Aims: The aim of this study is to evaluate the rugae pattern changes (rugae number, length, shape, direction, and unification) in completely edentulous patients treated with complete denture. Materials and Methods: A total of 100 subjects were selected for the study. The experimental group comprised 60 participants (30 males and 30 females) who had undergone complete denture treatment and the control group comprised 40 participants (20 males and 20 females) who were dentulous and patients with fixed partial denture treatment. Mucostatic maxillary alginate impressions were made for all the subjects, and casts were poured with gypsum. Patients were recalled at the regular intervals of 1, 6, and 18 months after the treatment. During those recalls, the same impression procedure was made, and all the palatal rugaes were observed for number, length, shape, direction, and unifications under magnifying lens. Changes in the palatal rugae were statistically analyzed using the unpaired t‑test. Results: A gradual decrease in the length was observed in primary, secondary, and fragmentary rugae for the experimental group after denture wearing (Group 1). Statistically, the change was significant (P < 0.001) in primary rugae only. A slight change in rugae shape was also observed in the experimental group after 18 months period of denture wearing which is statistically insignificant (P > 0.05). Conclusions: Significant decrease in primary rugae length in complete denture wearers was due to sustained mechanical stress posed by the dentures on palatal rugae. The other parameters such as rugae number, direction, and unification remained constant throughout the study. Palatal rugae analysis may not be helpful for human identification in complete denture wearers. Nevertheless, palatal rugae may serve as an adjuvant to other techniques such as DNA analysis and finger prints in forensic investigations.
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