SPHAMANDLA Dzanibe desperately wants to have a normal smile again.
The 22-year-old from the Durban CBD started developing pains on his lower and upper jaws when he was seven.
“My mother took me to a dentist to check what the problem was. The dentist removed some of my teeth. I thought that would make a change, but the situation got worse,” he said.
SPHAMANDLA said his remaining teeth also started giving him problems.
“My teeth started rotting from when I was seven up until the age of 17. I was stressed as I had so many questions with no answers,” he said.
He said even his friends were asking what was wrong with his teeth.
“I remember my English teacher in grade 9 asked me in front of my classmates about them and I felt so embarrassed,” he said.
SPHAMANDLA said he made it through high school by learning to live with his situation.
“But when I was 19 my mother took me to a traditional healer as she was trying to help me, but nothing changed,” he said.
He said last year he went to Addington Hospital in Durban to see what they could do.
He said the dentist recommended to remove all his remaining teeth.
“I attended all the sessions, although it was not easy. Every week I had to remove four teeth on the same day and wait for healing to remove some more teeth, until they were all gone,” he said.
He had to walk around toothless because he was not given temporary dentures.
“I waited for a month to heal so they could measure and make me full-mouth dentures. After I got my full-mouth dentures I could smile confidently for the first time in my life,” he said.
He said when he sleeps he has to remove his false teeth.
“When my phone rings at night I have to first put them in my mouth before I answer my phone. I do appreciate that the situation is no longer the same, but it’s not easy. I’m still young and should be enjoying life like other people my age,” he said.
He said having permanent false teeth is his dream.
“I went to all government hospitals to enquire about getting free implants, and they said there were no sponsors for people younger than 70.
“They said I should go to a private hospital. I went to get a quotation at a private hospital and the dentist said I’d need six implants in the upper jaw and six implants in the lower jaw, and each implant costs R20 000, bringing the total to R240 000 for my full mouth, which I can’t afford.”
SPHAMANDLA said he needs help to raise the R240 000.
“If someone can donate the full service, I’d be happy and appreciative,” he said.