Psychosocial Profiles of Patients with Burning Mouth Syndrome

Charles R. Carlson, Craig S. Miller, Kevin I. Reid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Aims: Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is estimated to affect 1 to 5% of the adult population, with women experiencing symptoms more frequently than men. The purpose of this study was to examine the psychosocial profiles of BMS patients to determine whether psychologic factors are related to pain reports. Based on previous literature, it was hypothesized that patients with BMS would be characterized by clinical elevations on standardized psychologic assessment instruments that included the Revised Symptom Checklist (SCL-90R) and the Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI). Methods: Thirty-three BMS patients completed the McGill Pain Questionnaire, MPI, and SCL-90R during their initial clinical evaluation session. The SCL-90R and MPI data were then summarized and presented in standardized format (T-scores) to enable meaningful comparisons with larger population samples that included both a chronic pain population and a normal non-clinical sample. Results: The T-score for the overall pain severity on the MPI was 40.8 (SD 12.8). For the entire BMS sample, there was no evidence for significant clinical elevations on any of the SCL-90R subscales, including depression, anxiety, and somatization. Moreover, patients reported significantly fewer disruptions in normal activities as a result of their oral burning pain than did a large sample of chronic pain patients. Conclusion: These findings indicate that, as a group, this sample of BMS patients did not report significant psychologic distress. There were, however, individual cases (7 of 33, or 21%) where psychometric data indicated a likelihood of psychologic distress, and further evaluation by a competent health professional would be warranted for those individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Orofacial Pain
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


  • Burning mouth syndrome
  • Pain
  • Psychologic assessment
  • Psychologic distress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry (all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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