Ellie Jones’ family had no idea what was wrong with her jaw so they had her fitted with braces at 14-years-old. It was then that she learned she had a congenital facial condition that caused her jaw to stop growing when she was a child.
Jones admits she had no idea she had a jaw deformity. However, the way her teeth lined up had always bothered her, and it was something strangers would make comments about when they walked by.
She explained the experience:
“I always thought I had a small face and jaw, but I never knew I could’ve had a problem like this,” Jones says. “My teeth always bothered me, to the point when I even tried to put elastic bands in my mouth to see if they would straighten. It’s didn’t work obviously, but the thought was there.
She explained that the only time she was ever really made fun of for her looks was when strangers would make “snide” comments while passing by:
“Growing up I had the same group of friends, so everyone just knew me as me. I think I was just very lucky with who my friends where. People may have said things behind my back, I don’t know, but all I know now is that I am who I am because of all of this.”
Her orthodontist Joy Hickman recruited consultant maxillofacial surgeon, Emma Woolley, to help the girl get her jaw fixed.
Woolley explained that jaw deformities are actually common and that people simply ‘don’t actually realize they have a jaw deformity, and just accept that they have difficulties biting.’ The condition, if not treated at a young age, can cause great difficulties as an adult.
At the age of 16, Jones underwent her first surgery and she remembers what a terrible experience it was.
Jones’ remembers being on a liquid diet for a whole month and she couldn’t talk properly the entire time. She needed to scribble down her thoughts in order to communicate with others. Then, after she was able to begin mumbling, she had to talk with a lisp for a length of time.
After six months, she began to heal and was preparing for her 11th-grade prom. She was happy that her appearance was greatly improved and loved her new look. She opted for a second corrective surgery on her chin, which ‘made another big difference.’
Since her surgeries, Jones admits that her self-confidence has increased and her overall life experience feels much better. ‘Now I just feel normal,’ she explains, ‘It’s worth the year of pain and my mom said ‘what’s a year compared to the rest of your life.’’
She said that the surgeries — and the pain that came with them — was the best thing she has ever done.
“It does get better. It is the best thing I have ever done because it has changed my whole entire life.
“I just hope young girls or boys who are going through it will one day feel as confident as I do now. It’s a long process, but the results are amazing. I never knew as a teen that I could ever feel as good about myself as I do now.”
With most of her insecurities behind her, Ellie plans to take her newly found confidence and put it all into a career as a photographer.