As a family and cosmetic dentist in Portland, Dr. Melissa Beadnell has seen firsthand the many mysteries related to patients’ oral health. From jaw pain related to TMJ to the white fungus caused by thrush to the swelling that results from a blocked saliva duct, the mouth can hold many medical mysteries.
One of the biggest unknowns of oral health relates to the condition referred to as Burning Mouth Syndrome, the symptoms of which are fairly summed up by the name itself. However, the cause of BMS remains a mystery, as does why the condition stops whenever a person falls asleep.
The Mystery Of Burning Mouth Syndrome
To gain an understanding of what someone suffering from BMS experiences, imagine what it feels like to take a sip of scalding hot coffee or to bite into a steaming slice of pizza. Now imagine that pain and discomfort lasting for years. That’s what patients suffering from BMS deal with on a daily basis. For some, the condition causes an additional bizarre twist. Not only do they experience a constant burning sensation, they also report tasting something metallic. The truly unlucky patients even report feeling a “crawling sensation” like something is moving around in the mouth. Tragically, no cure exists and no remedy can help alleviate the pain caused by this disorder.
Well, nothing but sleep, that is. Remarkably, patients suffering from BMS report being pain free after waking up each day. This period of the day provides a brief relief from the constant discomfort, but it lasts only for a short while. As the day grows longer, so too does the pain, discomfort and crawling sensation. By the evening, the discomfort of BMS reaches a crescendo that leaves patients looking to sleep for relief should they ever become relaxed enough to dose off.
Who’s At Risk Of Burning Mouth Syndrome?
Currently researchers have yet to identify a cause for BMS. However, data shows that menopausal women are the most likely to develop the condition, but BMS can affect nearly everyone.
Treatment for the condition utilizes medications typically used to treat depression and anxiety, but not because of any depression the condition may cause but because low dosages of these types of medication help to reduce nerve function. BMS occurs when the nerves in the mouth turn against the body, making the brain think that something painful is happening which triggers a pain response. Fortunately, most patients who develop BMS recover in only a couple of weeks. But for those who develop a long-term case of BMS, the average time before remission is six to seven years.
Burning Mouth Syndrome is fairly rare – effecting only 2 percent of the population – but if you experience oral discomfort for no apparent reason, schedule an appointment with your family and cosmetic dentist in Portland, Dr. Melissa Beadnell, for a checkup.