International Journal of Clinical Pediatric Dentistry

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VOLUME 15 , ISSUE 5 ( September-October, 2022 ) > List of Articles


Rapid Maxillary Expansion and Upper Airway Volume: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on the Role of Rapid Maxillary Expansion in Mouth Breathing

Shruti Balasubramanian, Ritesh Kalaskar, Ashita Kalaskar

Keywords : Mouth breathing, Palatal expansion technique, Systematic review, Upper airway

Citation Information : Balasubramanian S, Kalaskar R, Kalaskar A. Rapid Maxillary Expansion and Upper Airway Volume: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis on the Role of Rapid Maxillary Expansion in Mouth Breathing. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent 2022; 15 (5):617-630.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10005-2421

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 30-01-2023

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2022; The Author(s).


Objective: Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) has been extensively used in orthodontic practice for over a century, and it is claimed to benefit upper airway morphology. However, its effect in actually alleviating mouth breathing has remained unexplored. This systematic review was planned with an objective to provide a comprehensive synthesis of the effects of RME on upper airway volume and most importantly, its role in alleviating mouth breathing. Methods: A literature search of electronic databases were done for the time period of 2000–2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and non-RCTs conducted on 8–15-year-old children who received bonded or banded RME and upper airway measured using three-dimensional (3D) imaging were included. Results: Twelve studies (two RCTs, nine nonrandomized clinical trials, and one non-RCT) were included in this systematic review, and nine studies were included for meta-analysis. Among the evaluated parameters, nasal cavity volume showed a significant increase which was maintained even after the retention phase, whereas nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal volume did not report a significant change. Conclusion: Based on this systematic review, it can be concluded that RME causes a significant increase in nasal cavity volume, but its effect on nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal volume is not statistically significant in majority of studies. This increase in volume may not be considered as an equivalent for enhancement of airway and function unless proven so. In order to establish its significance in the improvement of breathing, it is necessary to conduct more well-designed RCTs with samples actually comprising mouth breathers.

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