Where to start? I suppose the beginning would be best; at the root of it all.
I grew up with five siblings and, essentially, a single father. (My mother would disappear on binges and he finally divorced her during one of her 3-month long escapades when I was 13.) My father is an amazing man who worked hard to provide for us but, unfortunately, dental care was out of the budget. I saw the dentist one time during my childhood- to pull the teeth below my canines, which were growing above the rest of my teeth. My teeth were overcrowded so badly that this only worked on one side, and the other remains raised to this day.
I already started with overcrowded teeth and I did something that I’ll never be able to undo- I became bulimic. From age 11-17 I was bulimic. This led to binge eating and mass purging. It was a cycle that I never thought I would get out of. It took a lot of therapy to get the help I needed.
Not only did I ruin my teeth but I ruined the roots of my teeth as well. By the time I was 18 I was finally able to make a dentist appointment for myself. It was too l ate. The damage had been done. I had ruined my teeth beyond repair.
I’ve spent the past 10 years having teeth pulled as they rot away in my head. No, it’s not a pretty image. It’s disgusting; I revolt myself. Smiling makes me want to cry. I hide from photos, unless I’m the one who takes them- because I know to keep my mouth shut.
I am 28 and need dentures. This is a hard truth for me to swallow… almost as hard as it is for me to chew.
I have none of my molars left on my upper left side. I only have one molar left at the very back of my upper right side. I’m missing the first and second molar on my lower right, and my 3rd molar grew in completely sideways from the gum- pointing towards the other teeth I had to have removed as it crushed them. My left lower molars are all riddled with cavities. My incisors are all overlapped due to overcrowding. And the topping on the cake- my top 2 front incisors rotted at the seam. I spent 1k having them repaired only for them to break down within the year. They are jagged on the bottom and chipped in-between. (Luckily the repair helped to stop the decay, and I am told it is possible to have them cosmetically fixed again.)
You may have noticed that leaves me with only my incisors to eat, and gingerly at that. I have never been able to enjoy food. I have been out to eat 5 times in the past 10 years because of how ashamed I am, and how difficult eating is for me. I do not go out to the bar, concerts, events or even parties because of how embarrassed I am.
If not for my teeth- I am a fairly attractive young woman. I take very good care of my body. I stay in shape, and I make sure I get the nutrients I need via shakes.
Last year my partner encouraged me to stop hiding and share something that has been a passion of mine for years- self photography. It had long been my tool for learning to love myself again. It was my only outlet for feeling like I was attractive. It was something I kept private and only showed him. Last year I finally opened up and began posting sets for people to see. The supportive response has been overwhelming, and is how I fund my therapy.
The only problem is… it doesn’t help when it comes to my “smile.” I hide it. I never open-mouth smile and rarely smile at all. Instead I resort to sarcastic or forlorn expressions. I’ve learned to express myself with just my eyes. But every time I go through my pictures I feel it well up again. That shame, embarrassment- disgust.
I need help. I hate to say it- but I need financial help. I cannot afford to have the rest of the teeth I need to have removed taken care of. I cannot afford the dentures that would replace them.
Due to COVID I lost my job, I was an industrial spot-welder, and my insurance. If not for my photos I would not be able to afford my therapy and medication. I had to choose between my teeth and my mental health. The only problem is that my teeth contribute to my crippling depression and anxiety. It’s a cycle I am stuck in.
I have no idea what the total cost of fixing my mouth is going to be… because I’m too scared to go in and hear the figure. I know I can’t afford it.
I need help. I don’t know where else to go.
I’m too ashamed of my mouth to post an image here. Frankly, it is disgusting and would need a “trigger warning.” I am willing to provide proof if needed.
My paypal is paypal.me/jadedsip