Stability of palatal rugae as a forensic marker in orthodontically treated cases.

Document Type



Dental-oral, Maxillo-facial Surgery



The palatal rugae have been used as a reference landmark and identification marker by orthodontists and forensic analysts. However, the reliability of palatal rugae as a forensic marker remains questionable once an individual is subjected to orthodontic treatment. This study aimed at evaluating the changes in the rugae pattern after nonextraction, extraction, and maxillary expansion orthodontic treatment. The lengths and shapes of palatal rugae were evaluated on the pretreatment and post-treatment dental casts of 168 subjects using the Thomas and Kotze classification. Extraction treatment significantly reduced the second and third rugae lengths (p < 0.05), whereas the third rugae length was significantly increased after palatal expansion (p < 0.05). The shape of rugae remained consistent in all the study groups which may be used as a reliable forensic marker in subjects undergoing orthodontic treatment. However, the use of the lengths of palatal rugae in forensic odontology must be made with caution.

Publication (Name of Journal)

J Forensic Sci.