Orthodontist-otorhinolaryngologist: an interdisciplinary approach to solve otitis media

Eur J Paediatr Dent. 2007 Jun;8(2):83-8.


Aim: This was to investigate in oral breathing children with an associated atypical pattern of swallowing and otitis media, the effects of rapid maxillary expansion on nasal airway resistance and conductive hearing loss.

Materials and methods: This study examined 24 children (16 males and 8 females) in early mixed dentition period, with an age range of 6-8 years (mean age 7 years), diagnosed with otitis media from the otorhinolaryngology Department of "Tor Vergata" Hospital. The young patients were seen in the Department of Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry University of Rome "Tor Vergata". All the subjects had an open mouth breathing pattern with a secondary atypical swallowing mode and a conductive hearing loss resulting from otitis media. The therapeutic approach was to apply a RPE fixed appliance (Butterfly expander).

Results: Follow up showed that after rapid maxillary expansion there was nasal resistance reduction, increased nasal airflow and improvement in conductive hearing loss. CONCLUSION Rapid maxillary expansion has been used for both dental and rhinological purposes in the belief that clinically significant reductions in nasal resistance to airflow and an improvement in conductive hearing loss occur predictably.

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance
  • Cephalometry
  • Child
  • Deglutition Disorders / complications
  • Deglutition Disorders / therapy
  • Eustachian Tube / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / etiology
  • Hearing Loss, Conductive / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mouth Breathing / etiology
  • Mouth Breathing / therapy*
  • Nasal Obstruction / complications
  • Nasal Obstruction / therapy*
  • Orthodontic Appliance Design
  • Orthodontics
  • Otitis Media / complications
  • Otitis Media / therapy*
  • Otolaryngology
  • Palatal Expansion Technique* / instrumentation
  • Patient Care Team
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome