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Fabrication of Palatal Augmentation Prosthesis Using a Small Force Sensor

  • Nohara Kanji
    Osaka University Dental Hospital, Division for Oral and Facial Disorders
  • Tachimura Takashi
    Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Division of Functional Oral Neuroscience, Department of Oral and Facial Disorders
  • Wada Takeshi
    Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Division of Functional Oral Neuroscience, Department of Oral and Facial Disorders
  • Matsumura Masafumi
    Osaka Electro-Communication University, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Niikawa Takuya
    Osaka Electro-Communication University, Department of Biomedical Engineering

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Other Title
  • 小型圧力センサーを用いた舌接触補助床の作製法

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Abstract

A palatal augmentation prosthesis (PAP) is applied in postoperative head and neck cancer patients in order to support contact between the tongue and palate in cases involving tongue dysfunction. For production of normal speech, it is essential that the tongue can contact the palate easily with reserve capacity. This applies also to cases wearing a PAP. The purpose of this study is to introduce the procedure of fabricating a PAP using a small force sensor to measure reserve capacity during phonation, derived from the difference between the forces at phonation and at maximum intensity.<BR>Three patients with postoperative oral and pharyngeal cancer served as the subjects. PAPs were made for the purpose of improving clarity for the most unintelligible consonant. The PAPs were adjusted using palatography. Subsequently, the contact forces of the tongue were measured by force sensor. Subject #1 demonstrated satisfactory contact force and reserve capacity for phonation. Subjects #2 and #3 both had a point where the contact force for phonation was feeble or a point where the maximum force was almost equal to that for phonation. After modification of the PAP with augmentation for those points, subjects #2 and #3 secured favorable contact forces. As a result, speech assessment by the speech intelligibility test was improved for all three cases wearing an adjusted PAP. These findings suggested that adjustment of a PAP using a force sensor is useful for producing efficacious PAPs for patients tongue dysfunction.

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