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Woman born with large underbite reveals how jaw expansion pushed her front teeth nearly 2cm apart

A woman born with a large underbite has revealed how a painful jaw extension forced her front teeth nearly 2cm apart – but braces are now narrowing the gap.

Kirsten Rendell, 20, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was born with a narrow palate and a large underbite that caused her to lisp and make it difficult to eat.

She underwent a painful process of jaw expansion that involved manually turning a metal expander, which forced her two front teeth apart until she had a 17mm gap.

Four months after surgery, she had braces to get her teeth back together for $31,000 (£15,809) and her upper teeth are now just 3mm apart. She will continue to wear her braces until the gap is completely gone.

Kirsten Rendell, 20, of Christchurch, New Zealand, was born with a narrow palate and a large underbite that caused her to lisp and make it difficult to eat

Kirsten's separated front teeth, pictured

Kirsten's separated front teeth, pictured

Kirsten Rendell, 20, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was born with a narrow palate and a large underbite (pictured left) that caused her to lisp and make it difficult to eat. Pictured on the right, Kirsten .’s severed front teeth

She endured a painful jaw expansion that forced her front teeth almost 2cm apart — but thankfully braces are now narrowing the gap (now pictured)

She endured a painful jaw expansion that forced her front teeth almost 2cm apart — but thankfully braces are now narrowing the gap (now pictured)

She endured a painful jaw expansion that forced her front teeth almost 2cm apart — but thankfully braces are now narrowing the gap (now pictured)

Kirsten said, “I’ve never liked to smile and never laughed with my teeth. The surgery means everything to me. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to have beautiful teeth.’

Now wearing braces to close the gap, she chose to share her journey with her 41,0000 followers to help other people undergoing similar life-changing and scary surgery, knowing they are not alone.

She said: ‘I want people to know that no matter how they look, it doesn’t define who they are and that everyone is beautiful in their own way. I’m still very self-conscious, but I’m definitely a lot happier now.’

Kirsten was born with a narrow palate in her upper jaw and grew up with a large underbite.

Kirsten (pictured) underwent a painful process of jaw expansion that involved manually turning a metal expander, which forced her two front teeth apart until she had a 17mm gap

Kirsten (pictured) underwent a painful process of jaw expansion that involved manually turning a metal expander, which forced her two front teeth apart until she had a 17mm gap

Kirsten (pictured) underwent a painful process of jaw expansion that involved manually turning a metal expander, which forced her two front teeth apart until she had a 17mm gap

Four months after surgery, Kirsten (pictured after the procedure) had braces put in to get her teeth back together for $31,000 (£15,809) and her upper teeth are now just 3mm apart

Four months after surgery, Kirsten (pictured after the procedure) had braces put in to get her teeth back together for $31,000 (£15,809) and her upper teeth are now just 3mm apart

Kirsten during a check

Kirsten during a check

Four months after surgery, Kirsten (pictured after the procedure) had braces put in to get her teeth back together for $31,000 (£15,809) and her upper teeth are now just 3mm apart

Kirsten (during the jaw expansion process) will continue to wear her braces until the gap is completely gone

Kirsten (during the jaw expansion process) will continue to wear her braces until the gap is completely gone

Kirsten (during the jaw expansion process) will continue to wear her braces until the gap is completely gone

She had to fend off vicious bullies through school and became insecure about the way she looked.

She said: ‘I really didn’t know any different, every now and then people would make comments about my jaw.

“I learned to just ignore the bullying because at that age I didn’t think anything could be done about my jaw, but of course it wasn’t great.”

The shape of her mouth made it difficult to speak and she began to lisp and could only use her back teeth to chew.

Kirsten after the jaw expansion

Kirsten after the jaw expansion

Kirsten (pictured left, before starting the procedure) said, “I’ve never liked to smile, nor have I ever laughed with my teeth. The surgery means everything to me. For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to have beautiful teeth.’

Now that she's wearing braces to close the gap, Kirsten (pictured) chose to share her journey with her 41,0000 followers to help other people undergoing similar life-changing and scary surgery, knowing they aren't alone.

Now that she's wearing braces to close the gap, Kirsten (pictured) chose to share her journey with her 41,0000 followers to help other people undergoing similar life-changing and scary surgery, knowing they aren't alone.

Now that she’s wearing braces to close the gap, Kirsten (pictured) chose to share her journey with her 41,0000 followers to help other people undergoing similar life-changing and scary surgery, knowing they aren’t alone.

Kristen in braces to get her teeth together

Kristen in braces to get her teeth together

On January 18, she had surgery to have a jaw expander placed, which she then had to rotate twice a day to manually widen her palate.

On January 18, she had surgery to have a jaw expander placed, which she then had to rotate twice a day to manually widen her palate.

Kristen in braces to bring her teeth together (pictured left and right). On January 18, she had surgery to have a jaw expander placed, which she then had to rotate twice a day to manually widen her palate.

As she got older, she started looking for ways to fix her jaw, as she couldn’t have surgery until it was fully grown.

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 pacifiers and prolonged bottle feeding.

Aside from a patient’s appearance, other symptoms may include headaches, low self-esteem, and teeth grinding or breaking.

Braces are the most common treatment, but can make wearers, especially children, feel self-conscious.

Specially made headgear can be effective, but are very conspicuous and often uncomfortable.

In extreme cases, surgery is required as a last resort to shave off the jawbone.

It is unclear how many people in the UK or US suffer from an underbite.

Source: Colgate

On January 18, she had surgery to have a jaw expander placed, which she then had to rotate twice a day to manually widen her palate. She did that this morning and evening for two weeks.

The supermarket worker said: ‘I found the turns quite painful, feels like pressure behind your nose and cheekbones, but manageable. I kept reminding myself that with every turn I was getting closer to a better jaw.”

As her jaw expanded, it forced her front two incisors apart, leaving a 17mm gap between them.

She said, ‘The hole was so big when it was this big, I was very self-conscious.

“I always got questions asking ‘how did I lose my teeth’ and that I’m ‘too young to lose teeth’ and when I explained that I was having jaw surgery they didn’t understand how it was possible.

“It’s not an operation you hear about every day and I want other people with similar problems to me not to feel alone.

“I’ve had so many people from all over the world approach me and tell me they’re going through similar things.

“I feel like oral surgery isn’t that common and not many people know about it, so it’s cool to see so many people around the world getting similar things done.”

In a year’s time, Kirsten hopes to undergo a life-changing, five-hour jaw surgery that will see her move her upper jaw forward and lower jaw and chin back to make sure it’s all symmetrical.

She said: ‘Oral surgery will improve my speech, chewing, confidence and future implications if I didn’t go through.

“I’ve never been able to smile with teeth or just a good smile in general, so knowing I can get this fixed means everything.”

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