'I really was feeling suicidal, it was affecting my life so badly' - Sunderland student shares ordeal of living with rare dental condition
A Sunderland student has opened up about a rare dental condition that left her feeling depressed and suicidal.
Fozia Jatani, 20, suffered bullying at school and had to have therapy and medication for depression because of her amelogenesis imperfecta – a condition so rare that many of the dentists she saw didn’t recognise it.
But now, Fozia has turned her life around thanks to Dr Ken Harris of Sunderland’s Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry, who has given her a perfect set of teeth.
Fozia, who is studying public health at the University of Sunderland, said the transformation has changed her life.
And it has put an end to years of misery because of the disorder, which means the enamel doesn’t form properly and can leave the sufferer not only having discoloured teeth but also dealing with extreme sensitivity.
Fozia said: “My teeth were always really brown and I used to get bullied at school by people asking me if I didn’t own a toothbrush.
“Even school nurses thought I was a smoker because they were so brown.
“At the same time, I couldn’t eat anything cold or anything sweet because it caused me so much pain.”
A number of dentists tried to help Fozia but none of the treatments worked and instead the she retreated into her shell, not wanting to talk unless absolutely necessary and avoiding smiling.
Fozia continued: “I was so conscious and so upset about it that I ended up on antidepressants.
“I really was feeling suicidal, it was affecting my life so badly.”
But when Fozia started university in Sunderland she decided to have one last attempt to find someone who could help and contacted Sunderland’s Riveredge Cosmetic Dentistry.
And she couldn’t believe it when the team said they could help.
Dr Harris initially sorted out the problem with Fozia’s decaying teeth and then gave her a perfect smile with porcelain crowns and composite bonding.
Fozia said: “I can’t thank the team at Riveredge enough, they really have changed my life.”
Dr Harris revealed that Fozia’s condition affects about 1 in 140,000 people. He said: “It does look as if people haven’t cared for their teeth but that is absolutely not the case.
“Amelogenesis imperfecta is due to the malfunction of the proteins in the enamel and people afflicted with amelogenesis imperfecta may have teeth with abnormal colour.
“The teeth also have a higher risk of a range of other dental problems, along with being hypersensitive to temperature changes.
“We are delighted we’ve been able to help Fozia.”