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Abstract

Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) is a common method used by orthodontists to increase the transverse dimension of maxillary arch and arch perimeter, by a tooth-borne device to stretch the median palatal suture through the mechanical force. The orthopedic effects produced by the RME device include not only opening the median palatal suture, but also rotating the maxillary alveolar shelves, which has an influence on the adjacent sutures of facial skeleton and the morphology of nasal cavities. This article reviewed the impact of RME on the anatomy of upper airway, respiratory flow resistance, and clinical relation with the nasal airway obstruction and obstructive sleep apnea. The reviews showed an increase in maximum cross-sectional area and volume of the nasal cavity, and a decrease of respiratory flow resistance after RME therapy. However, the respiratory status is improved in the way of statistical significance, and the clinical significance is still in debate.

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