Caymi Studnicka, 23, spent almost a decade addicted to pain relief tablets that contain opioids called vicodin after breaking her ankle aged nine – and has shared the impact
A young woman has been forced to wear dentures following an addiction to prescription pills.
Caymi Studnicka, 23, spent almost a decade addicted to pain relief tablets that contain opioids called vicodin following an ankle break aged nine.
At 18, she went to rehab and overcame the addiction but sadly, it was too late for her teeth as they were damaged and falling out.
The 23-year-old, who lives in Chicago, US, was left with no choice but to have all of her rotting teeth removed and dentures.
She said: “In 2018, I was terrified as a tooth from the front fell out. Within a year, my teeth rapidly decayed and began to break off.
“I had black decaying dots all over my teeth which caused me severe anxiety.” Caymi was told by a dentist that the dental problems were caused by substance abuse.
She spent nine years hooked on painkillers following one bone break after another during an opioid crisis in America.
She said: “Unfortunately, I was left to my own devices as a child and allowed to manage my own pain.
“I have fragile bones so after the first break at nine years old, there were many more meaning I continued to get the tablets.
“At 15, I realised I was addicted as I couldn’t go a day without taking them every three to four hours.
“Otherwise, I would experience withdrawal pains.”
Aged 18, Caymi spent three months in rehab to get clean. The following year, problems began with her teeth that often left her unable to eat.
She said: “For 18 months, I tried to get on with my life despite my teeth breaking and black holes forming.
“It seemed like there was nothing to do to stop it from happening and I couldn’t afford to see a dentist.
“I looked so malnourished as I couldn’t eat as even bread would cause a breakage.
“I lost a lot of weight and didn’t look or feel good at all.
“I started getting reoccurring abscesses and once it turned into something more sinister.
“The oral infection had turned septic and I spent one month in hospital as they pumped antibiotics into my body.”
During her time in hospital, Caymi’s boyfriend Alexander Drake, 22, decided to set up a Go Fund Me to help with the dental costs.
The only way Caymi’s life would be improved was through extraction surgery followed by dentures.
She said: “I really didn’t want to ask anyone for help but Alexander made a fundraiser in October 2020 as my insurance refused to cover the cost.
“They saw the removal of all my teeth as cosmetic rather than medically needed. I am a recovering addict so I was scared incase people shamed me but addiction is a brain disease, especially when you’re so young.
“My brain didn’t know any better.” Within a year, kind strangers donated £20,000 [$25,000 USD] to cover the cost.
Caymi had her three remaining teeth removed and immediate dentures.
She said: “I received so much love and support from people who follow me on social media. I can’t believe strangers wanted to help me.
“At this point, my teeth were severely damaged and impacted into my gums or barely there.
“I was excited and nervous for the surgery as I didn’t want to take more than necessary pain medication but thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as I thought at all.
“My teeth have caused me so much pain and anxiety, I was ready to have them out of my mouth. I was relieved more than anything to have dentures.”
Caymi hopes to break the stigma attached to young people and false teeth.
She said: “I have to deal with negative comments on a daily basis.
“They used to bother me but there’s a block button for a reason. Tooth loss is so stigmatised but I am trying to bring awareness of the other realties of tooth loss like pregnancy and addictions.
“I am finally happy for the first time in years as I am no longer living my life addicted to tablets nor in pain.”