I signed the Hope Accord.

The jaw expansion movement

Introduction

We’re supposed to have all thirty-two adult teeth, and they’re all supposed to fit in our mouths. Soft diets have contributed to an epidemic of jaw underdevelopment and related health problems, which mainstream orthodontics still treats by extracting and retracting the teeth, often making things worse in the long run.

When I was around ten, I had four healthy premolars taken out in order to make room for my wisdom teeth. This, along with my already small jaws, has caused a wide range of problems over the years:

  • sleep apnea

  • constant psoas tension (see Releasing the Psoas by Neil Hallinan)

  • tinnitus

  • infrequent episodes of vertigo, or feeling like I’m on a ship that’s just rolled in heavy seas

  • forward head posture

  • tooth damage from grinding and traumatic occlusion

  • TMJ disorder

  • back, neck & shoulder issues

  • aesthetic issues

  • in combination with misophonia, what I’ve called tooth rage: the physical feeling of the shape of my mouth causes intense anger.

My dentist at the time was just following mainstream orthodontic protocols—and they were right that something needed doing, as my jaw was already too small to contain all of my adult teeth without crowding. But there is an alternative to mainstream thinking that I think makes much more sense: if the jaw is too small, make it bigger.

Dr Mike Mew is currently championing this cause in the UK, where expansion is still not widely accepted. Dr Mew's videos, along with those of JawHacks and Grow Your Face, do a great job of explaining the logic and evidence behind these ideas in detail.

If you’re a parent, my advice is to keep stories like mine in mind whenever a family dentist or orthodontist suggests extracting or retracting healthy adult (non-deciduous) teeth for any reason. Most orthodontists don’t seem to treat an extraction with the weight it deserves, and as a response to this some people in the expansion movement have suggested using the word amputation instead.

If you’re considering expansion treatment for yourself, I’ve written a comprehensive guide based on my journey getting treatment in the US—which is where most orthotropists are—as a UK resident.