Patients with a constricted maxilla suffer from crowded, crooked, and protruding teeth, which can be associated with caries, periodontal disease, and difficulty in chewing, eating, and speaking as well as psychosocial problems. In the past, children and adolescents up to age 16 with a restricted maxilla could be treated with a device called a Bonded Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME) without the need for surgery. However, adult patients with mature maxillary bones required treatment with not only the RME, but with additional surgery to expand the jaw. A study, conducted by Coakley, et al at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio dental school, has shown that patients aged 16 years and older with a constricted maxilla can be treated successfully without surgery. The patient is fitted with an RME that is bonded to the maxillary teeth and bridges the palate. The patient uses a key which, when turned, moves the RME a quarter of a millimeter, expanding the maxilla over time. Most patients wear the RME for 4 to 6 months, and after the device is removed orthodontic braces are used to align the teeth and complete orthodontic treatment. Many adult patients with a constricted avoid treatment that requires surgery. The Bonded RME can provide successful treatment without the need for surgery for many such patients.
(Source: The Mission, the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, May 2004)