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The strange new practice we call mewing seems solid in principle, but can you mew with braces or a retainer?
In short, the answer is yes: you can mew with braces or a retainer. Of course, this depends on the type of appliance you have. In any case, you can definitely start mewing once you get your braces removed.
Mewing and Braces
Let’s start by tackling the topic of mewing and braces. There are a few different types of braces, so it’s important to know which type you have before we dive into this discussion. These are the three most common types of braces:
- Metal braces. These are the most common type of braces: they’re what you think of when someone says “braces.” These braces consist of two wires — one for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth — which are bracketed on to each individual tooth.
- Invisalign. These braces are clear, plastic aligners which you can take off yourself at any time. They typically come in a set of twenty to thirty aligners, and you replace them roughly every two weeks. They’re hard to see, which makes them so popular.
- Lingual braces. These braces are just like metal braces, but they are placed on the inner side of the teeth.
If you have metal braces or Invisalign braces, you should be able to mew without any trouble at all. This is because neither metal braces nor Invisalign get in the way when trying to hold your tongue up to the palate.
If you have lingual braces, mewing might be a bit more difficult. This is because the braces will indeed get in the way of holding your tongue up to the palate.
In any case, the best thing you can do — whatever type of braces you have — is to try it out for yourself. Simply lift your tongue up against the palate, and see whether your braces interfere. For more details on how to get started with mewing, read our complete guide.
If you are able to press your tongue up against the palate without any trouble, then congratulations! You should be able to mew without any trouble. If you aren’t able to press your tongue up against the palate, because your braces interfere, then you might struggle with mewing. If in doubt, consult your dentist.
Does It Work?
We’ve established that you can practice mewing with most types of braces, but does it actually work?
As you’d expect there’s been very little research on the effectiveness of mewing with braces. However, I can’t see any reason why braces would affect your mewing progress, as long as they don’t impede your ability to assume the correct tongue position.
Mewing and Retainers
Retainers are a bit easier to manage with mewing than braces. Unlike braces, retainers are usually only worn at night. This means that you can still mew properly throughout the day and not have to worry about your retainer interfering.
Many of the benefits of mewing come from swallowing correctly, during which your tongue presses onto your palate. This allows the palate to expand over time. Because the retainer is not in place during the day, you don’t have to worry about it obstructing your mewing technique.
But what about at night? Depending on the type of your retainer, you may or may not be able to mew properly while wearing your retainer. Again, my advice would be to try it out: lift your tongue up against the palate, and see whether your retainer interferes. If not, you are good to go!
Regardless of whether you can or can’t mew with your retainer, you should definitely wear it. After all, your dentist/orthodontist gave you a retainer for a reason: to prevent your teeth from shifting apart.
Preventing Teeth Crowding
Many of us who practice mewing might be doing so to expand our palate. If our palates are too small, this can lead to teeth crowding and a whole host of dental complications. Retainers are intended to firmly keep your teeth in place when they shift the most: at night.
Because of this, flexible retainers at night can be an important complement to mewing correctly.
- By mewing during the day, you are expanding your palate. This is also the time you are most active, which means you will feel the pressure of tongue against the roof of your mouth everytime you swallow.
- By wearing a retainer at night, you are preventing your teeth from shifting. This means that teeth crowding due to your small palate will be controlled.
In fact, it can be said that mewing and a correctly-fitted retainer can complement each other.
So, if you’re wearing retainers at night, you have nothing to worry about: you should still be able to mew effectively.
Mewing after Braces
You might also be wondering about the effectiveness of mewing after your braces are removed. As far as I can see, there’s no reason you can’t practice mewing and see great results after having had braces.
The only question is your age. As we explain in our post Does Mewing Work after Puberty?, there’s no doubt that the effectiveness of mewing decreases with time, as your bones harden and sutures set. As a result, some mewing proponents believe that mewing is more important than getting braces at a young age.
Their reasoning is that teeth can be corrected at any time whereas the effectiveness of proper tongue posture decreases with age.
However, you should probably go with what your orthodontist says instead of asking for medical advice on the internet. Ask him or her if your palate is too small; also ask them about your tongue posture. See how they evaluate your circumstances.
All being said, mewing may not be as effective after getting your braces removed, but you should still be able to see some results. This all depends on when you have your braces removed, though. If you are still a teenager, you can still experience significant success while mewing. If you’re an adult: less so, but you should still try.