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17-year-old with dwarfism seeks new teeth before going to college

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Julia Falcon, For the Denton Record-Chronicle

Standing at 4 feet and 2 inches tall, Hannah McCain is just like every other high school senior, ready to leave home and begin her path to a career. 

McCain, 17, plans to pursue a degree in interior design at Abilene Christian University next fall. The one thing she is hoping for before then is for a set of new teeth. 

Due to her rare form of dwarfism, McCain's dental structure is weaker than most people's. The roots of her teeth are smaller than they should be for her age, and any teeth she has are still "baby" teeth, without adult teeth forming behind them. 

"It's kind of hard to eat and it's pretty painful," McCain said. "It's going to be really expensive to fix them, so I decided to make a GoFundMe to maybe help my parents out. Like I said, it is really expensive and it's going to be a big blow to the bank account."

Seventeen-year-old Hannah McCain has a rare form of dwarfism. Her case has caused damage to her dental health, and as a result she is preparing for a series of dental implants that will give her a new, shining smile. DRC
Seventeen-year-old Hannah McCain has a rare form of dwarfism. Her case has caused damage to her dental health, and as a result she is preparing for a series of dental implants that will give her a new, shining smile. 
DRC

McCain said because the procedure is considered cosmetic by insurance companies, her family's insurance won't be able to cover any costs for it.

Her journey for dental implants began nine months ago, when her dentist in Denton sent her case files to the Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas. 

After six months, they heard nothing. 

When her dentist sent the case files again, it was a matter of days before the dentistry college showed interest in the case and set up a meeting with McCain. 

After a series of X-rays, dentists discovered that McCain's dental implants will require more grafting than usual. A normal set would have four screws, but McCain will need 11 to 15 to support her weak bones, upping the price. 

Hannah's mom, Sheryl Martin, said her daughter is very independent and will tell you exactly what is on her mind.

"When she realized she wouldn't grow anymore, she just wanted a pretty smile — that's all she wanted," Martin said. "So for me, it would just be seeing her [with] one less thing to deal with in her life. She has hearing aids and glasses and she's short, so it's like that would be a gift of one less thing to deal with."

With dental visits every six to eight weeks, each visit is figuring out what to do next, Martin said. 

The next step is to get molds done for temporary implants that McCain hopes to have in time for her high school graduation from Denton Calvary Academy in May. 

If the family were to pay for the procedure out-of-pocket, it would total about $50,000.

 "It's not like she has a gap in her teeth and wants a pretty smile — it is medically necessary," Martin said. 

McCain has learned to accept who she is, but said getting new teeth would be a small step toward a bigger future. 

"It's getting to the point when I bite and it catches and gets very painful," McCain said. "And I just want to be normal, you know, so getting new teeth would be helping take the next step to make life easier." 

Hannah's older sister, Sarah, who is 20, said her sibling is her hero and she deserves the procedure. 

"She always hides her smile, and now I'm realizing this surgery is something she needs," Sarah said. "It's not just about her smile anymore, it's a matter of being able to eat now."