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A Piece of My Mind
January 17, 2017

A Mind-Body Duelist

Author Affiliations
JAMA. 2017;317(3):261. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.12484

Nine months after I was born, my pediatrician noticed something was wrong. Diagnosed with ectodermal dysplasia, I began my life with a disability. Medically, it has not been unmanageable. Emotionally, it has been a difficult journey.

Things got tough during high school when I desperately needed a new set of dentures. I was reluctant to get them made because doing so forced me to acknowledge my handicap. If I had to get new teeth, I wanted it done the quickest and least painful way possible. At the prosthodontist’s office, I expected to make a choice between two such options: my usual, removable overdentures (quick and easy) or implants in my jaw that could fix a more permanent prosthesis (ostensibly also quick and easy).

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