Getting over an underbite

blogging my way through double jaw surgery

Archive for the month “February, 2014”

9 Weeks +

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We got lots-o-snow here this week.

It’s been over a week since my last post, with little change. The main thing is that I have gotten over my fear of sleeping on my face, and have lost any tenderness associated with it. After some days of adjusting to sleeping flat, I finally got used to sleeping however I want, including on my stomach. So finally, after these months, I can get a good night’s sleep every night. Not waking up frequently to check my head or attempting to get comfortable.

Everything else continues pretty much the same. I can open my mouth 40 mm, and I don’t stretch it quite as often as I used to. But I still have some muscle pain associated with those back tight jaw/cheek muscles, especially after I’ve been stretching them or trying to chew.

Eating hard things is well, hard. I don’t know if the rubber bands every night keep my teeth in the constant state of slight tenderness. If I chew something hard, pain can shoot up my teeth and jaw. I am still trying things some just to practice. I managed a sub sandwich (on a crusty bun) this week for the first time.

I’ve started working out again, but in baby steps. I’ll take it slow to build my strength back up without hurting myself.

That’s about it! I won’t post again until I have another update, so maybe after my next orthodontist appointment in about three weeks. Thanks to everyone who has been following along on this blog.

8 weeks +

So I passed the 8 week mile marker, and with flying colors. My doctor’s visit two days ago went super well. I am not 100% healed. That will take time. But all in all I have passed the bulk of it.

The good news from my visit:

  • I can chew, bite, exercise, sleep on my side, whatever I want. He even told me to try biting into an apple, that is until he remembered the orthodontist would not like me to bust a bracket.  I am freeeeee! within reason.
  • Everything is looking good. Jaw movement is good, teeth are fitting well etc. Doctor is very pleased with my outcome from surgery.
  • Next visit not for three months.

What I’m still working on at this stage:

  • My back mouth/cheek muscles are still tight. I am to continue my stretches. Up and down and sideways. At night they shrink back and every morning I stretch it back out again.
  • Some of my scar lines inside my cheeks are tight. I can work on stretching them.
  • The entire upper jaw area is stiff. I was told I can work on stretching those muscles. It can be tricky to stretch my face, but it does help. Because of the stiffness I still have some difficulty with things like blowing or drinking from certain containers.
  • I’m not sure I have swelling left – maybe the all the stiffness in my face is from stiff muscles now and not swelling. Either way, I still have some pain there when doing something that causes pressure, like running or carrying something heavy. It is decreasing slowly.
  • Chewing is really extremely difficult. I am basically relearning how to eat normal food. I’m not doing too bad at learning to bite with my front teeth. And I can “chew” soft foods. Easy at this point are things like corn, potatoes and pancakes. Hard foods might be string cheese or chicken. I have definitely swallowed many things in chunks, despairing of ever getting it chewed. I find it’s best to cut things up small if I can.
  • The triangle area above my lip has partial sensation. I can feel pressure but it’s not normal yet.

Things that are going to take a long time:

  • My upper gums are still totally numb. It could take 6 months or longer for feeling to return.
  • I still have corners on my jaws where they cut and overlapped them. The doctor said in a year or so, those corners would naturally round down on their own. My left jaw corner is sharper and when I turn a certain way you can see a pointy tip sticking down.

Knowing that I am cleared for normal activities put me in good spirits. However, I am easing back into things and not hurtling full force.

Here is a comparison photo about 8 months apart. The lighting and angle is different, but I think it shows pretty well an overall difference in the way I look. My underbite is gone, my airways are opened up and I am pleased as punch with these results. Now if I could just get used to the way my face looks I might feel normal again.

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Day 54

Just a quick update today to report on my orthodontist visit, my first one after surgery. The doctor was pleased, and a little surprised I think, to see that nothing was broken. He was very happy with how my teeth fit together. I will not have much work left.

THEY TOOK OUT MY SURGICAL HOOKS!  I’m tickled pink about that. They really hinder eating and cleaning.

When they took out all my wires, they let me floss and brush with no wires in! I had done this all about 2 hours before, but you better believe I took that chance to do with wires out. I also caught a glimpse of what I might look like with the braces off.

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Hooks out and wire chain on.

After asking how I’ve been wearing my rubber bands, he changed up the configuration. I guess orthodontist trumps oral surgeon at this point. The bands they gave me are also tighter. However, they added a “power chain” on my front top teeth made of wire, to keep my front teeth together. I didn’t get any other explanation.

When I asked what my outlook was, he said very minimal tweaks, then see if my teeth behave, then probably have the braces off by summer. Just a few more visits! It’s hard to believe I am this close to the end.

All in all the visit went very well, better than expected. They were very gentle getting my wires back in. The main pain was from me tensing my jaws as I held them open. I had some pretty good pain for the next day. I thought I had gotten off easy, then I tried to chew something today. OUCH. I guess since I hadn’t been biting anything I couldn’t tell how sore I was. Good thing I’m eating soft food anyway.

Here’s a before/after of my profile. I have to say I do like my profile better now.

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Not much happening other than all the good news from the orthodontist. I can tell the tenderness in my face is starting to go away. I can open my mouth 37mm, so hopefully the doctor will be pleased when I see him on Tuesday. Some of the muscles in the very back of my mouth are still tight.

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