Miniscrew-Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion

Sometimes, patients present with jaws that just aren’t quite the correct size to accommodate all of the teeth. Narrow upper jaws not only can cause crowding issues, they can also lead to an obstructed nasal passage and impact how the face develops.

Maxillary expansion is a procedure to widen the upper jaw, allowing for enough room for the teeth, as well as improving breathing patterns and facial features.

Traditional palatal expansion is reserved for adolescent patients whose upper maxilla has not yet fused together. However, MARPE can be used even on those patients who have a fused suture because it connects directly to the palatal bone.

How Does MARPE Work?

The goal of MARPE is to expand the maxillary bone. This not only will provide adequate space for all of the teeth in order to ease crowding, it will also increase the volume of the nasal cavity, allowing for increased airway flow.

A maxillary expander will be custom created for the patient and placed along the midpalatal suture using mini-screws. The process is completed under local anesthesia and only takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. There is usually little pain, but if there is discomfort over-the-counter pain reliever can be taken.

Once the appliance is in place, it is activated by turning a screw every day for approximately four to six weeks. The key activates the expander, which works to split the suture. Once the desired expansion has been achieved, the expander will remain in place to allow for new bone to form. This can take between four to six months.

Santa Monica Orthodontic treatment will then continue to close any gaps in the front teeth and create a healthy, stable bite.

MARPE can be used to correct malocclusions, as well as to treat sleep apnea.