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Dental and Oral Health (Adults)

Tongue Sensation

08/30/2011

Question:

The sides of my tongue have a constant feeling that the tongue has been burnt but it hasn`t. The sides of my mouth also feel dry but aren`t. I also feel that the sides of my mouth feel somewhat enlarged because when I bite down I frequently can bite the sides of my mouth. This has been going on for a month or so. I haven`t started any new medication or eaten anything new.

Answer:

Based on what you are telling me, this may be a condition known as burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Even though it's called BMS, it really should be called "oral sensory neuropathy," which means that the nerves that transmit information to the brain about the sensations in the mouth, just aren't working right. Nerves that carry information about pain, taste and/or texture can be affected, and it seems to occur more frequently in peri- and post-menopausal women.

When the nerves that carry taste information are affected, patients may complain of "taste phantoms", which are perceived as a bitter, salty, metallic or sweet taste in the mouth, even though there isn't anything in the mouth that would taste like that. This is a harmless, but annoying, problem that has no proven treatment, but many patients get better spontaneously.

More information can be found at the links below.

Burning Mouth Syndrome
Burning Mouth Syndrome (AAOMP)

Best wishes.

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Response by:

John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD John R Kalmar, DMD, PhD
Clinical Professor of Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University