Mouth Pain

Oral pain can result from causes other than caries and periodontitis.

Other etiologies to consider include:

  • Burning Mouth Syndrome is more prevalent in women
    • 1-2% and up to 40% of women in menopause
    • Causes include medications (ACE inhibitors), candidiasis, B12 deficiency, dry mouth, and idiopathic
    • Screen for underlying conditions and correct as needed
    • For idiopathic causes, tricyclic antidepressants and gabapentin may improve symptoms
  • Tooth Erosion discomfort
    • Significant GERD and eating disorders like bulimia should be considered and addressed
    • Lifestyle changes, diet modfications, and H2 blockers or PPIs can aid in management of GERD
    • Bulimia management requires a more comprehensive approach involving behavioral and psychological health experts
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain
    • Include the TMJ as part of a through exam for mouth pain
    • Dental referral for a mouth guard fitting may be appropriate
  • Oral trauma (broken teeth, lip or gingival lacerations). If discovered as the cause of mouth pain, screen for domestic violence.


American Dental Association Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations. Women's Oral Health Issues. 2006. Accessed April 15, 2014.

Grushka M, Epstein JB, Gorsky M. Burning Mouth Syndrome. American Family Physician. 2002; 65(4):615-20.