Thumbpulling For Palatal Expansion

Man Facing Sideways

Thumbpulling is an orthotropic exercise that involves pushing against both sides of the palate to split the sutures in your mouth for a wider palate.

A wider palate usually leads to better breathing, and a better appearance.

We’re gonna go over the concept of thumbpulling, how to do it, and the role of palatal expansion!

What Is Thumbpulling?

Thumbpulling, a term that may sound somewhat mysterious at first, is a dental technique gaining popularity in recent years.

The technique involves applying a firm force against both sides of the palate to grow and remodel the bones in the face, particularly those around the mouth and nose.

It emphasizes the importance of proper tongue posture and nose breathing in maintaining the correct shape and alignment of the facial bones.

By applying gentle pressure to specific face areas, thumbpulling encourages the bones to grow and remodel in a more desirable direction.

What is Palatal Expansion?

Palatal expansion is, as the name suggest, when your upper palate (the roof of your mouth) expands horizontally.

There are actually multiple splits around your skull, which are called sutures.

Sutures are essentially ‘weak’ points of the skull that can be split through small, consistent forces.

One of these sutures is in the middle of the palate, you can actually see it, and it can be split by pushing the two halfs of the palate apart.

This can be done by applying enough force onto each sides, pushing them apart.

Does Thumbpulling Expand The Palate?

One of the key questions people often ask about thumbpulling is whether it can help expand the palate.

The answer is yes – thumbpulling can indeed contribute to palatal expansion. The force exerted by thumbpulling can stimulate the growth of new bone in the upper jaw, effectively widening the palate.

This is particularly beneficial for individuals with a narrow upper jaw, or those who have crowded teeth due to a lack of space in the mouth.

By promoting palatal expansion, thumbpulling can help to correct these issues and create a more balanced, harmonious facial structure.

However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of thumbpulling in expanding the palate can vary from person to person.

Factors such as the individual’s age, the severity of their dental issues, and their overall health can all influence the results.

Benefits of Palatal Expansion

The benefits of palatal expansion are numerous and can significantly improve both oral health and overall well-being.

One of the most notable benefits is the correction of dental malocclusions such as crossbites, underbites, and overbites.

By widening the upper jaw, these issues can be effectively addressed, leading to a more balanced and aesthetic facial structure.

Palatal expansion can also create more space for the teeth, reducing crowding and making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene.

This can help to prevent issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated.

In addition, palatal expansion can improve breathing by opening up the nasal passages and increasing the size of the airway.

This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from sleep apnea or other breathing difficulties.

How To Thumbpulling Correctly

The key to successful thumbpulling is correct technique.

The first step to thumbpulling is to make sure your hands are clean because your thumbs will be inside of your mouth.

I recommend doing thumbpulling in the shower since it keeps you clean throughout the entire process instead of having to wash your hands before & after

Secondly, hinge your thumbs against both sides of your palate.

where you should put your thumbs

After that, you need to pull outwards, upwards, and forwards.

Apply a strong force until your arm becomes tired. You can repeat this for as long as you want, but the more you do the faster the progress.

Will Thumbpulling Damage My Upper Palate?

One common concern with thumbpulling is whether it can cause damage to the upper palate.

The answer to this is generally no – when done correctly, thumbpulling is a safe and non-invasive procedure.

The force applied is gentle and controlled, and is not enough to cause any harm to the teeth or bones.

Your sutures are much stronger than you may think, and they will only slightly split after months of thumbpulling.

There’s no way you will damage your upper palate unless you generate so much force that it damages your mouth.

Braces After Palatal Expansion

After undergoing palatal expansion, it’s common for individuals to require braces to further align their teeth and bite.

This is because the teeth spread apart because of the widening of the palate/gums.

palate expansion teeth

This can help to correct any remaining dental issues and enhance the results of the palatal expansion.

The length of time that braces are needed can vary depending on the individual’s specific needs. However, it’s typically between 1 to 3 years. During this time, regular visits to the orthodontist will be necessary to adjust the braces and monitor progress.

While wearing braces can be a bit uncomfortable at first, most people quickly get used to them. And the end result – a straight, beautiful smile – is well worth the temporary inconvenience.


In conclusion, thumbpulling is a unique and effective technique for promoting growth and remodeling of the facial bones.

By applying a gentle pulling force, it can help to correct various dental and skeletal misalignments, including a narrow upper jaw.

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