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Edentulism is defined as ‘the state of being edentulous; without natural teeth’. The consequences of tooth loss have been described in multidimensional views. Despite edentulism not being a life-threatening condition, it is a debilitating and irreversible condition and is described as the ‘final marker of disorder for oral health’. It is known to directly affect facial structures, nourishment, ability to perform functional tasks such as eating and speaking and socializing. Though the incidence of edentulism has been on decline over the last decade, with the advent of science and technology there is a consistent increase in average life expectancy, therefore edentulism remains a principal disease worldwide, especially among the elderly population. The conventional complete denture (CD) still remains the first choice of treatment for rehabilitation of for isolated edentulous maxilla. Complete denture is defined as ‘a fixed or removable dental prosthesis that replaces the entire dentition and associated structures of the maxillae or mandible’.
According to the acoustic theory of speech production, the acoustic characteristics of speech are usually modelled as a sequence of source, vocal tract filter, and radiation characteristics. Since it is claimed that complete dentures alters the resonance cavity of vocal tract, many authors have reported speech disturbances in complete denture-wearing patient. Consequently, for the optimization of its performance in speech production, the knowledge of dynamic contacts of tongue on the prosthesis is fundamental. Although, a number of experimental systems have been conceived in the recent past . the number of available studies has been limited, peculiarly the studies of dynamic measurements of tongue force exerted on complete prosthesis during speech. Primarily, through this case report our goal is to illustrate the usefulness of a novel experimental setup, to be used in edentulous patients, to evaluate quantitatively the impact of the complete denture on speech production. The focus of this study is the detailed presentation of the spatial and temporal mapping of the contacts applied by the tongue on the prosthesis. Specifically, the aim of this study was to evaluate the differences of the dynamics of contact in French stops in one patient with complete denture. The tongue-palate contact was assessed by measurement of pressure and time patterns charactering the strain signals and the acoustic signals based on several parameters related to consonant production. It is important to underline that this patient was using dentures for more than three months and his adaptation to prosthesis was completed.
In addition, the strain gauge transducers and wires produced no additional change in morphology of artificial plate, we hypothesized that no perturbation was caused to articulation. Therefore, in this study we succeeded in recording the tongue-palate interaction under condition that were, to the best of our knowledge, as close as possible to natural physiological state of complete denture user.
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