Brielle Biermann Got Double Jaw Surgery to Correct Overbite and TMJ Pain

"Have you ever thought about what it's like to not be able to bite into pizza?"

Brielle Biermann has just shared to her 1.3 million Instagram followers that she had double jaw surgery on August 23 to improve her "quality of life." The 24-year-old "Don't Be Tardy" star explained to fans that she sucked her thumb until around the age of 9, which caused a significant overbite as well as temporomandibular joint syndrome (or TMJ). This created a great deal of pain for Biermann and also made it difficult for her to eat normally.

"Have you ever thought about what it's like to not be able to bite into pizza? or omg trying to bite into an onion on a burger? impossible for me. i had to use my tongue to help me chew and almost choked every time i ate," she wrote in the caption. Biermann added that while she had been dreading the surgery, she was told last August that if she didn't get braces in addition to this surgery, it was likely her four back teeth would crack and she'd experience even more difficultly eating by the time she was 27, so she felt she had no option. She went on to say she already feels as though she is "more aligned" and can breathe more easily, and thanked her doctors in the post.

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While her case is on the more extreme side, TMJ is actually not uncommon. Pain in the jaw joints (or temporomandibular joints) affects more than 10 million Americans, according to estimates from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). While Biermann cites sucking her thumb until the age of 9 as the cause of her jaw pain, Steven Syrop, DDS, diplomate at the American Board of Orofacial Pain and section chief of the TMD facial pain service at Weill Cornell Medical Center, previously told Health that there are plenty of other triggers, including stress, particularly low temperatures, opening the jaw past a certain point while yawning, and certain foods (those that may be very crunchy or chewy).

A double jaw surgery (also known as a bi-maxillary osteotomy) is an orthognathic surgery performed by oral surgeons to correct abnormalities in the jaw. It may be recommended in extreme cases to address pain, correct misalignment, balance facial features, or improve jaw function, among other reasons. However, if you're dealing with something like an overbite or TMJ, you may not need to resort to double jaw surgery. Nojan Bakhtiari, DDS, a board-certified TMJ and oral facial pain specialist based in New York City, previously told Health that if you talk to your dentist about jaw pain, you'll likely be fitted with a mouthguard or oral appliance to stop you from grinding your teeth at night as the first course of treatment, once other possible issues are ruled out.

As for Biermann, she wrote in the post that her recovery is going well and that she's counting down the days until she can eat foods like pasta and pizza again without pain.

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