Burning mouth syndrome, or BMS, is a painful oral condition that can present with a range of symptoms and not have an immediately identifiable cause. The unifying symptom is the burning sensation that can affect the gums, tongue, or other soft tissue of the mouth. Treatment for BMS starts with identifying the underlying cause and treating the cause.
Here are a few of the potential treatments for burning mouth syndrome depending on the underlying cause. Your treatment might require coordination between your dentist and general doctor.
Dry Mouth: Lifestyle Changes or Prescription
A lack of saliva can leave the mouth so dry the soft tissue is excessively vulnerable to irritation. This irritation can in turn cause the symptoms of BMS.
Chronic dry mouth can be due to medicinal reaction to chemotherapy, antidepressants, or blood pressure medications. Aging and certain underlying autoimmune conditions can also create dry mouth.
Treatment depends on the severity of the dry mouth. Mild cases can usually be cleared up with lifestyle changes. Suck on a hard candy or mint more often to stimulate saliva production while avoiding any foods that can dry out your mouth even more. Severe cases of dry mouth can be treated with a prescription saliva replacement.
Tongue Issues: Antibiotics, Topical Medication, Lifestyle Changes
Two different tongue issues can lead to BMS symptoms: thrush and geographic tongue.
Thrush is an oral yeast infection that leaves a white velvety carpet of sores on the surface of the tongue. Certain medications or systemic illnesses such as diabetes or HIV can make you more prone to thrush. The condition can usually be cleared up with a course of antiviral medications, but your dentist might also provide soothing lozenges to decrease your discomfort until the antivirals work.
Geographic tongue is a condition where certain areas on the tongue become inflamed and create red, island-shaped patches. The condition usually clears up on its own over time without treatment. But geographic tongue that causes BMS might be treated with a soothing topical medication. You might also be advised to avoid any spicy or rough foods or alcohol during the healing process.
Denture Irritation: Refitting or Replacement
Improperly fitting dentures can cause irritation on the gums that leads to symptoms of BMS. This happens most often with full dentures, which have a bottom plate that fits down over your gums and jawbone for stability. An improper fit means this plate slides around while you're talking or chewing and can rub your gums raw.
Visit your denturist to have your dentures refitted. If you have an especially narrow jawbone or simply can't seem to get traditional dentures to hold still, ask your denturist about alternatives. You might qualify for implant-supported dentures, which use metal roots implanted in the jawbone to anchor the plate in place.
For professional dental services, contact a dentist such as Kenneth G Edwards.