Eugenol, Nerve Injections, and BMS

Dental Injection

(c) Can Stock Photo / Nejron

A 2003 literature review article stated researchers were connecting eugenol and other dental pain relievers, nerve injections, and possible damage to the lingual nerve with Burning Mouth Syndrome. Take a look and see what you think, but I have long suspected a link between dental work, oral surgery, and eventual extraction of my front teeth to the resultant burning mouth pain I have suffered for over a decade.

This is not, of course, the only cause possible. There are many people with BMS who have not had dental work done near the time of onset and so other factors must be in play.

When I read this, I looked up eugenol because I had never heard of it. To my surprise, I found it is found in clove oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and bay leaf but by far the most common use of it is in dental work. When eugenol is used in dental preparations such as surgical pastes, dental packing, and dental cement, it may cause contact stomatitis (cutaneous lesions) and allergic cheilitis (inflammation of the lips). The allergy can be discovered via a patch test. 

I do not recall ever having an allergy patch test done by any of my dentists or other specialists. If you suspect it might be a culprit in your BMS, it is worth asking about.

The reason this became relevant to me is that although I tolerated the recent replacement of a broken crown because it had a root canal and required no anesthesia, the consult visit to the endodontist turned up an interesting tidbit. In his opinion, (which he sent to my dentist), he did not think the root canal needed to be re-done. Yay!!

He added that he suspected my burning mouth pain may have been caused by an allergy to the nerve anesthetics used in the various procedures I had before the onset of this bout of BMS.

Interesting, indeed, and this was something that had not been suggested before.

The relevancy becomes urgency as I contemplate the next dental work that I will very likely need in the next couple of years. It is a lower molar crown that has lost its porcelain coating and is becoming increasingly temperature sensitive. Needless to say, it has not had a root canal and would probably either require one if the tooth degrades or at the very least, would require pain-blocking to have the crown replaced. Either option means nerve injections of dental anesthetic and I shudder at the thought.

The last time I had root canals (in two molars), it caused a flare-up of my BMS pain that lasted nearly two years.

There are not any additional medications I have found to handle a flare-up, even though the Klonopin/Clonazepam works well for my normal levels of pain.

What do you do when faced with impossible choices?

You do what you must, then deal with the results with coping strategies and medicines.

8 thoughts on “Eugenol, Nerve Injections, and BMS

  1. Thank you for writing about this.
    I’m four weeks into suffering with this. I’m surprised at how easily the dentists and doctors announce it as though it’s an easy journey. I’m suffering and sad. It came “out of the blue” and now I’m trying to comprehend this happened.
    I need a miracle. May we all get our miracles.


    • So sorry you have joined our numbers, Mae. Did your dentist or doctor refer you to a neurologist? It is the specialty that has given me the most assistance through over a decade with BMS. Also, check out the BMS Support website for the latest research and some very practical information about coping with this challenge. Kali


    • Barbara,
      The first time around I never got a diagnosis, but when it recurred in 2008, it took ruling out everything else to get the diagnosis. If you read through the blog a bit, there is a laundry list of what they ruled out – everything from GERD to brain tumor, to nerve blocks. I think diagnosis is a bit easier and quicker these days because there is more information available. Check out the BMS Support website and the Facebook Support Groups and you will have what you need to help your medical professionals help you.
      Good luck!


  2. Hey
    Wondering if your BMS went away. Mine started a few weeks after a root canal. 4 months later and its only getting worse.
    Hope you can help me.


    • Mili,
      No, unfortunately my BMS has not gone away. I believe mine was set off nearly 12 years ago by dental surgery and extraction, so I understand how you feel. Are you on any medications or using any coping strategies? The BMS Support website can give you a lot of information for your use and to help you educate your doctors. The link is here on this blog, so just click that burning mouth image and read away. You can also do a search for Burning Mouth Support in the Facebook groups and find the one that fits you best. Good luck and let me know if you have specific questions that aren’t addressed there. We are all in this together.


  3. Is there any correlation in these symptoms, for majority of sufferers, showing up after root canals?

    You can check if you are sensitive to eugenol, with rubbing some cloves essential oil mixed with carrier oil, on skin patch and if no big reaction is shown, you can rub a bit on your lips too.


    • Anaelsa,
      I’m afraid no one is really keeping a good record of the correlation between Eugenol and Burning Mouth Syndrome, or at least I am unaware of such a database.
      Your test for sensitivity is interesting, and I would definitely do it if I knew a Dentist or Endodontist planned to use Eugenol or related products in an upcoming root canal, but the reality is that the substance may be present in varying amounts in older root canals. Unless very good records were kept and you had access to them, I am not sure it would be possible to know for sure. Many dentists are using other alternatives now that the sensitivity is known.
      Thanks for checking in!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s