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Mewing with retainer - complicated case

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Posts: 2
Topic starter

Hi there

I first came across mewing/orthotropics/etc a couple of years ago and realised my breathing, mouth posture and everything was completely out of whack and began myofunctional therapy, which I did for around nine months and now continue the exercises myself. It’s quite slow going because I have chronic illness which limits my energy a lot and means I’m very sensitive to any changes in my body so even after two years I’m only just getting to the point where I can hold my tongue up - also things were so terrible to start with that I’ve had a lot of work to do!

As a child I had a massive overbite and narrow palate which I had a retainer to correct but they didn’t expand my palate very wide for some reason. The orthodontist at the time told me I would have to wear a retainer a few nights a week for the rest of my life. It’s a clear essix retainer. I now only wear it for a few hours every other day and don’t really notice much movement in my teeth in between wearing.

However, I put the top one in today and it’s much more uncomfortable than usual. I feel like the work I’ve done on my tongue posture which I finally managed to keep up more the past few days has slightly move my teeth/expanded my palate and now the retainer is moving it back again. 

I’m not really sure what to do going forward. I want to continue working on my tongue posture but don’t want my teeth to be moved back and forth every couple of days. My muscles aren’t strong enough to keep correct posture all the time so I don’t think I should stop wearing my retainer yet. I’ve also read somewhere about when mewing with retainers you keep the tongue up with upward force only and not pressing against the teeth but because my palate is still quite narrow I don’t really have the space to do that. 

All of this is extra complicated as I am not physically strong enough to go and see an orthodontist/dentist for advice (I have to spend a lot of the day in bed) and my myofunctional therapist who I worked with online said she couldn’t give advice about retainers. I also don’t think I am strong enough to do palatal expansion or any intensive orthodontic work because of the stress it would put on my body.

I don’t really care too much about the aesthetics aspect I just want my jaw/face/breathing to work as they should - I think this could have a benefit on my overall health. I also have a tongue tie and lip tie and deviated septum so it does feel like my body is working against me a bit here 🙄

Any thoughts or advice would be hugely appreciated!! Or if you know someone who has experience with this let me know. 



(also am 28 and based in London, UK, not sure if that is relevant)

P.s due to limited energy I may not be able to reply individually but thank you in advance for all help 😊

Posted : 28/08/2022 10:04 am
Posts: 1739

I suspect if you haven't mastered good tongue posture, especially with a tongue tie restricting it, then abandoning use of your retainer is more likely to result in narrowing of your palate rather than allowing for expansion. Do you believe airway/sleep issues are part of the root cause of your overall health problems? If so, despite the burden, it might be worth pursuing more rigorous interventions like maxillary skeletal expansion, functional frenectomy, and/or septoplasty, depending where your airway is getting obstructed. Maybe a different myofunctional therapist could be a better resource to help coordinate your care options. I've wondered if a flexible splint activator that encourages correct tongue posture could be a good stepping stone away from using retainers. I'm not sure if it is any easier to find practitioners using splint activators in the UK than it is in the US. They seem to be more mainstream in Europe. 

Posted : 28/08/2022 12:56 pm
Posts: 2
Topic starter

@apollo Thank you for your help. That’s what I suspected about abandoning use of my retainer. Since posting my original message I’ve also been reading up on correct tongue posture (again) and realised that I’ve actually had the tip in the wrong place and I’m still really struggling to get the full tongue up so definitely too soon to stop retainer. It feels so hard to get it in the correct place!


It’s hard to know for sure if airway/ sleep issues are Part of the root cause of my overall health problems but I imagine they’re not helping things and I do feel like it’s difficult for me to breathe especially at night. I think I could benefit from palatal expansion, functional frenectomy and septoplasty to some degree but I just have no idea how my body would react to them. I wish there was somebody who’s been in a similar situation to me or an airway specialist who has experience working with people affected my debilitating chronic health issues. I don’t suppose you know anyone? Haha.


I didn’t know myofunctional therapists could coordinate care in that way so do they then refer on to orthodontists and ENTs etc? If so do you know anyone particularly good at coordinating care? You seem very knowledgeable!


Is a flexible splint activator like a myobrace? Not even sure my tongue/face muscles would be strong enough for that yet 😬 but worth baring in mind for future 



Posted : 30/08/2022 8:03 am
Posts: 1739
Posted by: @sarah  

I didn’t know myofunctional therapists could coordinate care in that way so do they then refer on to orthodontists and ENTs etc? If so do you know anyone particularly good at coordinating care? You seem very knowledgeable! 

Is a flexible splint activator like a myobrace? Not even sure my tongue/face muscles would be strong enough for that yet 😬 but worth baring in mind for future 

Hey Sarah,

I attribute my energy/fatigue struggles predominately to airway and sleep quality. These have improved but not resolved through MSE, functional frenectomy, and other treatments. You'd need someone in your area to help assemble your team. I had to travel to get my orthodontic treatment, so I couldn't use their established caregiver network. I found a Doctor of Osteopathy who does cranial work in my area. She referred me to my myofunctional therapist who then referred me for my frenectomy and ENT. We decided that a septoplasty isn't necessary for my deviated septum at this time. Myobrace is a type of splint activator, but I don't like their design and size limitations. None of them work miracles, but if you find a pliable one that fits well with a good tongue tab to promote posture it can rather passively prevent mouth breathing during sleep, help harmonize the shape of your dental arches, and might help prevent narrowing if you phased out your retainer.

Good luck!

Posted : 30/08/2022 2:24 pm
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