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Burning in the mouth is not always burning mouth syndrome

A burning in the mouth is a symptom found in many conditions, including dry mouth syndrome, diabetes and anemia. However, many patients in Hawaii and across the U.S. are being diagnosed with burning mouth syndrome the moment doctors realize that this is one of the symptoms. It is a misdiagnosis that leads to some patients never getting the correct treatment. Others have to see several doctors before being correctly diagnosed.

Researchers at the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, together with an international research team, analyzed numerous clinical trials made around the world between 1994 and 2017. They found that many of the patients may have been misdiagnosed because of the way BMS shares symptoms with other conditions.

To begin with, the cause of BMS is unclear with one possible source being a nerve dysfunction. Anywhere from 4% to 10% of the population has BMS, and it tends to affect women more than men.

The study points out that most doctors and clinicians are not trained so extensively on how to diagnose BMS. The primary method of diagnosis is primarily negative: rule out all the alternatives. Researchers are thus calling for a more rigorous diagnostic standard, beginning with a more precise definition of BMS and criteria for inclusion and exclusion.

Due to this lack of set criteria, it is difficult to say if someone being misdiagnosed with BMS will have a valid medical malpractice case. Two requirements will need to be met. First, the doctor must be shown to have failed in upholding a generally accepted standard of care. Next, that negligence must be linked, directly or indirectly, to the injury resulting from misdiagnosis. In any case, victims may want a lawyer to assess their situation. Moving forward, the lawyer might strive for a settlement.

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