Ellie Jones, 20, was born with a congenital facial deformity that meant her teeth were not aligned.
She went to have braces fitted aged 14 and the orthodontist realised her jaw hadn't grown since she was eight.
Miss Jones, from Rhyl in Wales, visited a maxillofacial surgeon who helped transform her life over the next six years.
Her first operation at the age of 16 was "really painful" and left her unable to talk.
"I was on a liquid diet for about a month, which was really hard, and I couldn't talk properly - I had to use a notepad to communicate," Miss Jones told the Daily Post.
"About six months after it was my Year 11 prom and it looked good."
Miss Jones had her jaw cut horizontally and vertically, and a year later opted for corrective surgery on her chin which she always felt was too small.
"I mostly just felt relieved - I finally felt like I could be myself," she said.
Miss Jones, who works as a shop assistant and lives at home with her father Simon, mother Natalie and sister Chloe, 21, said her boosted confidence means she now feels "normal".
She said that her new-found confidence was most visible in her dance lessons. "I was shy but now I feel really confident. It's changed my whole life."
Miss Jones now wants to be a photographer and her mother is supporting her ambitions.
She said: "The surgery has not only changed the way Ellie looked, but also the way she portrays herself.
"Her confidence has grown and she's blossomed into a beautiful young lady."
Miss Jones' surgeon, Emma Woolley said: "A lot of people don't actually realise they have a jaw deformity, and just accept that they have difficulties biting."
"By not treating it at a young age, it can cause real difficulties later in life.
"I'm really glad the treatment has made a difference and given Ellie her confidence back."