Defining and diagnosing burning mouth syndrome: Perceptions of directors of North American postgraduate oral medicine and orofacial pain programs

J Am Dent Assoc. 2013;144(10):1135-42. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2013.0031.


Background: The authors conducted a study to ascertain participants' perceptions of and confidence in their responses regarding the definition and diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome (BMS).

Methods: The authors developed an eight-question questionaire with input from several experienced clinicians in the fields of oral medicine (OM) and orofacial pain (OFP) and sent it to directors (n = 20; OM = 10; OFP = 10) of accredited postgraduate training programs in North America. They used descriptive statistics to analyze the results.

Results: The response rate was 65 percent (n = 13; OM = 6; OFP = 7). Participants reported a mean of 7.3 cases of BMS in any given three-month period, with 89 percent of these cases managed within the programs. They identified, with a high degree of confidence, overall criteria for establishing a definition and definitive diagnosis of BMS.

Conclusions: There were multiple similarities among participants' responses regarding the elements to be included in the definition and diagnosis of BMS.

Practical implications: These data provide information on current status of definitions and diagnostic guidelines and may assist in development of future consensus statements on BMS that incorporate additional geographical representation and appropriate methodology.

Keywords: Burning mouth syndrome; confidence rating scale; diagnosis; respondents’ perceptions.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Oral Medicine / education
  • Oral Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires