Does rapid maxillary expansion affect the eruption of upper third molars?
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Objective: To test the hypothesis that there is no difference in the movement of the upper third molars between rapid maxillary expansion (RME) and non-RME patients. Materials and Methods: This study was performed on 30 patients divided into two groups. The study group included 20 patients who had maxillary narrowness and bilateral maxillary third molars and who had undergone RME application. The control group of 10 patients had a bilateral cross-bite, had bilateral maxillary third molars, and did not receive orthodontic treatment. The records included lateral and frontal cephalometric films and maxillary plaster models. In the study group, records were taken before expansion (T1), after expansion (T2), and at the retention period (T3). T2 records were not taken in the control group because this period was too short to observe any changes. Friedman tests were used to observe within groups, and the Mann-Whitney U-test was used to see the differences between groups on films and casts. Results: Frontal films showed that vertical eruption occurred after the retention period in the RME cases. Cephalometric films revealed that the angular eruption occurred immediately after expansion. However, the results were not significant with respect to the control group. Conclusion: The hypothesis was rejected. Rapid maxillary expansion affects maxillary third molar movement during and after the RME procedure. RME may indicate upper third molar eruption, but the final position of third molar was not different compared to the normal growth pattern.