Day 46: Splint Metamorphosis

  • Pain: 0/10
  • Inconvenience: 3/10

I think my nose is straightening out! (kinda)

Three days. That’s how much longer I’ll be married to “the splint”. I have an appointment at 7:00 am on May 10th to have it removed. My day of reckoning looks like this:

  • 7:00 am — Get my splint unwired and removed at my surgeon’s office
  • 8:00 am — Have an impression made at my orthodontist’s office
  • 1:30pm — Head back to my orthodontist’s office to get an appliance put in

I’ll also be at work in between the last 2 appointments, so it’s going to be quite a hectic day. You may be wondering what an impression is and why I need an appliance put in. The appliance is going to take over the job that the splint is currently performing. Since my bone won’t be completely fused for another full month, the appliance is necessary to keep the roof of my mouth from contracting. I believe it’s just a simple, firm wire that attaches to my molars on each side of my top jaw.

The impression is required so that my orthodontist can construct the appliance to fit perfectly inside my mouth. When you receive an impression, they fill 2 trays with some really odd molding material and and ask you to bite down on them. After a few minutes, they remove them, but in the process, little chunks of the material break off in your mouth. You then have the privilege of spending the next 10 minutes of your life gurgling, swishing and spitting in a sink in an attempt to expel all of those little bits.

Does anyone remember my incessant complaining about the large stitch in the middle of my top lip? It was frustrating because it was continually getting caught on my braces and was slowly ripping out of my lip every time I brushed. Well guess what! It’s finally dissolved! My lip feels so much nicer.

A reader requested the recipe to the taco hamburger soup I spoke of a few days ago, so here are the ingredients:

  • Vegetables:
    • Celery
    • Carrots
    • Zucchini
    • Onions
    • Orange peppers
    • Mushrooms
  • Seasoning:
    • Garlic powder
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Beef OXO
    • Old El Paso taco seasoning
  • Jasmine rice
  • Ground beef

The only instructions are to chop all the vegetables up, brown the ground beef and then throw everything in a giant pot of water and let it cook. Add the rice at the end (but not too much, or it will absorb all the water and you’ll be left with more of a casserole than a soup).

I’d also like to let the world know I am no longer skilled at the honorable game of table tennis. I think my ping pong skills are directly tied to the health of my jaw.

21 Comments

  1. Well it’s day 47 tomorrow. I’m still eating soft mushy foods that I can get into my mouth. I still have three elastics on each side but I do have an appt with my surgeon on Thursday and I think he is going to allow me to take the elastics out to eat. I’m hoping that he is going to allow me to start exercising my jaw. My tongue still feel likes its on fire and I have no idea why and I’m hoping that it will go back to normal. On a happy note the right side of my lower lip and chin are starting to get some feeling back. When I touch them it really tingles so hopefully that will spread over to the left side sooner then later. Also, I forgot to mention my surgeon suggested taking B12 as it help to regenerate the nerves. It seems to be working!

    • Terry, so happy to hear your feeling is returning! Perhaps you’ll make it through this thing with no nerve damage. Lucky you!

  2. Stephanie, the splint is only needed if your upper jaw was expanded. It doesn’t hold your jaw in place—it simply maintains the expansion of the roof of your mouth.

    Chances are your upper jaw was already wide enough, so a splint is not required in your case.

    Consider yourself lucky! =)

  3. Omg…..the doc totally didn’t give me a splint…..I’m afraid my jaws gonna go right back where it was before….why do you think he didn’t put it in? Can it be put in later? I have an appt tomorrow but i want info now cuz I don’t want to ask him about it for him to then say yes we’ll put it for you now.

  4. Abby, if your upper jaw was expanded, you’d likely have a splint installed to maintain that new width. Chances are you didn’t require that type of procedure.

    The elastics we speak of are tight little rubber bands that hook around your braces to encourage keeping your teeth together at all times.

    Surgeons have all different sorts of practices and recovery plans, so it’s difficult to figure out if any single method is better than the next one. Chances are they all achieve the same end.

  5. I have to say I am confused by all of the references that people are making to splints. I’ve seen bits of explanations here and there but I guess I don’t get it. I wonder why I don’t have one? Also, so many people mention “elastics”, which I assume means you are/were held shut with rubber bands. I am just wired shut. And I must say, I am very jealous of those of you who were allowed to open your mouths & brush at your follow visits… I haven’t got to 🙁 I plan on asking, but I feel sure they will say no. I believe I’m shut for the full six weeks.

  6. Oh oka that makes sense.. Thanks

  7. That makes sense then. You won’t be able to open your mouth all the way until you’ve been eating solid food again for a few weeks. That movement will return as a result of the exercise chewing provides.

  8. My surgery was about 6weeks ago and my wires were just cut monday

  9. How long ago was your surgery? You likely won’t be able to open your mouth as wide as before until about the two-month mark.

  10. Hey I just got my wires cut and my screws taking out… It’s hard to open my all the way.. Did u have this trouble?

  11. At this point, I was still on a liquid diet. I was drinking milkshakes for breakfast, a couple cans of Ensure for lunch and blending Chunky soup up for dinner.

    Most people were eating solid food by the time they hit their 4th or 5th week. My recovery happened to lag others’ by a bit.

    I’m glad you’re able to eat (and that you were able to bypass the whole splint fiasco)!

  12. Impressions are the worst. Your experience seems to be much more difficult than mine. I’m sorry. I am on day 47 right now, and eating pretty much anything as long as it is cut into small pieces. I also never had a splint. What were you able to eat at this point?

  13. I -HATE- impressions. I’ve got two caps on my front teeth and getting impressions for me not only left me with bits of junk but made me feel like I was semi-suffocating. I suppose I’ll find out shortly how it went as I’m catching up on your blog here.

    I’m going to refer a friend – she’s going to be having this surgery, too – thanks for documenting this. It’s always nice to know what you’re in for.

  14. Hey Tara,

    My splint was only wired to my top teeth. I had elastics binding my top and bottom jaws together for the first 2 weeks, but after that I was allowed to take them out to eat (but I still wasn’t allowed to chew, so it was kind of pointless…)

    As far as meds go, I made sure to use my mouthrinse until it was all finished, as well as all antibiotics. For pain and swelling though, I only took medicine for 2 weeks. After that I threw it all away because I didn’t feel I needed it anymore.

    You can see exactly what meds I used by reading this post (Day 6).

  15. Hahaha-trust me, complaining is something I would love to do if I could speak! Ok-so were both of your jaws NOT wired into the splint in the beginning???? I have yet to find anyone whose were and I am not sure why my OS is torturing me like this!!!!! I do have another question though-for the first month, did you continue to take meds? I am 10 days post op and still have to take stuff. I was wondering what you took and especially for the nasal congestion, if anything. That is a big one for me as well as the splitting headache I get daily I am interested to know what helped you.

    And I ate blended refried beans tonight thru my syringe. I was quite proud!

    Thanks!
    Tara

  16. Hey friend,

    You sound even worse off than me! Wired to both jaws–yikes! Once you get that unwired and can open your mouth a bit, you’ll be able to eat a lot thicker stuff, and then you’ll be able to fill up and get energy and be a bit more, I don’t know, *normal*. 🙂

    I thought all that blended soup and stuff was repulsive at first too, but trust me, if you don’t get past that, you’re going to starve for the next few months. I wish I would have made homemade soup a lot sooner, because I find that as long as it tastes good, I can ignore the fact that it’s blended.

    I actually have a friend who prefers blended soup to eating it normally. I find that so odd!

    Good luck with staying happy, and keep me posted about how you’re doing. I thought I was the worst, but now I can see I’ve lost my right to complain. 😉

    Graham

  17. Hi Graham…..

    So I have read many blogs and I think you are the only other person who I have found who has the splint in as long as I do. It is wired to both my top and bottom jaws right now (totally sucks), but I do get the bottom part unwired at week 4, but the top stays wired for 8 weeks. I had my upper jaw expanded as well. So, I will be able to eat with a spoon at 4 weeks, but still no chewing until 8 weeks. All I care about right now is brushing my teeth!!!!!!

    I still can not swallow anything any thicker than Ensure. Plus, I can not get past the looks of anything blended like soup )): Were you like that too? I am so hungry, but just can not do it. I am so envious you are getting your splint removed!!! But that is great! I can not wait to hear how that goes for you! Your blog has been very encouraging to me, so thank you!

  18. Shouldn’t be a problem. I’m a pretty good cook 🙂

  19. No problem. I hope you can figure proportions out! I had to let a friend do it for me. 🙂

  20. Thanks for the recipe Graham!

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