Day 18: Free Donut Friday

  • Pain: 3/10 (I put new elastics on last night. They’re much tighter and, as a result, my teeth hurt today. It feels much the same as a visit to the orthodontist does.)
  • Inconvenience: 5/10

Dear Mr. Guitar:

I look forward to singing along to your beautiful music again in a few months. I apologize for neglecting you lately.

Love Graham

Today is Free Donut Friday at work. Our site manager, an extremely nice man, brings in 3-4 boxes of donuts and bagels for us every Friday. I’m watching everyone around me sitting at their desks, donuts in hand, savoring each bite. I can almost feel their satisfaction.

Last night, while “eating” my soup, I successfully managed to break my first elastic. Hurray! As a result, I had to switch them and put new ones on. Taking the old elastics off was a pretty trivial task. I’m assuming the muscles attached to my jaw are pretty tight right now because I can only open my mouth about half an inch. It’s not a matter of pain–I physically cannot open it any further. I stood there, in front of my bathroom mirror, trying as I might to open a little wider. You can imagine the expression on my face. It would be similar to the facial expression someone might have if they were to sit down and attempt to grow their hair. I could just barely fit my toddler’s toothbrush in to clean the insides of my teeth. Putting the elastics back on proved to be the most challenging undertaking thus far. I’m glad I commenced this ridiculous operation nice and early. At least that way, I was able to finish up before heading to work at 9 o’clock the next morning. It was so difficult! I’ve never snapped myself so many times in all my life.

I also discovered, as I was pulling my lips back to unnatural lengths, that I have a copious amount of stitches along my gums, both on the top and the bottom. I’ve been sitting here for the past few weeks wondering where all these “incision sites” my surgeon keeps speaking of actually reside. Well I found them.

I’m officially willing to blend absolutely anything now. I’ve realized that blended meals aren’t actually that bad. Aside from the fact that they never fill you up, of course.

So does everyone remember how awesome my day was a few days ago? Well, apparently I concluded it by leaving my vehicle unlocked, because when I got into my car yesterday, I noticed there was an apple core on the floor. I thought that was odd because I definitely can’t eat apples. Then I noticed my iPod-to-radio converter was missing and my CDs were strewn across the back seat. Shame on whoever walks down our street checking for unlocked vehicles. None of my CDs were missing though. Apparently I listen to really crappy music. All the sports equipment in my trunk was intact as well. So, after assessing the entire situation, I really have nothing to complain about. Here’s the best part: the $100 converter they stole doesn’t even work. Eat that, you thieves!

One last thing: that God-forsaken splint that I’ve been complaining about since day 1 has quite a hefty price tag. The price breakdown values it at $500. Worst. Investment. Ever.

And guess what! I had my very first sneeze today! I suppressed it though, in fear of extreme jaw pain. I absolutely cannot wait to sneeze again!


  1. Hello!

    I am on day 8 on the recovery for the same procedure that you had. Thank you for your blog! Its affirming hearing that someone else had my experiences and your advice is very helpful.

    Thanks again,


    • Avery, glad you’re finding the blog useful. Congratulations on surviving the first week too! One more week and then life should become noticeably better for you! 😊

  2. Hi there! I realize it’s been so long since your surgery, not sure if you’ll reply. Well I had my 7th jaw surgery on January 6th and well I thought I’d be a pro at my recovery. I’m anything but that. All my previous surgeries (all for TMJ) I was wired shut. This was my 1st surgery where I was able to move my jaw right after surgery (as tolerated) I had a rib graft put in with plates and screws about 5 years ago. Well they discovered that I broke the plate in 2 places so the graft completely came out. So it took them about 8 hours to take it all out and fix all my problems. That’s the quick version! Well, I see how well you’re doing and I feel so disappointed because I’m not at that point. I can’t even imagine driving. My neck is still sore and it hurts to turn it. Both of my incisions are on the outside this time around. My swelling was almost gone last week and as of 2 days ago has came back with a vengeance! Along with the swelling is the pain. I’m so frustrated! My doctor tells me everyone is different and to take it easy. Then I read positive stories like yours and I get bummed out again. Well….I just wanted to vent somewhere that I knew people would understand me. Thank you for reading!

    • Hi Vanessa, I can understand your frustrations and I assure you that you are not alone in feeling this way. If your graft was removed during surgery, it makes sense that your recovery will be about a week behind what I’ve documented here since your body has to heal that on top of “the usual.” Try to stay positive, get outside for walks and fresh air, and let me know how you’re feeling in a few days. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised within the next week! 😊

  3. Hello there Graham,
    It’s my 18th day post op. My surgery was on October 7 and my first follow up was on October 17. Initially my bite was set too “forward”, where my lower jaw wasn’t back far enough. So they added elastics to correct the bite. Since I also grind my teeth at night, the docs banded me up pretty well. When I was initially leaving the docs office my bite looked perfect (in my eyes) but after two days (and now), I feel like I have an overbite! I’ve been in touch with one of the surgeons and he says everything looks fine (I sent him pictures)… Did you ever have such a concern? My next follow up is in another week… 10/31.

    • Joyce, what you’re experiencing is perfectly normal. I, too, felt like I had a huge overbite initially, but this is only because of your swelling. You can’t make any sober judgements about your appearance for the first 6 weeks because the swelling distorts your face to such extents. I assure you that with patience, you’ll be much happier with your appearance in one more month. =)

  4. Went to my first orthodontist appt today after seeing the surgeon. The surgeon only put one elastic on each side, the orthodontist changed my top wire and put all new elastics around the brackets. There still seems to be an issue with my left back molars that both the surgeon and ortho are concerned with…so I’ll have to wait and see what is going to happen with that!

  5. Dear Graham,
    I completed my 18th day today. Everything has been bearable so far and the swelling has definitely decreased. However, one thing that has been making me constantly cranky is the pain from the elastics. It’s just a constant pain that I cannot forget about. I’ve tried taking pain killers to ease the pain, unfortunately it didn’t do much.
    Any other suggestions?
    Thanks Graham,
    By the way, your pics are simply JAWSOME!

    • Lara, the tension pain from the elastics is simply something that will go away over time. I only really noticed the feeling of the elastics pulling on my teeth for about a week. After that initial movement was complete, the pain was no longer present. I remember those frustrating feelings of chronic tension well. I promise they will be a thing of the past soon, though!

      p.s. Excellent use of the word “jawsome.” =)

  6. Don’t be so sure. I bet you can switch out elastics a heck of a lot faster than I can now. =)

  7. Graham just read your Jaw Surgery Olympics its now 2012 game on. haha.

    But i think you’d win now due to the fact that your surgery was a while ago haha.

  8. Haha, I can see it now: The 2010 Jaw Surgery Olympics.

    – Whistle
    – Blow bubbles
    – See who can open their mouth the furthest
    – See who the first person to detect water running down their is
    – Fastest elastics-changer

    I’ve been blowing candles out using my nose, personally. I’m always afraid I’m going to accidentally sniff instead of blow though, and get a bunch of fire up my nose.

  9. I stare longingly at all the treats brought into my office. I tried “chewing” a donut once, but it didn’t work out so well. Instead, I remember all of the milkshakes I can eat. 😀

    Snuggle your guitar tight. She knows you’ll come back to her someday.

    Something I didn’t expect after jaw surgery is that I can’t blow very well. It took a few weeks before I could blow out a candle. I bet trying to whistle would be funny (and wet). I sense a stupid jaw surgery human tricks event coming on.

  10. Yup, elastics still on, but fewer than before. Doc said that without the bite plate wedged between my teeth, too much elastic force on the tooth-on-tooth contact could cause a shift. Which is the last thing I need now. Still, teeth KILLED for the first 3 days.

    I’ve found I’m fine when I’m home, so staying up to-and-past 1AM is perfectly fine, but mid-afternoon is miserable. I guess having access to milkshakes and a full store of liquids is better than being at the outpost of work. Glad it’s going decently well.

    Elastics should be coming off anywhere from 4/19 to 4/21 due to the holiday, hopefully the 19th. Then I just hope I can actually eat for the first few days, and not just gum at things while my muscles readjust. Hey, pizza is flat, right?

  11. So you still have elastics on then? I was wondering if you had freedom of movement yet.

    Look on the bright side–at least you can talk more clearly now! I still sound like I’m speaking with a mouth full of Styrofoam.

    I got through my entire first week of work pretty well. The only difficult day was Monday, when I was exhausted and had a splitting headache all day. Once I started going to bed *before* 1am and drinking multiple Ensure’s throughout the day, it became a lot more bearable. I’m still not nearly as productive as before, but I’m getting there.

    When do your elastics come off? I still have mine for another 5 and a half weeks (along with my splint, ugh).

  12. Effectively no different without the bite plate. While I have gaps to the left and right in the back, I still can’t get food back there. So, anything of substance still gets stuck in the front.

    I had a big setback day yesterday where I simply couldn’t bring myself to eat much of anything, but it’s a little better today.

    Massachusetts has a truly wonderful Mass-only holiday called Patriots Day which is Monday, April 19th, when the Boston Marathon runs and the Red Sox have an 11AM game. This is all well and good, except the doc’s office will be closed that day and they perform surgeries on tuesdays. So, instead of getting them off first thing on Monday, I have to wait ’til Wednesday for freedom. Just 2 more days, but 2 days I’d rather be eating.

  13. I have the tools for the job. I just find it so tough to get them wrapped around the tiny little hooks on my braces properly. I have to pull my lips back and… it’s so tedious!

    How are you doing? Are you eating anything and everything again now that your bite plate is gone?

  14. I have a pair of pliers on my swiss army knife that I use whenever I need to readjust my elastics, which has been a lifesaver. Using fingers is miserable, but the little set of pliers has just enough functionality to get everything squared up.

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