Three-dimensional palatal morphology and upper arch changes following nonsurgical and surgical maxillary expansion in adults

Published:March 03, 2022DOI:


      The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of nonsurgical rapid maxillary expansion (RME) and surgically assisted RME (SARME) on palatal morphology and upper arch dimensions using three-dimensional (3D) models in skeletally mature patients.

      Study Design

      Thirty-eight skeletally mature patients with a maxillary transverse deficiency were divided into RME and SARME groups. Nineteen patients in the RME group (mean age, 19.16 ± 2.25 years) were treated using a full-coverage bonded acrylic splint expander; 19 patients in the SARME group (mean age, 20.38 ± 3.36) were treated using the banded palatal expansion appliance with hyrax screws. The 3D models were obtained before and after expansion. The maxillary dental arch widths, maxillary first molar angulation, palatal area, and palatal volume were calculated on the 3D models.


      All variables showed statistically significant changes after the retention period (P < .001). The maxillary arch width between first premolars (P < .05), the palatal area (P < .01), and the palatal volume (P < .05) significantly increased in the SARME group compared to the RME group. The maxillary first molar tipping in the RME group was significantly higher than that in the SARME group (P < .01).


      Although SARME has more positive effects in skeletally mature patients, nonsurgical RME can be considered as an alternative by evaluating surgical risks, periodontal status, and the need for skeletal expansion.
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