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

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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.

Update on pre op appt May 31st

I had my pre op appt with the surgeon on the 31st. I was feeling quite nervous and the appt put me at ease. His ofc assistant took impressions, xrays, a lot of facial pictures, doc did a lot of measuring, had me bite on wax impressions, and he gave me recipes to use after surgery. He said my friend thats taking me to the hospital can sleep right in with me in the room. He studied films very carefully to see where the main nerve is located and said mine is placed high...which he said was good...less chance of numbness.

He gave me a bunch of recipes for combinations of foods and what to dilute what foods with. Surgery will be between 2 and 2.5 hours including revamping my chin. I will check into Northwest Hospital at 5:30 am. I ordered a jaw bra on the recommendation of someone's blog on here....however I guess my surgeon already thought of that and sends you home with 2 of them. I paid $50 some dollars for the one I ordered and 2 squeezy bottles. The doc's office assistant said he is super picky even about the pictures she takes of patients. She said he is an incredible perfectionist and takes no chances. He uses only Northwest Hospital and has very strict instructions for the staff when caring for his patienys ( he only does jaw surgeries). That put me at ease. Ive included a few pics from my appt of the xray, impressions, et

2 weeks left

2 weeks from tomorrow is my surgery. June 26th, 2017. My spine doctor had me get an MRI of my neck last Friday as he's concerned with my bad neck and that it could be made worse from tipping it up during intubation. Oh joy. I should hear back tomorrow on what they found. I'm a teacher and school will be out in 2 weeks ( the Friday before my surgery which is on Monday). At least it gives me something else to think of besides the surgery videos I watched on youtube...The problem is I know too much..lol. Being a science teacher though, it all fascinates me. Now to just keep my mind on other things for the next 2 weeks.

Pic of hooks

This is a pic of the hooks that were put onto my wires at my ladt ortho appt before surgery. I asked to have my teeth cleaned too...dang they are yellow and need to be bleached.Good news is my gums aren't bothering me anymore, nor are my teeth loose from being messed with at the orthodontist.

Day of surgery...it is finally here

Im sitting in the registration area of tge hospital waiting for them to call me back and prep me for surgery. Can't believe the day has finally come. Im nervous but know I have an incredibly competent surgeon. I swished with chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse per the doc and am ready to go. Ill post more after surgety as soon as I'm able.

Two days after surgery pics

Well I had the surgery 2 1/2 days ago. Certainly not a walk in the park, but glad I did it. I'm horribly swollen, but thats to be expected. Today was the first day i actually got some food down. Dr Bloomquist doesnt wire teeth together and I was surprised to see that I can easily get a spoon in my mouth. Swallowing has been the challenge and they started an IV that I still have due to dehydration and a faster than normal heart rate. I was supposed to go home Tuesday but will go home Thursday at the earliest. I dont mind as I live alone and have to have someone come stay with me.
Some of the surprises: so much bleeding the first and second days...completely normal but my nose was dripping blood a lot. There was very little pain...I had narcotics only the first day. They give you a nasal spray 3 times a day that keeps down congestion. Today I was able to eat some mashed potatoes and stuffing with turkey gravy. I didnt grind it up and ate it with a spoon. I had a vanilla pudfdng and some jello. There is a definite change in my profile and my teeth overlap!!! No splints either. Ill post some pics of right before surgery and several taken yesterday and today. So far glad I did it.

Day 6 post op

Well things are progressing nicely. I had surgery on Monday and went home on Thursday due to tachycardia..heart rate was up to 140. This was related to an adrenal condition I have though. The hospital was amazing and they catered to my every need. My best friend slept in my room on a cot, which was nice since I have no family locally. I iced round tge clock for the first 5 days...then started with warm compresses. The bruising goes clear down to my nipples and is really bad under my chin. My nose is numb, cheeks numb up to my eyes, inside of mouth numb except for tongue and most of my lips and chin. I know it will take time to get it back. The swelling has come down a lot and I'm thrilled with my new profile. Dr Bloomquist is quite an artist and I'm so glad I went with him. He is a perfectionist..even down to having your IV put in your left arm as he works from the right side of you.

I've been home 3 days now and have lost 6 lbs since surgery ( it's been a week tomorrow). I went out for the first time today to Trader Joes with a lot of concealer on my face. The bruising is really bad...but is turning yellow in some spots and fading. In others it's still a deep purple and pretty bad. My teeth are not level but Im not freaking out as Ive read several times how swelling affects the placement and muscle is built up over all the years of holding your jaw a certain way...I know I will learn a new normal and have to build up new muscle. Swelling is affecting things too. Then of course there will be further orthodontia to get the midlines and teeth centered perfectly...though I won't be seeing my ortho for 10 weeks according to my surgeon.

So far it's been I think what I expected for double jaw and sliding genioplasty. Not easy the first week. That's a lot of reconstruction. And I'll be 58 in 2 weeks. I'm happy about how everything looks so far though.

Day 13 post op

Things are going well. Eating still sucks and Ive lost 13 lbs in 13 days. Surgeon had to put 2 bands on front teeth hooks to assure that the midlines were exactly lining up. Swelling is getting better and bruising is a lot better ( I was bruised down to my nipples). The chin genioplasty has been the most uncomfortable as I have bone pain from where they basically cut the end off of my chin and slid it back. Everyone that sees me notices a big difference already. I'll post before and after xrays of my skull and you can aee a big difference in my profile. Im weak from lack of protein...but I started in with a nutritionist about a month before surgery and thats been good. I mix a lot of things with bone broth and you can get 6 pack cartons at Costco. Almond milk and coconut beverage at Trader Joes are staples. I grind up evetything...but was able to eat a really ripe avocado today with a little slight chewing. So far I'm really happy I did the surgery. My surgeon actually teaches other surgeons at University of Washington to do the surgery. Im very confident in his abilities. It was major or course having both jaws and my chin reconstructed...but I usually go full out if Im going to do something. So far so good!

Day 14 post op

I'm still feeling weak from lack of food and am down 14 pounds. Most of my discomfort is from where the screws were put in on my lower jaw and specifically...the 2 incisions at the bottom of my cheeks. My teeth are not lining up on the sides and I'm concerned about it. I have an open bite that I didn't have before. I see the surgeon the day after tomorrow and am curious what he can do about it. Bruising and swelling is getting better.

Day 19 post op

Well I saw the surgeon 3 days ago. He isnt concerned about my midlines completely lining up ( hes got them pulled over with rubberbands 8 hrs a day) and he said not having them overlap ( which mine do perfectly) is what he worries about with his patients. He said the rest can be fixed with rubberbands on my back teeth to move them into place and orthodontia. My gums are healing and doing well. I may get outside string sutures out on Weds.

I love my profile though dont like the frog look unfer my chin from all the swelling. Wondering at my age if it will go back to normal since I did lose some chin so its not stretched as tight as it was..well I have no problem with a little nip tuck after this all heals if I need to go that route.

I am starting to get some more feeling back. Lower teeth all of left side and some of front have feeling. Top palate and teeth dont but the doc daid it takes quite a while for that to come back. Right side of nose now has feeling...left side doesnt. Left side of chin has feeling, right doesnt. Under chin has all feeling. Both cheeks have feeling. Upper lip on right side has feeling but not lower lip on right except in corner. Left bottom lip has feeling and a good portion of top as well. Ive been feeling little zingers...so I know its starting to wake up. Hasn't even been 3 weeks.still. umb from under eye on left side down to right under nose. Right side has mostly awakened. Still feel like I have someone elses teeth in my mouth...haha. Writd feeling and I cant touch my tongue to my nose anymore...haha...my claim to fame. Things are going well. Im pleased with my progress and am glad I did the surgery. In the midst of all this I refinanced my house this week so I can be debt free and remodel my kitchen and pour a new driveway. My brain is getting clearer by the day. I only took pain meds for about 3 days. Id rathet be alert. Ill try to post a pic.

3 1/2 weeks post op

Things are going well. Saw Dr Bloomquist 2 days ago and I am just so impressed with him and his office each time I go in. He told me he moved my top jaw 3 mm forward, bottom jaw back 5 mm, moved back part of top jaw down 1.5 mm and front part of top jaw down 3 mm, and of course reconstructed my chin by taking a horizontal slice out of the bone to made it shorter. He also put in a stitch under/inside my nose to pull up my upper lip and to narrow my nose. So far I love how things are looking. I feel like I had a face lift along with my jaw surgery...lol Feeling is coming back. More pain recently especially at night after doing exercises he gave me to do 5x a day to stretch my mouth. Im at 24mm and a normally functioning mouth opens to 40 mm. Next appt is in 3 weeks. Im at 25 days post op now.
Dr. Dale Bloomquist

I have had a very good experience with Dr.Bloomquist and his staff. He has encouraged asking questions and has been very forthcoming and down to earth with answering my concerns and explaining thoroughly. His assistant Teresa was fantastic. Maybe it has to do with me being older and closer to their ages? Even one of the nurses at the hospital said she had him do her son's surgery and that he was the best of the best. Worldwide reputation. Regardless, I'm most interested in his expertise in the O.R. and that he has done several thousand of these surgeries in his 35 + years of being a jaw surgeon.

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