Central sensitization in Burning Mouth Syndrome: A practical approach using questionnaires

Published:October 22, 2021DOI:


      • Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) patients show higher Widespread Pain Index (WPI) scores and present more nonspecific symptoms (SS-Score parts 1 and 2) than controls.
      • BMS patients showed greater sleep disturbance and fatigue than controls.
      • BMS patients showed a significant association with other CSSs, particularly irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and temporo-mandibular disorders (TMD).
      • The use of the WPI and SS-Score questionnaires appears to be of clinical utility in the management of patients with BMS.



      Some experts have suggested that burning mouth syndrome (BMS) should be included in the family of central sensitivity syndromes (CSS), a group of similar medical disorders linked by the central sensitization (CS) mechanism. Our objective is to assess the presence of CS in BMS patients by performing a clinical examination and administering questionnaires to measure the generalized extent of pain, the presence of associated symptoms, and the number of other concurrent chronic pain conditions.

      Study Design

      We conducted a case-control study in 82 patients (40 BMS and 42 controls). BMS patients were diagnosed using the ICHD-IIIβ criteria. The WPI and SS Scale questionnaires were used to determine the degree of central sensitivity. The number of other concurrent chronic pain conditions was determined with the Neblett inventory.


      Data indicative of CS show a statistically significant association with BMS. Both WPI and SS-Score scores were higher in BMS patients. Additionally, BMS patients reported a significantly higher number of other CSS.


      BMS patients could present a CS component as well as other chronic pain conditions. The use of questionnaires may be useful to determine the degree of central sensitivity in BMS patients.


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