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Relationship between the Anteroposterior and VerticalPositions of the Tongue and Upper Pharyngeal Airway Volumein Adults with Normal Skeletal Patterns

Su-Kyong Cho* , Yoon-Ji Kim** * Private Practice, Cheonan, Korea, ** Department of Orthodontics, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the correlation between tongue position and upper pharyngeal airway volume in adults with normal skeletal patterns.

Materials & Methods: Tongue position, and cross-sectional area (CSA) and volume of the pharyngeal were studied in 103 consecutive patients (mean age, 23.74±4.13 years) who underwent diagnostic cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) for orthodontic treatment. The shortest linear distances from the palate to the anterior, middle, and posterior positions in the midsagittal plane and right and left sagittal planes, as well as the anteroposterior and vertical positions of the tongue tip, were measured. The airway volume and minimal CSA of the airway were also assessed.

Results: The mean age of the patients was 23.74±4.13 years. Significant factors that affected the vertical distance to the dorsum of the tongue were sex, airway volume, minimal CSA of the airway, and location of measurement. Age had no significant effect on tongue position. The distance of the tongue from the palatal bone decreased from the anterior to the posterior positions (p<0.001). The tongue was positioned inferiorly as the airway volume increased. Linear regression analysis of the airway volume showed that minimum CSA and tongue position at the midsagittal midpoint significantly affected airway volume.

Conclusion: The airway volume is closely associated with the vertical position of the tongue. Lower tongue posture may lead to increased pharyngeal airway volume.


Key words: Tongue position, Pharyngeal airway, Cone-beam computed tomography


Korean J Lingual Orthod 2023;12(1): 11-19



02)KJLO (11-19)_23-103
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