The role of rapid maxillary expansion in the promotion of oral and general health

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Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) is an effective orthopedic procedure that can be used to address problems concerned with the growth of the midface. This procedure also may produce positive side effects on the general health of the patient. The aim of the present consensus paper was to identify and evaluate studies on the changes in airway dimensions and muscular function produced by RME in growing patients. A total of 331 references were retrieved from a database search (PubMed). The widening of the nasal cavity base after midpalatal suture opening in growing patients allows the reduction in nasal airway resistance with an improvement of the respiratory pattern. The effects of RME on the upper airway, however, have been described as limited and local, and these effects become diminished farther down the airway, possibly as a result of soft-tissue adaptation. Moreover, limited information is available about the long-term stability of the airway changes produced by RME. Several studies have shown that maxillary constriction may play a role in the etiology of more severe breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in growing subjects. Early orthodontic treatment with RME is able to reduce the symptoms of OSA and improve polysomnographic variables. Finally, early orthopedic treatment with RME also is beneficial to avoid the development of facial skeletal asymmetry resulting from functional crossbites that otherwise may lead to functional and structural disorders of the stomatognathic system later in life.




McNamara, J. A., Lione, R., Franchi, L., Angelieri, F., Cevidanes, L. H. S., Darendeliler, M. A., & Cozza, P. (2015). The role of rapid maxillary expansion in the promotion of oral and general health. Progress in Orthodontics. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

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