Not as much news for this blog these days. But I want to do an occasional update, and leave it up for anyone looking for information on jaw surgery. Since my last post I have had a few doctor check -ins.
The Dentist: Was happy with my care during braces and didn’t think I was urgently needing any work. He recommended waiting til next appt. to see how my gums fare. Especially since my teeth are still sensitive.
The Orthodontist: I had my first check-up since braces removal and everything is going peachy. He tightened my retainer slightly and asked if I’d seen the gum specialist yet. (I’m in no hurry for that, sir!)
The Surgeon: I was supposed to get after pictures taken yesterday, but they forgot to bring the camera to the (second) office. So it was a re-check instead and we rescheduled to go back in August. I asked him about all the little remaining things that are going on with me, and he explained and reassured. It was a bit frustrating to have to schedule yet another appointment, since it’s an hour and half drive to visit the doctor, and I have to take a half day off work.
So this is what it’s like for me, at six and half months post-surgery. I’ll try to list everything as it is now, so I apologize if I’m repeating myself.
Feeling: It’s the same as my last post. He was surprised I had any numbness left on my face (upper lip corners) and said he hoped feeling would return. Humph. My upper jaw (inside) is half numb and half sensitive. This apparently is perfectly ok and he thinks it will eventually return to normal. If I tap on my upper teeth they hurt, and if I bite straight down on something really hard (think granola bar) my teeth hurt. The gums are sensitive as well. I have found a great mouthwash that helps address the sensitivity (The Natural Dentist) and use it ritually.
Other pain: The back part of my jaws near the joints hurt when I press on them or if I yawn too wide. This could be, he says, from my muscles that are not fully retrained and keep trying to make lower jaw go the old way. I massage these areas, which apparently is the right thing to do. He told me to check and make sure I am not grinding my teeth at night or I would need a night guard. I can’t tell what I am doing while I am sleeping. Who knows?
Odd things: I have sensations that shoot through my cheek when I touch certain parts of it, inside or out. At first I thought it was my scars that were carrying the sensations, but it’s more than that. Just funny feeling like zinging traveling through certain muscles. I got a whole lesson from the doctor on why this happens, how this happens to a minor percentage of patients, and it may be due to genetics that it only happens to certain people. I don’t know if that will ever go away. At least it’s not painful. Just weird. Especially since chewing food tends to hit those areas a lot.
Normalcy: My brain and my muscles do not think that this is the appropriate place for my jaws to be. Whenever I hold my mouth in the correct position for very long (like say more than 30 seconds), my head tells me it’s not right. I start feeling some muscle strain. The doctor said as long as my teeth are in the right position when I eat, I shouldn’t worry much about it otherwise. Really, he says, 6 months is not a very long time to retrain your muscles. Point taken.
On a different note, I am used to my face! That took long enough. Chewing is much much easier now. I rarely think about it. The weight I lost with surgery? That came back like that! after resuming normal food. Definitely no problem gaining back.
Here’s my normal face! I love it that I am okay with it now!
And below is an old one of me (one year ago!) for comparison.