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GROWING up, Alex Sandroski always had problems with her teeth.
The 24-year-old, from Pennsylvania, was born with short roots and often suffered extreme toothaches as a child.
Throughout her teenage years, Alex – who now works at a dispatcher for a dental company – continued losing teeth and struggled with regular infections and breakage.
She explained: "I missed a lot of school because I would be up all night with bad toothache and when I was 12, I was given braces for the first time which worsened my condition.
"The cavities got worse and the dentist discovered I had short roots during the time I had braces meaning my teeth were getting extremely loose and breaking.
"I had to have the braces removed and a permanent wire put on the back of my teeth to keep them in place.
"But whenever I would eat something, my teeth would crack off and crumble into my mouth.
In an attempt to create some kind uniformity, Alex was advised to get a root canal treatment and crowns on the majority of her remaining teeth – but claims it was a "botched" job.
She continued: "I had problems from day one of doing that – [my dentist] didn't do the work properly and it was done too quickly so everything started to fail and before I knew it, I was having infection after infection.
At just 22 years old, Alex was faced with the decision to either have all her teeth removed or continue forking for treatments.
People think it's my fault for not looking after my teeth properly but it's genetic. The dentures look very realistic and no one knows I have them until I tell them – I love seeing people's reactions for the first time!
She explained: "I kept needing more and more teeth pulled out that I eventually made the decision to just have them all removed.
"My teeth were so infected that there was nothing I could do and financially, I couldn't afford dental implants so I made the difficult decision and felt extremely sad about it".
Explaining how dental problems run in her family, Alex said: "There's a lot of judgement from people online but I've learned to laugh at it now – in the beginning it was hard.
"People think it's my fault for not looking after my teeth properly but it's genetic.
"My grandmother had dentures at the same age as me and my mum is constantly struggling with her teeth.
"My dad's side of the family all have short roots meaning they're prone to breakage."
But after years of feeling self-conscious about her smile, Alex now has a realistic set of fake teeth – and she loves surprising strangers by popping them out.
She added: "Dental implants would have set me back $35,000 for just the top and I couldn't afford it.
"Right now, I'm at a point where I'm happy, pain free and pleased with my decision to get dentures.
"The dentures look very realistic and no one knows I have them until I tell them – I love seeing people's reactions for the first time!"
After she's brushed her teeth in the morning, Alex glues her dentures into place and then cleans them last thing in the evening.
She said: "I'm able to eat with them in and don't even have to think about it but I did have to relearn how to eat with dentures.
"It's a big adjustment but I can bite into apples, steaks, burgers, and other chewy food but I tend to avoid hard sweets".
Alex has been married to her husband for three years and says he has been fully supportive of her transition to having dentures.
She said: "If I was single, I would have found the decision even more scary because a lot of people might not like the fact you have fake teeth.
"I'm trying to help other women and girls out there who are having to get dentures and show them that it's not as scary as they might think.
"It's been life changing for me but in a good way."
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