Mewing, while having to fix specific dental issues, might be challenging. However, there are plenty of retainers or aligners available to help you out. Invisalign is an excellent choice for straightening teeth, and a breeze to use with mewing.
It might take a few days to get comfortable mewing while using Invisalign. However, compared to other dental accessories, Invisalign is straightforward to mew with. It only covers the teeth and does not get in the way of proper tongue posture.
What Is Invisalign and How Does It Work?
Invisalign is a dental aligner designed to correct misaligned teeth. Adults usually prefer to use Invisalign because it’s not as much of an eyesore as braces and retainers. The simplest Invisalign aligner will be a completely clear aligner that you can put on your teeth effortlessly.
Anyone who thinks they can be a candidate for Invisalign needs to visit a dentist that’s licensed to prescribe Invisalign. The dentist will then see if Invisalign treatment is right for you. The dentist will process teeth impressions and do a digital evaluation, which he will use to gauge future changes to the aligners.
While wearing Invisalign aligners, the person will need to wear a different set for one to two weeks; this will depend on the evaluation done by the dentist. You should schedule a visit to the dentist every 6-8 weeks so he can examine the progress.
Starting to wear a new set of aligners will bring more discomfort. Although this extra pressure on the teeth will only last for a few days, you will eventually get comfortable wearing it as time goes by. Most dentists will require patients to wear Invisalign for 20-22 hours per day. The only time you can take them off is while you’re eating and when you need to clean them.
Invisalign works because it enhances the natural forces in your mouth. It redirects the tension created by your mouth then gently controls it to correctly position the teeth steadily. The force created by the Invisalign aligner affects the bone and cementum, thus making new bone growth. The bones will move slightly with each new set of aligners.
Your orthodontist may suggest using Invisalign aligners for 12-18 months, but you will start seeing results in just a few weeks.
The risk of teeth returning to their original position (relapse) after treatment is possible. So adherence to the protocol and wearing a retainer after treatment is critical.
How Do You Mew With Invisalign?
It may seem like a wonder how some people with Invisalign practice mewing. But the thing is, Invisalign is probably the most effective dental accessory that you can use with mewing.
Since Invisalign is custom-made to fit your teeth perfectly and encourage movement, it doesn’t need to expand to the roof of your mouth. The Invisalign aligners encourage proper tongue posture.
Take a look at the photo below and notice how the clear aligners (right) and Hawley retainers (left) differ. The aligners snuggly fit on just your teeth, while the retainer takes up space on the roof of your mouth.
If you try mewing with the retainers, you are only putting more pressure on your teeth and not directly on the maxilla. Mewing like that defeats the purpose for many people, as they won’t get forward growth and counterclockwise facial rotation.
However, there are plenty of retainers with which mewing is still possible. It’s all discussed here. You can use your tongue so as not to apply pressure on the teeth while wearing the retainers.
Mewing with Invisalign is simple; you just mew normally. The key is to position the tongue as close to the teeth as possible without touching the Invisalign tray. An advantage of wearing Invisalign while mewing is that you can tell immediately if your tongue is pushing on your teeth.
You can also try applying an orthodontic gel to the Invisalign; this will serve as a warning that your tongue is to close to your teeth, and it will give your tongue time to toughen up. Some orthodontic gel comes in minty flavors, which will be easy to notice as the Invisalign tray touches your tongue.
For more info on proper mewing technique, visit our Ultimate Mewing Guide.
You should avoid hard mewing with Invisalign and only apply as much force as you need to ensure that your whole tongue is gently touching the roof of your mouth, especially the back third.
Mewing harder puts more force on the dental arches and would typically lead to palatal expansion. However, the Invisalign device itself should be doing the work of the palatal expansion, and you don’t want to interfere with it.
The suction hold, when done correctly, should not interfere with mewing. However, if you create an intra-oral vacuum in your whole mouth, then you’ll have problems, such as your upper lip getting sucked up into the Invisalign trays.
The suction hold, when done correctly, only creates a vacuum between your tongue and the roof of your mouth. The trays should not interfere with your tongue.
Lack of Tongue Space
If you don’t have enough tongue space to mew properly with Invisalign, then you need to think about whether your treatment will leave you with enough tongue space to mew properly even after finishing your Invisalign treatment. If not, look into other methods of palatal expansion.
While Invisalign can be used to expand your palate, it can only do so much. If you find it hard to avoid touching your teeth with your tongue, try to squish up your tongue and alter your mewing technique so that at least mew for a few hours every day.
If your tongue is always touching your teeth, and Invisalign isn’t going to give you enough palatal expansion, look into other options for palatal expansion like rapid palatal expansion, surgically assisted palatal expansion, and MSE. Having enough tongue space to mew is extremely important.
Is Invisalign Bad for Facial Development?
There is no evidence or reason that Invisalign would be bad for facial development or mess up your facial aesthetics. By straightening the teeth, you improve occlusal contact between the teeth and also fix any aesthetic issues. Invisalign is only a net positive for your facial development.
Braces and extractions are a different story because they leave less room in the jaw. As a result, parts of your alveolar bone will resorb, leading to a smaller jaw. Also, since you have fewer teeth now, there will be less occlusal contact and less force applied to your maxilla at rest.
Invisalign however, can’t be used after extractions because it’s not as powerful as braces.
Does Invisalign Stop Mewing Gains?
Invisalign does not interfere with mewing results. Invisalign locks your teeth in place, which prevents palatal expansion from the tongue. However, Invisalign can be programmed to expand your palate as well. You still get all the benefits of mewing, such as forward growth, counterclockwise facial rotation, improved nasal breathing, etc.
Palatal expansion is not the only goal of mewing. People think that just because Invisalign and braces lock the teeth in place, that this is somehow going to stop all your gains. Not only does mewing do way more than palatal expansion, but working on your oral posture will also help prevent relapse after your Invisalign treatment is over.
Mewing After Invisalign
You will be given retainers for Invisalign and told how long to wear them per the instructions of your doctor.
Mewing with retainers will be different than with Invisalign because you’ll only have the retainers in for part of the day instead of the whole day. You want to push upwards only and be extra careful that you don’t “wiggle” the teeth by switching between mewing and your retainers constantly.
Push upwards only on the dental arch, and not to the side:
For more info on mewing with retainers, check out our article on the subject.
Crooked Teeth & Malocclusions
Invisalign has its limitations, and it’s not a one-stop-shop for all dental problems. But there still are a handful of dental issues that Invisalign, paired with good mewing technique, can help resolve.
Invisalign is nothing like regular braces; it uses technology that predicts how your teeth will move. Your doctor will have you change the aligners every 1 to 2 weeks. Each of the aligners will cause a very slight change to the teeth, so the process needs to continue to ensure that all the teeth that need fixing have moved.
Crooked teeth are common for children, especially those who breathe through their mouths and those introduced to supplemental feeding (Kohn,1936). Crowded teeth may be a result of genetics, lack of mouth space, and a size mismatch between the upper and lower mandible (Harrison et al., 2002). Also, keep in mind that people may have crooked teeth because of habits that started early on in childhood, such as thumb-sucking or mouthbreathing.
Invisalign aims to straighten your teeth, and using Invisalign along with mewing will help you achieve that. Mewing sets you up for good oral posture after your teeth come out so that your teeth don’t relapse back to their original crooked positions.
Whatever bite problems you have, Invisalign and mewing are one of the best tools to combat them. Bite problems can have adverse effects not just on your facial shape but also on how your mouth functions. See our Looks Theory episode for the impact of malocclusions on facial aesthetics:
For example, it’s quite common for people who have bite problems, especially with overbite where the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth, to have a sagging face.
With the help of Invisalign, your teeth will gradually reposition so you can use your mouth and teeth correctly. Mewing will come into play by moving your maxilla forward and helping along with any palatal expansion that Invisalign creates. Your teeth will not only have more room to grow, but it will also help your face swing upwards.
However, you should keep in mind that depending on how crowded the teeth are, this might need more than just Invisalign and mewing. Braces work better than Invisalign, and when the cause of your bite problems is skeletal, you’ll need actual surgery. But for mild cases, you will have great results with just Invisalign.