Evaluation of a magnetic resonance-compatible dentoalveolar tactile stimulus device

Center for Neurosensory Disorders, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
BMC Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 2.67). 10/2010; 11(1):142. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2202-11-142
Source: PubMed


Background: Few methods exist to study central nervous system processes following dentoalveolar tactile stimulation using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), likely due to inherent technical difficulties. Our primary goal was to develop and perform feasibility testing of a novel device capable of delivering valid and reliable dentoalveolar stimuli at dental chair-side and during MRI. Details of a device designed to deliver dentoalveolar dynamic pressure stimuli are described. Device testing took place in three settings: a) laboratory testing to assess range of stimulus force intensities, b) dental chair-side to assess reliability, validity and discriminant ability in force-pain relationship; and c) MRI to evaluate magnetic compatibility and ability to evoke brain activation in painfree subjects similar to those described in the literature.Results: A novel device capable of delivering valid and reliable dentoalveolar somatosensory stimulation was developed (ICC = 0.89, 0.78-1 [95% CI]). Psychophysical data analysis showed high discriminant ability in differentiating painfree controls from cases with chronic dentoalveolar pain related to deafferenting dental procedures (sensitivity = 100%, specificity = 86.7%, area under ROC curve = 0.99). FMRI results of dentoalveolar dynamic pressure pain in painfree subjects revealed activation of brain areas typically associated with acute pain processing including thalamus, primary/secondary somatosensory, insular and prefrontal cortex.Conclusions: A novel psychophysical method to deliver dynamic dentoalveolar pressure stimulation was developed and validated, allowing non-invasive MRI-based exploration of central nervous system function in response to intraoral somatosensation.

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