Thursday, July 14, 2016

25+ Months of Braces & 13 Months Post-Op Double Jaw Surgery

I haven't written about my braces stuff in awhile as it's been mostly boring and annoying.

Yes, that's right, I STILL have my braces on! When I originally went for my surgical consultation in 2013, they said I would have to keep the braces for 6-12 months after surgery. I'm now 13 months post-op and will have the braces until at least September at this point.

If I understand my orthodontic appointments, it seems like everything is good to go EXCEPT that my left side still doesn't make contact. We tried with elastics last year from July to November and if there was any movement, it was minimal. We gave up trying when my overjet relapsed and focused on that instead. Now that overjet is fixed, we're trying again to close the left side. I asked my orthodontist if he's ever seen a case where the second attempt at elastics worked after a failed first attempt. He said, "I've never seen it not work the first time." Ugh.

I had an appointment on Tuesday and I was so certain he'd agree that it wasn't improving, and I could tell him to forget about it and just remove the braces. However, he seems to think the bite IS closing a little bit so we're going to continue trying for another 7 weeks.

It was the first time I left an appointment trying not to cry. Sure, it's great that maybe the bite is closing (I disagree that it is) but I've been feeling DONE with this for a long time. At this point, I feel like I'm being dragged unwillingly to the finish line. I just want it to be over. I don't care anymore.

As mentioned, I'm 13 months post-op. I saw my surgeon in February and again in June. As far as he is concerned, everything looks really good. He did recommend I go for physiotherapy to help with my ROM, and I have been going since late April. At the start, I could only open 30-33mm (I forget), but I'm now up to 40mm which is the low end of normal, but it's as far as my physio thinks I can do with my small mouth.

Eating has gotten much easier now that I can open my mouth more. Chewing has also been slowly improving, although I'm not back to 100%. I suspect it'll be a couple of years after the braces come off that it'll really feel strong again. I have had a steak which did hurt my mouth a bit, and carrots are still a no-go.

Swelling is all the way down and stays down now. It really does take a year for it to stop fluctuating. My nose seems bigger now that the swelling is completely down, which sucks. I really enjoyed how small it looked immediately after surgery.

The roof of my mouth behind my front teeth is still numb but I generally don't notice. Occasionally this results in me accidentally spitting food out if I'm eating while socializing. I'm not sure if it's the braces or the numb palate, but I am still kind of a sloppy eater. The only way I've actually noticed my chewing has improved from all of this work is that I can take nice clean bites with my front teeth. That really is an amazing feeling that most people are totally oblivious to.

The front of my chin still has reduced feeling but is verrrrrry slowly improving. I think my upper gums are numb but it's hard to tell. SARPE left me with some nerve weirdness over my right canine and bicuspid.

Overall, I'm annoyed and it's been difficult to keep a positive outlook. It's a big part of why I haven't updated my blog. Just writing this stuff makes me angry. Two of the people I met online who also had double jaw surgery last June still have their braces and even though I think we're all pretty frustrated, it is SO good to know I'm not alone. Whenever I google something like "1 year post-op double jaw surgery," almost everybody has their braces off. If I didn't personally know others going through the same thing, I think I would be in a much worse place mentally.

I did vlogs every month for a year, and here is the latest one:

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