I am 25 years old. I had braces once when I was 12...
I am 25 years old. I had braces once when I was 12 for about a year just to fix crookedness. None of my childhood dentists/orthodontists mentioned anything unusual about my bite. They always told me I had a beautiful smile and that I was lucky to not have braces on for as long as most patients do.
Growing up into adulthood, my teeth have evolved into a slight open bite, slight underbite, and slight crossed bite. I have always had congested sinuses. My bite seemed to fall into 5 different positions as I chewed my food. After sleeping each night, I would wake up with minor jaw joint soreness with no recollection of teeth grinding. I had gotten used to this. I thought this was normal.
By the time I was 21, I had a new adult dentist. He made me realize my jaw imperfections and that surgery could fix it. Of course I was scared not knowing enough about the procedure. My dentist didn't make me feel any better when he described what my procedures could be. I think my dentist was not authorized to give ortho-surgery advice, but he did say it would be considered cosmetic and it wouldn't be covered by my insurance given my age. I started to notice my jaws were different. I also became a little insecure about my smile being "open". Whenever I did smile, I would just show my upper teeth to hide the slight gap. While researching estimated cosmetic costs, I quickly forgot about the surgery without checking if it would be covered medically (U.S residents under 26 years of age is still covered by family insurances).
4 years later, I started to think about my bite again. I haven’t used a retainer since I misplaced it before starting college so there had been some slight crookedness in my upper front teeth that bothered me. Something in me just started doing a lot of research about the possibilities of orthognathic surgery. I now knew I wanted to do this and it seemed like it was better to do it now rather than "regret" it several years down the road if I didn't do it.
By September 2015, I had my first appointment to get a second opinion from my little sister's orthodontist, Dr. Suzan Ekim. I read that she also specializes in children/adults' jaw surgeries. I thought I might have been able to get away with invisalign treatments before surgery, but she made it clear that traditional braces was the best way to get it all done smoothly in less than 2 years. I was financially and emotionally ready to invest in having adult braces. For me, time has passed so quickly and it is exciting!! So far, she has been a pleasure to work with.
Surgery - August 12, 2015
In the past year, I had gotten used to the braces and noticed many changes in my teeth shifting to align together. I had some lingering thoughts of maybe not doing the surgery anymore since my bite now felt good. It was still slightly open and slight under-bite, but not at all as much openness as it was before I got adult braces.
My mind was neutral about my surgery. I honestly hadn't thought about it until the day of. My orthodontist was pretty excited about it every time I came in to get my teeth checked.
August 12, 2015 - 8:30AM for 10:30AM surgery...
I was admitted to the surgical unit at Fairview Southdale Edina Hospital. I was set to have surgery and stay overnight. It was a fairly quick process. By 9AM, they checked all my vitals, had me get into my gown, and prepped me for surgery. I have a weird fear of needles so the numbing shot in my hand and the IV stick to get in was the scariest thing to me before surgery! It doesn't hurt that much and I never look, but it freaks me out for some reason...
My parents hung out with me in the surgical unit before they wheeled me into the operation room. My surgeons and a handful of surgical professionals were getting all of the tools ready. In an instant, I fell asleep in front of them...and in a second, I woke up and it was done.
I remember asking the nurse several times if I looked ok and she laughed and told me it was done beautifully. My surgeons and everyone in the recovery unit kept telling me the surgery was a success and they were very happy with the results. The surgery was about an 1 hour and 15 minutes. Then I fell asleep again.
A couple hours later, I was wheeled into my private room. My family could settle there with me. The nurses said my swelling was not as bad as what they usually see in their jaw surgery patients. I was a little groggy from all the IV medications, but I was able to talk just fine! I was rubber banded a triangle shape on each side of my teeth.
Around 7PM, I got up for the first time to go to the bathroom and threw up. I told them they should stop narcotics through my IV. It made my stomach upset even with nausea medication. I am not sure if this is normal, but I can honestly say that I haven't felt any pain greater than 1 ever since I got out of surgery! I am sure the numbness and whatever meds that was put into my IV did a great deal of blocking pain out, but until today (August 22, 2015), I still have not felt any surgical pain enough to take relievers. It is weird and amazing at the same time. I think through the healing process in 6-12 weeks, as the numbness subsides, so will any pain that I was supposed to feel.
Check out my photos below...
08-25-2015 - Day 14
Post op photos of swelling so far!
09-10-2015 - Day 30
Post op day 30: Last Wednesday, I had my 4 weeks followup with one of my surgeons. He said I have about 20% swelling left on my face and that it is normal to still feel tight when I try to smile.
I am slowly getting feeling back in my left face on my cheek and the side of my nose.
It is now week 5 and I have gotten used to my soft food/liquid diet. I am still not allowed to chew. It was challenging at first but it's all temporary for recovery. I have lost a total of about 16 pounds since getting out of surgery but I am eating rich foods frequently throughout the day.
Overall I feel stronger and healthier!
11-10-2015 - Day 90
10 Nov 2015
3 months post
Post op day 90: It has been so nice being able to eat a lot more solid foods in the past month. I am starting to regain feeling in my upper gums on both of the back corners where my molars are. I have also been able to feel some parts of the roof of my mouth. I can feel both sides of my face but my nostrils closest to my upper mouth still feels a bit numb. I have gained back 5 lbs. and I feel great so far!
01-22-2016 Braces off!
25 Jan 2016
5 months post
It has been about 2.5 months since my 90th day update. Braces get to come off earlier than expected!!!!! At first, I was a little nervous to see how I would look without them. So far it feels amazing!
My dentist applied permanent retainers for the top and bottom set of my teeth. I received my top invisalign retatiners and will be getting my lower traditional wired retainers this Friday.
Update of my jaws 125 days later...
26 May 2016
9 months post
2016-05-26 - It has been 125 days since my last review when my braces came off. The gums and the roof of my upper jaw is now slightly numb. For the most part, I have noticed a lot more sense of feeling than before.
I wear my upper retainers every day and night. I take them out whenever I eat and drink (except with water). My bottom retainers are worn just at night.
My surgeon said from now on until the next year, my face will continue to slightly change since my upper jaw and gums are still settling in. I am very pleased with the way it's healing so far!
1 year anniversary from jaw surgery!
It has been 1 year and about 1 month since I had upper jaw surgery. Today, I can feel majority of the upper roof of my mouth as well as my upper gums. My mouth feels awesome. I wear my upper retainers daily and my lower retainers every night. It is still surreal for me to realize how far I've come. Cheers.