Pain threshold values during periodontal probing: assessment of maxillary incisor and molar sites

J Periodontol. 1998 Jul;69(7):812-8. doi: 10.1902/jop.1998.69.7.812.


Probing pain threshold (PPT) assessments were conducted in the facial and oral sulci of maxillary central incisors and first molars of 10 periodontally healthy adults. All subjects were systemically healthy, free of pain, and reported no current medication usage. A computer-linked electronic probe, modified to deliver steadily increasing forces up to 200 grams, was used to collect the data. The system contained a subject operated "off-switch" which, upon activation, signaled the computer to record the subject's PPT. Assessments of each subject's PPTs were conducted on 3 separate occasions at 7-day intervals. Results indicated that the facial sulci of the incisors were the most pain sensitive. They displayed a mean PPT of 50.9 +/- 26.6 grams. The oral sulci of the incisors exhibited a mean PPT of 76.5 +/- 45.2 grams. Facial and oral sulci of the molars evidenced mean PPT values of 102.6 +/- 52.1 grams and 113.5 +/- 51.3 grams, respectively. These data suggest that sulci associated with incisor teeth are nearly twice as pain sensitive as sulci associated with molar teeth. In addition, facial sulci are significantly more pain sensitive than oral sulci. Data did not indicate a visit effect nor a side-of-mouth effect on PPT values.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Diagnosis, Computer-Assisted
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Facial Pain / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Gingiva / physiology*
  • Gingival Pocket / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Incisor
  • Male
  • Maxilla
  • Molar
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold*
  • Periodontics / instrumentation*
  • Random Allocation