A young woman, who lost her teeth and needed to wear dentures from the age of 23, has said she feels more confident than ever.
Whitney Johnson, now 25, from Oklahoma, US, says she wants to break the stigma that dentures are for elderly people as she has been wearing them for the past two years.
She had avoided the dentist out of fear for years, but when she eventually plucked up the courage to see someone, she was given the devastating news her teeth were not salvageable.
Whitney was told her top teeth would need extracting and she would be left relying on dentures, leaving her feeling hopeless at the situation.
She started wearing dentures at the age of 23.
Whitney says that being told that her teeth would need to be extracted at the age of 23 made her feel very depressed.
She added: “I had all my top teeth extracted when I was 23-years-old and I had immediate dentures.
“I was so scared about having this done because I was so worried about what my face would look like after the procedure.
“I was so young and I was so worried about losing my teeth and not feeling beautiful anymore.
“And knowing I was going to be wearing dentures was even stranger because they’re something that everyone associated with old people.
“But so many young people lose their teeth for many different reasons and have wear dentures too.
“When I first saw myself in my top dentures it was definitely a shock and something that I needed to adjust to.
“And it was also really painful.”
In April, Whitney had her bottom teeth pulled and now wears dentures for her top and bottom teeth.
She says that she had a hard time accepting her new smile at first, but she is now more confident than ever and even feels confident without her dentures as she doesn’t believe her dentures define beauty.
Whitney added: “Before my dentures, my self-esteem was very low because of the state my teeth were in. They had lots of brown spots on them.
“I would never smile with my teeth showing and I would always cover my mouth when I was talking to people so they couldn’t see my teeth.
“It was hard getting used to my dentures but I am so much more confident now.
“I even feel confident showing myself without my dentures in too.
“They don’t define me and you are beautiful with or without them.”
Whitney says that it’s hard to wear dentures from such a young age because she didn’t feel like she had many people to relate to.
However, she decided to make a TikTok account about her journey with dentures where she came across people in very similar situations.
She said: “I found it difficult at first having dentures from the age of 23.
“I worried about bone loss and whether my chin would sink in. I still have my bad days, but I have a lot more good days because I have embraced them.
“There is such a stigma attached to dentures because people assume that it is only old people that wear dentures but that’s not the case at all.
“Younger people can lose their teeth too for many different reasons, such as cancer, poor oral health, drugs, or autoimmune diseases.
“I love to spread positivity about young people wearing dentures, raise awareness that young people wear them too and help others within the denture community.”
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