Masters of Clinical Anatomy Projects
The hard palate is a preferred area for orthodontic miniscrew (OMS) insertion due to easy surgical access and favorable anatomical configuration. However, accurate measurement of palatal bone thickness (BT) is crucial for choosing appropriate OMS lengths and insertion sites. The aim of this study is to determine the accuracy of micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) for assessing palatal BT, such that we can determine if it is an objective standard for use in research, to which clinical measurements of BT can be compared. Ten cadaveric maxillae (54 -98 yrs.) were cleaned of soft tissue and imaged using micro-CT imaging. Bone thickness was assessed using grey-scale graphs extracted from the Micro-CT scans at pre-determined sites of interest. The same sites were assessed for BT by gross anatomical means, which entailed measurements of hole depth through the palate following OMS insertion. Gross anatomical and micro-CT data both revealed a similar trend with BT thinning from anterior to posterior. Although no statistically significant differences were found between measurements differences on a site-by-site basis, the suitability of micro-CT as an imaging tool for hard palate assessment could not be determined due to limitations in the gross anatomical protocol. Based on gross anatomical measurements, orthodontic miniscrew insertion is deemed appropriate in the anterior palate and paramedian region.