Fluorosis- my share of it
I don't know how bad or how well I am going to write this, but I know that this needs to be written. I have read enough books which state the importance of childhood in our lives. Our whole personality is shaped by the things we experience when we are young. Our childhood becomes our ultimate home, our comfort, which we carry into our adulthoods. This is the story from my childhood. I just don't know how to start, forgive me if it gets a bit unpleasant to read. I am going to be totally unfiltered.
So here we go. Dental fluorosis, as CDC puts it, is a condition that causes changes in the appearance of tooth enamel. It can range from mild to severe forms and I suffer from the severe one. It only affects you before or till 8 years of age. I can't really recall my exact age when it started. The only vivid memory I have is scratching my two front incisors after I came back from school. I felt something flaking from my teeth and I thought scratching would fix it. I scratched and scratched and scratched only to find out that I tore all of the white layers from my teeth. I don't remember how exactly I felt about it. I was a child of course and I didn't care, it was all okay, but soon it wasn't. Those two yellow teeth became my identity. My siblings ( i had a joint family) kept a beautiful name for me- ‘ GOLDEN TEETHED GIRL’. I was still naive to all of it, I used to play along. it was fun until the point when it started getting bad. I don't know whether ‘bad’ is the right word, I just don’t know whether there is a word to say how it really felt. I can just say that I could smile no more, I could talk no more without being conscious about how much of my teeth are visible to people when I speak. At school, I always lived in denial, denial that my teeth aren't just visible to anyone. It was the best defence, the best lie I could tell myself to survive. Sometimes it got ugly at school too though, when my ‘denial defence’ was shattered. I remember in class 7th while playing truth and dare, a fellow classmate was dared to tell me to GO brush my teeth. I went numb and blank. I did not ever know how to talk about it without breaking up. My friends used to come for my birthday at home and ask me to smile for pictures, emphasizing to show my teeth. it broke me every time, every single time.
Today I am an introvert and I owe a lot of it to this. I can't really say but avoiding people helped, but the worst part was that I couldn't even face myself in the mirror. I was in denial and I did my best to be in it, even if it meant never smiling to myself in the mirror.
Now, I am 24 and I have ceramic veneers on almost half of my teeth, shiny white veneers, but I still couldn't smile, I still couldn't be myself. I just couldn't bring myself to, until today. Today I took the best decision of my life to write about it and put it out for everyone to read, to relate and to free myself. To finally smile, to finally open up. TO FINALLY NOT LET FLUOROSIS DEFINE ME.