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J Prosthet Dent. 2014 Sep;112(3):663-71. doi: 10.1016/j.prosdent.2013.12.014. Epub 2014 Mar 24.

Evaluation of a modular palatal lift prosthesis with a silicone velar lamina for hypernasal patients.

Author information

  • 1Postgraduate student, Department of Prosthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
  • 2Associate Professor, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada. Electronic address:
  • 3Director, Ocular and Maxillofacial Prosthetics Unit, Department of Dental Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
  • 4Professor, Department of Clinical Dentistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.



Speech bulbs and palatal lift prostheses are used to improve oral-nasal balance in speakers with hypernasality resulting from velopharyngeal dysfunction. Fabricating such speech prostheses is often a protracted process, and the nasopharyngeal impression can be uncomfortable for the client.


The purpose of this study was to develop and test a modular palatal lift prosthesis with a silicone velar lamina that can be fabricated without a nasopharyngeal impression.


Six adult participants with different etiologies were treated with both a conventional palatal lift prosthesis and the new prosthesis. The outcome measures were nasalance scores, speech acceptability ratings, and participant responses on a questionnaire. Inferential statistical analyses were conducted with nonparametric Friedman tests and 2-tailed paired Wilcoxon signed ranks tests. The probability was set at P<.1.


Among the 3 speaking conditions (no prosthesis, acrylic resin prosthesis, modular silicone palatal lift prosthesis), no differences were found in nasalance scores for the oral stimuli. For the nasal sentences, a numerically greater reduction was observed for the silicone than for the acrylic resin prosthesis. Speech acceptability was better with the modular silicone palatal lift prosthesis (z=2.032, P<.05) and the acrylic resin prosthesis (z=1.753, P<.1) than with no prosthesis. The questionnaire showed better subjective speech acceptability with the acrylic resin prosthesis (z=1.706, P<.05) and the modular silicone palatal lift prosthesis (z=1.706, P<.05) than with no prosthesis. Swallowing comfort was also numerically better for the acrylic resin prosthesis than for the modular silicone palatal lift prosthesis.


This study demonstrates the feasibility of a new design for a flexible and modular palatal lift prosthesis. The functional outcomes were comparable to those of the traditional design. Although the overall results in this study favored the traditional prosthesis, the new design may be viable for patients who require alternative treatment solutions.

Copyright © 2014 Editorial Council for the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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