Day 50: Liberation Day, Sort Of

  • Pain: 0/10
  • Inconvenience: 5/10

Mes dents Rechercher norme!

If you can’t understand that caption, don’t fret. It’s in French, and I trust it will keep my reader from down under, who claims to know the language, quite perplexed.

You may be wondering why I’m not completely ecstatic about having my splint removed. I have a few good reasons, I assure you.

I had the splint graciously removed at 7:00 am yesterday morning. It was completely painless and only required the snipping of a few wires. I then quickly drove over to my orthodontist’s office, never exceeding the posted speed limit, of course, and proceeded to go through the most uncomfortable experience since surgery.

They started by removing my wires, along with the hooks that the elastics attach to. I was then allowed to brush all of my teeth, my tongue, the roof of my mouth (praise the Lord–it hadn’t been touched for 7 weeks and felt similar to that wrinkly texture your fingers get after a night in the hot tub). I even had the pleasure of flossing and swishing around some minty fresh mouth wash! Needless to say, that’s become my morning routine and I on longer have bad breath. That moment, however, was the end of my liberation.

Immediately following my little happy dance, they attached the appliance to my back molars on my top jaw. This was incredible uncomfortable because my cheeks are still slightly numb and swollen, but they had to pull them all the way back to get the appliance in. Then I was forced to bite down as hard as I could to set it into place (keep in mind that I haven’t put any pressure on my teeth for almost 2 months). As if that wasn’t enough, they put my wires back in and reattached 5 hooks on each side of my mouth for my new elastics. When I finally left the office, I was shaking from all the stress on my face. Literally shaking.

That’s right, more elastics. You see, since my mouth was so royally FUBAR’d, I was left with an open bite on both sides, which basically means none of my teeth touch. When I bite down, my 2 front teeth hit the brackets on my bottom teeth before my molars ever connect, so I still can’t chew. I have little rubber pads called bumpers on my bottom brackets to prevent my top teeth from grinding down. I tried eating soup last night, but was unable to close my teeth enough to even crush a small piece of celery. Mashing food against the roof of my mouth with my tongue isn’t an option either, thanks to that shiny, new appliance being in the way. I started swallowing vegetables whole out of pure frustration, but I immediately felt a little sick from doing that, so I resorted to blending once again.

My orthodontist informed me that I’ll be in braces for at least another full year and I probably won’t be able to chew for a month at the very minimum. Apparently my surgeon wrote her a letter recommending a second surgery to correct my open bite, but I never want to go through that again. These past 7 weeks have been complete and utter hell, and I’d rather deal with elastics for a year than have to experience another oral surgery.

I also feel like I have buck teeth at the moment. I’m not sure if I’m simply not used to them being so prominent in my mouth, if I have excessively large teeth or if I’m just self-conscious. In any regard, I think I look a little bit like a clown.

On the bright side, my lips and cheeks have healed up quite quickly and are no longer lacerated beyond repair.

“Would you have made the same choice?”

I have a question for you all. I’m wondering if you would have made the same decision as I did after reading through the first 50 days of the recovery process. Would you have chosen to undergo jaw surgery or not? Keep in mind the reasons that led me there.

28 Comments

  1. Hi. May 3rd it will be 18 months with braces, at which time, my surgery will be scheduled. I’ve been doing a lot of research on this surgery and well as watching video’s. I’m just the type that needs to know it all from different perspectives before making a huge decision. I am so happy that I came across your blog! I’ve been reading it for the past two days. You’ve made me laugh and stress less about the surgery. I, too, am having it done because I would like to be able to chew my food! I was to bite into a slice of pizza and not burn the roof of my mouth, breath better, and my major issue, is I have these beautiful teeth that you just can’t see when I fully smile. More importantly I had my wisdom teeth removed 8 years ago. My teeth have shifted so that when I eat I accidentally bite my lip HARD! If that’s not bad enough, my jaw was dislocated to allow for the removal of my impacted wisdom teeth, but never put back in place properly, cause headaches every day and night. Explains the reason why my jaw feels so tired at bedtime and my ears ring!!

    I feel better about having this done. Your blog has done wonders to my stress levels, in a good way 🙂 Thank you!!

    • Hi Lissy, I’m happy to hear you found a bit of encouragement in this blog! It sounds like you’ve been waiting to have your bite corrected for quite a while, so this will be a huge blessing for you. And just think, soon you won’t be biting your lip every time you eat either! 😊

  2. I am at 3 weeks post bimaxillary osteotomy + genioplasty. There is no friggin chance, knowing what I know now, that I would ever opt to undergo the sugery. I originally wanted braces to close up a couple of gaps in my front teeth. As I work in the film/tv industry this was something that affected my self confidence. Upon getting braces I was informed I’d need to have surgery to correct my bite. I never even knew I had an issue with my bite until the braces. As my teeth were alligning, the issues with my bite became much more prominent. I figured surgery couldn’t be that hard. Couple weeks off…. she’d be right mate. Boy was I wrong!!! I couldn’t even get out of bed for the first 2 days. I physically could not stand up. My body has become so weak and I am still not at 100% in terms of energy. I gave myself a month off work. I’m still unsure I’m even going to be able to perform even after a whole month. I can still not eat solids, nor can I talk properly. I look like a turtle and cannot breath through my nose. I am in constant pain and throbbing in my face and am continually coughing/blowing old blood out of my sinus. It is disgusting. I wish I had of known of the complications and gruelling recovery period. I would have left my teeth alone and never gone ahead with all this.

    • Hi Leah, it’s unfortunate that the recovery is causing you so much stress and frustration. It’s certainly a tough few months, especially being unable to speak and eat for the first few weeks. I assure you that your body will heal within the next few months and life will return to normal, so I hope you can be encouraged by hearing that your current state is only temporary. Hopefully these next few weeks fly by so you can get back to the regular swing of things. Take care for now!

  3. Hi,

    I had my double jaw surgery 17 days ago.
    My molar (my back teeth) doesn’t touch. Well only inside but outside it have a very big grab between my upper and lower molar . And google lead me to your page.

    I read your blog and comments you said something about open bite, Do you mean your upper and lower molar doesn’t touch?..?

    • Carline, I was left with an open bite as well. My top and bottom molars did not touch on either side of mouth at first, but after about 3 months, they started touching again.

      It was explained to me that your teeth will keep growing until they encounter opposition (in the form of your other teeth), so your bite should eventually close.

      • My molar are beautifully closed in the inside (can feel it with my tongue)

        But on the outside it has a huge gab (see it on the mirror)

        Was yours like this?

        And still only my left side of my face is still swollen.
        😭

        And I will see my surgeon in 3 months 😕 tried to call him but no one answers. I’m worried.

      • Sorry didn’t read your reply good.

        Never mind my previous comment. 😊

  4. Well,
    I’m at day 30 today after double jaw surgery(and chin also),
    And I can say I never want to go through another surgery in my life.
    By the 2 weeks hump I was regretting the surgery so bad I really thought to myself what wrong have I done in my life that got me to this point.

    I can honestly say, I would never go through a 2nd surgery.

  5. I received my corrective jaw surgery a mere 39 days ago. Ive been following your blog closely to help my impatients and slight insanity through my own recovery. I did not wind up with a splint, but my surgeon has officially released me to my orthodontist. In 6 days I get to have impressions, (which I’m really nervous about) a new wire, and new hooks. Ive gotten most of my feeling back, pro: I have feeling back, con: I’m still sore and feeling pain from my brackets, and talking so much. (So im a woman…) I’m soooo worried about my visit. I havnt been able to feel much before this. Thanks so much for your blog. I can’t tell you how much its helped me so far.

    • Katie, I hope the visit to your orthodontist went well and that the impressions and other fun stuff didn’t pose any sort of problem. Now that you’re two full months post-op, you should be both eating and full of energy once again. Try to put your worry aside and appreciate the fact that you’ll be in tip-top shape very soon! =)

  6. Just wanted to say HI to all who have experienced the highs and lows of jaw surgery. I am on Day 50 and this past week one of my stiches got abscessed and I had to have it lanced and drained AKA ripped back open on stich site, pressure put on my already sore mouth and now still swollen on that side and sore to the touch. I have had many tears this week and wondered, Is this all really worth it? I think it is though, nevertheless, nice to hear other people who have been through the wire so to speak:)

    • Pam, my friend, I assure you it is worth it once all is said and done. The recovery is fairly brutal (and incredibly frustrating due to things like Day 50 complications), but it will all be behind you soon and you’ll be back in good shape.

      Beyond that, just wait until you have your braces removed and you can flash your bright white smile around!

  7. Graham, just got my splint off, and I must say, I feel like somethings been lifted off of me.

    Like you, my back teeth don’t touch yet. Well, it does a little bit on my right side, but not enough to chew. On the left, they don’t touch at all. Did your open bite end up getting fixed with orthodontics? I remember you saying your surgeon recommended a second surgery…

    • Hi Joe,

      Congratulations on breaking up with your splint! You can finally revisit the days of having a fresh mouth!

      My open bite was fixed with orthodontics, primarily elastics. I wouldn’t worry about it at this point. It will take quite a while to close—mine took over a year—but your teeth will naturally grow until they encounter opposition (your other teeth), so your open bite will naturally correct itself.

      Enjoy life post-splint!

  8. Abby, I asked my orthodontist the same question when she handed me my elastics and was told to wear them as much as possible until my braces were removed. I wore them nearly 24 hours each day because I didn’t want to cut any corners. It’s frustrating, but once your braces are taken off, you’ll be free forever!

  9. Today is my day 50. I had a lovely week of unwired freedom, and then this morning I received two bags of elastics that I am supposed to start wearing. Wow, they are really uncomfortable and making my jaw ache all over again, just as I was getting used to opening my mouth and moving my jaw around.

    Wondering how long they are typically worn? I haven’t been given any time frame. My bite actually looks great; so good in fact that I don’t see why I need to wear these, but my orthodontist told me they will make my bite “fit just a little bit better”. I hope that I don’t need much correction and that I won’t have to wear them long.

  10. Hi Kim,

    Props to you for being able to drink from a cup! That was the first sign of recovery that really made me happy.

    If you’re allowed to remove your bands to eat, you should be able to eat soft foods and just mash them against the roof of your mouth. However, if you can’t remove the bands, you’re likely still going to have to blend and drink your soups because you won’t be able to fit a spoon in your mouth.

    I’d ask your surgeon after they remove your splint. They’ll often let you take the bands out to make eating a little bit more convenient. Hopefully this is the case for you!

  11. Hi Graham,

    Great website, can’t wait to finish reading all of your posts. I am at day 19 post op afterhaving both upper and lower jaw surgery. The upper jaw was moved up and the lower jaw was brough forward. I can not use the syringe thing, it is way too awkward and messy and took forever to get even 100 ccs down so I am just using a cup and taking small sips. It seems to work, but my question is this. Next week on day 27 I get my splint out but of course I will have the rubber bands. I already have a bunch now. So when I am “eating” with the rubber bands will it still be just soups that first week or can I try some other things. Even just slightly chunky soup would be a massive improvement over now. I am liquidizing everything now. Any suggestions would be helpful. I am supposed to be in bands for four weeks, but it is that first week that I am most cuious about.

  12. Hi Beth!

    I’m more or less on the same page as you. I’m very happy with the results I received, but it’s certainly not something I’d want to do again.

    I hope you enjoy eating real food again in a couple of days!

  13. I completely agree with your decision. I had double jaw surgery 40 days ago today, but got my splint removed at 3 weeks, and get to start “chewing” in 2 short days. BUT, my broken record response to everyone who asks me about the surgery is “I’m glad I did it, I’m happy with the results, but there’s no way I’d do it again. No. Way.”

    Also, thanks a bunch for writing so detailed-ly about your experience. It’s nice having somebody’s honest reactions to the real situations that come up after this surgery. I tried to model my friends and family blog the same way but it’s extraordinarily difficult to update as effectively as you have – thank you 🙂

  14. Angela, I think we all build the day we have the splint removed up to be something life-changing because we’re in such dire anticipation of being able to eat again.

    I can assure you things will get better quickly from this point forward. Start by eating soup that isn’t blended. Then, graduate yourself to pasta and pretty soon you’ll be eating just about anything with no hassle at all.

    I found it took about two weeks sans splint to get back to a comfortable level of eating.

  15. Also, I am so impressed with your calorie intake! I am lucky to get in 1500!

  16. I am sitting at Starbucks waiting for my ortho appointment after just leaving my oral surgeon’s office where he removed my splint. I, too was expecting this miraculous instant recovery….needless to say I was a bit disappointed. My bite only closes on one side and he told me I need to be doing much more therapy to open wider. Also, I am still swollen five weeks out. I have been in great spirits thus far, but left the office in tears today expecting so much more.

  17. Audra, if you’ve made it to the point where you’re scheduled to undergo the operation in 10 days, you can rest assured you’re making the right decision. You wouldn’t have come this far otherwise.

    Also, the other Audra is a sweetheart. I’ve met her in person a few times now and she’s been a blessing in my life! Perhaps it’s an “Audra thing.” =)

  18. I am 24 and will undergo double jaw surgery in t-10 days. I have been questioning whether I am making the right decision. It was very comforting to read Audra’s post (I rarely run in to other Audras) and felt a bit serendipitous. Thank you all for sharing!

  19. Wow you are very dedicated thank you very much for responding so quickly i was expecting maybe a week or even a month. But um yea i saw my surgeon today he down graded those you can say wires but they are rubber bands to lighter ones but im still shut i felt like kicking his butt 🙂 but yeah he told me next week he is going to take out my splint then down grade the rubber bands again. I am so excited now yippee i was suffering here, i am glad to know that i am going to have less of that. Thank you so much i appreciate the website it is keeping me going and for your response cause boy my surgeon was leaving me hanging 🙂 have a good week and god bless you are doing a wonderful helping others like me.

  20. I know what you’re talking about, Vaneesha. I have 4 triangles worth of elastics on my teeth at all times right now. Slightly frustrating!

    Once your splint is gone, you’ll regain your chewing ability really quickly (within a matter of a couple of weeks). It’ll be awesome!

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