metallic taste.
For some BMS patients, these symptoms can remain steady all day, while others could have intermittent discomfort that comes and goes or low-level pain in the morning that gradually worsens throughout the day. Many people with burning mouth syndrome report that their discomfort lessens when eating or drinking, though this is not true in all cases. Depending on the type of BMS you are diagnosed with, you could have to deal with these symptoms for months or years.
Generally speaking, burning mouth syndrome appears suddenly and all at once, but it rarely disappears as quickly. That’s because there are a wide variety of potential causes of BMS, and treatment of this condition tends to rely on treatment of whatever underlying ailment is causing it.
How Burning Mouth Syndrome is Diagnosed
The first thing you should do if you think you might have burning mouth syndrome is to visit your doctor or dentist and discuss your symptoms with him or her. Unfortunately, because there’s no one test to determine whether a person has BMS, the process for diagnosing it can be somewhat lengthy.
Talk to Your Doctor or Dentist
To begin with, your health care provider will probably examine your mouth for any outward signs of health problems; however, burning mouth syndrome typically does not come with any visible changes to oral tissues. Your physician will also likely go over your medical history and ask you to describe your symptoms and any oral habits you might have, including whether you grind your teeth, bite your tongue, use too much mouthwash, or frequently drink acidic beverages.
Undergo Various Tests
Once a cursory examination has been completed, your doctor will want to run a series of tests to try and determine what might be causing your discomfort. Because there are many possible causes of burning mouth syndrome, you will likely have to sit through a number of different evaluations, which could take some time. The following are some of the most common tests used to diagnose burning mouth syndrome.
- Acid reflux tests
- Allergy tests
- Imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scans
- Salivary flow tests
- Oral swabs or cultures
- Biopsies of the affected tissue
- Blood tests
- Psychological evaluations
- Medication adjustments
Receive Your Final Diagnosis
Though they are often referred to as the same illness, there are actually two varieties of burning mouth syndrome. If any of the tests listed above reveal an underlying ailment that is causing your symptoms, you will be diagnosed with secondary burning mouth syndrome; those without a clear cause will be diagnosed with primary burning mouth syndrome.
Since there is no obvious cause that can be treated, those with primary BMS often have to settle for treatments aimed at mitigating their symptoms, rather than curing them. Those with secondary BMS, however, will likely have some treatment options that could get rid of their discomfort.
Treatments After a Burning Mouth Syndrome Diagnosis
Once your doctor has determined what, if anything, might be causing your burning mouth syndrome, they should be able to offer treatment options tailored to your specific case. These treatments can be used to mitigate pain, alleviate dry mouth, or accommodate changes in taste; if you have secondary BMS, your doctor will try to cure your underlying condition, if possible. Whichever diagnosis you’ve received, ask about some of the following options to ease your pain and improve your quality of life.
- Chewing sugarless gum
- Capsaicin, a natural pain reliever
- Avoiding certain foods
- Vitamin supplements
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Medications for nerve pain
- Saliva replacement products
- Over-the-counter painkillers
Try an Oral Ice Pack for Treating Burning Mouth Syndrome
Though it was originally designed to treat the oral mucositis experienced by chemo patients, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can be a useful tool for many kinds of oral morbidities, including burning mouth syndrome. That’s because the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can effectively cool the entire oral cavity by as much as 30 degrees over the course of half an hour, and it does so without causing the tooth sensitivity commonly caused by ice chips.
If you or someone you know is suffering from BMS, talk to your doctor about using an oral cryotherapy device like the Chemo Mouthpiece™. Learn more by visiting us online or calling (866) 461-7518 today.