Chinese Journal of Dental Research
Chin J Dent Res 21 (2018), No. 1     30. Mar. 2018
Chin J Dent Res 21 (2018), No. 1  (30.03.2018)

Page 9-19, doi:10.3290/j.cjdr.a39914, PubMed:29507908

Understanding of Burning Mouth Syndrome Based on Psychological Aspects
Kim, Moon-jong / Kho, Hong-seop
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic pain condition characterised by a persistent burning sensation in clinically normal oral mucosa. BMS most commonly occurs in middleaged and elderly women. Various local and systemic factors can cause oral burning symptoms. When all possible local and systemic factors are excluded, burning mouth symptoms can be diagnosed as BMS. Psychophysical tests and histopathological data suggest the involvement of peripheral and central neuropathic mechanisms in BMS etiopathogenesis. Psychological problems are frequently observed in BMS patients. Several mechanisms, including increased parafunctional habits, steroid dysregulation, central disinhibition due to taste dysfunction, and low dopamine levels in the brain, have been proposed as an explanation for the role of psychological factors in BMS pathophysiology. However, the causal relationship between BMS and psychological problems remains controversial. Given the neuropathic nature of BMS, treatment for it is similar to other neuropathic pain conditions. Although various treatment modalities, including pharmacological intervention, behavioural therapy and psychotherapy, have been proposed, there is no definitive treatment always effective for the majority of BMS patients. In conclusion, for better understanding of the relationship between BMS and psychological factors, well-designed prospective studies are needed. In addition, the evaluation and treatment of psychological problems are essential for successful management of BMS patients.

Keywords: burning mouth syndrome, pathophysiology, psychological factors