Morphometric analysis of hard palate in Egyptian skulls
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Background As the hard palate is an essential region of the skull its gross anatomy and morphological variations have been of interest in many studies. Alm The aim of the present study was to describe the gross anatomy of the hard palate in Egyptian skulls, and determine sex from the morphometric study of the hard palate and location of the position of the greater palatine foramen (GPF) in relation to certain fixed intraoral anatomical reference points, all of which are visible or palpable in a living patient. Materials and methods In this study, 100 skulls (64 male and 36 female skulls) were subjected to the following measurements: palatal length, breadth, and height, the diameters of the GPF and its shape, the direction of opening of the GPF onto the palate, the relation of GPF to the maxillary molar teeth; the distance from the GPF to the midline maxillary suture, to the incisive foramen, to the posterior border of the hard palate, and to the tip of the hamular process of the pterygoid; the angle between the axis of the greater palatine canal (GPC) and the hard palate; the length of GPC plus the length of the pterygopalafine fossa; and the height of the maxilla. Twenty cadaveric heads were also dissected to measure the thickness of the palatal mucosa over the GPF. Results The mean palatal length was 51.65 ± 4.7 mm and palatal breadth was 38.68 ± 2.9 mm, with a highly significant difference between male and female skulls. Palatal height was 11.8 ± 2.7 mm with no significant difference between the two sexes. Of the total skulls 64% had narrow palates, 24% had intermediate ones, and 12% had wide palates with no significant difference between the two sexes; 36% had low palates, 56% had intermediate, and 8% of the sample had high-arched palates with a significant difference between the two sexes. The mean anteroposterior and transverse diameters of GPF were 4.86 t 0.9 and 3.02 ± 0.7 mm, respectively. It was frequently an oval opening in 71%, a rounded opening in 22%, and lancet and slit in the remaining. Its direction in 69% was anteromedial, that in 28% was anterior, and that in 3% was anterolateral. The majority (84%) of the total foramina were opposite the maxillary third molar tooth. The mean distance from the GPF to the midline maxillary suture was 14.25 ± 1.7 mm, that from the GPF to the incisive foramen was 35.93 ± 3.5 mm, and that from the GPF to the posterior border of the hard palate was 3.89 ± 0.9 mm. The mean length of GPC and the pterygopalafine fossa was 29.39 ± 3.1 mm, the height of the maxilla was 30.44 ± 3.4 mm, and the difference between the two sexes was significant. The angle between the GPC and the horizontal plane of the hard palate was 40.48 ± 9.1°. The mean thickness of the palatal Mucosa over the GPF was 4.92 ± 1.93 mm. Conclusion As the measurement studies of the hard palate show considerable variations among races, the data in this study will help clinicians to localize the GPF more precisely in Egyptian patients and to predict the depth of a needle to anesthetize the maxillary nerve with a low rate of complications.