Forensic Application of Palatal Rugae in Dental Identification
Introduction: The palatal rugae are anatomical folds or wrinkles located on the anterior third of the palate behind the incisive papilla on each side of the palatal raphe. The rugae patterns have been studied for various purposes mainly in the field of anthropology, comparative anatomy, genetics, prosthodontics, orthodontics and forensic odontology. This study is aimed to determine the difference in number and pattern of palatal rugae in males and females.
Methods: This is a prospective study in which maxillary impressions of 50 volunteers, 25 males and 25 females were taken and the casts prepared. The boundaries of the rugae were marked with a HB pencil and were observed with a magnifying glass following the classification used by Kapali, et al, (1997). Association between rugae number and sex and rugae shape and sex were tested using two sample unpaired t test.
Results: The study revealed significant difference in the pattern of converge rugae which were found to be higher in females than males, however, no statistical significant difference was found in the number of rugae between the two sexes.
Conclusions: The rugae pattern can be an additional method of differentiation between the males and females in conjunction with the other methods used in forensic sciences.
Keywords: forensic science; human identification; palatal rugae.
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