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Volume 14 , Issue 2
Spring 2000

Pages 93-97


Pressure-Pain Threshold in the Human Tongue

Anne S. McMillan, BDS, PhD, FDSRCPS, FDSRCS/David Walshaw, BSc, MSc, PhD, FRSS


PMID: 11203751

Aims: A new pressure algometer was used to quantify the pressure-pain threshold (PPT) in the human tongue. Methods: A custom-made device controlled by software and a personal computer was used to measure the PPT in the anterior part of the tongues of 14 young, healthy subjects. The PPT was measured at 3 different rates of pressure application on 3 occasions, 1 week apart. Data were evaluated with analysis of covariance and intraclass correlations. Results: The prototype device had linear output characteristics within the operational range. The mean PPT ranged from 18 to 44 g. The PPT appeared to increase approximately linearly with increasing rate of pressure application (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences in the PPT on different experimental occasions. In individual subjects, the PPT was reliable and uniform. There were significant inter-subject differences in the PPT (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The PPT can be measured consistently in the anterior part of the tongue, provided the pressure rate is controlled. The new pressure algometer appears to have potential clinical utility for quantifying sensation in the human tongue.


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