Tiktok orthodontist advised ‘harmful’ treatment to young patients, tribunal told

Tiktok orthodontist advised 'harmful' treatment to young patients, tribunal told

An orthodontist whose jaw-shaping methods have gone viral advised treatment to children that ‘carried a risk of harm’, according to a tribunal.

Dr Mike Mew faces a misconduct hearing with the General Dental Council (GDC), which heard that he treats children with ‘head and neck gear’.

Mew denies that the treatment he carried out was ‘not clinically indicated’.

According to a BBC report, Lydia Barnfather – who represents the GDC – said comments made by Dr Mew on his Youtube channel were ‘pejorative’ about orthodontists.

Viral methods

His treatment methods – known as ‘mewing’ – have attracted almost two billion views on social media platform, Tiktok.

The GDC notice of inquiry report said that Mew posted a video on Youtube in September 2017 titled ‘Orthodontics Beyond Teeth’.

In it, he said: ‘(a) words to the effect that if you create enough tongue space, and children use that tongue space, that can influence facial growth and the craniofacial structure and, “expansion of the brain, expansion of the dental arches as well”.’

‘(b) that “…if a patient walks into my office over the age of eight, they’re into the area where it’s going to be compromise, it depends how hard they work. If someone comes in at the age of five, six I can almost get a complete correction. If someone comes in younger I can give them advice on how they can correct themselves”.’

More space

The tribunal heard that between September 2013 and May 2019, advice and treatment was provided to two children – Patient A and Patient B.

From the age of six, Patient A was advised to use upper and also lower arch expansion appliances, and wear neck gear to ‘gain a substantial increase in nasal capacity’ and ‘improve the midface’.

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’.

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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.

The tribunal heard a consultant was ‘so concerned’ over the ‘harm the appliances were doing’ that he referred Dr Mew to a council.

But Stephen Vullo, representing Dr Mew, who denies the allegations, said Patient A’s mother was ‘entirely supportive’ of the treatment.

The tribunal is adjourned until Monday.

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