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Girl’s Dental Braces Stops Bullies

A girl who faced bullying taunts on a weekly basis for her protruding teeth has scooped an award in recognition of how extensive orthodontic dental work can changes lives.

The Against all Odds award was conceived by the British Orthodontic Society (BOS) to illustrate the power of orthodontic treatment.

Teenager Eva Hulme was seriously affected by the appearance of her teeth and suffered shocking humiliation, facing bullies throughout primary and secondary school.

She first visited an orthodontist at only 3 years old as her dentist was concerned about the prominence of her teeth and upper jaw but, despite having her first brace in 2001 to help align her teeth, they remained prominent and she could not close her mouth.

The real problems started as her second teeth came through. Her upper front teeth protruded at an angle of 44°, 11 mm in front of her lower teeth and her appearance was worsened by her extremely short upper lip, which meant her gums were always visible.

Her teeth gave the appearance of being oversized so much so that a stranger asked where she had got her fake teeth from.

Now 16, her journey to achieve the smile she’s always wished for has won her first prize in this national competition.

Her orthodontist, Dr. Jonty Meisner, began treating her in 2005. Dr. Meisner felt that it was imperative for her to undergo a lengthy course of treatment at a much younger age than is normally recommended because he could see how seriously Eva’s teeth were affecting both her psychological well-being and her overall health.

“It was important not only to improve her appearance but also to reduce the risk of further trauma to her upper incisors, as her protrusion meant that she would often bang her teeth,” Dr. Meisner said.

Dr Meisner proposed an innovative course of treatment to reduce both the protrusion and the visibility of her teeth, using an upper removable brace in combination with high pull headgear, before progressing to a fixed brace.

Three years into her course of treatment, Dr. Meisner placed temporary anchorage devices or “gum studs” to pull the teeth upward so as to stop them hanging down so far in relation to the lip.

Dr. Meisner will be awarded a trophy at the British Orthodontic Society’s annual conference in Brighton.

In addition, so impressive was the quality of the entries that two further prizes of Sonicare toothbrushes were awarded—to camera-shy Carole Clark, who underwent treatment in her 40s and 16-year-old cerebral palsy-sufferer, Paisley Laws, who, despite having two operations to improve her walking while going through her course of orthodontic treatment, managed to persevere with her braces.

The Against the Odds competition is open to patients who have recently completed specialist orthodontic treatment and seeks to raise awareness of the impact of orthodontic treatment on patients’ lives.

The entries to the 2010 competition were judged by Professor Tim Newton, professor of psychology as applied to dentistry and head of oral health services research at the King’s College London Dental Institute; Sara Wallis, feature writer of the Daily Mirror; the chief executive of the BOS, Dr. Les Joffe; and Professor David Bearn, who is professor of orthodontics at the University of Dundee.

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