Fundamental knowledge of pain in the oral mucosa is lacking. We determined the validity and reliability of the pressure-pain threshold (PPT) measurement in the oral mucosa using a newly developed hand-held pressure algometer. Ten dentulous subjects were recruited, and the PPT was measured at the bilateral buccal (on the attached gingiva apical to the midline of the upper first premolars, 3 mm from the mucogingival junction) and the palatal sites (mid-point between the bilateral upper first molars). The PPT linearly increased with an increase in load-rate (P < 0.0001). The PPT yielded a high intra-individual stability both for the same-day consecutive trials and weekly sessions. The palatal site revealed a 4- to 4-65-fold greater PPT than the buccal sites (Bonferroni, P < 0.0001), whereas no difference was found between the bilateral buccal sites (P = 0.663). Despite a great interindividual variation in the PPT, significant intra-individual correlations were found among the measurement sites. This suggested differences in individual sensitivity to pain in the oral mucosa, which may determine overall pain sensation specific to an individual. A pressure algometer described herein reliably assessed the PPT in the oral mucosa and sensitively discriminated PPT differences at different sites and at different load-rates, suggesting the reliability and validity of PPT measurements in the oral mucosa for clinical and research investigations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes