During development, bony changes in the palate are reflected in the palatal rugae. Therefore, we hypothesized that the palatal dimensions (PD) influence the shape and number of palatal rugae (PR). The objectives were to record the palatal rugae characteristics (PRC) and palatal dimensions (intercanine distance (ICD), intermolar distance (IMD), palatal height (PH) and palatal area (PA) in Classes I, II and III malocclusion patients and investigate their interrelationship, and statistically examine the possibility of predicting PRC with the PD. Four hundred eighty-one pre-orthodontic study casts of healthy patients with normal palate anatomy were grouped as Classes I, II and III and scanned using 3D cast scanner. The PRC, ICD, IMD, PH, and PA were recorded digitally using 3D enabled software. The data was statistically analyzed. A strong statistically significant difference was observed between PA and number of straight and wavy rugae. ICD and the number of straight rugae were also related. A weak correlation exists between malocclusion classes and PA. The remaining rugae characteristics did not exhibit any relation with palatal dimensions. PA is positively related to the number of straight rugae and negatively related to the number of wavy rugae. Bigger palates have more straight rugae and less number of wavy rugae. A weak correlation between PA and Angle’s class I malocclusion exists. We also propose that PA has a developmental association with the number and shape of PR.
KEY WORDS: Palatal rugae; Malocclusion; Palate; Angle’s class I; Angle’s class II; Angle’s class III.