Ellie Jones was born with a rare condition that made her jawbones stop growing when she was 8-years-old. Not only was this a problem in terms of aesthetics, but it also prevented her teeth to line up and made it difficult to eat.
- There’s not a specific name for this condition
- But doctors seem to think it’s more common than people know
However, it wasn’t until she was 14-years-old that she discovered she had it. Her orthodontist, Joy Hickman, broke the news to her when she went to have her braces fitted.
Over the next six years, Joy worked with maxillofacial surgeon, Emma Woolley, to help Ellie’s jaw catch up with the rest of her face and make it more functional.
Ellie had her first operation at 16, where she had her jaw cut horizontally and vertically, in an attempt to align her mandible with the maxable.
She was then put on liquid diet for a month. What’s worse, the surgery left her so sore that she was unable to talk, and had to use notepad to communicate.
Talking became easier as the months went by, but she had a lisp for a long time due to how swollen her moth was.
After a couple of months, Ellie’s doctors allowed her to start eating soft foods. She was on a soft diet for about four months while her jaw was still too damaged to bite down on things. ‘I did lose quite a lot of weight,’ she told the Daily Post.
Six months after her surgery, Ellie went to her prom feeling confident. ‘It was my year 11 prom and it looked good,’ she told to the Daily Post.
Twelve months later, she had another procedure to change the shape of her chin. Though this surgery wasn’t necessary–at least medically speaking, she asked to have it done to improve her looks and self confidence.
‘Now I just feel normal,’ she told the Daily Post. ‘It’s worth the year of pain and my mum said what’s a year compared to the rest of your life.’
She also told the tabloid newspaper that ‘her new-found confidence was most noticeable in her dance lessons.’I was shy but now I feel really confident. It’s changed my whole life,’ she said.
Her mom, Natalie, also noticed a change in her daughter’s confidence and spirit. ‘The surgery has not only changed the way Ellie looked, but also the way she portrays herself,’ she told the Daily Post.
Emma Woolley also mentioned being happy that the surgery had such a big impact in her patient’s life. ‘I’m really glad the treatment has made a difference and has given Ellie her confidence back,’ she told the online newspaper.
And now that this medical condition is behind her, Ellie dreams of becoming a photographer.
According to Mirror Online, ‘she wants to take photos of others’ special moments and is looking for opportunities to pursue her dream.’
Over 100 patients are seen each year with similar problems, though most are not nearly as severe as Ellie’s, reports the Daily Post.
And what’s even more worrisome, a lot of people don’t realise they have a jaw deformity so they don’t even bother going to the doctor to get their jaw checked out.
‘A lot of people just accept that they have difficulties biting’ said Ellie’s surgeon, Emma Woolley.
The problem is that if this condition is left untreated at a young age, it can cause real difficulties later in life–at least according to Emma Wooley.