Facial soft tissue thickness is essential to orthodontists and plastic surgeons for treatment planning, and to forensic anthropologists for facial reconstruction, a process combining science and art to recreate a recognizable face from an unidentified skull. The facial profile, together with the age and sex of a person, is related to facial soft tissue thickness, which is required for accurate facial reconstruction and recognition. Skeletal occlusions in orthodontics are classified according to the basic human facial profiles: straight, convex, and concave or skeletal class I, II, and III, respectively. In the present study, the facial soft tissue thickness of 233 Sudanese subjects (105 men and 128 women), ranging in age from 18 to 35 years, with different facial profiles at 20 landmarks was measured (10 soft tissue and 10 dentoskeletal). Sexual dimorphism was noted, with males having thicker facial soft tissue at all measured points. The facial soft tissue thickness varied among different occlusions. Individuals with skeletal class II occlusion had the thickest lower lip, and class III individuals had the thickest upper lip. In general, the Sudanese sample had a unique spectrum of measurements, with thick upper and lower lips, compared with African and Caucasoid subjects, pointing to the need for ethnic-specific data.
Keywords: Facial profile; Facial reconstruction; Occlusion; Orthodontics; Soft tissues thickness.
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