What is it? What makes it different from a traditional expander?
As an orthodontic office that focuses on airway health, we are always looking for the most updated methods to better serve our patients. One of these advancements that has been proven effective in many journal articles is MARPE, or Mini-implant Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion.
MARPE is a type of palatal expander that uses mini-implants, or mini anchors, to expand the upper jaw. The mini-implants are placed in the roof of the mouth using local anesthesia, a procedure that we do in our office. They are connected to a palatal expander that is used to widen the upper jaw by turning it at home. The process of expansion occurs at the suture, which is the “joint” where the right and left bones of the upper jaw meet.
Traditional RPE also widens the upper jaw by turning at home, but it is done using an expander that is connected to the teeth. RPE is most ideal for young children (5-9 years old). It can be used predictably anytime before puberty, however the amount of expansion at the suture can be limited in the older children.
MARPE, on the other hand, is connected directly to the roof of the mouth with four mini-implants. This allows for greater bone expansion at the suture, which can be beneficial for patients with airway concerns such as sleep apnea / sleep disordered breathing and difficulty nasal breathing / mouth breathing.