Objectives: To utilize cone beam computed tomography imaging to examine volume changes of the nasopharynx and oropharynx in young subjects who are treated with comprehensive orthodontics. Methods: The sample consisted of 50 adolescents (mean age 13.8 ± 1.2 years) who had started and completed orthodontic treatment at the CWRU Dept. of Orthodontics. Oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal volumes were measured on each patient using reconstructed data from cone beam computed tomography images taken at initial and final records. Changes in airway volume and rate of airway volume changes were calculated. Results: The oropharynx and nasopharynx increased significantly in volume by 30 and 32%, respectively. The upper airway of males was larger and increased more than those of females, however, to statistically insignificant levels. No difference was found in airway change for the following variables: gender, age, duration of treatment, and treatment with or without an expander. Conclusions: The oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal airways show significant variation and growth. When assessing the airway or the impact of appliances or treatment options on the airway, a control group must be used in order to avoid a false positive result.
(Rev Esp Ortod. 2016;46(1):007-016)