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West Virginia residents should know about a condition known as burning mouth syndrome, which is characterized by a constant burning or tingling sensation in the mouth. Sometimes it goes together with dryness or a metallic taste in the mouth. There are many people who experience a burning sensation due to dry mouth, but this is not the same as BMS.

Unfortunately, because BMS is so complex and a standard definition for it does not exist, many patients are the victims of misdiagnosis. Being diagnosed with BMS, they receive treatments that wind up never addressing the real issue. It is only after they visit several healthcare providers that victims are typically given the correct diagnosis.

Researchers at the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western Reserve University say that many dentists and clinicians, not being adequately trained, diagnose BMS only by ruling out alternatives. Yet a burning sensation in the mouth can be caused by not only dry mouth but also anemia and diabetes.

Anywhere from .10% to 4% of the population suffers from BMS. Most experts agree that BMS is caused by nerve dysfunction. If a single definition existed, and if criteria for inclusion and exclusion were established, then there will likely be far fewer cases of misdiagnosis.

Whether a misdiagnosis can lead to a case under medical malpractice law is a matter that victims may want to consult with a lawyer about. There must be proof that the doctor or other medical professional did not adhere to an objective standard of care. Not only that, but the negligence must be linked to the victims' injuries. A lawyer might bring in investigators to help in this regard, and he or she may handle all negotiations. If the other side is unwilling to settle, victims might consider litigation.

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