Model of oronasal rehabilitation in children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome undergoing rapid maxillary expansion: Research review

Sleep Sci. 2014 Dec;7(4):225-33. doi: 10.1016/j.slsci.2014.11.002. Epub 2014 Nov 17.


Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) is a widely used practice in orthodontics. Scientific evidence shows that RME can be helpful in modifying the breathing pattern in mouth-breathing patients. In order to promote the restoration of physiological breathing we have developed a rehabilitation program associated with RME in children. The aim of the study was a literature review and a model of orofacial rehabilitation in children with obstructive sleep apnea undergoing treatment with rapid maxillary expansion. Muscular training (local exercises and general ones) is the key factor of the program. It also includes hygienic and behavior instructions as well as other therapeutic procedures such as rhinosinusal washes, a postural re-education (Alexander technique) and, if necessary, a pharmacological treatment aimed to improve nasal obstruction. The program should be customized for each patient. If RME is supported by an adequate functional rehabilitation, the possibility to change the breathing pattern is considerably amplified. Awareness, motivation and collaboration of the child and their parents, as well as the cooperation among specialists, such as orthodontist, speech therapist, pediatrician and otolaryngologist, are necessary conditions to achieve the goal.

Keywords: Mouth breathing; Myofunctional therapy; Obstructive sleep apnea; Palatal expansion technique; Speech therapy.

Publication types

  • Review