Changes in natural head position observed immediately and one year after rapid maxillary expansion

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Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) has been shown to increase nasal permeability and reduce nasal airway resistance. A number of studies have examined the relationship between RME and the change in airway resistance, or the relationship between airway resistance and natural head position (NHP). Few studies, to date, have examined the relationship between RME and the change in NHP resulting from the consequent change in airway resistance.A sample of 43 adolescent patients with uni- or bilateral crossbite in the permanent dentition underwent RME as part of normal orthodontic treatment. Cephalograms in NHP were taken before, immediately after expansion, and one year after RME. No significant changes in the craniofacial angles were observed immediately after expansion. One year post-expansion, however, NSL/VER had reduced by 3.14 degrees (P < 0.01), OPT/HOR by 2.13 degrees (P < 0.05), and CVT/HOR by 2.55 degrees (P < 0.05).The results of this study suggest an ongoing change in head posture possibly due to a change in the mode of breathing from oral to nasal as a result of RME, thereby contributing to a change in craniofacial development, supporting and adding to the soft tissue stretching hypothesis.

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