Recently got your braces out but now unsure if you can practice mewing with retainers?
Just like mewing is beneficial to your face and jaw, retainers help keep the teeth in place. However, when paired together, things can get a little tricky.
Here is your complete guide to give you an in-depth understanding of mewing with various kinds of retainers and tips on how you can continue the practice, hassle-free.
Keep reading to understand the dynamic between mewing and retainers which will answer all your doubts concerning the subject.
What is Mewing?
Mewing is when you flatten your tongue on the roof of your mouth and make that the tongue’s natural resting spot which will eventually help you with misaligned teeth and create definition in your jaw.
The process of mewing does take a lot of practice to master since your tongue is not used to this. However, over time, it becomes second nature and you will be subconsciously mewing all day if done right.
This DIY technique was introduced by Dr. Mew, who used the power of social media to spread the message of mewing to people worldwide.
While there have been no clinical trials conducted to test the efficiency of mewing, several testimonies have made this technique very popular and a first choice when it comes to new methods of achieving better facial aesthetics.
Mewing also has a few risks to it, which is why it is crucial to get the technique right before practicing it daily. One should be aware of the correct process or else it could lead to problems such as crooked teeth and TMJ. A few common mewing mistakes that people make:
- Breathing with an open mouth.
- Not breathing through the diaphragm.
- Grinding your teeth.
- Not placing the entire tongue on the palate.
- Inconsistency in Mewing.
Purpose of a Retainer
Once your braces have done their job of making sure your teeth are well aligned, the retainers take over to ensure that they remain that way. In a way, the retainers make sure that your teeth are truly shaped in the best position.
A retainer is made with the help of a mold of your teeth so that it fits them perfectly. After that, a device is made for you to wear so that even if your teeth take time to adapt to the new shape, they can easily fit in without having to worry about going back to their original shape.
The way it works is, for your teeth to take a new shape, a bone has to be removed from one side and then put in the new position so that it gets locked in the new area.
One should be careful while taking their retainer out since the ligaments and muscles would also want to go back to their original position and create more complications in your mouth.
Tips for Mewing with Retainers
While the retainer does its job of ensuring your teeth stay in the right position, it could be redundant to your mewing. Think of it as a swing moving back and forth.
During the day, while you’re mewing, you are essentially making your teeth move forward, to give you forward facial growth that is essential for your defined jaw. However, at night, the retainer works towards pushing your teeth back.
This is not only affecting your jaw alignment but ends up making your teeth wobbly and it is being wiggled back and forth every day. Most importantly, it makes your mewing pointless as there is no effect. Instead what you should be looking at is a new technique to mew. Here are few tips to remember while mewing with retainers.
- Make sure that you don’t push your actual teeth since the focus is on locking them in one place.
- Create an upward force by ensuring that the entire tongue is lightly pressed against the roof of your mouth instead of just the tip of the tongue to enable forward growth and facial upswing.
One thing to remember is that while practicing mewing this way, extreme caution must be observed, and if there is a discomfort of any sort, then you should quit mewing immediately.
There are many who believe that this would not help since they are under the misconception that that palatal expansion and forward growth are not the same things.
While the retainer makes sure that your palate is not getting bigger, your forward growth can continue since the teeth and facial bones are separate.
This technique helps one to achieve the benefits of mewing while receiving treatment for misaligned teeth that the retainer works towards fixing. Attention towards practicing the proper tongue posture with retainers on should not go unnoticed.
There are several kinds of retainers, those include an Essix retainer, a Hawley retainer, and a fixed retainer.
Mewing with an Essix Retainer
An Essix retainer is one of the most common types of retainers one would find in the market. Its transparent, clear plastic look is what makes it a popular choice amongst people who want to use the retainer without making it obvious.
These retainers gently align your lower and upper set of teeth so that they are firmly locked into your mouth. With good care, the Essix retainer should last you the entire length of your treatment, although they may look delicate.
Their main goal is to actually make the wearer feel less conscious after their orthodontics treatment and step out in confidence. You should follow your orthodontics advice on how long should you wear the retainer as it differs from person to person.
When it comes to mewing, these retainers are pretty solid since they only cover your teeth and not your tongue so that is free to roam around. Using these retainers, you could feel free to mew as you please and when your tongue gets too close to the front teeth, it will obstruct it giving out a warning sign for your tongue to move back.
You may also find your tongue being injured due to its constant brush with the retainer. However, by using an orthodontics gel, you can easily fix the problem.
Mewing with a Hawley Retainer
A Hawley retainer is the worst choice if you want to practice mewing. Its metal wires along with a plastic or acrylic shape that fits the roof of your mouth make it more durable but a terrible choice for mewing as it covers the mouth entirely.
The metal wires run outside the teeth so as to give it a better alignment and help the upper and lower teeth to touch naturally.
The best quality about a Hawley retainer is the solid make that helps it last for years if taken care of properly. However, they do affect one’s speech to a large extent which makes people averse to choosing this particular retainer.
Not only is the wire more obvious to the naked eye but can very well end up irritating one’s lip and cheek.
If you want to continue mewing along with having retainers, it is impossible to do so with the Hawley retainer and hence should ask your orthodontics to recommend another one.
The shape of it does help secure and lock in your teeth faster, but it isn’t worth the money you would spend on it if it does not allow you to achieve your mission of mewing.
Mewing with a Fixed Retainer
A fixed retainer is used only when 4 or 6 teeth need to be locked. This is used to avoid causing any soft tissue damage and is one of the best retainers when mewing is involved.
It takes up very little space and allows complete freedom in the back teeth. The permanent, stainless steel wire is hidden behind so that it is not even visible to people, making it an interesting choice for people.
One of the biggest disadvantages of having a fixed retainer is cleaning them out since food can easily get stuck between them creating a plague problem.
However, flossing does help with this but it is still advisable to avoid chunky or hard food that could damage or break the retainer. Compared to the fact that they remain in your mouth 24/7, it is a small price to pay.
These retainers are attached using a block of cement that solidifies their hold. Sometimes, each tooth is cemented separately and other times, only the ends of the retainer are cemented.
When it comes to mewing, having as much space in your mouth for your tongue to follow the technique properly is important.
Should I remove my retainer?
Whether or not to remove your retainer is a very important question that you should consider carefully before reaching a decision.
If your body needs time to adapt to the change then you should ideally give it that time or else it will start working against you. Once that starts, mewing will make no difference.
It is usually recommended that you keep your retainer on for a little longer than you had your braces in for. Meanwhile, you can simultaneously practice mewing so that when the retainer is out, you can eliminate any chance of a relapse.
Something to keep in mind is that prevention of relapse is only as effective as your mewing technique. The better you get at mewing, the better your chances are of avoiding a relapse.
A way that you can test your tongue posture is by taking your Essix retainer out while mewing and if you notice that the retainer is getting tighter, then it’s an indication that you are relapsing and should put the retainer back on.
A great way to avoid all this confusion altogether is to simply consult your orthodontics. Each one of us has a unique set of teeth and depending on the severity of your problem, your doctor may recommend a completely different time frame that you should follow.
Which retainer is best for mewing?
To select a retainer, you must always consult your orthodontics who will recommend one on the basis of your mouth structure. When it comes to choosing a retainer that is best suited for mewing, a fixed retainer is preferable.
By locking the front teeth so that they don’t move back and when you’re switching between mewing and retainers.
Keep in mind that if your oral posture is not developed, getting fixed retainers could actually do more harm than good so again, it is important to let your doctor in on your decision of choosing a retainer.
How to ensure my teeth don’t relapse
Relapsing is one of the problems that may occur if your body does not adapt to the changes brought about by your retainer.
The more you move your teeth, the chances of suffering a relapse increase that much more.
The best way to ensure that you don’t suffer a relapse is by practicing your mewing technique all the time.
A tip to avoid relapse is by ensuring that you wear an Essix retainer for 6 months and then continue with a fixed retainer while mewing continuously. The shape and size of both these retainers will make sure there is adequate space for your tongue to mew conveniently.
Mewing with your retainers on will only train your oral posture to remain a certain way and once the retainers are out, they are locked in place the way you wanted them to. However, it is also important to be careful as actively pressing is dangerous for your oral health.
Mewing with retainers can be a little tricky if it is the first time you are considering this technique. Rest assured, once you do get the hang of it, it becomes easier to practice it.
Some amount of caution should still be followed as mewing can go wrong and cause damage to your face as well. Knowing the right way to mew with retainers on can give you an aligned, defined jaw and a good bite.
Various testimonies prove that it is a process that has worked, however with retainers, one must be careful about the way they go about it and learn to recognize the signs of discomfort.
Q1. Is it okay to mew with retainers?
The retainers can cause a bit of trouble, if not done in the right way. It is recommended to look up the correct technique before mewing with retainers on.
Q2. Does mewing expand your palette?
Mewing can expand your palette, however, it will not expand your lower jaw.
Q3. How long should you keep retainers on?
Ideally, it is recommended to keep your retainers on for a little longer than you had on your braces. However, you should also consult your orthodontics to come to a conclusion on this.