Bracing herself against the bullies
Before Sarah Gammon-Carter had orthodontic treatment she was mocked and taunted by fellow pupils at her primary school because her two front teeth stuck out by 12 mm and this impacted hugely on her confidence and self-esteem.
The cruel looks and name-calling blighted a period in her life that she would be happier to forget but instead she is eager to raise awareness of the impact bullying by taking part in an anti-bullying campaign conducted by her Orthodontic practice, Inline Orthodontics.
Sarah will bravely talk about her experiences to Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and local healthcare professionals at a round table discussion being held during anti-bully week this month.
Sarah’s experience is not an isolated one. A recent study was conducted to investigate the relationship between being bullied and sticking out teeth and its effect on an individual’s self-esteem.
The key findings of the study revealed that almost 13% of adolescents aged between 10-14 years examined for orthodontic treatment had been bullied. This equates to thirteen of every one hundred young people who need orthodontic treatment.
The findings of this study show for the first time that there is clear link between being bullied and the presence of malocclusion (sticking out teeth). More importantly the negative impact on a child’s psychological status was reported. For the first time it has been showed that being bullied can have both short-term and long-term effects on physiological and psychological wellbeing.
Desperate for help with the appearance of her teeth since the age of seven, Sarah’s wish was granted when her family dentist referred her to Dr Jonathan Alexander-Abt of Inline Orthodontics who then took on her treatment.
As soon as the treatment began, Sarah noticed that she was being treated differently at school. The first one to wear a brace in her year group, other children began looking up to her instead of taunting her.
A few weeks ago, now twelve years old and attending high school, Sarah completed her fixed brace treatment and she can’t stop smiling. As well as seeing an aesthetic improvement, Sarah has noticed an improvement in her pronunciation and feels she is able to speak more clearly. Sarah explains her newfound confidence:
'I felt really embarrassed to smile before because I thought people would have judged me, but now that I have them off and I actually have straight teeth, I smile much more and I’m not afraid of what people think. I think it has brought out another side of me and I feel I can stand up to people more.'
While at primary school, Sarah won a Citizenship Award for the compassionate support she gave a fellow student who was feeling disheartened about his new twin block brace.
Seeing that he was upset, Sarah comforted him and explained that while it wasn’t an easy treatment he should persevere, as the results would be worth it.
When asked if she would recommend orthodontic treatment to someone who was considering it, Sarah confessed: 'I have had people ask me and before I say anything else I tell them the truth and I say it does hurt when you first get them and for about three days after, because I don’t want to lie to them. I then say, "It’s totally worth it!" and "You won’t regret it after you have them taken off. You just have to stick in there and be brave while they’re on, because once you get them off you will be so happy and you won’t regret it!”
Sarah is eager to contribute to this month’s anti-bullying campaign to support people who may be in the same position she was. She will talk alongside key members of the local community including head teachers, sports club leaders and dentists who have been invited to participate at the event taking place at Inline Orthodontics.
For more information about Inline Orthodontics’ Anti Bullying Campaign, visit www.inlineortho.co.uk or call 01483 765 395.
To highlight the campaign, Inline Orthodontics will be giving out blue Beat Bullying campaign bracelets to every patient who visits the practice through to the end of November.