After qualifying in 1953, John Mew studied Maxilo-facial surgery, before moving to orthodontics in 1965. For many years he remained very much within the establishment becoming president of the Southern Counties Branch of the British Dental Association in 1971. He was honoured with life membership of the British Dental Association in 1999.
His surgical training at East Grinstead gave him the opportunity to study occlusal and TMD problems. He also observed the facial changes that followed the repositioning of its skeletal components; especially the Maxilla. Noticing that many facial problems appeared to have environmental origins, he became interested in early facial growth and the factors which might influence it.
In 1958 he put forward the ‘Tropic Premise’ which suggested that malocclusion was a ‘Postural Deformity’ and that irregular teeth were not necessarily inherited. He became concerned that the mechanics of orthodontic treatment could be harmful to facial growth, and over the subsequent 20 years developed the concept of facial ‘Growth Guidance’ [Orthotropics®] and the ‘Biobloc’ system of treatment. At the time the establishment labelled him a maverick and applied enormous political, legal and financial pressure to prevent him from using many procedures that are now commonplace.
He wrote a number of scientific papers and a full length text book about his technique “Biobloc”, and lectured and/or taught in most countries in the world, where he set up many study groups.