It has been exactly one year since I accepted my lifelong diagnosis and decided to deal with it. My diagnoses to sad smile, painful meals and low confidence. That’s what Amelogenesis imperfecta means for me.
Thanks to power of Facebook I know I am not the only one in the world, but I have never met anyone in person who would deal with the same thing.
Amelogenesis imperfecta used to be the hardest part of my life since I was a kid.
I was born with lack of enamel which causes my teeth to be small, yellowish, weak and very sensitive. Over the time I developed sense to recognise what would be comfortable for me to eat but in order to get there I had to try and experiment which used to hurt a lot.
I have so many memories throughout my life which include my teeth. It starts with questions why are my teeth so small, mockery of children about it’s colour, school photographer telling me not to smile at pictures, dentist calling her colleagues to come and see what they sure haven’t seen before or my favourite “carrot story”.
One of the first experiences realising there is something wrong with my teeth I remember from kindergarten. We used to get a piece of raw carrot with lunch and it was so difficult for me to eat it. I used to spend the whole nap time in the bed processing it under the blanket so teachers wouldn’t know. I just didn’t have enough strength to chew it.
Everyone around knew I have weird teeth, but no-one knew it’s a disease I was born with.
But I am not a kid anymore. I went for check up to new doctor last year and that’s how it all begun. She said my teeth got too small with time and if I don’t cover them soon I might bite them through on nerve. I visited several dentists to get different opinion but treatment was the only one – crowns to cover all of my teeth.
I got a little loan from my friends and family and didn’t wait. I knew it needs to be done. I had a vision of beautiful smile for the first time in my life.
Treatment took months.
It needed to be done step by step. I suffered a lot. I will never forget people who were around me at that time. I was in constant pain and I look worse than ever before. Time when some teeth were done and some not, I couldn’t eat or even speak properly. I looked like a vampire. I was really ashamed at that time.
You might not realise but teeth are big part of who you are. I used to be ashamed when there was something funny and everyone laughed. I tried to smile with my mouth closed or put hand in front of my face. I knew it won’t help and everyone will notice anyway.
Eventually after months of waiting that day was here!
Day when they were about to finish my front teeth as a last step of the whole process. I remember that morning as it was yesterday. I had fresh new haircut with a colour which I never had before. I made my hair curly and used some make-up which I wasn’t doing before either. I was in my friend’s apartment standing in the bathroom in front of the mirror. Saying good bye to my old self.
I took last pictures “before” then a long breath in and walked to my dentist. Process was fast that day. They both were excited with a nurse to see how I will look like. I remember nurse even took me a picture. Doctor handed me a mirror right away and I had tears in my eyes. It wasn’t me anymore.
I knew it’s for good, I knew I look the best I have ever did, but it wasn’t me.
I went back home and kept staring in the mirror looking for myself. But I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there anymore.
There was a damn good looking girl with curly blond hair. She looked mature and tall and she had a perfect face. She even seemed a bit arrogant to me in that moment. She buried that little shy girl I used to hide inside.
I didn’t know how to process it all so I started sending video messages to my friends and talking about it. Same day in the evening I went out. I wanted to show the world how I look like.
It has been exactly six months since that day and I still haven’t processed it. I have been trying to figure out who I am since then. Beginning was amazing. People couldn’t recognise me, everyone flattered me and my confidence boosted.
I have never felt this good about myself before. But it’s not the end yet. I still sometimes suffer with pain, I keep learning how to take care of my smile and also about that girl inside. Because she is still there and she still remembers the life she used to have before. Turns out she can’t just forger and be beautiful and confident all of a sudden. She still must learn.
But I can already tell you that it was the best decision I have ever made. It won’t last forever but every day I can fully smile, look in the mirror and feel pretty is worth it.
I am not advocate of changing who we are. But sometimes solving ourselves what life couldn’t solve for us can be life changing.
Once again. I am not into unnecessary plastic surgeries or covering my real face under the make-up. What I did was necessary for my health and turned out to be caress for my soul. I couldn’t be myself for many years because I had to worry too much how people see me. Every time I met a new person I worried what do they think? Do they look at my teeth? Or they didn’t notice?
Now I meet people and only focus on what I want to say.