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Welcome to the practice of maxillofacial prosthodontist and cosmetic dentistry specialist Michael Cortese

Princeton

Prosthodontics

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What is an Obturator?

An obturator is part of a tracheostomy tube, which has three types and different parts; the outer cannula with neck plate, inner cannula and obturator, which is used to insert a tracheostomy tube. The obturator fits inside the tube and provides a smooth surface for the tracheostomy to go through.

A maxillectomy/ palatectomy prosthesis or “obturator” restores the surgical defect and aids in the function of speaking, chewing, or swallowing. It fills the void left by the surgery and artificially replaces lost tissues and teeth, according to the American Academy of Maxillofacial Prosthetics.

It is also used as a replacement prosthetic device used to replace upper teeth and other structures associated. It is specifically used for those teeth, palates and gingiva, that have been damaged as a result of surgery, trauma, and other high impact damage involved. However, the obturator is only used for the upper and not the lower or anything surrounding the lower teeth.

There are also the palatal obturators, which are short-term prosthetics used to close defects of the palate that affects speech. It is also used for speech therapy, eating, and proper air flow. The palatal obturator is also used when there is tissue loss, and can be downsized for strengthening of the tissue to occur. They are needed when individuals have cleft palates.

Types of Palatal Obturators

• Palatal plate, used to improve speech and feeding. Always clean a palatal obturator twice a day to prevent buildup and bacteria.
• Modification obturator is used for blocking, sealing and separation of oral and nasal cavities.
• An interim palatal obturator is used after palatal surgery, and is only used when no other surgeries take place.
• A definitive obturator is used when there is no longer rehabilitation for the person and needs long-term use.
• The Nance Obturator is used for surgical closing when another device is not proved useful or helpful.

How a Palatal Obturator is Good for Speech

This obturator can help improve and recover speech. It can used temporarily or for long periods of time. They have been known to improve sound and speech errors, along with nasal issues. Speech therapy may be needed in addition to a long-term palatal obturation.

Despite being a very technical item, it is easy to understand what it is commonly used for and to know its many uses. Obviously, the obturator has a variety of beneficial additives from replacing upper teeth, help with speech and sound, including issues with cleft palates.