Embarrassed by her yellow teeth, Jacinta stopped smiling altogether.
- Jacinta Maguire, from Christchurch, NZ, tells the story in her own words.
R￼eturning home after another horrible day at school, I burst into tears. ‘Why are my teeth so ugly?’ I cried to my mum, Mandy. Hugging me tightly, Mum explained I was born with a condition called enamel hypoplasia.
‘We all usually have white enamel on our teeth, for some reason it didn’t form on yours,’ she said.
Apparently my teeth had really started to discolour after I had a bout of English measles as a toddler. Just six years old, I was already self-conscious about my appearance. Kids at school often bullied me – calling me things like banana teeth.Hating my stained, yellow teeth so much, I trained myself not to smile.
In photos, I would tightly press my lips together to hide them. Over the years I underwent many dental procedures.
I had metal crowns made to help me chew and around a dozen different caps, but they never lasted more than a few weeks.
I had my teeth textured, veneers fitted and even braces. But nothing worked to fix them. The only long-term option was dentures and implants, costing around $1200 per tooth – money I didn’t have. So I had to learn to live with my horrible teeth. I’d had a couple of short-term boyfriends, but had always been too self-conscious for them to last.
Then when I was 21, I met Matt through a mutual friend. At first, I tried to hide my teeth from him. But as I became more comfortable, I learned to smile around him. ‘I constantly worry about my teeth,’ I revealed. ‘To me you are just Jacinta, I don’t care about your teeth,’ he said, grinning.
He became the one person I wasn’t afraid to smile around. Soon we were engaged, and after setting our
wedding date, I discovered I was pregnant! Although I was looking forward to marrying the love of my life, I was also in some ways dreading the big day. ‘I’ve never liked photos,’ I worried to Matt.
When our wedding day arrived I was 34 weeks pregnant and decided against a big white gown, opting for a more casual dress.Getting ready, I was riddled with nerves. Not about marrying Matt – about the photographer catching
a glimpse of my teeth. Sadly, I spent most of the day ensuring I kept my trademark tight-lipped grin.
A few weeks later, I gave birth to our gorgeous boy, Riley. Holding my bub in my arms for the first time was so amazing.Yet, just like my wedding day, I wouldn’t allow myself to show my teeth. Obsessed with researching different teeth operations, one day I came across a story about a woman who’d been to Melbourne’s Vogue Dental Studio.
Through their Give Back a Smile Foundation, she’d undergone a free teeth transformation. Astounded, I showed Matt the page.‘She looks like a whole new person,’ I said.
Finding the dental studio on Facebook, I discovered they were looking for new candidates. ‘Message them! You never know your luck,’ Matt encouraged me. With nothing to lose, I sent a message about my condition. A few months went by without a response. Then one morning I saw a reply from the dentist, Dr Deepan Duraisamy.‘He wants to fly me to Australia and give me new teeth!’ I cried to Matt.
Six months later, when the day finally arrived to fly to Melbourne, I was feeling nervous with anticipation.‘I’ll be a new me when I come back,’ I told Matt, who was staying home with Riley.Walking into the surgery, I was bursting with excitement.
Walking into the surgery, I was bursting with excitement. Over the next two weeks, I spent hours having my teeth ground down and my gums lasered. Then temporary caps were fitted while they made me a new set of crowns to be placed over my old, yellow teeth.
‘We’re fitting 12 months of work into just two weeks,’ said Dr Dee. I was awake during all of the long, painful procedures but through every ache and niggle, I reminded myself of the ultimate outcome – having the perfect smile I’d longed for.
When the final day of my treatment arrived, I was so excited.‘I’m ready for my new smile!’ I said. Looking at my beautiful pearly whites in the mirror for the first time was so overwhelming.Bursting into tears of joy,
Bursting into tears of joy, I couldn’t believe I finally had a beautiful smile to make me proud.‘They look amazing!’ I cried.
All up the treatment would have cost $60,000 – something I never could have afforded.
As a final gift, the foundation gave me a glam photoshoot. Feeling like a film star, I had my hair and make-up done. Flicking through the images afterwards, I couldn’t believe it was me. For the first time in my life, I looked truly happy.
Afterwards, I excitedly flew back home for the big reveal to my family.'You look absolutely beautiful,’ Matt said,
holding me tight.
Now, I still can’t believe that it’s me when I catch my reflection in the mirror. I didn’t just get a new smile – I got a whole
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