Gaten Matarazzo is a 19 years old actor, who is making a name for himself, he is a stars as Dustin Henderson in the smash Netflix series Stranger Things.
Justin’s toothless grin is been laughed at in the first episode, but he promptly responds, saying, “his teeth are still growing in.”
Gaten has cleidocranial dysplasia, a hereditary condition that impairs the formation of all bones, particularly his teeth and collarbones, in real life.
CCD is extremely uncommon, affecting only one person in a million.
The Stranger Things star has undergone three-tooth extraction surgeries and also wears an appliance to manually pull his teeth down.
In the next months, the illness will necessitate even more procedures.
The actor is a source of inspiration for individuals with CCD and serves as an ambassador for CCD Smiles, an organization that promotes awareness and funds for persons with the illness.
The majority of individuals are unaware that not all surgeries are covered by insurance. It’s always a point of contention as to whether the surgery is aesthetic or medicinal, which is unjust.
CCD is undeniably a medical disease; labeling it as cosmetic is ludicrous because everyone needs teeth! Gaten has made several appearances in the media to promote the cause.
Feldman met Matarazzo recently in Washington, D.C., on Lobby Day, an annual event in which dental students, teachers, and professional dentists campaign for oral health problems and CCD.
Matarazzo has been a strong advocate for CCD since the beginning of the show.
Matarazzo revealed tales about growing up with CCD, including specifics of his therapy throughout the years, during his chat with the dean.
“He described it as odd. He was at an age when all the other kids his age had all their teeth and he didn’t,” Feldman said.
The actor spoke about how difficult it was to locate dentists who were familiar with his condition, which comprised additional teeth known as supernumerary teeth as well as adult teeth that had not yet developed.
“He had a hard time finding someone to handle his case and has had a number of procedures to remove the extra teeth,” the dean explained.
Feldman was impressed that Matarazzo’s genetic problem was written into Stranger Things by the show’s producers, The Duffer Brothers, allowing his genetic condition to evolve with his character.