Background and objectives: Dental crowding is more pronounced in the mandible than in the maxilla. When exceeding a significant amount, the creation of new space is required. The mandibular expansion devices prove to be useful even if the increase in the lower arch perimeter seems to be just ascribed to the vestibular inclination of teeth. The aim of the study was to compare two activation protocols of the Schwartz appliance in terms of effectiveness, particularly with regard to how quickly crowding is solved and how smaller is the increasing of vestibular inclination of the mandibular molars. Materials and Methods: We compared two groups of patients treated with different activation's protocols of the lower Schwartz appliance (Group 1 protocol consisted in turning the expansion screw half a turn twice every two weeks and replacing the device every four months; Group 2 was treated by using the classic activation protocol-1/4 turn every week, never replacing the device). The measurements of parameters such as intercanine distance (IC), interpremolar distance (IPM), intermolar distance (IM), arch perimeter(AP), curve of Wilson (COW), and crowding (CR) were made on dental casts at the beginning and at the end of the treatment. Results: A significant difference between protocol groups was observed in the variation of COWL between time 0 and time 1 with protocol 1 with protocol 1 subjects showing a smaller increase in the parameter than protocol 2 subjects. The same trend was observed also for COWR, but the difference between protocol groups was slightly smaller and the interaction protocol-by-time did not reach the statistical significance. Finally, treatment duration in protocol 1 was significantly lower than in protocol 2. Conclusion: The results of our study suggest that the new activation protocol would seem more effective as it allows to achieve the objective of the therapy more quickly, and likely leading to greater bodily expansion.
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