Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 14, Issue 6, pp 683–690 | Cite as

Investigating interocclusal perception in tactile teeth sensibility using symmetric and asymmetric analysis

  • Norbert EnklingEmail author
  • Claudia Nicolay
  • Stefan Bayer
  • Regina Mericske-Stern
  • Karl-Heinz Utz
Original Article


The purpose of this clinical trial was to determine the active tactile sensibility of natural teeth and to obtain a statistical analysis method fitting a psychometric function through the observed data points. On 68 complete dentulous test persons (34 males, 34 females, mean age 45.9 ± 16.1 years), one pair of healthy natural teeth each was tested: n = 24 anterior teeth and n = 44 posterior teeth. The computer-assisted, randomized measurement was done by having the subjects bite on thin copper foils of different thickness (5–200 µm) inserted between the teeth. The threshold of active tactile sensibility was defined by the 50% value of correct answers. Additionally, the gradient of the sensibility curve and the support area (90–10% value) as a description of the shape of the sensibility curve were calculated. For modeling the sensibility curve, symmetric and asymmetric functions were used. The mean sensibility threshold was 14.2 ± 12.1 µm. The older the subject, the higher the tactile threshold (r = 0.42, p = 0.0006). The support area was 41.8 ± 43.3 µm. The higher the 50% threshold, the smaller the gradient of the curve and the larger the support area. The curves showing the active tactile sensibility of natural teeth demonstrate a tendency towards asymmetry, so that the active tactile sensibility of natural teeth can mathematically best be described by using the asymmetric Weibull function.


Active tactile sensibility Interdental perception Psychometric function Support area Gradient of the sensibility curve Occlusal interferences 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norbert Enkling
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claudia Nicolay
    • 2
  • Stefan Bayer
    • 3
  • Regina Mericske-Stern
    • 1
  • Karl-Heinz Utz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of ProsthodonticsUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Medical Biometry, Informatics and EpidemiologyUniversity of BonnBonnGermany
  3. 3.Department of Prosthodontics, Preclinical Education and Dental Material ScienceUniversity of BonnBonnGermany

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