A mother-of-two who was dubbed ‘goofy’ by cruel bullies who said she would never get a partner has found her smile after undergoing jaw surgery to fix her extreme overbite.
Ceri Jones, 28, from Bangor, Wales, had vowed never to smile until her teeth and jaw were straightened after years of taunts from classmates shattered her confidence.
From primary school until the age of 19, Ceri was branded ‘ugly’ and told she would ‘never find love’ as her upper jaw jutted out.
Years of emotional torment left Ceri so self-conscious she refused to ever flash her teeth, opting instead to adopt a stern ‘pouty’ expression in all photos.
Despite having a phobia of the dentist, Ceri decided at the age of 17 she could no longer cope with the bullying and started 11 years of monthly orthodontist visits to get her dream smile.
The only photo of Ceri Jones, now 28, from Bangor, Wales, smiling as a teenager. She vowed at the age of 13 never to smile until her jaw and teeth were straightened
Ceri pictured with her 30-year-old partner, Tom Cook. After 11 years of monthly orthodontist visits and a six-hour surgery, she now beams with pride and joy in every selfie
Photos show the healthcare assistant after her six-hour surgery in May 2019 to cut, reposition and bolt in place her upper and lower jaw and the painful recovery.
While she endured 18 months of severe post-op facial swelling, Ceri says every moment was worth it to finally have the confidence to smile.
The mother now beams with pride and joy in every selfie and snap with her partner Tom Cook, 30, who reassures her that ‘in his eyes she has always been stunning’.
Ceri said: ‘I hated school life, it was awful. The bullying was unbelievable. From little school until about 19 years old I was still getting bullied.
‘They called me “goofy”, “ugly” and told me that I’d never have a partner. They were so cruel. I was being bullied for something I literally couldn’t change. It made me so self-conscious that I never wanted to show my teeth.
‘In all photos, I started pouting instead of smiling because I felt like I had to keep my mouth closed. My parents and grandparents tried to boost my confidence and get me to smile but I knew I was never going to smile until I’d had my jaw and teeth fixed.
‘One morning I woke up and decided enough was enough. I couldn’t cope with the bullying anymore.
‘I had a terrible phobia of the dentist. I don’t know what triggered it but I had always been so bad in the chair. I would start screaming with just the mirror in my mouth.
The healthcare assistant was left bleeding, bruised and swollen after her six-hour surgery in May 2019 to cut, reposition and bolt in place her upper and lower jaw
Ceri found the recovery from her jaw surgery particularly tough as her eldest daughter Siwan Cook, now aged two, was just eight months old at the time
‘But I knew I either had to suck it up and overcome my phobia or persevere with the bullying forever.’
She added: ‘It’s been such a long process to get to the surgery and then finally having my braces off earlier this month was such a huge relief.
‘It’s all been so worth it though. It’s boosted my confidence so much. If anyone gets a camera out now, I’m the first to get my teeth out and smile.
‘And I have had so many compliments. The first thing anyone mentions to me now is my smile. It’s an amazing feeling.
‘But it didn’t take surgery to prove the bullies wrong about me finding love. Tom has always seen me for me. He constantly reassures me and compliments me.
‘He once told me “in my eyes you have always been stunning and don’t need surgery but it’s your decision and I will back you all the way”. It meant the world having his support.’
As well as taking a toll on her confidence, Ceri’s crooked jaw also caused her years of physical pain and difficulties.
The mother, who is also studying to be a nurse, would wake up almost every morning in agony as her jaw would twist to the right and lock in her sleep.
Ceri also struggled to chew and would often force herself to swallow and ‘choke’ on big chunks of food to avoid the embarrassment of it ‘spilling out’ of her mouth.
As a teenager, Ceri started doing a closed mouth ‘pout’ in all photos instead of smiling after years of taunts from classmates shattered her confidence
Ceri’s upper jaw was once inch too far forward before surgery to correct her overbite. As well as taking a toll on her confidence, Ceri’s crooked jaw also caused her years of physical pain
After two months on a post-surgery liquid diet, Ceri will never forget finally being able to eat a solid meal pain free for the first time in her life at age 28.
Ceri, who has two daughters – Siwan Cook, aged two, and Cadi Cook, eight weeks – said: ‘Before my surgery, if I rolled onto my side in the night, my jaw would lock in place. It was like waking up almost every morning with a dislocated jaw.
‘The pain was excruciating and it would take about two to three hours for it to move back into place.’
She added: ‘Having my first solid meal two months after surgery was very weird. It was the first time ever I could properly bite into and chew solid food.
‘I felt so much better. It’s so much easier for me to eat, my jaw never locks. It’s so nice finally having a pain-free life after everything I have gone through.’
After contacting her dentist days before her 17th birthday, Ceri was referred to an orthodontist to start her journey to a straight jaw and teeth.
Five tooth extractions and nine years of braces later, Ceri was finally ready to undergo surgery to correct her overbite.
As her upper jaw was set one inch too far forward, surgeons would have to move her upper jaw back and her lower jaw forward to close such a large gap.
The mother’s upper jaw was sliced in half from ear to ear then lifted and pulled backwards while her lower jaw was cut down either side to extend it forwards.
Ceri pictured at her home in Bangor, Wales, with her daughters Siwan, aged two, and Cadi Cook, eight weeks, as she shows off her smile for the first time in 15 years
Surgeons then secured Ceri’s re-aligned jaw in place with metal screws and bolts before adjusting her braces, which were finally removed earlier this month.
Ceri managed to take the long recovery in her stride while raising her eldest child, returning to work after maternity leave and then another pregnancy.
Ceri said: ‘Recovery was really hard. My eldest was just eight months old at the time so I was battling a wild child and trying to recover, it was tough.
‘I was having to liquidise all my food. I was living off a load of Weetabix, soups, yoghurt and mashed potatoes with gravy. Anything I could liquidise and syringe down.
‘My face was extremely swollen. That didn’t go down completely until a year and a half after the surgery.
‘I wasn’t too worried about it at first because I was on maternity so I could hibernate but then I had to go back to work and I still looked like a dog that had been stung by a bee.
‘I wouldn’t change it though. Taking the plunge and deciding to go for the surgery was the best decision for me. My life is so much better.
‘I’d recommend anyone who’s thinking about it to go for it.’