Dr Mike Mew: what is mewing, and who is dentist facing misconduct hearing at the General Dental Council
Dr Mike Mew’s videos on a technique called ‘mewing’ aimed at reshaping the face have gone viral online
Dr Mike Mew, whose “mewing” techniques have racked up nearly two billion views on TikTok, faces a misconduct hearing at the General Dental Council (GDC).
His YouTube videos about his methods of reshaping the jawline and a type of dentistry called orthotropics have also been popular with each one being viewed thousands of times. But the tribunal was told he advised treatment to young children which “carried a risk of harm.”
Briefly opening the hearing in central London on Monday, Lydia Barnfather, representing the GDC, said comments made by Dr Mew, who claims to help “alter the cranial facial structure”, on his YouTube channel were “pejorative” about orthodontists.
Dr Mew’s techniques have sparked an online trend of sharing results on social media platforms like Reddit. He is now facing misconduct charges for treating people with “orthotropic” treatments, which he says could render many current orthodontic treatments unnecessary. He will argue there is “sufficient, objective evidence” to back up his treatment, it was heard.
The hearing which started on 14 November is scheduled to run until 2 December. A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help him with his legal costs and so far more than £7,000 has been raised. But who is Dr Mew, why is he facing a GDC hearing and what is “mewing”?
Who is Dr Mike Mew?
Dr Mike Mew runs the Orthodontic Health Clinic in Surrey. On the clinic’s website it states he qualified in 1993 as a dentist at the Royal London Hospital and that he is “particularly interested” in the cause of crooked teeth.
His clinic practices something called orthotropics, which is a branch of dentistry used to treat misaligned bites by correcting head and mouth posture. He is the son of John Mew, the creator of orthotropics.
Dr Mew has become known for his videos on the treatments, the Orthotropics You Tube channel has 321,000 subscribers and his videos regularly get thousands of views.
Four days ago he posted a clip on YouTube called Next Week I Am On Trial. The seven minute video has so far amassed more than 14,000 views.
In it he says: “I believe that the hard scientific evidence shows that malocclusion, which is crooked teeth and faces which need surgery, is clearly an environmental problem caused by our modern, rapidly changing modern environment - how we live. However, a large and possibly the most profitable chunk of dentistry is treating it as if it were genetic.”
What is ‘mewing’?
Mewing is a facial restructuring technique named after Dr Mew and his father. It involves learning to reposition your tongue into a new resting place. The idea is that over time this would change your facial features, in particular the jawline, making it more defined.
Supporters of the technique also say it helps with jaw pain and snoring. In recent years the technique gained a following with incels - (the involuntary celibate.)
Why is Dr Mew facing a GDC hearing?
He is facing a misconduct hearing which alleges his fitness to practice is impaired. Dr Mew is facing allegations in relation to orthotropic treatment provided to two child patients between September 2013 and May 2019. It is alleged that the treatment was not “clinically indicated” and wasn’t in their best interests and was “liable to cause harm”.
It is also alleged that in a video posted on YouTube in about September 2017 called Orthodontics Beyond Teeth, Dr Mew made “inappropriate and/or misleading” claims and they were made without “without adequate objective evidence”.
Ms Barnfather told the professional conduct committee Dr Mew seeks to treat children with “head and neck gear” and “lower and upper arch expansion appliances” to help align teeth and shape the jawline.
She said: “He believes that orthodontic therapy is erroneously based on the concept of genetic aetiology, what has been inherited, where he believes that the cranial facial form should be addressed with regards to environmental geology.
“It’s his belief that environmental factors have led to faces having a down swing and in diagnosing what he calls cranial facial dystrophy.”
Ms Barnfather went on: “What he intends to do and what he claims to do is to invert the vertical growth of the face to horizontal growth, widening the face.
“Thereby goes his theory, the theory devised by this father, cause structural changes of the face, cause an expansion of the underlying cranial facial form, including the nasal axillary complex, and create space in both dental arches so that the teeth align naturally. In addition, he claims ENT (ear, nose and throat) conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, is cured.”
She added: “The GDC alleges this is not only very protracted, expensive, uncomfortable and highly demanding of the child, but it carries the risk of harm.”
What was said about treatment given to the two children?
It was heard that between September 2013 and May 2019 advice and treatment was provided to two children, referred to as Patient A and Patient B.
From the age of six, Patient A was advised to use upper and lower arch expansion appliances and wear neck gear to “gain a substantial increase in nasal capacity”, “improve the midface”, “change the swallowing pattern” and “guide facial growth”.
Dr Mew believed this would allow more space for the teeth and tongue so “all the 32 teeth align naturally without the need for fixed braces”, the tribunal heard.
He also suggested Patient A underwent a lingual tongue-tie release, which he said would allow her to rest with her tongue on the roof of her mouth and strengthen the jaw.
A photograph showed Patient A’s upper and lower teeth slanted forward, that she had recession of the lower front teeth and an unaligned upper tooth following the treatment, as well as an ulcer.
The tribunal heard a consultant was “so concerned” by what he saw in the girl’s mouth and the “harm the appliances were doing” that he referred Dr Mew to a council.
Patient B’s parents were recommended “the widening of both arches”, the “wearing of head gear at night” and the potential “provision of a ‘Myobrace’ or ‘training appliance’”.
The boy was found to have recession of the lower front teeth by another practitioner. Dr Mew was accused of failing to “carry out appropriate monitoring” of their treatment and “ought to have known” this was liable to cause harm.
Ms Barnfather said: “The GDC allege you are not to have treated patients the way you did.” She argued both children had “perfectly normal cranial facial development for their age” before treatment took place. Ms Barnfather argued the treatment was “not clinically indicated” and Dr Mew “had no adequate objective evidence” it would achieve its aims.
Stephen Vullo, representing Dr Mew, who denies the allegations, said Patient A’s mother was “entirely supportive” of the treatment, and that she was “very happy” with the outcome. The tribunal had paused while the committee considered whether to adjourn proceedings until next week.