An excellent way to help enhance your facial appearance, get health benefits like decreased snoring, and potentially help dental issues like teeth crowding is to split and expand your midpalatal suture.
Splitting the midpalatal suture is extremely difficult and requires the aid of orthodontic devices or surgical intervention. The maxillary skeletal expander (MSE) can effectively split the suture. There are anecdotal reports of mewing splitting the suture, but no verified cases.
What Is the Midpalatal Suture?
The midpalatal suture is a spot in the center of your palate on the roof of your mouth. It is where the two halves of your maxilla connect.
When you split the midpalatal suture, you pull the two halves of the maxilla apart. A new bone will eventually form at that suture, helping you keep your newly-expanded palate size.
An expanded palate can benefit many people. For instance, if you suffer from teeth crowding, it can help create more space in your mouth.
An expanded palate could help you with some sinus issues. Your airway expands as well since the roof of your mouth is the base of your nasal cavity. This will make it easier for you to breathe. It could also help you focus on nasal breathing instead of mouth breathing.
Palatal expansion could also help decrease snoring and treat sleep apnea. Studies show that palatal expansion can help children with obstructive sleep apnea (Galeotti et al., 2016). But the older you get, you will get less breathing benefits because all that’s moved is your teeth.
The palate is not a solid piece of bone until it has completely fused. When you’re young, your suture won’t split because you’re growing new bone in the suture while applying force to the palate. When you’re older, the suture can be split in half because it’s hardened but this requires a lot of force.
While mewing isn’t strong enough to split the midpalatal suture in adults, it can expand the palate by creating new bone growth at the midpalatal suture. This is how normal growth occurs: new bones are created at the sutures, and the surrounding bones warp around them. By constantly pressing on the roof of your mouth, you exert force on the suture, and in children, this might even be enough actually to split the suture.
Regardless, mewing is an excellent way to help expand your palate naturally. When you mew, you correct your tongue posture, which means you put your tongue on the hard palate.
It would be best if you placed gentle and consistent pressure on your palate with your tongue to mew correctly. The pressure helps encourage your palate to expand slowly while your midface goes up and forward.
To learn how to mew to help expand your palate and get other benefits, see our mewing guide.
Most people can quickly expand their palate with mewing. Typically children and young adolescents see the fastest results because their midpalatal suture did not fuse yet.
Adults can also expand their palate with mewing. However, you should know that it may take adults a few years to expand their palate significantly. Some people state they expanded their palate after 3-6 months, but it varies from person to person.
Some people such as here, here and here, claim that their suture has been split with mewing. Obviously, you can’t tell from the outside whether your bone has split, and so these cases are unverified. There is normally a line on the upper palate, but these users claim that theirs is brand new. However, this is unlikely given the amount of force that would be needed.
Occasionally, people want to expand their palate to help them mew easily. If your palate is too narrow, it can be difficult to lay your tongue flat on your palate without touching your teeth.
However, you can adjust your tongue to help it fit in your palate. If you think about “thickening” it, it can help your tongue rest on your palate better. With consistent mewing using this tip, you can eventually expand your palate to mew easily. However, it will be an uphill battle and take many years, at which point you should look into medical intervention instead.
It may not be possible to mew at all if you have a very narrow palate. That is where palate expanders come in if you need a more efficient way to split your midpalatal suture.
If you want a quicker way to split your midline suture, you could talk to an orthodontist. They can offer you a palate expander. Palate expanders are devices that you wear to separate your two maxilla halves to split the midline suture. You often get a key to slightly turn the palate expander once a day until you reach your desired palatal size.
While it sounds painful, it usually does not hurt most people. It feels uncomfortable for the first week or so. However, most people quickly get accustomed to the feeling. Some people may find it difficult because of tongue obstruction from the device. Additionally, people may notice that their speech is different, but it returns to normal after a few days.
Palate expanders are most effective for children and young adolescents. However, there are different kinds of palatal expanders, meaning there are suitable ones for adults.
In children, palate expanders can split the suture evenly. In teenagers, palate expanders will not expand the palate’s back as much as the front because the palate has fused to a higher degree. In adults, palate expanders might not split the suture and will only move teeth because the midpalatal suture has fully fused.
This is important because if you’re after the breathing benefits that comes from palatal expansion, regular palatal expansion just won’t do it. You need a palatal expander that will actually split bone such as the MSE (maxillary skeletal expander).
Types of Palate Expanders
Slow Palatal Expanders
This kind works much like a rapid palatal expander (as explained below). Of course, the main difference is that this will take longer.
Most people choose slow palatal expanders because they experience less discomfort. While it may take longer to see results, it may be preferable not to deal with the discomfort.
Rapid Palatal Expanders (RPE)
RPE is a common type of expander that ly used for children and adolescents. It got the name rapid palatal expander because people usually wear it for 3-6 months.
Removable Palatal Expanders
If you only need to expand your maxilla slightly, then you may get a removable palatal expander. It works similarly to other expanders; you need to ask your orthodontist how often you should wear it.
Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expanders
If you are an adult, your midpalatal suture fused because you probably have a fully developed jaw. Therefore, you will need a surgeon to split your suture and put in a palate expander afterward.
Mature adolescents may need to get an implant-supported expander. Their jaws are nearly fully developed. Therefore, they will need something stronger to split their midpalatal suture.
Most expanders apply force to the teeth. As for implant-supported expanders, you will have four mini-implants that apply force to your maxillary bone, not your teeth.
How Long Will I Wear a Palatal Expander?
It depends on your case and what expander you get. For most expanders, you will wear them for a while, even after you’ve reached your desired expansion. It will help you keep your new maxilla size.
For instance, you may only wear a rapid palatal expander to expand your palate for 3-6 weeks. However, your orthodontist may leave it in your mouth for another 5-6 months. That gives your body enough time to let new bone mature between the two halves.
Therefore, you should never remove the expander too early. If you remove it before your orthodontist says you should, you could relapse. The new bone will fail to mature, and your maxilla will return to its original size.