Oral cenesthopathy

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© 2016 The Author(s). Cenesthopathy is characterized by abnormal and strange bodily sensations and is classified as a 'delusional disorder, somatic type' or 'somatoform disorder' according to the DSM 5. The oral cavity is one of the frequent sites of cenesthopathy, thus the term 'oral cenesthopathy.' Patients with oral cenesthopathy complain of unusual sensations without corresponding abnormal findings in the oral area, such as excessive mucus secretion, a slimy sensation, or a feeling of coils or wires being present within the oral region. They usually visit multiple dentists rather than psychiatrists. Without a proper diagnosis, they repeatedly pursue unnecessary surgical procedures to remove their 'foreign body'. This sometimes creates a dilemma between the dentists and patients. The nosography of oral cenesthopathy has been discussed in some case reports and reviews but is overlooked in mainstream medicine. This review focuses on the various aspects of oral cenesthopathy. The estimated prevalence of cenesthopathy was 0.2 to 1.9 % in a study done at a Japanese university psychiatry clinic and 27 % in a study done at a Japanese psychosomatic dentistry clinic. Oral cenesthopathy do not have clear disposition, while some studies reported that elderly women were most commonly affected. Its pathophysiology has not been fully elucidated. However, recent studies have suggested a right > left asymmetrical pattern of the cerebral blood flow of patients with oral cenesthopathy. Antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, electroconvulsive therapy, and psychotherapy might be effective in some cases, though it is known to be intractable. To date, the epidemiology, pathophysiology, etiology, classification and treatment of oral cenesthopathy are unknown due to the few reports on the disorder, though there are a few case reports. To overcome this difficult medical condition, clinico-statistical and case-control studies done under rigorous criteria and with a large sample size are required.




Umezaki, Y., Miura, A., Watanabe, M., Takenoshita, M., Uezato, A., Toriihara, A., … Toyofuku, A. (2016, June 10). Oral cenesthopathy. BioPsychoSocial Medicine. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13030-016-0071-7

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