5 Years Later

5 years later and still smiling!

Despite trying to walk away from this blog twice (here and here), I’ve been drawn back yet again. It seems helping people through the experience of having jaw surgery is something of an addiction.

Perhaps most importantly, I should let you know that I am back to help answer your questions (and have been doing so for nearly 2 months already). It’s been encouraging to see people helping each other in the comments as well, so thanks to all of you who are sharing your own wisdom with people new to this surgery.

In case you’re wondering what happened during my 5-year hiatus, I’d like to share a few brief updates on my life since my previous “final” post.

  • After 6 years in university, I finally graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering. I’m not sure what that means, exactly, but many adults seemed to think it was a good thing to collect.
  • I let all of my professors down by opting to become a traveling bum instead of getting a desk job. In 2012, I traveled around this blue and green orb God gave us (also known as Earth) and discovered friendly, hopeful people all over the place. The year-long experience involved many long bus rides, sleeping on park benches, eating frogs, walking cheetahs, and seeing the number $0 on my bank statements. (I was also lucky enough to spend Christmas in Malaysia with a fellow jaw hero!)
  • I met a girl named Roma along the way and then married her a year later.
  • We moved to Thailand because we’re wimps when it comes to winter in Canada. We have not stopped sweating since that day. 😅
  • My commitment to being a computer geek finally paid off and spurred a career in programming. I now work as a remote software engineer from all corners of the world. (Today, I’m writing this blog post from the town of Siem Reap in Cambodia.)
  • I learned that I like cats.

This is the girl I met. (Also, my wife.)

Since this is a blog about jaw surgery, I suppose an update on the current state of my jaw would prove useful as well. 😁

  • I still wear my retainer 2 nights per week, a habit lovingly enforced by my wife.
  • I now floss every single night, another habit forced encouraged by Roma.
  • I still have permanent numb patches in my lower lip and chin, but they do not negatively impact my life in any way (except maybe for those awkward moments when I have water running down my chin and nobody has the courage to tell me about it).
  • I can eat and drink anything and my open bite no longer affects my chewing.

Finally, even 5 full years after my recovery, I still highly recommend this surgery for anyone who has difficulty chewing or feels an extreme lack of confidence due to their smile.

If you have any questions, or perhaps just want to say hello, feel free to leave a comment below and I will happily respond.

I wish you all a very happy new year and hope to meet even more of you in 2016!

2 Comments

  1. Wow, I can only imagine what a nightmare it’s been for you. But like you said, your bite has improved, your appearance has improved, so it may not be perfect (and it never is) but you were brave enough to go through with it despite all the challenges. My orthodontist assured me that the jaw cannot and will not grow back to its original position, so don’t worry about that. The teeth, however, do move forward or sideways if you don’t use your retainers forever. I know mine have moved forward like 1-2 mm which I really notice when I smile. Well, enough about me. Take really good care of yourself, I hope the numbness goes away and that you smile pretty and happily from now on 😀

  2. I wanted to leave a comment because obviously everyone’s experience with double jaw surgery is VERY different. I am about 6 weeks post op now, and I had an interesting case. The enamel on my teeth were severely eroded by the time I was 18, so my front 4 teeth had been completely prepped for veneers (the dentist who did this did not consider my underbite, and my bottom teeth kept knocking the veneers off of my top teeth so those teeth have been exposed for about 4 years now). Because of this, actual braces were not an option when it came to correcting my underbite. My orthodontist and surgeon assured me I could do all the prep work using Invisalign, so thats what happened. When it came time to do the surgery, my orthodontist put hooks on my teeth so that the surgeon could have me wired into place. Naturally, all of the hooks started flying off mid surgery so during the procedure someone had to hold me in place while the surgeon did his work. Because of this, he couldn’t wire me shut afterwards. When I woke up from this surgery I was bawling because I was in SO much pain. Also, I couldn’t spend the night in the hospital like you’re supposed to because of the coronavirus so my surgeon had a set up for me back at his office. By the time I got to the office the severe pain just turned into discomfort and that first night was the least painful, I was able to talk but mostly just slept the whole time.

    The next few days, however, would become the absolute worst days of my life. Reading Graham’s posts and seeing he only rated his pain at most a 4 and others saying there was not a lot of pain had me feeling good about the surgery! I have a really high pain tolerance so I thought it would be a breeze. I was so wrong.

    Now this could be because I wasn’t wired shut but I tried my best to keep my mouth closed. Those first 3 days were excruciating. Absolutely the worst pain I have EVER experienced. It was a million times worse than I ever imagined, even on lots of painkillers. I give it at least a 12/10. Seriously, it was terrible. But it only lasted a few days and then the pain started to subside. I was still in a lot of pain for the rest of the first week but it was at least bearable. I’m also realizing now all of my pain prescriptions were pills, which I was able to take just fine from the first night (because I wasn’t wired shut). I’m curious, now, how I would have been expected to take them if all had gone smoothly and I was wired? That’s totally beside the point though.

    After the first week I pretty much felt normal again! My energy was back to normal and I don’t think I had any pain with the help of ibuprofen. My face was still huge, and numb but I was able to eat soft things like mashed potatoes, yogurt etc. The absolute worst part though was looking at my bite. My teeth were right on top of each other, I didn’t have that perfect bite I was expecting (and would have had if I was able to be wired shut after surgery). After going through the worst pain of my life, this was heart-breaking. Granted, I could tell my profile looked much better and I was at a better point than where I was pre surgery. My surgeon put me in rubber bands at about a week and a half post op. I was pumped because I figured this would get my bite back to where it was when he had done his work. Well the rubber bands were attached to hooks and it was too much pressure on one of my teeth and the band started pulling my tooth loose!!! The elastics were not even that stiff so I was shocked, as was my surgeon. I could not catch a break lol. So just before 3 weeks post op, my surgeon had me stop wearing the rubber bands so my tooth can remain in my mouth.

    Now I am at 6 weeks post op and my underbite continued growing out slightly. Besides that, I am pretty much 95-97% back to normal with eating, pain/discomfort, numbness and swelling. Three days ago I went to my orthodontist and he started me back on Invisalign with rubber bands and my bite’s already getting better!! He assured me I shouldn’t have issues with my teeth coming loose with the counter force of the Invisalign trays. I am really worried that after finishing Invisalign my bite will just grow back out again but fingers crossed!!

    So yeah this was my very abnormal experience with this surgery that I just thought I would share! If I didn’t have enamel issues to begin with, this whole thing probably would have gone a lot smoother but I’m still so happy I got it done. Although my bite’s still not perfect my confidence has improved immensely, even while smiling! So I totally recommend doing this surgery if you’re debating it. If braces are your main concern, I can’t really help you there but I’m sure the results will be worth it.

    Also I wanted to comment that doing this surgery during a pandemic was almost kind of nice? Because I could go to the store swollen like a balloon and didn’t feel the embarrassment I would have because my mask covered it all up!

    Good luck to those in the future who will be going through this, I hope your experience runs smoother than mine! I’m also really curious if anyone else has gone through this surgery without metal braces or if it’s just me?

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“Over the past several years, I’ve done my best to respond to every comment on this blog, but unfortunately I no longer have the time to do so. If you have questions about jaw surgery and want to connect with others on this journey, please join the Facebook group. Don't worry — it's free!”

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