, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 237-243
Date: 13 Nov 2007

Measuring Intraoral Pressure: Adaptation of a Dental Appliance Allows Measurement During Function

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This article introduces a new way of recording intraoral pressures from a range of locations within the oral cavity. To measure pressure flow dynamics during swallowing, we fitted eight miniature pressure transducers capable of measuring absolute pressures to a chrome-cobalt palatal appliance with a labial bow. Unlike previous devices, our design provides a rigid, custom-fitted platform for the simultaneous recording of pressures at eight locations within the oral cavity during function. We placed an anterior pair of gauges to measure lingual and labial contact against the left central incisor tooth, and two pairs of gauges to measure pressure contributions of the lateral tongue margin and cheeks on the canine and first molar teeth. Finally, lingual pressure on the midline of the palate was measured by two gauges, one at the position of the premolars and one on the posterior boundary of the hard palate. We then recorded intraoral pressures in five adult volunteers seated in an upright position and asked to swallow 10 ml of water. Labial pressures on the canine rose rapidly from a resting level of 10 kPa to 33 kPa, while pressure profiles from the labial aspects of the incisor and first molar teeth followed a negative pattern, peaking at −12 kPa for the incisor and −15 kPa for the molar sensor. Pressure profiles recorded from the palatal aspects of the first molar and the canine appeared to be similar, but the former fell to −13 kPa before rising to 9 kPa, and the canine pressure rapidly increased to 22 kPa before returning to its resting level of 4 kPa. The pressure profile of the palatal aspect of the central incisor was strikingly different; at the start of the swallow, pressure dropped precipitously to −20 kPa, before slowly rising to 10 kPa. It then followed the general pattern of the other two sensors, before peaking again at 10 kPa and then returning to a resting level of 4 kPa. We also showed that there were significant negative pressures in the mouth during function, and that pressure profiles varied markedly between individuals.