Many people with an overbite get into mewing, thinking it will help. However, mewing is not a magical fix-it button for every type of dental issue.
Mewing won’t fix your overbite. Mewing pushes forward on the maxilla which could make an overbite worse. A very small number of people have reported that their overbite improved, but many others have reported that their overbite got worse.
What Causes an Overbite?
An overbite occurs when the front teeth stick out in front of the lower teeth too much.
There are multiple causes for an overbite, which can be dental or skeletal. If your lower teeth sit too far back, your top teeth can sit too forward. The same goes with your jaw – if your upper jaw sits too forward, your lower jaw can sit too far back.
But a slight overbite is normal:
As long as the upper frontal incisors do not cover more than roughly half of the lower frontal incisors, you do not have an overbite.
How to Mew When You Have an Overbite
You can still mew with an overbite. Close your mouth with your teeth gently touching – there should not be too much force. Make sure your lips are closed. It will help discourage you from breathing through your mouth.
Flatten out your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Make sure your whole tongue is flat on the roof and not just the tip. Press upwards on your palate:
The main key to mewing with an overbite is to focus more on upwards force instead of forward force, which could make any skeletal issues causing the overbite worse. Alternatively, you could fix your overbite surgically or orthodontically and mew as normal.
If I had an overbite, I would aim to solve any dental/skeletal issues first so that I could mew normally. See an orthodontist and have him fix any bite/skeletal issues that you have. Otherwise, you’ll always run the risk of mewing, making your overbite worse and your facial aesthetics and health declining with age.
To get an in-depth explanation of mewing and learn how to do it properly, click here to see our guide. While it may be hard to do this at first when you have an overbite, you need to be conscious of it and remember to keep practicing. You will eventually get used to it, and it will become second nature.
Does Mewing Make Your Overbite Worse?
While many people say that mewing improves their overbite, some people state that their overbite has worsened. The maxilla or upper jaw expands when you mew, so some people may get a more pronounced overbite.
It is important to note that you should not use too much pressure when you flatten your tongue. Your upper jaw can jut forward from too much pressure, which can worsen your overbite. However, if you mew normally, it’s possible that your mandible might have time to catch up.
The masseters and hyoid muscles are antagonists to the tongue, and some of the force from mewing also gets transferred to the mandible. My guess is that for the mewers that fixed their overbite with mewing, they achieved a counterclockwise rotation of the mandible due to slow, persistent mewing. However, the users that made their overbite worse were probably too successful in pushing their maxilla forward.
Remember that you should apply pressure evenly, too. If you exert too much pressure on the first third of the palate, it can push your upper jaw forward from uneven pressure. You need to gently apply pressure on your palate and focus on pushing upward and not forward. You also need to remember to rest your whole tongue on the roof of your mouth. It will help make sure that the roof of your mouth consistently expands. Plus, it will keep you from pushing your upper jaw forward.
If you have an obvious problem with your mandible or lower jaw, then mewing may not be the right option for you. Since you are applying pressure on the roof of your mouth, you cannot count on mewing to improve your lower jaw problems.
Is It a Good Idea to Mew When You Have an Overbite?
Mewing may seem scary since there are some stories of people’s overbites getting worse. However, the fact remains that mewing is just a normal healthy tongue posture. Millions of people mew, whether consciously or subconsciously, and don’t develop overbites. If you think your case is special, see a doctor that can correct your overbite.
Just make sure that your doctor fixes your overbite by moving your lower jaw forward, instead of your upper jaw backward. Otherwise, you will have less space in your mouth and will be more prone to conditions like sleep apnea, where the tongue slips back in the mouth because it doesn’t have enough room. On top of that, it will make your face less forward grown and won’t help your facial aesthetics at all.
If you got an overbite because of facial downswing, mewing could improve your overbite. The best time to try it is when you are young. It can also be more effective when you are doing it with your dental treatment.
Mewing lets your maxilla expand, but it does not pull it back to correct your overbite. So if you got an overbite because of your face’s natural structure, it most likely won’t work, or it may take years to see small improvements. If you have a retrognathic mandible and it just isn’t long enough, mewing can’t help you.
Although rare, some people stated that their lower jaw slightly moved forward when they tried mewing. This helped reduce the appearance of their overbites.
Mewing has numerous other benefits. For instance, mewing encourages you to breathe from your nose instead of your mouth. People who breathe from their mouths have a higher chance of developing sleep apnea and have more agitated nights of sleep (Raskin et al., 2000). When you breathe from your nose, it can decrease snoring. It can also improve oxygen saturation during sleep apnea (Petruson et al., 1994). Nasal breathing could also help you increase your energy levels. That is because nasal breathing increases circulation, carbon dioxide, and blood oxygen levels (Swift et al., 1988).
Fixing Your Overbite With Mandibular Advancement Devices
If you have an overbite because of your lower jaw, you can use a mandibular advancement device. A mandibular advancement device, or MAD for short, pushes the lower jaw forward. As it pushes the lower jaw forward, it also changes your tongue and jaw’s position. You may feel some discomfort when you initially use it. However, people state that the discomfort is temporary.
Mewing and mandibular advancement devices do not usually work well together. The device pushes back on your upper jaw as it pushes the lower jaw forward. When you sleep, the device can overpower your tongue as your muscles relax. However, this might just be the thing you need to fix an overbite.
According to Pliska et al. (2014), MADs are successful in treating overbites.
Overbite and mandibular intermolar distance were observed to decrease less with time, while overjet, mandibular intercanine distance, and lower arch crowding all decreased continuously at a constant rate.
The downside is that, again, you should be pulling the lower jaw forward to fix an overbite, not pulling the upper jaw backward. Doing so gives you even less space in your mouth. However, the possible trade-off in fixing an overbite might potentially be worth it, especially if surgery is not an option for you.
Many people who have sleep apnea use MADs to improve their sleep and health. People can also use MADs to enhance their facial structure by minimizing their overbite.
You can buy certain MADs over the counter. However, you can only wear these while you sleep. While these MADs can help you with sleep apnea, they might not be good enough to correct your overbite.
You can get a custom or semi-custom mandibular advancement device. A trained orthodontist or dentist will be the one to make your custom MAD. You can only get a custom one if a physician says you need one.
You need to take a mold of your mouth and send the mold to a lab. The people at the lab will create a device for you based on the mold’s measurements. If it does not fit, you can return the mold so they can alter it.
You can also get a MAD that you boil then bite, in order to make a mold. You can easily find these in drugstores or online. However, you cannot remold most boil and bite mandibular advancement devices more than once. So you might need a new one if the mold did not fit properly.
You can learn more about mandibular advancement devices by clicking here.
Mandibular Advancement Surgery
Some people may get mandibular advancement surgery to correct their overbite. It is usually referred to older patients since they may have little to no jaw growth compared to younger patients.
It is a facial skeletal surgery that makes your jaw go forward. By doing so, it expands the airways and can diminish the appearance of an overbite.
Mandibular advancement surgery can do more than correct your overbite. It is an effective way to treat obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. It can also help minimize excessive breakdown and wear of the teeth, relieve pain, making it easier to chew and swallow, correct speech problems, etc.
Mewing could help improve your appearance if you have an overbite. However, it may only work if your overbite was caused by facial recession.
If you have an excessive overbite, you might be better off actually visiting your dentist or orthodontist for a check-up. They can figure out what caused your excessive overbite and decide the best way to correct it. But again, make sure they move the mandible forwards, instead of moving the maxilla backward. Facial forward growth is the goal for optimal facial form and function.