Is it Sjögren's syndrome or burning mouth syndrome? Distinct pathoses with similar oral symptoms

Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2017 Apr;123(4):482-495. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2017.01.005. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


Sjögren's syndrome (SS) and burning mouth syndrome (BMS) typically occur in postmenopausal women. Although these conditions have significantly different etiopathogeneses, patients with SS or BMS often present with analogous oral complaints. The similarities between the two conditions have led to considerable confusion on the part of medical and dental practitioners, and those with BMS or SS often wait years to receive a diagnosis. Therefore, it is imperative for clinicians to understand the characteristic subjective and objective features of each disease and how these can be used to distinguish them. This review will discuss the proposed etiology, clinical manifestations, histopathology, diagnostic criteria, and patient management of SS and BMS. We also identify key differences between the two pathoses that aid in establishing the correct diagnosis. Recognition of the defining features of each condition will lead to reduced time to diagnosis and improved patient management for these poorly understood conditions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / etiology*
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / pathology
  • Burning Mouth Syndrome / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / etiology*
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / pathology
  • Sjogren's Syndrome / therapy