A Palatal Speech Bulb: A Case Study

Constance Hardwick, James Puryer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Palatal defects of the oral cavity can be either congenital or acquired following trauma or surgical excision of malignant disease. Palatal defects can greatly affect function and subsequent quality of life. Rehabilitation using a removable obturator can be a preferable treatment option as it allows regular review post-surgery. This case study reports on the design and construction of a removable “speech bulb” obturator. A 50-year-old female patient presented complaining of nasal regurgitation and looseness of her current palatal obturator. She had previously undergone wide surgical excision of her soft palate under general anaesthesia due to adenoid cystic carcinoma. Treatment consisted of the provision of a new removable obturator, paying careful attention to the design of the “speech bulb” itself. The design of the “speech bulb” is crucial to optimise function, and the method of prosthesis fabrication is fully described. This case highlights the impact of obturator fit on a patient’s quality of life and will be of benefit to clinicians from many disciplines including dentists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) surgeons and speech and language therapists.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Number of pages6
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2019


  • prosthesis
  • obturator
  • rehabilitation
  • design
  • carcinoma

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