Burning mouth syndrome (stomatodynia)
Burning mouth syndrome (stomatodynia)
S. Fedele1,2, G. Fricchione3, S.R. Porter2 and M.D. Mignogna1

From the 1Division of Oral Medicine, Department of Odontostomatological and Maxillofacial Sciences, University of Naples ‘Federico II‘, Naples, Italy, 2Oral Medicine Unit, Division of Maxillofacial Diagnostic, Medical and Surgical Sciences, Eastman Dental Institute, University College of London, London, UK, and 3Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA


A recent paper by a research group from the University of Kentucky has shed new light on the pathophysiology of burning mouth syndrome (BMS), an enigmatic disorder causing chronic pain of the intra-oral soft tissues.1 The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that patients with BMS have a specific qualitative and quantitative pattern of brain activation, leading to a net brain hypo-activity. Their findings suggest that BMS patients may have impaired brain network dynamics essential for descending inhibition, leading to diminished inhibitory control of sensory experience; as a consequence they may experience intra-oral proprioception as burning pain.1 These results may have significant clinical relevance; the pathophysiology of BMS has been ill-understood, causing difficulties in providing effective therapies. But what exactly is BMS?

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