Diagnostic performance of 3-dimensional evaluation of palatal vault changes in assessing successful treatment of constricted maxilla in growing subjects

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The success of maxillary expansion should not be assessed solely by the elimination of the teeth in crossbite; it should also be defined as the reestablishment of normal maxillary growth. The aim of this research was to quantify longitudinal palatal changes in children treated for maxillary constriction associated with functional crossbite.


The subjects included 48 white children (mean age, 5.2 ± 0.6 years), divided into a treatment group (n = 23) and a control group (n = 25). Children in the treatment group had maxillary constriction associated with functional crossbite and were treated with a cemented acrylic splint expander. Dental casts were collected at baseline and at 6, 12, 18, 30, 42, and 54 months later. The casts were scanned with a laser scanner, and the palatal surface areas and volumes, and their increments over time were calculated. Nonparametric tests were used for the data analysis. The diagnostic performance in assessing successful treatment of palatal constriction was evaluated by receiver operating characteristic curves.


Significantly greater increments in palatal surface area and volume were seen in the treatment group up to 30 months (P <0.05, at least). According to the receiver operating characteristic curves, the best overall diagnostic performance in terms of accuracy was for palatal volume at 18 months, reaching up to a value of 0.85, by using a cutoff value of increments of 13.5%.


An increase in palatal volume of at least 13.5% at 18 months after treatment is a good indicator to assess the reestablishment of normal growth in subjects treated for maxillary constriction in the deciduous dentition.

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