- In the second epsiode of Hulu’s new show, The Act, based on the true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, Gypsy has to get her teeth extracted.
- According to the American Dental Association, dental extractions occur when the teeth are severely decayed, damaged, or diseased.
- It’s unclear why Gypsy’s teeth decayed, but it’s likely a combination of poor dental hygiene, malnutrition, and the many unnecessary medications she was taking.
Hulu’s newest show The Act premiered Wednesday night, and people already can’t stop talking about it (the show is based on true events, after all).
The Act follows the story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee, who was murdered by Gypsy Rose’s boyfriend in 2015. Gypsy Rose suffered from years of physical and mental abuse from Dee Dee, in which Dee Dee raised Gypsy as if she had many serious illnesses, though Gypsy was perfectly healthy.
In the second episode (aptly named “Teeth”) of The Act’s two-episode premiere, Gypsy’s dental issues come into play. During a visit with her usual doctor, Dee Dee says Gypsy’s teeth are like “swiss cheese,” and believes it’s because of an underlying condition like acid reflux.
Whatever the case, Gypsy’s new doctor, Dr. Lakshmi Chandra, suggests she has her rotting teeth removed—so that’s exactly what happens. The issue? Gypsy isn’t totally aware of the teeth-removal until the anesthesia for the procedure starts to kick in. That’s when (understandably) panic sets in.
The show cuts to Gypsy waking up from the procedure, her mouth bloodied and bruised—and completely toothless. To make matters worse, Gypsy must later be honored at a Child Of The Year ceremony (later, Dee Dee surprises Gypsy with a new set of teeth, just moments before she was supposed to go on stage).
Take a step back…why would Gypsy need a teeth extraction?
So, a tooth extraction is essentially just having your tooth pulled. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), teeth will sometimes need to be removed because of decay, disease, or trauma.
In Gypsy’s case, her teeth were severely decayed. But, according to a 2016 BuzzFeed investigation on the true story, it’s unclear whether Gypsy’s teeth were rotting because of poor dental hygiene, malnutrition, or the medications she didn’t need—or a combination of all three.
Gypsy says a medication called Tegretol for epilepsy caused her “teeth to crumble.”
Let’s break those reasons down a little more: As far as poor dental hygiene goes, Gypsy’s teeth were noticeably decayed. When Dr. Chandra suggested Gypsy’s regular dentist should’ve caught her tooth issues long ago, Dee Dee agrees, but also says she hasn’t been able to book an appointment, so we have no idea how long it had been since Gypsy actually saw a dentist.
As for malnutrition, well, Gypsy spent years being fed through a feeding tube in her stomach—she was still being fed that way in 2009, at the time of her teeth extraction, when Gypsy was 18 years old. When asked by Dr. Chandra if she takes any food orally, Dee Dee says, “barely anything—just enough to get a taste.” Gypsy also chimes in and says she actually eats “maybe 20 percent” of her food.
And for medications she didn’t need, well, there was a laundry list of them. According to an interview with Dr. Phil in 2017, Gypsy was prescribed a medication called Tegretol for epilepsy, which Gypsy says caused her “teeth to crumble.” Along with her incorrectly diagnosed epilepsy, Gypsy was also falsely diagnosed with chromosomal defects, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, severe asthma, sleep apnea, eye problems, and even leukemia as a toddler.
Clearly, Gypsy went through far more than any person should have to endure—and her teeth extraction only added to the years of pain she went through.
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