I’m so excited to be participating in #RealBloggerBeauty today!! Maya of Charmingly Styled came up with the brilliant idea to rally her fellow bloggers and encourage us to share something real and beautifully imperfect about ourselves, providing a platform for support and encouragement for one another and giving a “behind the scenes” to the bloggers they follow. When Maya approached us with the idea, the first thing that came to mind was the story behind my pearly whites you see today….
Make yourself comfortable…this is a long one!
Back in grade school I couldn’t have imagined my smile being something I would one day shed tears over and want to hide. I was often teased by my peers that I smiled too much(which I personally do not think is possible!!). But fast forward several years and my days of ear-to-ear grins were long gone.
It was my sophomore year of college and I began to notice my teeth withering away right before my eyes. Having been diagnosed with anorexia at 13, followed by bulimia in high school, the 8 years of depriving my body of nutrition and vomiting multiple times a day was taking it’s toll on my mouth. My front teeth were becoming extremely sensitive and the bottoms of my front top teeth were becoming transparent from the acid erosion caused by the vomiting. I became self-conscious about people noticing and found myself smiling less and mumbling in an attempt to hide my teeth when I spoke. I knew something had to be done, but I was hesitant to see my dentist since my last visit revealed 10 cavities.
I didn’t want to face my him again knowing my teeth had only gotten worse. I finally scheduled a visit and was told one of the best options would be to apply porcelainveneers to the front of my teeth. My two front teeth were the worst, and at $1,250 a tooth, two were all I could even think about affording at the time. My parents generously helped out with the cost (even after putting my twin sister and I through braces…twice), so I was thankfully able to get my front two fixed up. While I wouldn’t say they were perfect, they were much better than what they were and I felt comfortable and confident baring my grin again. I told myself that “this was it. No more restricting, no more binging, no more purging. Think about all that money Mom and Dad spent, what you just spent. Enough is enough, I need to stop.” But I didn’t stop.
Fast forward another 3 years and my teeth continued to deteriorate. By this time I was engaged to my husband and popping pain pills day and night in an attempt to keep my mouth pain at bay. Steve finally convinced me to go see a specialist and after receiving multiple opinions, it was determined that two of my teeth had rotted away so much and that they would need to be pulled. I was devastated and relieved. I remember very vividly getting them pulled and how the pain of getting them out was almost pleasing compared to the pain I had been in when I still had them. Because one of the teeth was my last left molar, I was told I only needed to have a dental implant one (which was a huge relief considering the $5k price tag). To add to it all, Steve and I were set to be married in just a few months and the timeline needed to complete the implant went beyond that timeframe. Thankfully I was told I could have a temporary tooth molded that would fit in like a retainer. I wasn’t going to be toothless for my wedding!! Or so I thought…
It was 1:50pm on the day of our wedding. Steve and our photographer were picking me up from the hotel I was staying at in 10 minutes to take pictures around Chicago prior to the ceremony. As I was pulling my last items together I realized I was missing something…I didn’t have my tooth! I checked by the vanity where I thought I placed it, but it wasn’t there! I started to panic and called on my bridesmaids to help me as we frantically searched for my tooth…but it was nowhere to be found. We didn’t have much time to spare, so I had no choice but to leave for our pictures…minus the tooth. I was devastated. The photographer ensured me that she would edit the photos and no one would be able to notice the missing tooth, but it was my wedding day, and the last thing I wanted to do was be self-conscious about smiling. Thankfully, the one phone call I was hoping for came through. My cousin had found my tooth in my Mom and Dad’s hotel room!! (I had forgotten I even went up there!! #scatterbrain) My Mom wrapped up my tooth in a tissue and left it at the front desk for me to pick up …something I’m sure happens all the time at hotels, right? Aside from the slight lisp the tooth gave me, the rest of the evening went on without a hitch..and I was all smiles. That night I told myself, “this was it. No more restricting, no more binging, no more purging. I am starting a new life now. Enough is enough. I need to stop.” But I didn’t stop.
Two more years go by and not only had my remaining top front teeth become transparent, I also had a dead tooth that showed off a lovely shade of brown. After many discussions, Steve and I decided I was at a point in my recovery where it made sense to get my teeth fixed for good this time. We visited several specialists, looking for the best of the best and landed on one with an incredible portfolio and great bedside manner. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed of my teeth, Dr. Patel from Downtown Dental put me at ease, passing no judgment and making me feel completely comfortable with the process. He told me veneers would not be enough because of the damage that was done, so I ended up undergoing 7 root canals (in one sitting might I add) and had 8 porcelain crowns applied to my top front 8 teeth. Several visits and thousands of dollars later (most of my work is considered cosmetic, so insurance would not cover it), I couldn’t be happier with the results! Since the procedure, I have had my remaining top teeth and 3 of my bottom teeth root canaled and crowned. While there is more work ahead to complete on the bottom, I am happy to report that I recently had my first clean bill of health from the dentist in over 15 years (granted I don’t have many real teeth left!). I left the dentist again in tears, but this time tears of joy.
I know my story was long, but I felt it necessary to share. Behind all the outfit photos and fashion posts, I want you to know there is more to this stylish scatterbrain. I struggled with eating disorders, depression and anxiety for over half my life, and what you just read is only a fraction of the impact they had. This was all while going through treatment, trying different therapies, medications and having the unconditional support of family and friends. I wanted to share not for your sympathy, but to shed light on the emotional, physical and financial burden that come along with these disorders that affect millions of men and women around the world.
Today I continue to work on being the healthiest and happiest I can be. Thanks to an awesome team from Whole Health Chicago and following the work of Dr. Hyman (I will be sharing more on him and his books later this week!!), I am finally learning more about why I have struggled with these disorders and learning what I can do to treat the causes as oppose to just putting a band-aid on the symptoms of these said disorders. I’m thankful to Maya and the rest of the bloggers who are participating in today’s #RealBloggerBeauty and hope that we can continue to support one another through sharing our experiences and showing that there is more to us than what appears on our blog and instagram feed. Be sure to head over to Maya’s blog here to check out more #RealBloggerBeauty stories!