Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) is a dentofacial orthopedic treatment often used to treat patients with narrow palate and transverse maxillary growth deficiency.
This treatment leads to correction of posterior dental crossbites, coordination of the upper and lower arches and gaining arch perimeter in patients with tooth size/arch size discrepancies. To stabilize the results obtained with RME and to limit or avoid the relapse, the use of Transpalatal Arch (TPA) would be recommended.
The aim of this study is to evaluate short-term maxillary changes in patients treated with RME followed by TPA with and without palatal arms.
Materials and Methods:
30 patients, 16 females and 14 males (mean age of 9.7 yrs ranging between 9 and 12), were treated by expansion with palatal Hyrax-type expander. After this period, it was removed and one of the two different types of TPA was used.
The two different TPA were a 0.036-inch stainless steel wire with a loop directed mesially in the middle, one maintained the original design (TPA), the second one presented arms extended to canines (TPAa). Dental casts were collected for each patient for each treatment step; before (T0), after expansion (T1) and after TPA or TPAa (T2). To assess differences in dental arches after the two treatment phases, three-dimensional (3D) dental casts were used to make more predictable measurements compared with caliper measurements that presented intra-examiner and inter-examiner measurements errors.
In TPAa group, differences between the value at the end of the retention period and at the end of expansion showed no statistical significance. Instead in TPA group, the same measurements suggested a reduction of value in almost all dental transverse diameters. Statistically significant differences in dental measurements were found between TPAa and TPA.
Results confirm the hypothesis that TPAa can allow to better maintain dental transverse dimensions.
Keywords: Transpalatal arch, Maxillary expansion, Arch perimeter, Palatal expansion, Arch stability, Arch length.