An orthodontist whose videos popularizing a potentially harmful treatment for children that went viral on TikTok is facing a misconduct hearing from the organization that oversees dental professionals in the U.K., according to news reports.
Dr. Mike Mew originally shared methods for "mewing," a technique for shaping the jawline that may carry a risk of harm, on TikTok. He faces a misconduct hearing before the U.K.'s General Dental Council (GDC), according to The Guardian.
Lydia Barnfather, who is representing the GDC, opened the hearing, which is being held in central London, on November 14, The Guardian reported. Barnfather said comments made by Mew on his YouTube channel defame orthodontists.
Mew's techniques sparked a trend of sharing results on social media platforms such as TikTok and Reddit. He is now facing misconduct charges for treating people with his "orthotropic" treatments, which reportedly change the posture of the tongue and mouth. Mew claims his methods could render many current orthodontic treatments unnecessary.
Between September 2013 and May 2019, Mew reportedly advised and treated two children who were referred to as Patient A and Patient B in the hearing.
From age 6, Patient A was told to use upper and lower arch expansion appliances and wear neck gear to gain an increase in nasal capacity, improve the midface, alter the swallowing pattern, and guide facial growth, The Guardian reported.
Mew believed this strategy would allow more space for the teeth and the tongue so that all 32 teeth would align naturally without the need for braces, the court heard. Mew reportedly also advised Patient A to undergo a lingual tongue-tie release, which he believed would allow her to rest her tongue on the roof of her mouth and strengthen her jaw.
A photograph shared in court revealed Patient A's upper and lower teeth slanted forward and a recession of the lower front teeth, as well as a misalignment of the upper tooth and an ulcer after treatment, according to a news report. The court heard testimony from a consultant who was very concerned by what he saw and referred Mew to a council, The Guardian reported.
To Patient B, Mew recommended widening both arches, wearing headgear at night, and potentially wearing an additional training appliance, according to The Guardian. Another practitioner found a recession of the lower front teeth.
Mew was accused of failing to properly monitor his patients' treatment. Barnfather said that both patients had normal craniofacial development for their age prior to any treatments and that the treatments were not clinically indicated, The Guardian reported.
Stephen Vullo, who is representing Mew, denied the allegations. Vullo said Patient A's mother was supportive of the treatment and happy with the outcome, according to The Guardian. Mew will argue that there is sufficient and objective evidence to back his treatment methods.
The hearing has been adjourned until Monday, November 21.