Getty Images | instagram.com/strangerthingstv
Source: Getty Images | instagram.com/strangerthingstv

Gaten Matarazzo's Teeth — 'Stranger Things' Star Opened Up about His Genetic Condition

Busayo Ogunjimi
Jul 05, 2022
05:45 A.M.
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Gaten Matarazzo is proof that anyone can amount to greatness, despite difficulties. He has risen through bullying and rejection due to a rare defect that affects his teeth to become one of the most inspiring young stars. Find out more about the condition that affects Gaten Matarazzo's teeth.


Gaten Matarazzo is an Italian-American actor best known for his role as Dustin Henderson in the Netflix original sci-fi series "Stranger Things." The 19-year-old captured the viewers' attention from the series's first episode when he was being bullied for his toothless smile.

In his response to the bullies, Dustin Henderson would explain the reason for his condition. The young actor made it known that it was caused by a medical disorder called Cleidocranial Dysplasia. This rare genetic defect affects the development of the teeth and bones.

Gaten Matarazzo attends the 75th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 12, 2022 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Gaten Matarazzo attends the 75th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 12, 2022 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


As the series progressed, viewers got used to seeing Henderson's toothless smile as he continued to shed more light on the condition. However, many still wonder if the defect is only peculiar to Matarazzo's character or if the young actor suffers the rare disorder in real life.


Anyone following Matarazzo's story would know that the actor suffers from Cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD) in real life. He was born with the condition, which affects only his teeth and collarbones, although it is also known to affect other bones in the body.

Although he appears to be in a good place now, despite the defect, it was not always rosy for the young actor. During a 2018 interview on "The Doctors," Matarazzo revealed he was often bullied, and the condition also prevented him from getting roles.


According to the young star, he would go for auditions three times a week, but there was no result. Nevertheless, the people around Matarazzo encouraged him not to give up, and in the end, his perseverance paid off.

He bagged the Dustin Henderson role in 2016 and got the opportunity to enlighten the world about his condition. During the 2018 chat on "The Doctors," Matarazzo opened up about the producers' decision to implement his condition in the series.


According to the actor, they wanted all the characters to be unique, and when the producers heard about Matarazzo's case, they felt it would be realistic and relatable. However, they were worried about mentioning the "bullying part" in the series, but Matarazzo assured them it was okay because it was realistic.

A few years have passed since the actor's condition became public, and Matarazzo is now a star and an inspiration to other people with the defect. He uses his fame for good by creating awareness about CCD and sharing his story of rising as a young star with Cleidocranial Dysplasia.



To cope with the condition, he has undergone various tooth extraction surgeries and has to wear dentures and an appliance to pull his teeth down manually. In 2020, he underwent yet another surgery, hoping it would be the last.

"Though my expression in this picture may not show it, the surgery was a complete success😂. This was such a big one. It may be the last one I need. Hopefully, at least," Matarazzo captioned a photo of him on a hospital bed.


He also confessed that the surgery was a four-hour procedure, which saw 14 supernumerary teeth extracted and six of his adult teeth exposed. Overall, Matarazzo made it known that he was thankful to the team of doctors and everyone who sent well wishes and prayers.

Two years later, the actor looks great. Fans are excited to see Matarazzo on their screens again following the release of "Stranger Things" season four.

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