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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 271-277

Study of Palatal Rugae Pattern among population of Mewar and Hadoti Region

1 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Daswani Dental College and Research Centre, Kota, Rajasthan, India
2 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Bhojia Dental College and Hospital, Bhud, Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, India
3 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, People's Dental Academy, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
4 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, SCB Dental College, Cuttak, Odisha, India
5 Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Faculty of Dental Sciences, SGT University, Gurugram, Haryana, India

Date of Submission10-Apr-2020
Date of Decision07-Jul-2020
Date of Acceptance19-Jul-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Karandeep Singh Arora
House No. 1078, Sector 19-B, Chandigarh (UT) -160 019
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaomr.jiaomr_56_20

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Objectives: Whenever there is a loss of a tooth, palatal rugae (PR) is suggested as an alternative technique for personal identification. The present study was carried to determine area-specific uniqueness of the rugae pattern among the population of Mewar and Hadoti region by evaluating the number and shape of the rugae pattern and its variation among genders of the same population. Materials and Method: Study included 500 subjects (250 males and 250 females) aged between 17 and 25 years as per the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The rugae pattern was classified based on their length, shape, direction, and unification proposed by Lysell (1955) and later modified by Thomas and Kotze (1983). The observations recorded were evaluated for their statistical significance and specificity using unpaired t-test. Results: Total number of rugae on the right side in both genders was 2089 showing a significant difference between males and females and on the left side, the total number was 2088 not showing a statistically significant difference between genders. The wavy pattern was the most predominant pattern, followed by curved and straight patterns. The wavy pattern was found to be significant between males and females. Conclusion: The present study demonstrated the difference in PR distribution and uniqueness in different individuals and the importance of studying the characteristics based on ethnicity.
Also, we can say that gender can be determined using a wavy pattern.

Keywords: Forensic odontology, identification, palatal rugae, sex determination

How to cite this article:
Saleem S, Arora KS, Ramachandra Reddy G V, Kaur G, Mohapatra S, Deswal AK. Study of Palatal Rugae Pattern among population of Mewar and Hadoti Region. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2020;32:271-7

How to cite this URL:
Saleem S, Arora KS, Ramachandra Reddy G V, Kaur G, Mohapatra S, Deswal AK. Study of Palatal Rugae Pattern among population of Mewar and Hadoti Region. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Nov 1];32:271-7. Available from: https://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2020/32/3/271/296588

   Introduction Top

The term “forensic” is derived from Latin, meaning before the forum or where legal matters are discussed and the word science is described as systematized knowledge through study using the scientific method.

Forensic odontology, a branch of forensic science, is the proper handling examination and evaluation of dental evidence, which will then be presented in the interest of justice. All the identification methods employed are dependent on the comparison between the postmortem and antemortem records as well as the completeness and degree of decomposition of remains. The method of individual identification includes visual recognition, personal effects, fingerprints, medical/autopsy findings, radiographs, skeletal remains, serology, hair examination, photograph, DNA-based identification, and dental characteristics.[1]

In case of tooth loss due to any reason, the palatal rugae have been identified as an alternate technique for personal identification. Embryonically, they are formed from connective tissue covering the bone in 3rd month. In the prenatal life by about 12th to 14th week, there occurs pattern orientation which remains until degeneration of oral mucosa post-death. Due to their unique pattern and characteristics, they can help in identifying a person under circumstances when fingerprints and/or dental records are of no use. Torobo Hermosa, in 1932 was the first to propose a palatal rugoscopy who was working as a Spanish investigator.[2]

Palatal rugae (PR) also called plicae palatinae transversae and rugae palatine are asymmetrical and irregular elevations of anterior maxillary mucosa, i.e. hard palate, which are made out of the lateral membrane of the incisive papilla, which has been arranged in the transverse direction from palatine raphe.[3]

The functions of PR include facilitation of food transport through the oral cavity, prevent loss of food from the mouth, participation in the chewing process; they give a perception of food qualities like taste and texture and tongue position.[4]

In situations like a mass disaster, roadside accidents, or terrorist attack, which make identification of an individual difficult using fingerprints or dental records, PR are used as an alternate technique for personal identification. The uniqueness of PR associated with each individual helps in establishing identity through discrimination (via casts, tracings, or digitized rugae patterns).

According to English studies, PR patterns are sufficiently characteristic to discriminate between individuals. These authors found it authorized to establish identification upon their comparison, enabling personal identification in extreme circumstances. The Brazilian Aeronautic Minister demands palatal rugoscopy of all pilots, to ensure their identification in case of accidents.[5]

Thus, the features and characteristics of PR mentioned above are ideal for the forensic identification parameter, i.e. uniqueness, postmortem resistance, and stability. Hence, they can be used in postmortem identification provided an antemortem record exists.[5]

Keeping in view the uniqueness of PR and the diversified culture of India, the present study was undertaken to determine its uniqueness in region-specific population by evaluating the number and shape of PR in the Mewar and Hadoti population and its variation among genders of the same population.

   Materials and Method Top

The study was conducted in the department of Oral Medicine and Radiology after clearance from the Ethical Committee of vide letter no. RDCH/ST/2020/314, including 500 subjects (250 males and 250 females) in the age group ranging between 17 and 25 years. Subjects without braces, removable partial denture, or fixed partial denture were included and subjects with developmental abnormalities like cleft lip and palate or previous history of orthodontic treatment were excluded from the study.

After obtaining impressions and pouring casts, the replicas of PR on the casts were highlighted using black permanent pencil. The rugae patterns were classified based on their length, shape, direction, and unification proposed by Lysell (1955) and later modified by Thomas and Kotze (1983).[6]

Shapes were further classified as primary and secondary. The primary patterns were represented by capital letters and the secondary were represented by numbers. The different shapes identified [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10] were classified and tabulated [Table 1].
Figure 1: Straight pattern

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Figure 2: Converge pattern

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Figure 3:(A) Curve pattern; (B) Wavy serpentine pattern; (C) Globus pattern

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Figure 4: Circular pattern

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Figure 5:(A) Wavy pattern; (B) Converge pattern with more than two branches; (C) Diverging pattern

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Figure 6: Converge pattern with parallel branches

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Figure 7: Converge pattern with wavy/curve

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Figure 8: Converge pattern with globus and curve type

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Figure 9: Diverge pattern with wave or curve

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Figure 10:Extralong pattern

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Table 1: List of observed results

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For identification of rugae pattern, two observers were appointed, of which one was a senior and the other was a postgraduate trainee. Both the observers analyzed the casts together and the final observation was recorded after the consent of both the observers. To validate our findings further, after completion of the analysis, randomly 30 casts were selected and the observations were repeated.

The observations were recorded in Microsoft Excel 2007 (Microsft Office 2010, Washington, USA), and a master chart was prepared, which was used to record the entire data of the study into numerical values. Later, the results were evaluated for their significance and specificity using SPSS v20 (Statistical Package Inc. Chicago, Illinois, USA).Unpaired “t”-test was used to analyze statistical significance and P value < 0.05 was considered significant.

   Results Top

Overall, 14 different rugae patterns were observed on the right side out of which, the wavy pattern was the most prominent followed by curved and straight patterns. Interestingly, the divergent pattern (wavy/curve) was not seen at all. Contrastingly, on the left side, 15 different patterns were recorded among which, the wavy pattern was found to be predominantly followed by curved and straight.

Rugae werecompared between males and females on both sides based on the number of patterns and a statistically significant result was observed only for the right side [Table 2].
Table 2: Total number of rugae on right and left side between males and females

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Further, an unpaired t-test was applied to compare the individual pattern on the right side for both the genders, for which, a statistically significant reading was observed for wavy pattern and curved pattern [Table 3]. On the other hand, none of the patterns was statistically significant on the left side [Table 4].
Table 3: Comparison of rugae pattern on right side between males and females

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Table 4: Comparison of rugae pattern on left side between males and females

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Intra-gender comparison of rugae pattern on both the side was carried out which revealed that in males and females, a wavy pattern was highest on both the sides followed by curved, straight and diverging patterns.

Lastly, an individual pattern was compared for both the genders and it was observed that wavy pattern had the highest statistically significant difference, whereas other patterns did not show any significant difference among genders, even though a significant difference in the percentage was observed [Table 5].
Table 5: Comparison of rugae pattern between males and females

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   Discussion Top

The uniqueness of rugae patterns in each individual and their unchanged nature during an individual life make them reliable parameters in forensic odontology and anthropometry. The characteristic pattern of the PR does not change as a result of growth; it remains stables from the time of development until the oral mucosa degenerates at death. Though certain changes occur with orthodontic movement, morphology remains the same.[7]

Forensic odontology plays an important role in medicolegal death investigations in mass disasters, especially transportation mishaps such as aircraft accidents where fragmentation and thermal injuries are common. A consistent effort has been made to computerize much of the data to improve comparative efforts. Personal identification is made by analyzing the DNA profile of deceased persons with their relatives DNA profile. However, this procedure is sophisticated and requires a long time and is not available in rural and remote parts of the town. Though it is accurate, sometimes it is not readily available for easy and immediate examination. Hence, conventional methods have to be followed.[2]

There are situations like roadside accidents, mass disaster, or any terror attacks where establishing a person's identity becomes extremely difficult. The most commonly used technique includes visual identification, comparison of dental records, fingerprinting, and comparison of DNA records, which are a more reliable source. However, visual identification and fingerprinting are bound by post mortem changes owing to time, temperature, etc., Although DNA profiling is accurate, its use in situ ations like mass fatality seems to be very expensive and time consuming.[7]

As India is a diverse country with people from different religions, beliefs, cultures, and ethnicities, it is very difficult to standardize differences in features between populations for use in forensic odontology. Hence, it becomes very important to compare these features of different population groups and then conclude a specific character.

In the present study, we analyzed the PR pattern in males and females, from the Mewar and Hadorti region population, where males had more total number of rugae than females and the number of rugae on the left side was almost similar between both genders and did not show any significant difference. These results are in agreement with Shetty et al,[8] who reported that Mysorean males and Tibetian females had more rugae than their respective counterparts. Dhoke and Osato[9] reported that among the Japanese, the females had fewer rugae than males, whereas Fahmiet al.[10] in the Saudi population and Shetty and Premalatha[11] in the Mangalorean population did not show any significant difference in the number of rugae between males and females.

In the present study, it was observed that the wavy pattern was the highest followed by curved, straight and divergent patterns on both sides. Goyal and Goyal[12] observed that a wavy pattern was predominant among both the genders of the Pawanda population. Kapali et al,[13] in a study on Australian Aborigines and Caucasians, found that wavy and curved patterns were common in both ethnic groups. A comparative study conducted by Ibeachu et al.[14] among Igbo and Ikwerre ethnic groups of Nigeria reported that the most predominant pattern was wavy followed by curved and straight. Similar results were obtained by Sharma et al,[15] who reported that the predominant shapes in both the genders were wavy pattern followed by curved and straight patterns. These findings strongly support our findings.

Based on the shape of PR reported by Babu et al,[16] both the genders showed a wavy type of pattern followed by a straight type of distribution among the West Godavari population of India, and these observations were statistically significant. The present study also depicts the predominance of wavy patterns in both genders, which is highly significant. The other study following our results was of Kumar et al,[17] who reported wavy patterns to be the most predominant followed by curved and straight patterns in both males and females of the Puducherry population.

All the above studies including ours suggest that the predominant rugae shape observed was a wavy pattern. The contrasting feature was observed in the study conducted by Manjunath et al,[18] who stated that the curved pattern was predominant among females than in males in Manipal. In another study conducted by Madhankumar et al.[19] in the Chennai population showed an equal prevalence of curved patterns in both males and female, which is in contrast with our study. A study conducted by Ibeachu et al.[14] among Ikwerre males and females proved curved rugae patterns to be dominant. Shetty and Premalatha[11] conducted a study on the Mangalorean population and reported that the predominant shape of the rugae was curved and straight patterns among females and wavy among males. Shetty et al.[8] reported that Indian males had more curved rugae on both rights and left sides than Tibetan males and Tibetan females had more wavy rugae on the right side than Indian females.

When we compared the rugae pattern in both genders, a significant difference in the wavy pattern was observed. This suggests that there is a statistical difference in the rugae pattern between males and females. When Nayak et al.[20] studied the difference in the PR pattern in two populations of India, they reported that wavy and curved were the most prevalent rugae shapes; however, no significant sex difference was observed.

Also, the study carried out by Gadicherla et al.[21] on PR among the population of Bengaluru for sex determination revealed a statistically significant difference in unification patterns among genders. But, no significant difference was found about the number of rugae among genders. They found 80% accuracy in sex identification using PR and the most prominent pattern being the wavy and curvy pattern. All these findings are in agreement with our study.

Another different study undertaken by Pandey and Prakash[22] using a combination of discriminant analysis on the arch length and rugae pattern showed moderate discriminatory ability between genders when used individually, but the discriminatory ability increased when combined. Thus, the combination of these two factors can be used successfully for gender identification.

PR manifest to be highly individualistic and their shape remains consistent throughout life. The uniqueness of PR patterns in human beings as fingerprint has been well established, and its use in forensic identification is fairly justified. Analysis of PR patterns combined with other methods is an important alternative technique for human identification, providing a significant contribution to personal identification and criminal investigations.

   Conclusion Top

This study successfully observes the different types of rugae distribution patterns and uniqueness in different genders among the population of Mewar and Hadoti region. Here, we also observed that based on previous region-wise studies, there is a difference in characteristics based on ethnicity. Further, studies involving large sample size and different geographic diversities would help validate our findings and stress the importance of variable PR patterns for identifying an individual from different ethnicities and geographical locations.

Declaration of participant consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate participant consent forms. In the form, the participants have given their consent for their images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The participants understand that their names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal their identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Ethical considerations

The ethical clearance was taken from the ethical committee of an institute with letter no. RDCH/ST/2020/314.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Acharya AB, Sivapathasundharam B. Forensic Odontology. In Rajendran A, Sivapathasundharam B. Shafer's Textbook of Oral Pathology. 6th Edition. India: Elsevier 2009;878-97.  Back to cited text no. 1
Zakirulla M, Meer A. Modern tools in forensic dentistry (review). Int. J Contemp Dent 2011;2:28-32.  Back to cited text no. 2
Patil MS, Patil SB, Acharya AB. Palatine rugae and their significance inclinical dentistry: A review of the literature. J Am Dent Assoc 2008;139:1471-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
Buchtová M, Tichy F, Putnová I, Míšek I. The development of palatalrugae in the European pine vole. Microtussubterraneus (Arvicolidae, Rodentia). Folia Zool 2003;52:127-36.  Back to cited text no. 4
English WR, Robison SF, Summitt JB, Oesterle LJ, Brannon RB, Morlang WM. Individuality of human palatal rugae. J Forensic Sci 1988;33:718-26.  Back to cited text no. 5
Bhullar A, Kaur RP, Kamat MS. Palatal Rugea – an aid in clinical dentistry. J Forensic Res 2011;2:124. doi: 10.4172/2157-7145.1000124.  Back to cited text no. 6
Krishnappa S, Srinath S, Bhardwaj P, Mallaya CH. Palatal rugoscopy: Implementation in forensic odontology- a review. J Adv Med Dent Sci 2013;1:53-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Shetty SK, Kalia S, Patil K, Mahima VG. Palatal rugae pattern in Mysoreanand Tibetan populations. Indian J Dent Res 2005;16:51-5.  Back to cited text no. 8
Dohke M, Osato S. Morphological study of the palatal rugae in Japanese. Jpn J Oral Biol 1994;36:126-40.  Back to cited text no. 9
Fahmi FM, Al-Shamrani SM, Yousef F. Talic Rugae pattern in a Saudi population sample of males and females. Saudi Dent J 2001; 13:92-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
Shetty M, Premalatha K. Study of palatal rugae pattern among the student population in mangalore.J Indian Acad Forensic Med 2011;33:112-5.  Back to cited text no. 11
Goyal S, Goyal S. Study of palatal rugae pattern of Rwandan patients attending the dental department at king faisal hospital, Kigali, Rwanda: A preliminary study. Rwanda Med J 2013;70:19-25.  Back to cited text no. 12
Kapali S, Townsend G, Richards L, Parish T. Palatal rugae patterns in Australian Aborigines and Caucasians. Aus Dent J 1997;42:129-33.  Back to cited text no. 13
Ibeachu PC, Didia BC, Arigbede AO. A Comparative study of palatal rugae patterns among Igbo and Ikwerre ethnic groups of Nigeria: Auniversity of Port Harcourt study. Anat Res Int 2014;123925. doi: 10.1155/2014/123925.  Back to cited text no. 14
Sharma P, Saxena S, Rathod V. Comparative reliability ofcheiloscopy and palatoscopy in human identification. Indian J Dent Res 2009;20:453-7.  Back to cited text no. 15
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Babu GS, Bharath TS, Kumar NG. Characterstics of palatal rugae patterns in West Godavari population ofIndia. J Clin Diag Res 2013;7:2356-9.  Back to cited text no. 16
Kumar S, Vezhavendhan N, Shanthi V, Balaji N, SumathiMK, Vendhan P. Palatal rugoscopy among Puducherry population. J Contemp Dent Prac 2012;13:401-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
Manjunath S, Bakkannavar SM, Pradeep Kumar G, Bhat VJ, Prabhu N, Kamath A, et al. Palatal rugae patterns among the Indians at Manipal, India. J Pharm Biomed Sci 2012;20:1-5.  Back to cited text no. 18
Madhankumar S, Natarajan S, Maheswari U, KumarAV, Veeravalli PT, Banu F. Palatal Rugae Pattern for gender identification among selected student population in Chennai, India.J Sci Res Rep 2013;2:491-6.  Back to cited text no. 19
Nayak P, Acharya AB, Padmini AT, Kaveri H. Differences inthe palatal rugae shape in two populations of India. Arch Oral Bio2007; 5:77-82.  Back to cited text no. 20
Gadicherla P, Saini D, Bhaskar M. Palatal rugae pattern: An aid for sex identification. J Forensic Dent Sci 2017;9:48-52.  Back to cited text no. 21
[PUBMED]  [Full text]  
Pandey S, Prakash J. To analyze differences in the Palatal Rugae patterns and maxillary arch length of adult male and female patients. Int J Med Health Res 2019;5:75-80.  Back to cited text no. 22


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9], [Figure 10]

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]


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