Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 3471–3477 | Cite as

Association of somatosensory dysfunction with symptom duration in burning mouth syndrome

  • Kosuke Watanabe
  • Noboru NomaEmail author
  • Naohiko Sekine
  • Daiki Takanezawa
  • Chisa Hirota
  • Eli Eliav
  • Yoshiki Imamura
Original Article



A standardized battery of quantitative sensory tests developed by the German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain (DFNS) was used to assess the association between somatosensory dysfunction and disease duration in patients with burning mouth syndrome (BMS).

Materials and methods

The 28 female participants with BMS were classified according to disease duration: ≤ 6 months (subchronic BMS, n = 15) and > 6 months (chronic BMS, n = 13); 29 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers (control group) were recruited from staff of a dental hospital. The DFNS quantitative sensory testing protocol was applied at the ulnar surface of the right forearm and the tip of the tongue. Values for BMS patients and controls were compared and analyzed.


The mechanical detection threshold (MDT) was significantly higher (i.e., loss of sensation) at the tongue tip in the chronic BMS group than in the control group (p = 0.011), whereas mechanical pain sensitivity (MPS) at the forearm was significantly higher (i.e., gain of sensation) in the chronic BMS group than in the control group (Z score = − 2.13 and 1.99, respectively). Multivariate analyses revealed that BMS patients could be discriminated from controls by using pressure pain threshold at the tongue (79.3%) (in the subchronic BMS group) and by MDT and MPS at the tongue tip and MPS at the forearm (96.6 and 89.7%, respectively) (in the chronic BMS group).


In BMS patients with long disease duration, MDT showed loss of sensation.

Clinical relevance

Increased MPS suggests that a neuropathic mechanism in the peripheral and central nervous systems is involved in BMS development.


Burning mouth syndrome Quantitative sensory testing German Research Network on Neuropathic Pain 



This study was supported in part by research grants from the Sato and Uemura funds, Dental Research Center from the Nihon University School of Dentistry, and a Nihon University Multi-disciplinary Research Grant.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Nihon University School of Dentistry (EP16 D021).

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kosuke Watanabe
    • 1
    • 2
  • Noboru Noma
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Naohiko Sekine
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daiki Takanezawa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Chisa Hirota
    • 1
    • 2
  • Eli Eliav
    • 3
  • Yoshiki Imamura
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Oral Diagnostic SciencesNihon University School of DentistryTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Clinical Research Division, Dental Research InstituteNihon University School of DentistryTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Eastman Institute for Oral HealthUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA

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