A comparison of dental and dentoalveolar changes between rapid palatal expansion and nickel-titanium palatal expansion appliances.Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2001 Jan; 119(1):11-20.AJ
A tandem-loop nickel titanium temperature-activated palatal expansion appliance was developed that produces light, continuous pressure on the midpalatal suture and requires little patient cooperation or laboratory work. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of the nickel titanium palatal expansion appliance with that of a rapid palatal expansion appliance. The study sample comprised 25 patients who required palatal expansion as part of their orthodontic treatment. The sample was divided into 2 groups, with 13 patients in the nickel titanium group and 12 patients in the rapid palatal expansion group. Study models were taken before treatment and at the end of the retention period after expansion. Intermolar width, palatal width, palatal depth, alveolar tipping, molar tipping, and molar rotation were analyzed. In addition, occlusal radiographs were obtained before and 2 weeks after expansion to evaluate for sutural separation by the appliances. Results showed significant increases in midpalatal sutural separation, tipping of the alveolus, and tipping of the molars after expansion in both groups. However, greater midpalatal sutural separation was found in the rapid palatal expansion group and greater molar rotation was found in the nickel titanium group. Stepwise multiple regression analysis showed that alveolar tipping, palatal width change, and molar tipping are the best predictors of intermolar width change in the rapid palatal expansion group. Radiographic evidence of midpalatal sutural separation was less obvious in the nickel titanium group. These results suggest that both the nickel titanium and the rapid palatal expansion appliances are capable of expanding the maxillary dentition and alveolar process and are equally capable of correcting posterior crossbites. In the current study, the rapid palatal expander widened the palate more reliably, whereas the nickel titanium expander tipped the molars buccally to a greater extent and caused more distal molar rotation. The clinician's choice of expander will depend on his or her initial diagnosis and treatment goals.