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PAIN CONTROL: The Burning Mouth Syndrome

November 1, 2000
by W.H. Hewitt, DDS


What is a syndrome? It indicates something very complicated; something that no one quite understands or can explain.

I am here to tell you what burning mouth indicates. It is not a syndrome at all. It is simply an allergy. Patients who cannot wear dentures because of the burning in their mouths are allergic to the colour pigment in the plastics or acrylics. Some of these patients are also allergic to metal and other laboratory denture materials.

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I hereby present my experimentations and findings with a patient presenting burning mouth syndrome from dentures. I shall give her the fictitious name of Mrs. Jones.

The first set of dentures I had made for Mrs. Jones were made of standard Lucitone material. A few weeks after insertion she returned to our clinic saying that she could not wear the dentures for any length of time because of the severe burning sensation on her gums, tongue and roof of mouth. She would put them in her mouth temporarily to eat or to go out in public but in half an hour she would remove them.

Previously I had used a nobilium palate for burning mouth cases with some measure of success. Therefore, I had a set of dentures made for Mrs. Jones using a totally nobilium base, This was no better as she still had to keep removing the dentures because of burning sensation in her mouth, due to allergy to nickel, I deducted.

I then resorted to Vulcanite material, which had not been used for thirty years or more. After much searching, Western Dental Lab, Regina, SK, with whom I was closely associated, found one pound of Vulcanite in Southern United States. I had another set of dentures made for Mrs. Jones of Vulcanite material. But alas, with no success. She still suffered from burning mouth. By this time I realized that I had a full-blown allergy case of burning mouth syndrome.

My next step was to have Western Dental Lab send small squares or samples of every kind of acrylic used for denture material, made by different manufacturers. I taped these little squares to the arm of Mrs. Jones. Every one of them produced a redness and swelling by the next day, except the clear plastic sample without any colour pigment. She was basically allergic to all materials except the clear plastics or acrylics. I concluded that she was allergic to the colour pigment in acrylics or plastics, and to nickel in nobilium products.

Finally, I instructed the lab to make a set of dentures for Mrs. Jones made of clear plastic. Success at last! She was able to wear these dentures night and day, around the clock.

Since then several other patients learned about my discovery by word of mouth. Some came from a distance of several hundred miles. One woman arrived with a bag full of dentures, eight sets in all. I asked her why she couldn’t wear any of these dentures. She responded, “Because they all burn my mouth,” I had the lab make a set of dentures for her of clear plastic as well. She stayed in town overnight after insertion of these dentures. The next morning she stopped at my clinic to tell me that she had worn these dentures all night and that she had not experienced any burning sensation whatsoever. She left town totally happy with this set of dentures.

By now Mrs. Jones had worn her dentures for several years. She came back to the clinic with a suggestion. The clear plastic dentures showed dark shadows between the teeth. She wanted me to make a new set of dentures for her. She suggested that the lab should put some pink coloured plastic around the neck of the teeth first and then cover with clear plastic. It sounded like a great idea! Once more I was in conference with Western Dental Lab, asking the technicians if this was a feasible procedure for them. They admitted they had never done this before but they were willing to experiment. They would have to repeat the entire procedure of packing the dentures twice but they were willng to do this.

Basically we did a totally experimental procedure by putting the pink plastic around the teeth, for appearance sake, then covering with clear plastic. Once more, it was successful!

I’ve had a very good working relationship with Mrs. Jones. I am grateful to her for standing by me throughout all of these trial and error experimentation sessions. I could not have achieved these results without her undivided cooperation and patience. It was also an added expense for her to go along with the experiments as she paid for several sets of dentures.

I also acknowledge Western Dental Lab for all their help in supplying me with the materials and workmanship as requested.

CONCLUSION

Burning mouth syndrome is not a syndrome at all. It is simply an allergy to the colour pigment in regularly used materials in acrylics and plastics and to nickel in nobilium. This discovery has been protected by copyright through Ade & Company in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Dr. Hewitt is a member in good standing with the College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan. He was awarded the 50-year service award and Life Membership with this College in June, 2000. He maintains a practice in Carlysle, SK. Dr. Hewitt has been particularly successful in the field of Prosthetics, partly due to his five years of experience as a Dental Technician with the Canadian Dental Corps.

Oral Health welcomes this original article.


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52 Comments » for PAIN CONTROL: The Burning Mouth Syndrome
  1. Martha says:

    This is very interesting to me because I found out I was allergic to my partials I just got. But the burning wasn’t just in my mouth but my lips as well. My lips burned like they were sunburned with blisters. Also I lost my voice.

  2. Because of dry mouth from Sjogren s Syndrome i have not had success with dentures, because my palate would always start hurt I g after just a few hrs of wear. Asap i would remove them and have to remove all adhesive from my palate but I never had burning mouth due to denture. I had 4implants July 2017, and was ok except for pain and long recovery. But still no burning mout. In Nov 2017, my surgeon opened up gum where implants are. He left them inside gum to heal/integrate into bone because a previous All in Four implant surgery (about 3 yrs ago) failed due to negligence of surgeon who loaded All on Four same day of surgery, knowing I already had none loss, putting too much pressure on implants….sorry to go on so !ong….this impacted my life in very negative e way. Getting back to my new surgeon a top doc in Princeton,Nj …it seems that since he exposed the implants in Nov 2017, and added multi level abuttments and white plastic caps to keep them open for few months when working w my new prostidontist who will be making a snap on denture with much less palate they will hopefully succeed in giving me peace of mind for first time in yrs! BUT…here’s my present problem and concern . Seems, by 3rd or 4th week Nov 2017 after surgeon opened gums and added on the abuttments with white plastic caps All of sudden…I developed Burning Mouth, terrible experience!!! Burning all over ( tongue, palate, cheeks and gums) Luckily found some relief from di!uting 10mg clanazapam/swishing 2 min and spitting out and soothing gel and additional Rinse s and dry mouth !lozenges . My major concern is , because I still have some burning and sensitivity will i be able to wear new snap on partial palet denture in few months i cannot wear my 1yr old $4000 denture even though my prostedontist adjusted recently (fits well and comfortble) except that only feels ok for 2 – 3 hrs.

  3. Luann Exline says:

    So maybe I’m allergic to the pigment to because tip of my tongue burns like crazy and can’t get any relief. Starts when I put in top dentures and have no relief when take out unless leave out for couple days

    • Terri says:

      I going through same thing top lip and tongue been burning for 8 months happens 3 yrs ago I got new dentures and was good for 3 yrs then again burning my guy makes me allergy free dentures $1600 and he filled the palette and ruined then now he says he will make me a new pair but for 600 like WTF he ruined them now me so back to the old killer denture my Dr says it’s acid reflux coming in my throat I’m so fixed up now the shit the dentist down I won’t have a new pair for months and months not fair barvarin denture clinics did this yet he makes the best dentures but he apparently sent mine to someone else I’m so disappointed

      • Donna says:

        Terri, I also suffer from burning mouth, I have had my dentures for about 20 years ago, the burning mouth started about 3 months ago, wondering if it’s the dentures for the fact I wore them for years !! It’s really hard to live with, I can’t eat, drink almost nothing and when I do my mouth burns even worse you would think they would have a medication to stop the burning!! I have been on many meds to help, nothing has helped so far!!

        • Theresa Gibson says:

          I just took my denture out it’s been a out 3 hours now they feel about 30%better already I’m gonna keep them out for the weekend and see how I am come Monday I don’t get this if it’s a allergy how come under the pallet does not burn its just my tonge and bottom lip wish me luck of anyone has a solution please email me at Theresagibson1959@gmail.com I’m waiting on a chemical patch test Appt thank u ♥

      • Catherine Trexler says:

        This is me but no old pair to ware. I took Clifford report to my dentist. He made a beautiful set 3,800.00 a pair I wrapped ace around top denture setting on my arm. REACTED within an hour it has been 3 days sense the experiment my arm still burns red spots. I am being sent to dental pathologist. Waiting on the call but no teeth at all for now. Symptoms were extreme.

  4. Lois says:

    Maybe that’s my problem dentures are about20 yrs old and just started having peeling on inner lips and burning tip of tongue. Worse by bedtime and gone in am before I put them in

  5. Monica Wierzbicki says:

    Very interesting. Somehow I believed that it had to be an allergic reaction. I am allergic to many things. When I insert my top plate, I want to vomit, and when I insert the bottom plate, my mouth is on fire. It just makes so much more sense. Back to the dentist for me.

  6. Kay says:

    This is interesting to me as well.
    I wear a partial and been fine for years…now all of a sudden I have burning sensation on my tongue and roof of the mouth where the partial rests…

    • Gloria says:

      Yes! It’s been 3 years that I’ve been wearing my dentures and the last year or so my mouth and tongue and lips burn. I’m not sure but it sounds like it’s very possible. I’ll try removing at night and see if it is the denture

    • Terri says:

      I have the same but full plate and my lips and tongue starting burning 2 yrs ago got new dentures seemed to go away and bam surprize it is back I now have a allergy free denture they say it may have slowed down but I’m only on day 3 but I have Dr telling me it’s not the denture it’s my acid reflux I’m sooo confused I use clonazepam it helps with burning and the pain

  7. Barbara Grooms says:

    I have reacted to several different types of dental adhesive, both with and without zinc. I have Mast Cell disease and do not tolerate histamine. I am assuming the adhesives contain an ingredient that causes me to produce histamine

  8. Steve White says:

    There are many possible reasons for BMS. To state categorically ‘it is an allergy’ is absurd, unhelpful and dangerous.

    • Shannon Stepp Stepp says:

      Would you care to elaborate on your short comment? What do you say when dentures are removed, the pain goes away? Many people take your comments as not explaining yourself to back up your comment! Hmmmm.

      • Pamela Tassey says:

        Any further word on this? New full dentures sin October 2019. My mouth and nose up inside are on fire. What is going on. Have had dentures for more than 36 years. Now all these burning issues? I need an answer, immediate response required!

        • Gloria says:

          Same here. My newer ones approximate 3 years old have been burning my mouth and I’ve been going to doctors for the condition
          None had any answer

        • Jay says:

          I too have Burning Mouth Syndrome and also Silent Reflux. (LPR). Your symptoms relating to your mouth and nose burning could indeed be Silent Reflux.

        • Nicki Cauley says:

          Hi I am Nicki I have a full upper denture I have had it for 7 years but this year I have been getting blisters in my mouth and under my tongue and under my bottom lip
          I get red bumps and blisters in my mouth the doctor thinks I have a autoimmune gum disease and wants to do cultures on my gums to see what is causing it I think it is this denture I have never had problems like this in my mouth before how can I find out if I am allergic
          to my denture

      • sherie says:

        allergy to dentures is one reason for secondary BMS…..also there are many more. There is no known cause for primary BMS. I have it for 7 years and I don’t wear dentures.

  9. Terry says:

    My out side of my top lip both sides feel like it’s burning feels a little better if I take the teeth out there over 10 yrs old had them relined 2 yrs ago

    • June says:

      My mouth was burning to I found out I had oral thrush it has stopped because I have been taking antifungal pills. But I also haven’t been wearing my dentures while healing.

      • I had a full mouth restoration 9 implants with numerous infections along the way.At the end my tongue as been burning for 3 yrs?I still need a major bone graft because of a failed implant.The whole process has been going on for almost a 3 year project and still not done.pd up front $30,000 dollars.I believe dental work is the only profession that is still back in the old days.Yes,it came along some with new techniques but having a new knee put in was easier than dental work.maybe the dentist.Alot of hacks

  10. Steph says:

    I had my teeth pulled in July 2019 I have been wearing temporary dentures until my gums go down but I noticed that my lips burned and I was using lot of cap stick and gum burned told my dentist he just said to use a mouth wash and a antibiotic cream for my gum every night now I got my other dentures top they are no better have had 2 weeks there are awful hurt gums burn tongue hurt lips are still sore dentist act like it is my problem but something is wrong with this dentures

  11. Janie JONES says:

    My allergic reaction started the same day my new dentures were fitted. Already i suffer from seasonal allergies. it’s the end of Feburary and i had no signs of any allergy symptoms u til that day. My eyes became watery, my gums, tongue and mouth burning includi g the back of my throat was irritated and burning. it was so troubling to me that i asked the doctor what material the dentures were made of. she responded, “acrylic”. i then let her know that my old dentures were acrylic but they didn’t make my mouth hurt and burn the way the new dentures were. I left the office on a Thursday before the weekend. That Thursday I kept the dentures in all day up until the next day. the sneezing eyes running water along with the coughing, was consistent. My mouth was on fire. the burning of my tongue, gums, the roof of my mouth was horrific. Things got worse for me when I felt the burning sensation and irritation at the back of my throat. As the coughing worsen I felt as if my throat was going to close up on me. I used my albuterol and that Friday i called my primary doctor. i explaned my situation with the new dentures and my reaction to them. She asked if I had the dentures in and if so, to take them out that i could be allergic to the color pigment in the plastic or the resin base substance in the dentures, and to go back to the dentist and let them know. I removed the dentures and kept them out over the weekend while eatting soups and vegetable smoothies. Well today is the day I have a followup with the dentist. I have no idea just how she will handle this, however I would hope that she would want to make the correction and make a set of dentures less toxic and harmful to my health. I don’t think that I should have to pay any more money for another set of dentures. I’ll get back to let you in of the outcome of my dental visit.

  12. Kitty Kline says:

    I have burning mouth syndrome. It is caused by mast cell activation. I have too much histamine in my mouth (mast cells). Swishing anti histamine water will make the burn stop. I do not have dentures, but I have advanced periodontal disease. I still have my teeth barely, for now. I do take Zyrtec, Singulair, Pepcid AC, 10000 iu of vitamin D. I haven’t had a burning mouth reaction in over 3 years. It’s not like eating hot sauce. Water alone won’t stop the burn.

    • Kitty,what is anti histamine water?What is the product you used? I would love to make the burning go away.I just started getting neuropathy and also ramped up vitamin D 5,000 a day.Thanks

  13. Marion Chambers says:

    Im confused, ive been on a gluten and dairy free diet, for the last 4 months, have other allergies with other foods ,
    Just about a month ago i had a lot off gut gas , read it could be my dentures loose , ive had full top set off dentre for years and never had to use denture adhesive so i tryed one brand and the discomfort started, so changed the adhesive still the same problem burning in my mouth.
    Ive now stopped using the adhesive and my mouth is still burning when i wear my dentures , as soon as i take them.out my mouth and tongue stops burning.
    I read it could be the pink pigment the denture has in.
    So im.thinking this could all down to my gluten and dairy free diet ?? Any one else bern on these diets with burning mouth problem wearing dentures.

  14. Marion Chambers says:

    Hi that’s interesting im dairy and gluten free i had burning mouth recently now i get a soreb thoat a lot if mucas i thought i had reflux but when I take my top plate out my mouth and throat is more comfortable .
    So is that my diets or an alergy to the the msterial in thevdentures.

  15. Elizabeth M. says:

    Has anyone ever had burning lips or mouth after root canal? A file was left behind in one of the canals. (3 months later…) I have now had the tooth extracted (bc of filled root canal) and have still had some of the same complaints, just now as much. I am undergoing allergic testing of everything, including dental materials. It didn’t happen until 2 days after the root canal. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

    • Elizabeth Montgomery says:

      I have had the same exact situation. I am currently going through testing too. Have you had any answers? Everything you mentioned here happened in the same way. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Sara High says:

        I’ve had a bad reaction to gel nails and found its the acrylates in them. After researching, I found that denture bases contain the same acrylates and are cured under UV light as gel nails are. I’m looking into getting all on 4 in Turkey rather than get these NHS dentures I’m going to be offered.

  16. Cora says:

    I have brand new set of dentures. Trying to fit them! Tried to get back into office for answers to severe bone pain and swelling but they aren’t calling me after three tries! I have questions about a white greasy substance they used but I am being ignored! I am allergic to adhesives, and Latex! I don’t know why they don’t speak with me! Urgent care looked at my guns and put me on antibiotics and pain pills, my guns and bones pain me!!

  17. gloria christensen says:

    my mouth, lips, tongue not only burns they our so sore. I’ve had my dentures since March,2019. My mouth burns and hurts all the time my dentist tell’s me I have low pain concerning my mouth. I had four implants put in four months a go, they get so sore as well burn. My son goes to the same dentist, he has had no problems with his dentures. I ask him if his mouth burn, he told me not at all.

  18. Tina Yenney says:

    I live in Booneville Arkansas and I also experience burning in my mouth while wearing my “flipper”, I thought it maybe the adhesives but even without the adhesive I get the burning sensation and have to take my “flipper” out. Where can I see about getting a clear “flipper”

  19. Catherine Trexler says:

    I had same issues. Failed grafts failed as did three implants. I was referred to Dr Robert Talley. He had a Clifford report done. Clifford materials report dental standard. I was allergic to crowns implants so many things antibiotics caused c-diff. 80 lbs. I had to have my teeth and all removed 2014. May 2020 with Clifford report in hand. This dentist removed remaining lower 6 front teeth k9 k9 then made a set of dentures. Had problems all along so soft liners were removed. I see people talking about red tongue, lips it went straight through me. Even below the belt. I was given a steroid cream. Come October I could stand it no more. Took dentures out. It is now Feb.12 2021 December I was sent to the college of dentistry I had no idea my dentist had sent a note to the college asking them to help identify the problem. My second apt. Or the college I was told to wait for a call. I was told It would require a lot of reading and expect a call. I presented this article to my Dds he made a pair with no color. I received them yesterday. I had them in my mouth for 4 hours. I am back where I started I can’t put them in my mouth. I am looking for any and all suggestions. As I stated straight through me including below the belt. Where do I go from here?

  20. Mary Homolka says:

    I’ve have had the same things with the burning mouth syndrome also had several pairs made and each time the burning mouth syndrome would be there. I told them about making me a pair without the pink color and they told me it would be the same now with reading every ones experiences I feel like I need to see someone that can help me. I have been without dentures for over 9 years and would love to smile again and be able to eat regular food.

  21. Laurie says:

    Wow. I have had my dentures for 15 years. It had been great until last month. I thought it was tonsillitis at first. Then I thought maybe a sinus infection..I tried everything but my mouth hurt..swollen glands and a small white spot on my tongue. I took my teeth out and it started getting better. I put them in yesterday for 6 hours and now I’m back where I started. It finally occurred to me it has to be the denture! This is really strange..

  22. Yves says:

    Wow, so I’m not the only one with this “burning” problem. All I know is that 3 weeks ago I had no pain, just a hole in tooth. After eval, I got fitted for crowns. Now wearing temps—-then the dreaded burning started on the entire left side-gums, tongue, lip, roof of mouth—ibuprofen 400mg works to stop pain for about 6-8hrs- but don’t want to take this for an extended period of time

  23. Vickie Falkenhagen says:

    I have had dentures made three times and my mouth is still burning I have read your article and I think I am allergic to the pink pigment color in the false teeth could you tell me if you have a dentist in Charlotte North Carolina that knows about this not Dennis said he could not help me he has never heard of clear Plasket dentures

  24. Jennifer Pundt says:

    I had my first partial back in probably 2013 and my mouth and tongue have burned every day since. Had flipper teeth made to see if that would make a difference. It still burned. They gave me magic mouthwash. It helps for about 20 minutes. All along I thought it was the partials and flipper teeth but the dentist didn’t know anything about it. Now that I read this I feel like I am not crazy anymore. Headed to the dentist today for a root canal and I am going to show him all if this and see what he says. Because when I take them out…about a day or two later the pain is gone.

  25. Anna says:

    I had a new top denture and my first bottom denture 3 weeks ago. The roof of my mouth and gums are so uncomfortable. I take pain killers to get through the day but I take them out early evening as the sensation by then is unbearable. When I wake in the morning my mouth is fine but once the dentures are back in the burning sore feeling is back within 30 minutes.

    • Delilah bruch says:

      I am so glad I found all this information. My heart goes out to every one of you, as I suffer with the burning pain daily and know how you must feel. It’s horrible to sit home all the time because you don’t want to go out without your teeth. I’ve decided my burning is an allergy to metal. I can’t afford to have all my bottom bridge work and top denture redone so I’ll just live with the pain and pray for a miracle. Thank all of you for sharing your experience, as it has helped me to identify my problem. I went to an allergy specialist once and the only thing the tests showed was an allergy to a metal. Don’t remember the name of the metal.

  26. Patricia L Power says:

    https://merrilynhope.com/burning-mouth-syndrome-from-dentures/

    Contains some helpful information at the bottom (11 Thoughts on Burning Mouth Syndrome from Dentures). You might find something here that will help you. The vitamin C and oil rinses have helped me.

  27. Brenda Denby says:

    I’ve had BMS for 10 years now. Tried w everything and have had about 6 sets of dentures. Last pair I told my dentist I needed hypoallergenic dentures, was told ok just paid 100 dollars more and they are the same as others with the pink coloring. I have researched and found only CANADA makes clear dentures for allergy sufferers. So…. I can’t afford to travel there so I sit home without teeth as much as possible and suffer through work and necessary trips to store or visit with family. No BMS when I’m home just a little after effect of. I feel like I have a death wish at times!

    • Diane Mays says:

      I am going to suggest to my denture maker a website I found to possibly detox my new denture since I feel like I have chemical burns from them. After reading the comments here. I now realize it’s not Thrush after 4 months of prescription and natural treatments for thrush. I’m so thankful I decided to research possible allergies. http://www.purecuretechnology.com

  28. Lola says:

    Hello,
    I have full upper and lower dentures.
    I experience burning gums on the inside of my bottom lip and occasionally the sides of my mouth. I’ve had mouth blisters as well but mainly burning.
    I’m also an Asmathic and I use a steroid inhaler that can cause thrush and I’ve had to take pills that dissolve in the mouth.
    I devised a sleeve that goes around the extender that attaches around it, so when I put in my mouth the flow goes straight to the back of my throat as I
    Inhale the meds.
    That has worked me pretty good , however, by process of elimination I am still suffering from burning mouth.
    I have had other sets of dentures but never had burning mouth.
    So I’m wondering if it could be the dentures,?
    I am getting ready to have another set made how can I be sure I’m not allergic to the substances you mentioned?
    Greatly appreciate any help you can give, Ty.

  29. Suzanne says:

    Has anyone gotten any help as I’m not seeing any response to anyone. My story is long and just painful all started in August 2019 when I got upper teeth pulled and a denture could never leave it in was told mouth needs to heal. Dry mouth, burning mouth, tongue burning burning cracked lips that feel as big as golf ball. Was told permanent denture will be better, 6 months later got the permanent and same affects. Went to different dentist he said denture is nice and great fit and that my symptoms are most likely because I’m allergic. Went back to original dentist and they just said that can’t be so and told me to see an allergist I do not have insurance but went and seen one and Yes Allergic! Went back told them I was they were in disbelief. They gave me back my money for the permanent denture. I kept my immediate because I gotta have something. Here I am still suffering still no help. Paid out for so many consults because I would explain situation and be told oh yes we can help them go and pay oh there isn’t anything we can do for you. Quality of life well I’m here and try to make the most of it but it’s hard I dread when I have to go anywhere. That’s just sad for any of us. Wish someone knew how to help those of us going through this. One place did tell me they could and they are a few hours away from me but would charge like 4000 dollars for upper denture! I don’t have that.
    Best wishes to all going through this.

  30. Kathryn Smith says:

    Jam in constant misery because of my false teeth also. Not only does my mouth burn and hurt but it gets so dry I cannot even talk. My lips actually stick to. This is no way to live!!

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