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Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a clinical diagnosis made via the exclusion of all other causes. No universally accepted diagnostic criteria, laboratory tests, imaging studies or other modalities definitively diagnose or exclude burning mouth syndrome (BMS).
Various attempts to classify burning mouth syndrome (BMS) based on etiology and symptoms have been made. In a classification by etiology or cause, idiopathic burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is considered “primary BMS” (or "true BMS"), whereas “secondary BMS” has an identifiable cause. For the purposes of this article, we will use these terms.
Another classification of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is based on symptoms, stratifying cases into 3 types, as follows:
Type 1 burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Patients have no symptoms upon waking, with progression throughout the day. Nighttime symptoms are variable. Nutritional deficiency and diabetes may produce a similar pattern.
Type 2 burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Patients have continuous symptoms throughout the day and are frequently asymptomatic at night. This type is associated with chronic anxiety.
Type 3 burning mouth syndrome (BMS): Patients have intermittent symptoms throughout the day and symptom-free days. Food allergy is suggested as a potential mechanism.
Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is likely more than one disease process, and the etiology may be multifactorial. The ambiguous definition of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) makes evaluation of prognosis and treatment difficult.
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