Clinic co-ordinator’s underbite caused bullies to throw rocks
No pain, no gain: Clinic co-ordinator, 23, whose severe underbite caused bullies to throw rocks at her and brand her a ‘bulldog’ is now turning heads after jaw-alignment surgery
- Rebecca Hamilton also did not produce adult teeth after loosing her baby ones
- For years Ms Hamilton felt ‘constantly ugly’ and was barely able to eat
- She underwent four-hour surgery to move her bottom jaw back by 8mm
- Ms Hamilton lost a lost of blood and spent weeks crying from the agony
- She is encouraging others to go for the surgery or embrace their uniqueness
A woman whose severe underbite caused bullies to throw rocks at her and cruelly nickname her ‘bulldog’, is now turning heads since having double-jaw surgery.
As well as her underbite, Rebecca Hamilton, 23, from Derry, Northern Ireland, inherited ‘gapped teeth’ from her father, which occurs when no adult teeth replace baby ones after they fall out.
After years of feeling ‘constantly ugly’ and barely being able to eat anything, Ms Hamilton underwent four-hour surgery in December 2016 to move her top jaw forward by 7mm and her bottom jaw back 8mm.
Although now thrilled with the results, Ms Hamilton, a clinic coordinator, lost a lot of blood during the procedure and spent weeks crying from the pain.
Despite her discomfort, Ms Hamilton says she will ‘never look back’ and is encouraging others with the condition to either go for the surgery or embrace their uniqueness.
Ms Hamilton, who recently got engaged to her school boyfriend Stephane, said: ‘You have to love yourself! Never let anyone tell you how you should look and if your happy with how you are then don’t change for anyone.’
Rebecca Hamilton, whose severe underbite caused cruel bullies to throw rocks at her and nickname her ‘bulldog’, is now turning heads since having double-jaw surgery
Before the surgery, Ms Hamilton said she felt ‘ugly constantly’ and embarrassed of her profile
Ms Hamilton’s fiancé Stephane (pictured before her surgery) told her she was beautiful
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WHAT IS AN UNDERBITE?
An underbite occurs when a person’s lower teeth and jaw protrude over their upper teeth.
This is usually inherited from a parent who also has the condition.
Other causes include thumb sucking, babies using dummies and prolonged bottle feeding.
Aside from a sufferer’s appearance, other symptoms can include headaches, poor self-esteem and teeth grinding or breaking.
Braces are the most common treatment but can make wearers, particularly children, feel self conscious.
Specially-made headgears can be effective but are highly noticeable and often uncomfortable.
In extreme cases, surgery to shave off the jaw bone is required as a last resort.
It is unclear how many people suffer from an underbite in the UK or US.
‘I was called ugly on daily basis’
Speaking of the years of bullying, Ms Hamilton, who now lives in Dublin, said: ‘It was terrible, I don’t think people understood it at all.
‘I remember people throwing money at me in the school corridors and telling me to use the money to get my teeth fixed.
‘I remember girls in my class would called me “bulldog”. I was called ugly on daily basis.
‘I remember walking home from school one day and this boy threw rocks at me and asked me what’s wrong with my face.
‘I always brushed these comments off and it was only when I got older I realised how badly it had affected me. Bullying is such an awful thing, you’re basically pulling down others and for what cause reason?
She added: ‘I constantly felt ugly. I was so paranoid if someone sat beside me that they would see my side profile and make fun of me.
‘I put on a brave face, so no one would have known how this affected me. Inside I was so self-conscious.
‘During school presentations my face would be bright red because I would be so embarrassed that they can see my jaw.
‘In photos, my lips would look like they were stretched, and my sisters would even ask “why are you pulling that face, you look so stupid” so this did not help at all.
Bullies threw rocks at Ms Hamilton and cruelly nicknamed her ‘bulldog’
The surgery involved moving her top jaw forward by 7mm and her bottom jaw back 8mm
Ms Hamilton says many people find her before and after pictures ‘unbelievable’
She adds the surgeons did an ‘amazing job’ and transformed her confidence
‘My fiancé made me feel beautiful’
As well as the impact her underbite had on her self esteem, Ms Hamilton’s condition also affected other aspects of her life.
She said: ‘Before the surgery, I struggled to eat things like sandwiches, burgers, pizza because I physically couldn’t bite it.
‘I would have to break the food up and eat it in pieces and people would ask me why don’t I eat it normally.
‘The biggest limitation it had on me was my mental health; this is the worst part of having this problem.’
Despite everything, the support of her then-boyfriend helped Ms Hamilton through.
She said: ‘My fiancé didn’t really notice how bad my jaw was until after and it was only then that he noticed why I needed it.
‘He was with me even when I had my underbite and made me feel beautiful even though I felt like I wasn’t. He was with me the whole time through the process and I will be forever grateful to him.’
Ms Hamilton (after) says the impact her condition had on her mental health was the worst
Ms Hamilton (after) is now able to eat without having to cut her food into tiny pieces
She adds she will be ‘forever grateful’ to Stephan who was with her throughout (after)
‘For the first couple of weeks after surgery I just cried’
While the surgery itself went smoothly, Ms Hamilton says the aftermath was painful and uncomfortable.
She said: ‘The recovery was extremely hard. One of my best friends actually had jaw surgery and her recovery seemed so simple compared to mine.
‘Waking up from surgery, I lost a lot of blood and my oxygen levels were low. I was extremely nauseous, and I struggled to breathe for the first few days as the swelling was so intense and made me feel numb.
‘Your whole face is numb. This made drinking and talking so difficult. Due to lack of food, I would faint a lot during the first week.
‘It was more uncomfortable than anything else; the swelling just made everything so difficult. For the first couple of weeks after surgery I just cried because I didn’t know why I did this to myself.
‘The surgeon measured my face and got the exact measurements, so my bite can align. He has to get it perfect or it would be a waste of surgery.
She added: ‘For me, bone had to be removed from my lower jaw, so they can make it the correct size and my top jaw was removed, moved forward and screwed into place.
‘As your mouth has to be wired closed for over six weeks after surgery you need to have braces for the surgery to allow this. I had braces for four years altogether.
‘This surgery is years of planning and I can’t honestly thank my orthodontist and surgeon enough because they did an amazing job.
‘I have shown people my before photos and they can’t believe it was me and neither can I. The process is long and hard; your recovery will be horrible – but In the end you will thank yourself and you will never look back.
In the days after the surgery, Ms Hamilton’s swelling was so severe she struggled to breathe
Although Ms Hamilton lost a lot of blood during the procedure (pictured left just before), she says the transformation (right) made all the pain completely worth it
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