If you try to mew, you might have a few questions about the way it should feel. You may wonder if you’re even doing it right if it hurts.
Mewing should not hurt, especially if you are doing it correctly. If you feel pain when you mew, then you have to question your technique and correct it. You might be clenching, have a narrow palate, or you might be pressing too hard.
Do’s and Don’ts for Pain-Free Mewing
Mewing feels tiring, especially for the first few weeks, but it should not feel painful. You are changing your tongue, jaw, and mouth position, so you may feel tired because it is an unfamiliar position.
However, you need to rethink how you mew if you feel pain whenever you try to mew. For instance, if your tongue juts into your teeth, then your tongue will eventually hurt.
That’s how you know you’re mewing wrong because your tongue should rest on your palate without touching your teeth. Therefore, you can correct your technique by repositioning your tongue, so your tongue lays flat on your palate while not touching your teeth.
Stop Hard Mewing
Your tongue may feel fatigued if you mew too hard. If you use too much pressure on your palate, it can make your tongue feel painful.
The goal of mewing is to put a consistent and gentle upward force on your palate. You do not need to press your tongue on your palate too hard.
You will see good results from gentle, constant pressure on your palate. For instance, mewing four times a day for 20 minutes using gentle pressure is better than mewing two times a day for 15 minutes with excessive pressure. But ideally, you want to be mewing 24/7.
Get Used to Using New Muscles
Sometimes the pain that you feel when you mew may not be because you did something wrong. If you are very new to mewing, then your muscles might be shocked.
Most people do not use these muscles very often, or at all. So they may feel muscle fatigue when they try to mew. If there is nothing wrong with your technique, then maybe the pain is just muscular. Give it a few weeks – you might notice that it hurts less the more you mew.
Stop Clenching Your Teeth
You may feel pain because of the pressure from your teeth. If you clench your teeth, it can cause jaw pain, headaches, etc. When you mew, you should not clench your teeth.
You want to keep your teeth very lightly touching each other. They should be close, but you should never put too much pressure on them. It would be best to only focus on putting upward pressure on your palate and not your teeth.
Flatten Your Tongue Out Completely
Your tongue might also not be completely flat on your palate. You want to make your tongue as flat as you can – try not to curve it.
You can think about “thickening” your tongue to help make it flat as possible. While you cannot get your tongue fully flat since the palate has a natural arch, it can help you rest your tongue as flat as possible on your palate.
You Might Have a Narrow Palate
Some people may struggle to keep their tongue flat or put their tongue on their palate. Usually, that is because they have a narrow palate.
If you have a narrow palate, you might find it painful or difficult to mew. There is not enough room on your palate for your tongue, which could lead to pain.
How to Expand Your Palate
Mewing naturally expands your palate. However, it can be hard or nearly impossible to mew if your palate is too narrow. If your palate is too small, you cannot rest your tongue on your palate without feeling discomfort or pain.
You can get orthodontic devices to help expand your palate to help you effectively mew. Expanding your palate can help you with other problems, such as fixing crossbite and opening up your airway (Agarwal et al., 2010).
Most braces keep your palate from expanding, but Damon braces can help you widen your palate. However, they may not give you the same results as other palatal expanders. You also need to consult an orthodontist or dentist to see if Damon braces are suitable for you.
Maxillary Skeletal Expander
A Maxillary Skeletal Expander or MSE for short can significantly expand your maxilla and facial bones, helping you rest your tongue comfortably on your palate. The device will only expand your palate and positively impact your respiratory functions (Garcez et al., 2019).
It can also help you if you want to stop mouth breathing. While mewing can help you stop mouth breathing, it may not be possible for now since you have a narrow palate. The MSE device splits your maxilla to expand it, which also widens your airway to encourage nasal breathing.
Additionally, MSE can help expand your cheekbones. As the MSE splits your maxilla, the cheekbones will also widen.
Rapid Maxillary Expander
RPE or rapid maxillary expander can correct crossbites, crowding, and narrow palates. The device gets fitted over several back teeth on your maxilla, and there is a screw in the center.
You need to activate RPE for it to work. You slightly turn the screw daily using a key. It will create tension between your two palatal bones.
When you use an RPE, the goal is to move teeth within the bone, expand your dental arch, and widen your maxilla. Most RPE treatment takes around 3-6 months.
You might need an implant-supported expander if you are 17-21 years old because your jaw is nearly done developing, so you need more substantial forces. It focuses on putting pressure on your maxillary bone and not your teeth.
Removable Palatal Expansion
If you need minor jaw widening, then you might be able to get a removable palatal expander. These look like acrylic retainers, but the removable palatal expander is chrome.
Surgically Assisted Palatal Expansion
You usually have a fully developed jaw once you finish puberty. Changing bones as an adult is very hard. So you need to get a surgically assisted palatal expansion. However, this also depends on your case since some people do not have fully developed jaws until they are 25 years old.
To insert the expander, a dentist or orthodontist surgically inserts the expander into your mid-palatal bone.
Can I Mew After Expanding My Palate?
Yes, you can mew after you expand your palate using an orthodontic device. While you achieved palatal expansion already from any of the appliances above, it is always good to practice proper tongue posture, the right swallowing technique, etc.