Measurement of Mechanical Allodynia and Local Anesthetic Efficacy in Patients With Irreversible Pulpitis and Acute Periradicular Periodontitis

Asma A. Khan, Christopher B. Owatz, William G. Schindler, Scott A. Schwartz, Karl Keiser, Kenneth M. Hargreaves

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34 Scopus citations


An essential feature of symptomatic periradicular inflammation is mechanical allodynia, defined as reduced mechanical pain thresholds. A previous study evaluating a new digital force transducer showed that it reliably measures mechanical pain thresholds of teeth with normal periradicular tissues. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the force transducer quantitatively measures mechanical allodynia in teeth with acute periradicular periodontitis (APP) and detects the effects of local anesthetic injection. Mechanical pain thresholds were measured in patients (n = 30) with irreversible pulpitis (IP) and APP and compared with their contralateral teeth. The results show that the mechanical pain thresholds of teeth with IP and APP were reduced by 77% compared with contralateral control teeth. The administration of local anesthesia reversed the mechanical allodynia by 62%, and significant sex-specific effects were observed. In addition, the normal teeth contralateral to the symptomatic teeth had lower mechanical thresholds than those observed in healthy volunteers, suggesting that central sensitization occurs during this type of odontalgia. Thus, we show that the mechanical pain thresholds are significantly reduced in teeth with IP and APP and that the force transducer has potential application as a diagnostic aid in measuring mechanical allodynia and as an outcome measure in endodontic clinical trials such as pharmacologic studies and mechanistic research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-799
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007



  • Diagnostic instrument
  • irreversible pulpitis
  • local anesthesia
  • mechanical allodynia
  • periradicular periodontitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)

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