The purpose of the cross sectional study was to investigate the distal extension of the rugae area in a Jordanian (Middle Eastern) population, as an anatomical limitation influencing the surgical decision of harvesting a palatal soft tissue graft. Factors that may influence or predict the extension were also assessed.
Sixty periodontally healthy participants (29 males and 31 females) were included. Maxillary alginate impressions were made and casts were poured. The measurements were highlighted from the origin of the rugae (near mid palatine raphe) to the terminal end with a sharp graphite pencil on the cast and a magnification lens was used for identification. The most posterior extension of the rugae were marked on the casts and determined by a standardized periodontal probe. The normal approximation test for binomial distribution was used to determine the proportion of the subjects with rugael extensions beyond the mesial end of the upper second premolar and fisher’s exact test for the purpose of analysis of the association of this extension with other factors.
In almost half (41.7%) of the sample, the rugae extended distal to the upper second premolar, 23.3% extended to the mid-palatal of the upper second premolar, and 11.7% extended to the mesial of the upper second premolar. The implication is that 90.0% of the rugae reached the upper second premolar and 78.3% extended beyond its mesial aspect. The normal approximation test performed with 95% CI with the "rugael extension proximal to the mesial end of the upper 2nd premolar" considered to be the "success" category revealed that the proportion of the subjects with rugael extensions proximal to the mesial end of the upper second premolar was significantly lower than the proportion beyond the mesial end of the upper second premolar (95% CI of 11.2–32.0%, p = .00001). There was no significant difference between gender, smoking status, gingival phenotype and palatal shape with the posterior extension of palatal rugae.
Palatal rugae in a sample of a Jordanian population extends beyond the mesial aspect of the upper second premolar which may cause a substantial limitation for graft harvesting from the palate. The hard palate of Jordanian patients may not be a reliable source of soft tissue grafts required for aesthetic mucogingival surgery. No significant association existed between the most posterior extent of palatal rugae and gender, gingival phenotype or palatal shape. Other possible sources should be explored.