Screening and diagnosis
When to seek medical advice

If you have persistent pain or soreness in your tongue, lips, gums or other areas of your mouth, see your doctor. Your doctor can search for the possible cause or causes to guide treatment.

Screening and diagnosis

Your doctor will review your medical history, examine your mouth and ask you to describe your symptoms, your oral habits and your oral care routine. In addition, he or she will likely perform a general medical examination, looking for signs of any associated conditions.

As part of the diagnostic process, you may undergo some of the following tests:

* Complete blood cell count (CBC). This common blood test provides a count of each type of blood cell in a given volume of your blood. The CBC measures the amount of hemoglobin, the percentage of blood that's composed of red blood cells (hematocrit), the number and kinds of white blood cells, and the number of platelets. This blood test may reveal a wide variety of conditions, including infections and anemia, which can indicate nutritional deficiencies.

* Other blood tests. Because nutritional deficiencies are one cause of a burning mouth, your doctor may collect blood samples to check blood levels of iron, zinc, folate (vitamin B-9), thiamin (vitamin B-1), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and cobalamin (vitamin B-12). Also, because diabetes may cause a burning mouth, your doctor may check your fasting blood sugar level.

* Allergy tests. Your doctor may suggest allergy testing to see if you may be allergic to certain foods, additives or even substances in dentures.

* Oral swab culture or biopsy. If your doctor suspects oral thrush, he or she may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) or an oral swab culture to be examined in the laboratory.

Because burning mouth syndrome is associated with such a wide variety of other medical conditions, your doctor may refer you to a specialist for screening and diagnosis and possibly treatment. Your health care team may include a dermatologist, dentist, psychiatrist, psychologist or a doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat problems (otorhinolaryngologist).

© 2009 Colgate-Palmolive Company
Comments: 0