Face Pulling VS. Tongue & Headgear?

this article assumes that you know about the face pulling technique.

While headgear such as the crane, asks for 12+ hours of use.

The face pulling technique claims it is able to make changes with only 15 min of use.

This is quite the big difference. Here’s my take on it…

My experience with face pulling was that initially it seemed to be giving me results. Like my cheekbones became a bit more visible. But after a while of doing face pulling the results stopped. This could be because…

  1. maybe face pulling works by moving the position of the maxilla slightly and you have to wait till bone to form before any more progress can be made. Perhaps I was trying to go too fast with it and my body was “resisting” the change… which is the theory by Plato. But I also took breaks and restarted again and such various times within course of 1-2 years. without much effects.
  2. back then I was not practicing strong jaw muscles and closed mouth posture, so its possible I was negating any gains I was making. for example, if my mouth was coming open at night. face pulling 15 min versus 7 hours of open mouth posture, which will win?

Face Pulling Results


Here is Plato’s result after 2 years of face pulling. It seems that there is definite changes, but he was doing NCR and palate expansion via Damon braces, so what’s causing the changes is hard to say. I showed my ortho this picture and he didn’t think the maxilla came forward since there was no change in the cheekline.

Refresh on Cheekline

dr.Mike Mew and Sphinx


It is this change in cheekline we are ultimately after. What the change in cheekline indicates is the skull actually changing shape from vertical oriented to horizontal.


Look at the difference between horizontal and vertical face above.

It is those angles that must begin to change, and my argument is that 15 min of pulling on the maxilla doesn’t seem to be making changes to those angles.

There are sutures between the skull bones and I believe people have some potential to bring the whole face forward a bit with face pulling, that is why people may notice some immediate results quickly as I believe everyone has some leeway / “potential” where with strong, short force that whole front of the face comes forward a bit. But are we really beginning to change those angles?

Or is the whole face just coming forward as a vertical oriented face?

Change in Maxilla Position vs. Change in its shape?

Also face pulling cannot possibly begin to change bone shape, remember it takes almost 12 years before a face becomes adult and even more years to get to our current face. Over those years you can imagine how having proper tongue vs. improper tongue posture could greatly affect the actual shape of the maxilla.

Again look at the above picture and notice how the shape of the maxilla itself is different.

Because the tongue was not there the maxilla failed to grow to its proper size (length and width).

Therefore we need something to begin changing the actual bone of the maxilla itself. 15 min pulling per day will not change the bone since if anything the shift in position is happening at the sutures.

But actual change in bone shape takes long term forces.

headbinding3 headbindingheadbinding

Like head binding practices shown above or braces apply long term forces to move teeth, I believe this is the same deal to ultimately begin changing the cheek line.

Horizontal Faces


An example from John Mew, above boys are siblings olden to youngest (left to right), Freddy and Addison was fed pureed food and got collapsed maxilla as they learned improper swallow and the mother also confirmed they had open mouth posture so the tongue was not on the roof. They had to go through orthotropics. But the youngest son, Michael, was not fed pureed food but fed real food as a baby. This allowed him to learn proper swallowing pattern and proper teeth together, tongue on the roof naturally which gave him natural lip seal consequently superb facial development.

The difference is dramatic. Michael has totally different head shape. His facial height is less and his face is further forwards even though he’s the youngest. Orthodontists marveled at his jaw line.

Now if we were to take the oldest son, Freddy, and made him use face pulling for 15 min a day, do you think his skull would change to that of Michael’s (youngest son)?

I’d argue that face pulling for these changes will not help.

It’s almost like we’re requiring the maxilla itself to become less long and be more horizontal instead… again changing the bone shape itself.

I can only see the muscles doing this over time.

Tongue forces

With new light wire system, Orthodontists use 30 grams of force to move teeth.

During a swallow it was calculated that the tongue can produce 500 grams of force.

A proper swallow should be done with the tongue sucking on the upper palate.

It is estimated we swallow 2500+ times per day.

Can you imagine the net forces that a proper swallowing pattern could do to the maxilla each day?

I just came back from a business trip, and you know how when the plane begins to descend for landing, the change in pressure causes a lot of pressure inside the head? for me this use to be really bad, like real bad headache. What I found today was that as that was beginning to happen I pressed my tongue on the roof of the mouth and I started doing the proper swallowing. Each time I did it my ears were popping. and all the built up pressure inside my cranium was releasing… wala no headaches!

It suddenly dawned on me, that statement about the tongue being able to produce 500 grams of force. because my head was filled with pressure I could actually hear these forces inside my head, like I was in a scuba gear or under water, I could hear how powerful my tongue was and how it was affecting the whole cranium. I mean I was getting my ears to pop, on demand, just by… swallowing.

What is actual proper swallowing doing to the skull on the regular basis? versus someone that’s not swallowing properly? I thought…

Then another epiphany hit me perhaps this is exactly why they say having good tongue posture prevents ear infections.

And oral myologists talk about proper tongue swallow actually stimulates the pituitary gland to release hormones.

Now this idea used to sound a little far fetched for me, but perhaps it is making a bit more sense now after this experience, that whole area near my ears were definitely getting affected by each tongue on roof swallow, and the pituitary is right next to it. Perhaps it gets direct effect from the tongue as well? You know its quite hard to confirm these things but its an interesting idea.

Cheekline changing in kids


Now look at this girl and how her cheekline actually changed. From first picture to second picture she used biobloc stage 1 to expand her palate and 12 hours of headgear. From second to third picture, what made the change was her tongue alone, as she changed her posture with a help of trainer device called myobrace.


Above girl got those changes without any active appliance or headgear, just postural training appliance. What actually made the change was her tongue alone.

“I am showing you one of the children in the study to demonsrate that it is possible to help
the maxillae grow forwards without using a plate in the mixed dentition.
The tongue, once trained to function in the palate, can redirect growth upwards and

The children in the study were instructed to wear a Trainer, T4K, all night every night and
an hour a day every day with the lips together for one year.
You can see from the photographs the maxillae and mandible moved forward within the
cranium bringing the orbit forward with it.”

not the appliance but change in posture

I’ve looked into this trainer system. It does nothing special but acts as a reminder for posture change. It could be useful for a kid because they don’t understand the value of posture and so they need reminders. But the change is not in the appliance but what the appliance accomplishes which is shifting posture into nasal breathing, tongue on roof, lips inactive during the swallow which means tongue sucking on the upper palate.

This can be consciously trained by an adult without use of appliance, if you are reading this then chances are you already value this enough to continually work on it.

They are children so the results happened quite dramatically but bone can change shape at any age, this is why I believe in tongue posture as the most important key.


Result on children

What RAMP headgear looks like


source: Class III treated with RAMP

I think the asian girl showed good changes. and her mandible didn’t seem to retrude but came forward slightly with the maxilla, which is the worry with some of these headgears. The negative forces on face may not be as bad as the ones that just places the anchor on forehead and chin.

Again we see the effect of long term forces on bone. It seems to actually bring the palate forward in the face changing the cheekline.

There is currently not enough data on what headgear(long term wear) can do for adults, I started trying the crane just at night to see what would happen. I feel I am noticing subtle things but its hard to say because I’m also retraining the tongue at the same time.

Mike Mew is using his version of headgear and he’s saying he is beginning to see some changes.

As Mike also believes in long term forces. I have learned that its unrealistic to expect sudden, quick changes. Remember it took a while for the skull to get to the current shape, when speaking about authentic changes in bone this process is most likely subtle and gradual, although rapid changes are seen when one changes to open mouth posture, because the force is negatively acting on the bones 24/7.

See my point about long term forces now?

If long term forces can cause things to go bad then we most likely need good long term forces for things to go right again…

Tips from John Mew on tongue posture and also he confirms briefly at the end that this posture changes the face overtime.

“Your face will slowly improve in shape”

He is quite conservative with his claims especially about getting changes in adults, because it is not 100% guaranteed and predictable, since it is completely dependent on the patient’s commitment and effort. So it is difficult to document / study adult cases, this territory gets outside of doctors controls.

Therefore, John Mew understands change is possible even as adults, but he has spent much of his focus on children because that’s where he has the most power to affect change. and he finds that work to be more enjoyable.

I understand what John means by that completely, knowing what orthotropic does. For adults the success rate of his treatment will vary, but for children using the orthotropic techniques, that may involve removing baby teeth, John Mew can force the (posture) change to happen and have more control over the results he can accomplish.

But even he can’t deny that adult faces can change.

Horizontal faces…

blackwomenprofileOrig16 290

black and white women above with horizontal faces, very similar head shape despite racial background.


Man in midde: marlon teixeira (male model)

Notice how all the above individuals have the same skull shape.

Vertical is limited, good muscle tone and posture kept the face short.

Causing maxilla to be up and forward within the cranium giving that forward projected cheekline, which creates the full cheeks. It is significant difference from vertical faces.


Face pulling could give some results at moving the whole of the face forwards. But this technique seems limited in scope and target.

By changing tongue posture we are talking about actually remodeling the whole face towards horizontal oriented face, like the two girls you seen.

By comparing horizontal faces vs. vertical faces, it seems this requires a lot more than slight shift in maxilla position, but perhaps remodeling of the maxilla itself.

Because face pulling is low cost, it doesn’t hurt to try. some found ways to make it work with mouth piece you can buy at a store.

Anyways here’s my thoughts on it, the quick results of face pulling felt exciting at first but in my experience I found that actually changing the cheekline is different.

currently I’m not doing face pulling anymore. Just posture and crane at night. Thinking in terms of reshaping the bone, similar to the Indians that reshaped their head by using bindings.


11 thoughts on “Face Pulling VS. Tongue & Headgear?”

  1. hmmm interesting. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but if you don’t accomplish your goal of remodelling the face in the near future say around 5 years, are you going to get jaw surgery?

    And doesn’t the crane work with braces? so if you’re braces are coming off soon, what are you going to do?

    1. I can always get a mouth piece after braces come off.
      regarding jaw surgery, that’s something I can’t possibly know at this point, it all depends on what I find out as things go forward.
      don’t even know if it is the best thing either.

      1. Ya Jaw surgury should be an absolute last thing someone should do. Im curious as to why you dont stay in braces longer? have you expanded to 40mm already and are happy with your width?

          1. It is unknown territory for me, not that I’m totally against it but not all the before & after pictures are convincing. plus there stories of complications after surgery like loss of feeling.

  2. Hi c.p, Thank you so much for providing all the information and a platform for people of the same interest to communicate. I am here to find solutions for my 10 year old daughter.

    I am looking at DNA appliance combined with face pulling and Osteopath, but there are so many pieces to it, don’t know where to start, or what’s the best to make it work. I am racing with time since she is growing rapidly.

    What she needs is the transformation like patient zero Ian, I will be so happy if I can get there. plus asymmetry to correct. Do you know Ian used the same face pulling device as in Plato’s website? I know he did many NCR while face pulling, was he doing expansion at the same time? I don’t think we will do NCR and I know it’s best with loose cranium while face pulling, so I figured we should do DNA and Osteopath to achieve some of the NCR effect, plus Osteo will monitor to make sure face pull does not strain her cranium. I would do a DNA for her anyway even if we do not face pull.

    Do you buy the face mask from Plato? How much it costs? Is it the same as the FaceMax at Ian’s website?

    I also have questions about the treatment order: face pull with asymmetry is not good I heard, now i just read from your blog about asymmetry is due to maxilla falling back, and face pulling should correct asymmetry. so do I correct asymmetry first then face pull, or begin with face pull and asymmetry will take care of itself.

    The best I think would be to correct asymmetry first, but how? DNA would do it to a good degree (I watched on youtube and blogs pics). NCR’s correction(if any) did not last in my DD’s case, and NCR actually pushed the face backwards, and this is why I am looking at face pulling.

    That means I start with DNA, then at some point start face pull. Problem with this is by the time face got symmetry, the expansion would be almost done, and I just lost the face pull during the expansion which somehow i feel would be a prime time to pull. I am just guessing.

    Then there is the AtlasPROfilax or NUCCA, I know we need some work done there, with one leg shorter, pelvis rotation, shoulder uneven, and lopsied face (left side is lower and smaller with jaw shifted to the left). and the forward head posture. I am trying to get chiropractic treatment called Activator Method that is non invasive, still waiting for insurance to prove. any other way to correct all these? Did the NUCCA thing help you? Anyone has experience with AtlasPROfilax?

    Thank you so much for reading, as a Mom, I can’t sleep at night when I think about this. I would really appreciated to hear anyone’s advise…

    P.S. We did Myofunctional therapy for 8 month, we did ALF for about 4 month, but the Dr said he would not be able to correct her asymmetry. What’s interesting is that her symmetry got worse, that means face more lopsied, right side grow more than the left. I read ALF article talked about this, if you put equal force on both sides, the side with restriction (left, smaller) will not move, but the other side moves, which means more asymmetry. From looking at DNA cases, it corrects asymmetry, don’t know what makes the difference between DNA and ALF. or are they the same?

    1. DNA, face pulling, NCR will not yield as good result as doing orthotropics for a 10 year old.

      It really is the best treatment for young ones, that I have found. http://orthotropics.com/

      Begin to observe few things. Does she keep her mouth open? is she habitually sleeping on one side of the face? (this could contribute to the asymmetry, if she sleeps on the side of her face that is less developed)
      Ancestors slept on hard surfaces so they moved around a lot during sleep.
      Also if she has weak jaw muscles she will not be able to sleep on her back. Because her mouth will fall open and get into the airway.

      Get the tough chewing gum from Amazon (link on this site) and begin encouraging her to chew more. I suspect she has weak muscle tone.
      encourage more chewing by shifting some of the diet. For example, instead of apple juice give her an apple. Remove super high calorie soft foods. Water is better than juice, because its empty in calorie, she will have to eat something to get her calorie needs which means more chewing.

      Encourage her to keep her mouth closed, teeth together, tongue on the back of the throat.
      Teach her the cheesy smile swallow exercise I went over in earlier tongue posture posts.

      It may be difficult for young ones to adopt these things, but it is worth the try.

      The beauty of orthotropics is that it forces this correction on kids by using appliances. Look into it and let me know what you think. With orthotropics earlier you get her in the better, it does take commitment but it will be worth it. at 10 years old she can still improve a lot from it.

      Asymmetry is partly caused by her jaw not properly developing forwards, this too is improved by orthotropics.

  3. Hi!

    I got the membership just so I could read this article.

    Thank you!

    Question: I wanted to get the hockey mask and also got the membership to see where you would recommend getting one. But after reading this article I guess it is not recommended.

    Should I try getting that mouthpiece from the store? I want to experience all the cool stuff they say about being more attractive and more hormones being released etc.

    Ive been doing correct tongue posture and correct swallowing for about 3-4 days when I stumbled across your article. I will definitely stick with that.

  4. Hi,
    I’m interested in face pulling, and from what I understand, you think it’s pointless unless the palate is also being expanded and muscles strengthened.
    I think my case is a little different because my teeth are perfect and my top wisdom teeth even grew in perfectly (despite my dentist’s suggestion to go through an intense surgery to have them removed when I was much younger!)
    However my jaws click, my cheeks are small, I have hollow dark circles under my eyes and the right side of my face is underdeveloped. Also, the doctor suggested that my right leg might be shorter than the left, but I haven’t had an x-ray done yet to determine if that is just an imbalance resulting from my cranial asymmetry.

    Do you think I could benefit form face pulling, or is my case much different since my palate seems to be an acceptable width?
    I’m also wondering if face pulling could produce an overbite and ruin my nice teeth, it would be a shame. Do you think that’s possible?
    Also, someone said they were using a mouthguard for face pulling instead of a retainer. Does that sound like terrible idea? Sounds much more affordable anyway.

    I will definitely be purchasing the jaw strengthening gum that you recommended. Also, I want to thank you for all the amazing information on your website. It gives me hope that I can fix or improve myself without spending a fortune on awful surgeries.

    1. I face pulled for 1.5 years consistently without much difference, this is why I’m not a firm believer in this method. I am seeing more tangible results now that I focus on strengthening jaw muscle and tongue posture. And now recently improving my body posture. Which could improve your one leg shorter than other condition. I presume you are not as bad as some of us cause wisdom teeth grew in.

      The fact that your jaws click could indicate you are leaving your mouth open at rest. Beginning to chew more is the path to correct this. MY jaw clicking is going away.

      face pulling will not cause overbite, you can try it if you wish. but always put your daily focus on improving oral posture. and chew on both sides of the face, chewing on one side could lead to underdeveloped other side of the face…

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