56 and Finally Getting Double Jaw Surgery! - Seattle, WA

I've known since the age of 14 that I've needed...

I've known since the age of 14 that I've needed jaw surgery. I was bullied by several boys starting at age 11. My parents sent me to an orthodontist but they couldn't afford jaw surgery so nothing was ever done.

Since then I've had headaches, jaw, neck and tooth pain as well as teeth wearing down. Problems eating as most of my teeth don't hit together. Hoping to rectify some of these problems though I've been told my top jaw is narrower than my bottom jaw and my surgeon will need to widen it..I will have a need for three splints after surgery. Scary! That's what I worry the most about...and how well I will heal at my age. I'm shooting for surgery summer of 2017, as I'm a teacher and I need to do it when I have time off. I'd love to hear tips from anyone that's been through the process. The journey begins...

Braces continue...

Im having some issues with teeth getting really loose when braces are tightened. It seems to be temporary, but they hurt for quite a few days and its really hard to chew in those areas. At the current time my bite has gotten worse and I can only chew on my right back teeth. Underbite has become more pronounced... Which I knew it would. Anyone besides me have troubles with major chapped lips?

The journey continues

In Dec 2016 my orthodontist took impressions of my teeth, xrays and pictures of my face/jaw and sent them to my surgeon. Within a couple of days I received a call from Dr Bloomquist's ofc saying my teeth were ready for surgery. I need to wait till June though when I will have tge summer off from work to have it done.

So far the most concerning problem has been my gums receding. Braces have really done a number on my gums. Especially my front lower teeth where you can see the roots. Because of this and my teeth being loser than they were...Ive had a lot of pain when Ive had braces tightened. Literally it feels like my teeth are being pulled out. Horrible pain. The dental assistant now puts her finger behind my teeth to stabilize them when she is changing bands and wires.This seems to help some. I had to change assistants as the prior one wasn't as gentle and I'd have problems eating for a week afterward due to the pain.

Also in the last 6 months I've had two major surgeries. I had been having a lot of back and neck pain, spent 6 mos in P T, etc and in June I ended up having a breast reduction and tummy tuck. Things went really well and I recovered quickly. Unfirtunately I still had lower back/ hip pain and saw a hip surgeon. Turned out that I have severe osteoarthritis in both hips and my spine. In November 2016 I had both hips replaced at the same time. That surgery also went well though I got pneumonia in the hospital they think from being intubated. I was horribly sick, spent 17 days in the hospital of which 8 were in ICU. What was to be two weeks off work became four weeks off work. What an awful experience. I am glad I had both hips done at once though and 8 weeks out I'm doing really well.

Given the experience with my hip surgery, the jaw surgery scares me more now. That and being on steroids for an adrenal condition, makes me wonder how much problem I will have with swelling of my face ( which happens anyway when I stress dose with my hydrocortisone). I also ended ui p with a lot of numbness from both my tummy tuck ( about 5 inch wide circle around belly button) as well as numbness down both thighs from my anterior approach double hip replacement ( granted its only been 2 months since my hip surgery). I hate the numbness and worry about how my face will be after surgery. Lots to think about.

The latest issue for me is I was just diagnosed with Sjogrens Disease which is an autoimmune disease that affects the amount of saliva you have in your mouth ( makes it really dry) as well as chronically chapped lips and dry eyes. One of the side effects for some is receding guns and losing teeth. It can also affect pain in your joints. I am being sent to a rheumatologist as there is a concern I may have Lupus as well. Oh joy! The good news though is I think Ive had it for a long time. Probably more than 10 years.

I am going to see my jaw surgeon in March and then will schedule my surgery for the end of June. I need to be sufficiently recovered by September when I go back to work. I just hope I'm one of the 75% that are happy with the results! And I think I will try some oil pulling with coconut oil to see if it helps my receding gums.

Surgery is scheduled! June 26th, 2017

Yesterday ( February 15th) I had another appointment with Dr. Bloomquist. He was delightful and answered all the questions I had written down to ask him.

Turns out I will not need to have my top palate split and widened which is quite the relief. He said Dr Yu, my orthodontist with Willamette Dental had done an amazing job on my teeth.

Some interesting things he told me: the double jaw surgery will take about 2 hours...I'm adding in having my chin tipped downward to make it less like a witches chin and he said that will take about another 30 mins...so about 2.5 hours total. The cost of doing that additionally is $1,100. He said my insurance will cover it though! He said he does not use splints except during surgery so I will not go home with one or two! Big plus! He bolts and screws the jaws. I also will not have my teeth rubberbanded together except for the first day and he said that's purely for comfort. He gets patients up right away and you go home the second day. He said he likes to have patients eating soft foods by the end of the first week ( like pasta). I asked about eating with a squeegie bottle and he said it isnt necessary that you can eat with a spoon. I asked about permanent numbness and the percentage of his patients that have it. He said 5%. He said there are 2 nerves in the lower jaw and some have numbness on one side or the other...to varying degrees. That it can take up to 5 years for all feeling to return.

Dr Bloomquist said he only does jaw surgeries and has been doing them for 40 years. I feel much more confident after talking to him again the other day. Some of the stories Ive read are downright horrifying....long surgeries and bad results. I have to think that some of those surgeons do not have the experience of 1000's and 1000's of surgeries like he does. He said the surgery would not add to my receding gums...that the braces at an older age are the main cause of that...and my gum recession isnt that bad. He is going to see me for my pre op on May 31st. I'm excited and a lot less scared now to get the jaw surgery and chin surgery completed.

Some photos of how I look in Feb pre op

Get hooks for surgery put on braces in 2 days

Well, 6 weeks left till surgery. I'm nervous...mainly about the bleeding after surgery and how my body will react with swelling. Even from laser treatments on my face...I swell a lot.

I asked to have my teeth cleaned before surgery and will have that done and the hooks cemented onto my braces for surgery in 2 days. I have my pre-op appt with the surgeon on May 31st...and it's supposed to be a 2 to 3 hr appt. I'm having a chin revision as well. My surgeon said the whole thing including moving both jaws and tipping my chin down some should take about 2.5 hours in surgery.

Thankfully I will not need to have my upper or lower pallets split as they thought I might need to do. The orthodontist was able to move my teeth enough that it won't be necessary. Whew!

Ready to move forward with this and just hope I won't be one of the persons that regret the surgery afterward. I've been in braces for 15 months now...surgeon said another 6 months after surgery too till they are off..orthodontist said a year to 18 months. Yikes...hope they are off before that. I was 56 when I started this journey...now I'm almost 58.
Dr. Dale Bloomquist

So far so good. I had read that his bedside manner wasn't the best, but that has not been my experience at all so far. He was very cordial, took a lot of time, asked if I had questions, and his assistant was fantastic. Maybe it has to do with me being older and closer to their ages? Regardless, I'm more interested in his expertise in the O.R. and that he has done several thousand of these surgeries in his 30 + years of being a jaw surgeon.

Was this review helpful? {{ voteCountOthers + ' other' + (voteCountOthers == 1 ? '' : 's') }} found this helpful