Friday, August 21, 2020

"How Two British Orthodontists Became Celebrities to Incels"

Just a really really dark article:

In his youth, [the orthdontist] navigated the British Isles as a competitive sailor, raced Formula One cars and modeled period costumes for the BBC; now he walks with a cane, but he’s still vigorous. He lives alone in a castle of his own making, which sits upon a man-made lake in a secluded forest in southeast England.

...

he has championed an unorthodox cure, based on a theory about the cause and treatment of crooked teeth, which he calls “orthotropics.” If correct, [his] theory would upend many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream orthodontic practice.

Traditional orthodontic teaching explains crooked teeth mostly through genetics: We inherit the alignment of our bite from our parents, just as we inherit almost any other trait. [The orthdontist] does not believe this. Instead, he sees crooked teeth as a symptom of a sweeping, unrecognized health crisis. Changes in our lifestyle and environment since the 18th century, [he] contends, are inducing our jaws to grow small and recessed. The teeth do their best to come in straight, but our misformed faces cause them to twist and turn and compete for space. As a result, we’ve been robbed not only of tidy smiles but also, [he] says, of the well-defined faces that were the birthright of our ancient ancestors, and which [he] regards as the mark of true beauty.

Since the late 1970s, [the orthdontist] — later joined by his 51-year-old son and fellow orthodontist ...— has treated patients in his practice in the London suburbs. Using nothing more than palatal expanders, dietary changes, the force of the tongue and an appliance the family invented called the Biobloc, [they] claim that they can counteract the effects of modernity while children are still growing. Where traditional orthodontists focus most of their efforts on straightening teeth, [the orthdontist] says his aim is to “save the face.”

[They] have enraged the orthodontic community

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To the orthodontic community’s frustration, however, [their] beliefs have begun filtering into the public consciousness. Exiled from academia, [they] have taken to spreading orthotropics online, particularly on their YouTube channel.

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In virality, [they] have lost some control of their idea. On YouTube, vloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers have promoted orthotropics — a therapy intended only for young children — as a beauty treatment for adults. [They] have responded not by telling their newfound fans they’re wasting their time, but by beginning to treat a select group of adult patients to “see what’s possible”