OBJECTIVES The aim of this paper is to investigate the personal experience of individual patients, treated with a palatal expansion therapy, and their parents, in order to evaluate the procedure not only from a clinical-objective point of view but also from a subjective one. MATERIALS AND METHODS The sample examined consisted of 19 growing subjects (10 females and 9 males) aged between 6 and 12 years who showed, on clinical examination, insufficient development of the transverse maxilla diameter with indication to treatment. Patients underwent orthopantomography and teleradiography of the skull in latero-lateral projection. On the teleradiography the stage of maturation of the cervical vertebrae was evaluated. Subjects who exceeded the peak of pubertal growth or presented syndromes and systemic pathologies with clinical manifestations at the level of the oral cavity, dental, muscular and craniofacial anomalies were excluded. Patients were treated using a central screw-type rapid palatal expander Hyrax type. The activation protocol included: a quarter turn of the transversal screw performed twice a day for the first 3 days and once a day in the following days until the control appointment a week later. Later it was prescribed to continue with activations of a quarter turn per day until the planned expansion was obtained based on the individual needs of the individual patient. A special questionnaire was created for both the young patient, in a simple and understandable format, and for the parents, including a series of targeted questions about aesthetic information, compliance, negative effects such as pain and possible administration of painkillers, effects positive factors such as improved breathing, digestion and concentration of the person concerned. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS The results of the questionnaire conducted on young patients show an aesthetic improvement of the smile in 84% of cases. Only 26% of the boys reported painful symptoms, especially during the first days of activation, with only 5% of very high pain. Only 36% say they have had discomfort especially in the early days. The questionnaires compilated by the parents reported more detailed and objective information. Very important was the information about respiratory activity and improvements following the therapy carried out: 79% of parents report their child’s oral breathing reduced to 15% following the activation period and the percentage of night snoring was reduced by 37% in young patients. Finally, more than 73% state evident respiratory improvements following orthopedic treatment. CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE In this study we wanted to consider orthopedic-orthodontic treatment with rapid palatal expander focusing the attention on the subjective judgments of the young patients and the parents who are usually left out. The investigation allowed us to objectivate the excellent functionality and speed of the device, its simplicity and the slight discomfort easily bearable. The realization of this subjective investigation about the sensations and experience provided by young patients and their parents can be a useful tool to provide future patients with not only specialized and clinical information but also subjective judgments of those who before had benefits from this orthopedic-orthodontic therapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Oral Surgery