Influence of maxillary obturator prostheses on facial morphology in patients with unilateral maxillary defects

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Statement of problem.

Facial asymmetry is prominent with individuals with unilateral bone resorption and can lead to decreased quality of life.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of maxillary obturator prostheses on facial morphology of individuals with unilateral maxillary defects by using 3-dimensional digital stereophotogrammetry.

Material and methods.

The facial data of 8 participants with unilateral maxillary defects were acquired with a noncontact 3-dimensional digitizer, both with and without maxillary prostheses. The mid-facial plane was established by overlapping an original facial image with its mirror image. Displacement at 18 measurement points, including 7 bilateral pairs, was compared between the 2 sides, with and without the prostheses. Asymmetry indices of these 7 pairs also were calculated. Multivariate repeated-measures ANOVA was used to determine differences.


Displacements of the lateral and inferior points at the ala of the nose were significantly greater on the defect side than on the normal side. The distances between the ideal and defect side points at the superior ala, the upper lip, and the angle of the mouth decreased significantly with the prosthesis. No significant differences were found in asymmetry indices, but the angle of the upper lip line to the mid-sagittal plane increased significantly with the prosthesis.


The 3-dimensional analyzing method developed in this study can be useful in evaluating facial reconstruction with maxillary obturator prostheses with individuals with unilateral maxillary defects. The prostheses affect the region of the nasal ala, the upper lip, and the angles of the mouth.

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