BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - MAY 14: Gaten Matarazzo attends Netflix's "Stranger Things" season 4 premiere at Netflix Brooklyn on May 14, 2022 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
The Rare Medical Condition Gaten Matarazzo Has
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Gaten has CCD
Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin Henderson in “Stranger Things,” has a health condition called cleidocranial dysplasia, or CCD. Contracting the condition is said to be a "one in a million" chance; it is congenital and hinders bone formation, resulting in fragile, altered, and/or missing bones.
multiple surgeries
Gaten was born without collarbones, and has dealt with irregular growth of his teeth. He has gone through four surgeries, in addition to multiple extractions of baby teeth — his most recent surgery extracted 14 — and has to wear an orthopedic appliance to help the growth of his adult teeth.
Gaten lost roles
Gaten’s aspirations to make it big in show business were often met with rejection, due to casting directors' inability to understand or accept his condition. However, this streak of rejections couldn’t break the young actor’s spirit, which eventually led him to his big break, "Stranger Things."
Stranger Things
Gaten auditioned for the role of Mike Wheeler, but the creators of Stranger Things cast him as Dustin and wrote his CDD into the story, giving more shape to the character we love today. Following the show's premiere, there was a 94% increase in online searches about cleidocranial dysplasia.
Dustin’s missing teeth
In "Stranger Things" Season 2, Dustin has a full set of front teeth, but by Season 3, they were gone again, and Matarazzo confirmed that he used dentures in the previous season. He underwent another surgical extraction after Season 3's finale and still works hard to overcome his health difficulties.