Oral burning: local and systemic connection for a patient-centric approach

Jaisri Thoppay, Bhavik Desai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Burning symptoms in the oral cavity are caused by a range of systemic and local factors, in addition to the neuropathic pain disorder burning mouth syndrome (BMS). Patients may state oral burning as a standalone symptom or may report as a secondary symptom in association with other factors, most commonly with oral dryness, oral mucosal lesions, or certain systemic conditions. There is a level of uncertainty in the presentation of this condition which creates a diagnostic challenge from both the patient’s perspective and the practitioner evaluating these individuals. The diagnoses are complicated due to the lack of a clear definition of BMS and clinical guidelines to distinguish BMS from other conditions that are responsible for oral burning symptoms. A clinician should be able to differentiate oral burning from burning mouth syndrome. This integrative review discusses on local and systemic etiologies of oral burning based on current evidence that needs to be excluded for a diagnosis of BMS. It also provides an algorithm for diagnostic workup and therapeutic management to medical providers for patients experiencing oral burning symptoms. This comprehensive system provides a systematic stepwise workup in diagnosing and managing patients presenting with a complaint of oral burning that optimally meets a predictive, preventive, and personalized medicine (PPPM) approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEPMA Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Burning mouth
  • Oral burning
  • Predictive preventive personalized medicine
  • Xerostomia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Health Policy
  • Biochemistry, medical


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