Everything You Need to Know about AGGA (Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance)

Last updated 4/8/2019

Hey folks! This is my first post in what will hopefully be a series about the various orthodontic appliances used for non-surgical palate expansion and facial growth in adults.

You should all know by now that I’m not a dentist or orthodontist, so unfortunately, I won’t have any groundbreaking contributions of knowledge. But at least I can put all the info in one place, right? I’ve linked all of my sources throughout this post, so you can go link-diving if you want to read other people’s words and learn more.

If you want info and experience from an actual AGGA patient, definitely check out Ronnie’s website. He was my first source of information on AGGA, and is the true AGGA MVP for documenting his journey so thoroughly.

Table of Contents

What is AGGA?

Who came up with AGGA?

What is involved in AGGA treatment, and how long does it take?

How does AGGA work?

Is it legit?

Are there any dangers or downsides to AGGA?

How much does AGGA cost?

Where do practitioners learn how to use AGGA?

How can I find a practitioner who uses AGGA?

Before and Afters

Where can I learn more about AGGA?

Read more →

Everything You Need to Know About Mewing

This page is a work in progress! Last updated 4/8/2019.

What is mewing? 

“Mewing” is a term coined by followers of Mike Mew (and his father, John Mew) to describe all of the actions/exercises involved in developing and maintaining proper tongue (and to a lesser extent, lip/cheek/jaw) posture. In addition to keeping the tongue in its rightful place on the roof of the mouth, this also includes things like proper chewing/swallowing technique and various tongue exercises.

(That’s the broader definition. Alternately, “mewing” can sometimes simply refer to maintaining proper tongue posture on the roof of the mouth.)

Mewing has started to pick up steam as an underground/fringe movement, and is notably popular among incel communities. (If you aren’t familiar with the term “incel,” I’ll let urban dictionary educate you.)

Read more →

A Non-Update Update

Hey friends! Quite a few of you have been asking for updates on my palate expansion journey, so I figured I’d post one even though I don’t really have anything new to share.

Current Status

Treatment is still paused, due to a CBCT scan showing that we appeared to be pushing the roots of my teeth outside of the palate bone. (Not good for long-term tooth stability.)

I have continued wearing my Meridian appliance/expander at night, for two reasons. 1) To make sure it will continue to fit, so that I can use it with my Crane (once I decide to start using that again; more on this below). 2) I grind my teeth a lot at night, and the occlusal plates of the appliance provide some protection.

Once I stopped wearing the appliance during the day, my teeth immediately started moving back (un-expanding?), to where the appliance would barely fit at night. So each night before I put it on, I would do one or two reverse quarter-turns until it didn’t feel so tight anymore. I lost quite a bit of expansion progress that way, but clearly it wasn’t true/healthy expansion, so I thought it would be best to just undo some of it.

I’ve also been trying to maintain better tongue posture during the day (à la Mike Mew), but geez – it’s HARD! My tongue doesn’t fit well in my mouth to begin with (hence the need for all this palate expansion nonsense), but between eating and talking and breathing…man, tongue posture is NOT an easy thing to re-train. So that’s a work in progress.


The Crane

I still have the Crane, which is the horrifying-looking neck brace that I attach to my appliance with rubber bands to get a pulling force on the maxilla. I haven’t been wearing it because it disrupts my sleep, and I’ve had too much else going on in my life recently that was already disrupting my sleep, so I didn’t want to add to it.

HOWEVER, things are finally beginning to calm down, so I’ll probably start experimenting with it again in the next few months. Because the Crane puts forward force on the entire upper arch, I’m hoping that it will prompt some forward movement/growth of the maxilla without shifting the roots of my teeth too much (which I want to avoid for now, due to the aforementioned CBCT scan-related reasons).

There’s also a segment of the adult palate-expansion community (that’s a thing, right?) that advocates for using stronger “face-pulling” forces, but for shorter periods of time. This info used to be on, but it appears that domain has been recently overhauled, and I don’t see it there anymore. I don’t remember the exact guidelines, but I’m thinking it was something like 10-20 min of constant pressure, usually by wearing some kind of appliance (or braces) and just pulling on a string or rubber band that you’ve attached to it.

Do any of you remember seeing that info? The short-duration approach would be much easier to incorporate than wearing the Crane all night every night, so I might experiment with that over the next few weeks. Can’t hurt, right?


Anyway, that’s where I’m at. Stay tuned. I’ve loved hearing from all of you who are experimenting with this stuff, so please feel free to plug your own blog below (if you have one), or just post your own updates in the comments so others can follow along with you too!


For reference, here are all the other posts I’ve shared so far on the subject of orthodontics/orthotropics:

Cheers, 2018

It’s 11:56pm on December 31st, 2018, and I decided that I can’t let 2018 draw to a close without a little reflection.

I was looking at some of my journal entries from the end of last year, and I was in a dark place. I felt hopeless, and helpless, and powerless, and all those other adjectives that mean your soul hurts. I had lots of reasons – good reasons, I think – to feel this way, but also lots of reasons to not feel that way. I think that’s how it usually is.

At the beginning of this year, I decided that 2018 would be the year I felt powerful again. I set big goals that felt like pipe dreams, but now, a year later – I somehow achieved the biggest ones. I got a new job. I bought a house. And my life feels completely different, in a good way. And I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time.

A lot of bad things happened in 2018 too, but mostly, 2018 is the year I learned – really learned, I think, for the first time – what it feels like to dream big dreams. And I think I’ll keep doing that, because even if I fail, at least I’ve become the kind of person who dreams big dreams. And sometimes that’s half the battle.

Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) for Pouchitis – My Experience

It has now been over two years since my experience with FMT, and I have still neglected to document it in any way. This is just atrociously bad n=1 experimentation protocol on my part, and kind of speaks to how tapped out I was by The Great Search for Answers. I think the effort I went through to find/secure a part in/complete the FMT trial was all I had left in me at the time, so after it was over, I entered a phase of Staunchly Ignoring The Problems. Which was honestly very necessary. Sometimes ya just gotta take a break, you know?

But I owe it to my future self and the general knowledge bank of the internet to document and share what I can, so here we are! If you just want the cliff notes/what I learned (hint: there’s one exciting thing!), scroll to the bottom. Because per usual, this became way longer and more rambling than necessary. Read more →

A rant about science (alternately: All Hail Nuance and Skepticism)

Warning: this post falls squarely into the category of “cantankerous rant about thing I should probably stop getting so worked up over.” You’ve been warned.

I’ve noticed a troubling tendency in some scientific communities (maybe I should put “scientific” in quotes…I’m lookin’ at you, Facebook) to treat science as some kind of Truth, where certain issues can no longer be questioned or examined because “science” has already had the final word. And this all while maintaining a smug, condescending, high-horse attitude towards anyone who doesn’t act the same way and believe the same things. And it’s pervasive, and often by people I love and respect, which has made me question whether it’s just me being sensitive, and it’s not actually a problem. But it’s infuriating, and I DO think it’s a problem. Read more →

Palate Expansion Update: Concerning CBCT Scan Results

I am long overdue for a progress update! Last time I posted, I shared some progress pics, and was about to get a CBCT scan to reassure myself and my orthodontist that we weren’t pushing my teeth out of the bone.

Well…unfortunately, the CBCT scan was not reassuring. In fact, it was pretty concerning. At some point I’ll get around to posting screenshots from the scan, but for now, I’ll just share a snippet from the radiology report:

cbct scan results

In layman’s terms? Although the CBCT scan isn’t precise enough to tell us whether the roots of my teeth are fully poking through the bone, it can tell us that the bone outside of the roots on my upper teeth is extremely thin. And that’s not good.

Side note: Did you see what they said about my airway? Reduced airway space is one of the main risks of retractive orthodontics, and another reason why I need my maxilla expanded and pulled forward!

Anyway. Needless, to say, the CBCT results were pretty soul-crushing. I mean, I had spent a lot of time and money covering my bases and making sure I was doing this the right way, and I felt so confident that I was on the right track. Not only did this scan derail me completely, it also showed me that once again, all of the “experts” I had put my trust in might have been wrong. Read more →

5-Month Palate Expansion Progress Photos

Hey friends! It’s been five months since I began my journey with my first palate expander, and two months since I started with the DNA/Meridian appliance. I had them take some progress photos at my appointment this week, so I figured I’d share with the internet!

Full disclosure: I think the fact that my hair was wet and my eyes were kinda starting to close in the “before” photos makes the progress photos of my face look a bit more dramatic than they otherwise would. But you can definitely still see that there’s been progress! Also, these are definitely the most hideous photos of me to grace the internet thus far. Hooray. Read more →

The DNA Appliance Has Arrived! (APE Diary #6)


My DNA appliance has arrived! It’s technically a “meridian” appliance, but it’s essentially the same as a DNA – I think only certified practitioners are allowed to use the name-brand DNA appliance, so we’re using a knock-off. (Edit 10/18/18: To be clear, I was taking Dr. Lockhart’s word that the meridian is functionally the same as a DNA. There could certainly be differences that I am not aware of!)

It’s definitely far bulkier than my old expander, and required a lot more adjustment to fit to my mouth. The acrylic plates that cover the biting surface of my molars (occlusal plates) had to be shaved down to balance my bite (similar to a nightguard adjustment), which is always difficult in my case since my bite is so uneven (when my right molars are touching, I still have several millimeters of space between my left molars).

But it’s all adjusted now, and I’ve been wearing it for about two weeks. The verdict so far: Read more →

APE Diary #5: My Consult with Dr. Brad Lockhart

Note: We are now in realtime. I repeat, we have attained realtime.

March 27th, 2018

In case you didn’t read my previous post, here’s what’s up. Yesterday I flew across the entire country, drove an hour in a rental car in California traffic, and will repeat that entire process tomorrow, with the sole purpose of talking to a dentist for an hour today.

Luckily, it was the best dentist appointment ever, and Dr. Lockhart is fantastic, so it was worth the trip!

(Edit 9/6/18: My opinion of Dr. Lockhart has somewhat changed. Read the update here.)

To be honest though, this isn’t even unusual behavior for me. At least 75% of my life consists of doing things that people find very strange in order to fix obscure problems with my body that almost always sound made-up.

Okay, recap of the appointment. Read more →