Relationship With Dentures: NJ TikTok Star Finds Causes To Smile
Most of the time, Lily Magno doesn’t wear her dentures.
The 25-year-old native of New Jersey is comfortable without them, so she sees no need to wear them.
Not even when she’s filming a TikTok for the world to see.
But a year ago Magno didn’t want anyone to know the truth about her smile.
In the spring of 2020, the dance instructor and social media guru lost three of her upper teeth to an inflammation of the gums – 12 years after the skateboarding accident that caused her.
Magno was unsure. She was embarrassed. She was depressed.
It wasn’t until she hugged her dentures and her new smile that she was able to regain her own happiness and inspire others on her way on social media.
Magno has long dreamed of getting into modeling and social media, largely thanks to her pearly white clothes.
“I had such a nice smile,” said Magno from Lavalette. “I loved it and people complimented me for it all along.”
She came to TikTok last year at the insistence of the children she taught in a dance studio.
Her early videos were mostly comedy sketches and dance routines, but they didn’t get Magno the reaction she was looking for.
So when she lost her teeth, Magno didn’t really want to post on TikTok anymore.
“Losing my teeth was heartbreaking,” said Magno.
Despite her parents urging, Magno refused to go out. Their dating life came to a standstill. She didn’t even want her friends to see her new smile.
Her first prostheses didn’t help much either.
“It was held in place by suction and at the end of the day it would fall out,” said Magno. “I had to put prosthetic glue in my mouth.
“The shape didn’t fit my teeth very well either, and my lip was sticking out. It was so obvious – I had to take it out to eat and what it looked like when it was in – I was so insecure to smile. “
It didn’t make the date any easier, she said.
Magno especially remembered how she smiled at a guy at the bar and he put his hands over his mouth and pretended to throw up.
That made it even more difficult to accept yourself.
But at the end of October 2020 Magno got a new part. That was what she said, helped her gain confidence and turn her life inside out.
“I felt like I had my old smile back,” said Magno.
For the first time in almost a year, Magno felt like herself again. And so she started making more TikToks – with and without teeth.
For a while, Magno stuck with making comedy and dance videos on TikTok. She said she didn’t want her teeth to become her niche on TikTok.
But one day, she thought, why not? – and posted a video of her dentition and missing teeth.
It started almost immediately.
“As I started realizing what I could bring to the table for people my age and younger who work with dentures, I started to publicize it more than my niche,” she said.
“I liked the idea of trying to change social norms and celebrate imperfections.”
And so, clicking your teeth in and out of your mouth became the norm for Magno on TikTok.
She talks about the trials and tribulations of engaging in dating. She jokes that she accidentally left her teeth at home.
Magno ensures that others in the same boat feel much less alone.
She says people are equally curious and grateful. Many people think Magno’s missing teeth are due to drug use, she said.
A video she posted last July about showing up on a date without receiving her dentures 4.9 million views. Another had about someone close to her who was disgusted by her “false teeth” 6.5 million views.
Magno says it helps others to accept their own imperfections – especially youngsters, when she makes their situation transparent.
“If that’s all you see, you will be struggling with your own life by age 13,” said Magno. “There is something that we have to change in society.”
Being open about their situation made dating easier, Magno said.
“Some guys have been so supportive of not only having false teeth but of what I do online for it,” she said.
“Most of the time, when a guy doesn’t want to talk, it’s because I post so much about it online, not because I have false teeth,” she added. “It’s a strange mix.”
But Magno realizes that finding a friend will come in time.
Right now, she’s focused on getting her message across: “Embrace the idea of being yourself online and offline.”
Now that she’s on social media, Magno is working on getting into the entertainment industry.
She hopes to one day show that “it’s okay not to look flawless on national television – and take your teeth out”.
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