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Medicina Legal de Costa Rica

On-line version ISSN 2215-5287Print version ISSN 1409-0015


ROSA, Gisele de Araújo Alvarenga et al. Computerized morphometry of the area of the hard palate and of palatal rugae: a cross-sectional study. Med. leg. Costa Rica [online]. 2020, vol.37, n.1, pp.154-161. ISSN 2215-5287.


The evaluation of palatal rugae in human identification is important because these structures can remain intact for up to seven days after death.


To compare the area and density of the palatal rugae between ages groups and genders.

Settings and Design:

A cross-sectional study.

Methods and Material:

Dental plaster models obtained from patients at the Orthodontic Clinic of University of Uberaba were selected. Two hundred patients were divided into four groups: Group 1:10-15 years; Group 2:16-30 years; Group 3:31-50 years; and Group 4:51-70 years. The palatal rugae and hard palate of each plaster model were outlined and photographed. The evaluation of the area of the hard palate and palatal rugae was performed using the ImageJ software.

Statistical analysis used:

Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Kruskal-Wallis, Chi-square and Spearman correlation tests using GraphPad Prism 5 statistical software.

Results and conclusión:

The areas of the palatal rugae and of the hard palate were significantly smaller in the group 4. There was a significant negative correlation between age and palatal rugae area, and between age and hard palatal area. The present study was the first to demonstrate that patients between 51 and 70 years have a smaller palatal rugae area and a smaller hard palate area when compared to other groups. Thus, the evaluation of the hard palate area and of palatal rugae could be used as an adjunct with other methods to determine the age group of an individual; however studies using larger sample size are needed to validate this observation.

Keywords : Anatomy; Forensic Dentistry; Morphometry; Palatal Rugae.

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