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The assessment of the individual ability of modulating and coordinating the right and left bite force is poorly investigated. The present study describes a methodology for the assessment of the bilateral control of the biting force and evaluates the test-retest reliability in a sample of 13 healthy subjects. By modulating the intensity and the left/right balance of the biting force, the subject was able to drive a cursor on the screen to “reach and hold” targets, randomly generated within the physiological “range of force” of the subject. The average motor performance was evaluated by the mean cursor-target distance = 13 ± 5%, the Offset Error = 9 ± 5% and the standard deviation of the force vector = 17.7 ± 6.1% (expressed as % of the target). Mean distance and standard deviation indices had acceptable reliability. This technique improves the characterization of the mandibular motor function and it may have a relevant role for the assessment and rehabilitation of the neuromusculoskeletal disorders affecting the orofacial system.
Testa and Geri are with the Dept. of Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Ophthalmology, Genetics, Maternal and Child Health, University of Genova-Campus of Savona, Savona, Italy. Signori is with the Dept. of Health Sciences, University of Genova, Italy. Roatta is with the Dept. of Neuroscience, University of Torino, Torino, Italy.