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Volume 19 , Issue 2
Spring 2005

Pages 168–173

The Diagnosis of Burning Mouth Syndrome Represents a Challenge for Clinicians

Michele D. Mignogna, MD, DDS/Stefano Fedele, DDS, PhD /Lucio Lo Russo, DDS, PhD /Stefania Leuci, DDS/Lorenzo Lo Muzio, MD, DDS

PMID: 15895840

Aims: To evaluate the occurrence of professional delay in the diagnosis, referral, and treatment of patients with burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Methods: Fifty-nine patients (51 women and 8 men; average age, 60.5 years; age range, 32 to 88 years) diagnosed with BMS at our institution were retrospectively studied. Data were collected about the onset of oral symptoms, consultations with medical and dental practitioners, and misdiagnosis before definitive BMS diagnosis and treatment. Results: The average delay from the onset of the symptoms to definitive diagnosis was 34 months (range, 1 to 348 months; median, 13 months). The average number of medical and dental practitioners consulted by each patient over this period and who initially misdiagnosed BMS was 3.1 (range, 0 to 12; median, 3). Candidiasis and aspecific stomatitis were the most frequent misinterpretations of the symptoms before appropriate referral. In about 30% of cases, no diagnosis of the oral symptoms was made or explanation given. Conclusion: Professional delay in diagnosing, referring, and appropriately managing BMS patients occurred frequently in the group studied. No significant differences were found in the number of medical and dental practitioners who were consulted. Emphasis must therefore be placed upon educational efforts to improve health care providers’ awareness of BMS. This should increase the rate of recognition and appropriate referral or treatment of patients with chronic orofacial pain due to BMS. J Orofac Pain 2005;19:168–173

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