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 out 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. If you’re interested, you can read a bit of our sappy little love story.
  • 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!

54 Comments

  1. Hello,

    My name is Ailyn, I just wanted to thank you for this blog it has been very helpful! I came across it 3 years ago, bookmarked it because I knew I had to get double jaw surgery. I postpone my surgery until this year.. and I’m excited, nervous but weirdly confident going in June 16! I have been wanting this surgery /needing this surgery for a very long time and I’m excited of the outcome and the possibility of being able to smile normal! Thanks again! Hope all is well.

    • Ailyn, happy to hear you’ve found the courage to go through with the surgery! I hope it goes well and we’ll be here for you as soon as you’re on the other side. 😊

      (Remember to join the chat group, if you haven’t already. Lots of people in there who will understand exactly how you’re feeling during those first few weeks.)

  2. Thanks for doing this man, I have double jaw surgery tomorrow morning. Reading this has been very helpful.

    • Glad you found the blog useful, Joe! Hope you’re doing well and welcome to your second week of recovery!

      • Graham, one of the craziest things for me was that the first 3 days were beyond anything I could of imagined. I lost tons of weight was completely miserable and regretted this every step of the way.

        Then day 4-5-6 happened and by day 7 most of the swelling was gone, most of the feeling was back, my appetite and food intake returned to normal, my energy went from nothing to supercharged, and I have little to no pain, just sort of tingling.

        I hate the splints, the drooling, and swollen lips, but honestly if you stay positive and are an active healthy person going in I truly believe once you get past the first few days it’s smooth sailing.

        Thanks again for this blog, you have done a great service for people going through this.

        • Joe, that’s actually a fairly common recovery experience, believe it or not. The good news is that everything changes for the better by the third week and you should notice considerable healing by that point. And just think of how nice it will be when the splint is removed! 😊

  3. Hi Graham,

    I just had my surgery this past Wednesday, April 20th. I’m on day 5 of recovery, and I haven’t had more than 3 hours of sleep straight. All of this is due to the congestion in my nose that cause me to breath through my mouth and sometimes I stop doing that in my sleep and wake up gasping.

    Common to upper jaw surgery, patients experiencing congestion after surgery is normal. That’s why they don’t recommend blowing your nose within one month of surgery. Your sinus is healing along with your jaw.
    However, my congestion is pretty severe. It’s causing a lot of pressure to build under my eyes and along my nose in the cheeks, and that pressure leads to more pressure at my forehead and sometimes pain at the temple. It’s manageable during the day. But when I’m trying to catch a shut eye, it is almost unbearable.
    I don’t see people talking about this much on their blogs.

    Did you experience this? Do you have any solutions? And do you remember how long it took this symptom to go away?

    Thanks!

    • I had my double jaw surgery on April 22, 2016. It involved expanding my upper jaw 14mm. I’m very swollen ok my cheeks, nose and upper lip. I’m feeling the exact same way as you. The congestion is horrendous and nothing seems to remedy it. Last night I found sleeping with a wet cloth over my mouth helped. I didn’t wake up choking on dry air. Also, I found, ‘breathe right strips’ helped a tiny bit.
      I feel your frustration

      Jocelyn

  4. Hey Graham,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading the blog! I’m having double jaw surgery on June 1st so the day is coming up. My question is this…I’ll be moving half way across the country for a job 5 weeks after my surgery. I’m pretty sure it will be too difficult to come back for orthodontist appointments every 8 weeks, so I was wondering how hard it will be to transfer orthodontists to my new location? Have you talked to anyone that this has happened to?

    Thanks again for documenting your experience.
    Reid

    • Reid, I think this should be possible. I highly recommend asking both your surgeon and orthodontist to send their recovery plan for your case over to your new orthodontist, just so they know how to carry out your treatment. Hope it works out! 😊

  5. Hello Graham,

    I was wondering if you could give me a very simple timeline from when you get your braces on to when you got them off. Roughly how long did you have braces on for before the surgery was scheduled?

    I’m getting really impatient as my teeth haven’t quite moved to where they need to be in order for me to have my surgery and I’ve had them on for nearly a year. I would really appreciate a response and again thank you for the great website.

    My current timeline:
    December 2014 – First meeting with surgeon
    April 2015 – Wisdom teeth removed
    May 2015 – Braces applied
    Present – Waiting for teeth to straighten up a little bit more before my orthodontist contacts my surgeon

    • Debbie MacDonnell

      April 24, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      Hi Trevor, everyone’s timeline is different. I had my braces on for 22 months before surgery. I had them removed six months after my surgery . I was over 50 so it took a lot longer for my teeth to move . (I hope it’s ok for me to comment) 😄

    • Hi Trevor. I was 22 when I got my braces put on for my surgery and had them on for 30 months before my surgery and was told to have them on 6-8 months after. My teeth were not even that bad I had to off teeth in the front other than that everything I was.

  6. Hey Graham!

    Nicely done with the blog, I love the way you handled your recovery and it has helped calm my nerves for my impending surgery in the next few months.

    I have two questions about your experience!

    Did you have your wisdom teeth removed before or during surgery? My orthodontist floated the idea of having my wisdom teeth removed during surgery, and I wonder if you or anyone you have come across has had it done in a similar manner. I feel like it’s an incredible amount of trauma to experience in one surgery.

    Finally, did your surgeon have any options for you in terms of how the structure of your face would end up post-surgery (within the realms of possibility of course hah)? I ask because my surgeon mentioned I may be able to request how my face would end up. Sounds ridiculous I know haha!

    Thanks Graham, hope you’re having fun in Thailand!

    • Hi Elliot,

      If your surgeon is experienced in doing both at the same time, it’s actually preferred. Why suffer through the pain of both surgery twice when you can get it over all at once?

      I’m speaking from personal experience. I just had my double jaw surgery and wisdom teeth extraction this past Thursday, April 20th.
      I’m on day 5 of recovery, so that’s what I’m doing here, reading to see if my pain, swelling, and nasal congestions are normal. Graham’s day to day recounting is very reassuring. (I definitely have more pain today than the past 4 days after surgery – I think – because the anesthesia wore off. But I digress.)
      The wisdom teeth extraction definitely caused that side of my face to swell more. (I only had one wisdom teeth on the right lower side). And today, it definitely started to ache more than anything else. But the pain isn’t significant.
      Nothing some liquid Advil and an ice pack can’t fix.

      So if your surgeon feels comfortable doing both the corrective surgery and extraction at the same time, don’t hesitate.

    • Elliot, it looks like Jane handled your question about wisdom teeth extraction (thanks Jane!).

      As for input into the structure of your face post-op, my surgeon asked me if I wanted silicon implants put into my cheeks to prevent them from appearing “sunken” after the operation. I declined because I did not want to start surgically altering my appearance, but I suppose my answer is that this depends on your surgeon. Some may ask if you want any changes to your nose and chin during the surgery and some may focus solely on fixing your jaw. This is something you’ll just have to ask your surgeon in person. 😊

  7. Tomas Pilvelis

    April 12, 2016 at 4:00 am

    Your blog was amazing and I really can’t wait to have my surgery done. I’m curious about when my surgery date is going to be and my orthodontist won’t tell me anything. I have an appointment to have moulds and x rays done next month. From then is there any indication of when the surgery will take place if the moulds and x rays are fine.

    • Tomas, as far as I understand, surgery dates are based on operating room availability at the hospital, so most people aren’t presented with exact dates until a few weeks beforehand. That being said, once your x-rays and other prep work is done, your surgeon should be able to narrow it down to which week you can have the operation 😊

  8. Jessica Theodoro

    April 10, 2016 at 10:35 am

    Hey, Graham!
    My name is Jessica and I’m from Brazil.
    My orthognathic journey started when I was about 9 years old. My orthodontist tried to conceal my underbite by moving my upper teeth forward, which is a look I don’t really love, but doesn’t bother me enough to go ahead and get a double jaw surgery.
    The past years though, -I’m 25 now- have been miserable and I always thought it was because of my sinuses. But the real source of all my constant headaches are my misaligned jaw. 🙁
    I’ve picked a surgeon and an orthodontist (they work together) and next Tuesday I’ll get those lovely brackets back in my mouth.
    I already read every single orthognathic blog in Portuguese and countless articles about the subject (obsessed much?) and then I remembered I can speak English! Now I’m reading everything I can find in my second language. Yaaay!
    I just finished reading your blog (every.single.post.) and now I’m coming to thank you! I will be reading it all over again while recovering. Now I’m going through all of the comments.
    Glad to hear that you’ll be back to answer a few questions. 😀

    Big hug from Brazil!

    • Jessica, so happy to hear you’re doing your research and preparing yourself for this surgery! I hope it goes well and remember to join the chat group (signup form above the comments) if you need some support during your recovery. 😊

  9. Hi Graham,
    I want to thank you so much for coming back to your blog. I just had my surgery 3 months ago. Being a married, mother of 2 little ones, working full time and being 35 all made me think I could never fit this surgery into my life, but my underbite was 8mms and pulled 7mms to the left, and I had to do something about in. I found your blog during my initial research and it reminded me that anything can be done if you take it a day at a time. I tried other blogs, but your humor and honesty kept me coming back to yours. It took 2 years of fighting to get my insurance to cover it, but they did. The first two weeks of recovery were amazingly awful, but after that things got easier. If I hadn’t read yours, and others success stories, I would still be avoiding mirrors and unable to bite through a sandwich without half of it falling on my lap. So thank you, thank you, thank you, for putting yourself out there for us.

    • Hi Liz, thanks so much for sharing these kind words! It is fantastic to hear that you were able to get your insurance to cover the cost of the surgery — nice work! Enjoy many more years of smiling and no longer avoiding mirrors! 😄

    • How did you get your insurance to cover it? I am having my double jaw surgery on June 9th and it’s all coming out of my own pocket. As a single mom I’m sure you can understand how that hurts.

  10. Hi I just got jaw surgery on my top and bottom jaw exactly one week ago. Thank you so much for this blog it made me a whole lot less scared of getting it. I will be re reading it a lot keeping up with mine. Funny how mine is so different mainly cause of the splint becuase I am eating soup today and drinking from a cup but oh well. Again thank you!!

  11. Hi Graham,
    I had double jaw surgery for an open/over/cross bite in August 2013. When I was preparing for my surgery, your blog was one I read a lot! Thank YOU!

    So, I have had quite the time since my surgery. I’m not writing this post to scare people, rather to inform of some of the risks. I always had a messed up face/bite. I also began having fairly major TMJ issues when I was 12. And, I was born without my lateral upper incisors. Thanks Grandpa! I started this journey for surgery when I was 34.

    My surgery went well for the most part. My upper jaw was widened in three pieces, moved up, and over. My lower jaw was moved out and rotated. I healed fairly quickly and was back at school two weeks later. I am a music teacher!

    At around 12 weeks, I started having popping and my opening was very minimal (21 mm). When my braces came off at 8 mos, I immediately began to have headaches again, a lot of jaw pain, and my opening decreased to 16 mm. So began the next two years of this story. In June 2014, I had a bilateral TMJ arthrocentesis (needles are placed in joints, flushed, and jaw is manipulated to break up scar tissue). I’m September 2014, this was redone on one side. It was very unsuccessful and my pain greatly increased and I was locked. I had an MRI which showed that both of my discs were displaced and would not go back in, and badly damaged. In July 2015, I had bilateral TMJ fat graft surgery (discs are removed and rebuilt with fat from my hip). This failed on one side 12 weeks later after an aggressive PT session. My pain went up and my bite opened up. In November, my surgeon did another arthrocentesis which lasted… 2 days. The fat shifted out, again. He redid the left side of my surgery in January 2016 and said my bite settled right down during surgery.

    9 weeks later and my bite is more severe than it was when I began all of this. My surgeon is perplexed. My orthodontist has never seen this happen. He believes that my damaged discs were in there and when I had my original surgery, everything was fixed around those. When the discs were removed and rebuilt, my lower jaw relapsed, rotating back. I have barely my back molars touching and can stick my tongue through my teeth. They are going to reevaluate me in a month but my orthodontist and surgeon believe I’ll probably need to have my original surgery (all or part, I don’t know) redone. My surgeon’s nurse said she’s never seen this happen. This will be my 8th surgery since August 2013.

    So, a challenging situation…I just want to remind all surgery patients to trust what you know about your own body. Ask questions. Demand answers (nicely, of course). Take time to recover and heal. We are all told the risks and how low they are but someone helped those statistics to be there… Lucky me being one of them. I do have benefits from my original surgery but many have disappeared with these issues. I have HOPE that I’ll be back there sooner than later. I don’t know at what point to stop this process or to keep trying. My insurance has covered nothing. But a little bit of HOPE still shimmers.

    Graham, do you know of anyone else who has had this type of thing happen to them?

    Again, not trying to be negative just realistic that this life changing surgery has its risks but we know ourselves better than even our doctors do. Hoping everyone else has NOT gone through this.

    Thanks again!
    Traci

    • Hi Traci, I really appreciate you sharing your story here. I haven’t met anyone else who has experienced such severe relapse, especially to the point of needing the initial surgery again, but rest assured it has happened to others out there. Some people have reached out to me describing situations in which they needed multiple follow-up surgeries and these are difficult to digest because I know each of those procedures comes with great cost and great discomfort.

      I think your story may be reason enough to add a page describing the risks of the surgery to this site. I hope you’re able to get these problems solved so this can all be in your past in the near future. Thanks again for your honesty. 😊

  12. Hi Graham,
    I just reached my 90 days post-op on Tuesday and even though I am completely happy with the results, I still have a few concerns that I would like to ask you about. First, is that the left side of my lip and chin is super sensitive when I touch it, it is not numb, but whenever I place my finger on it and scratch that area it feels super super tingly and it has been this way for about a month now. I was getting hopeful that it meant I was getting feeling back because before that it was completely numb, however since I began feeling the extreme tingling, it still hasn’t returned to actual feeling. Secondly, my bottom lip and chin still feel quite stiff and was wondering if you experienced that still at 3 months post-op? Lastly, was the roof of your mouth and gums still a little swollen and numb at 3 months?

    Thank you for all the great information!

    • Hi Joanne!

      1) If your lip and chin are tingly to the touch, this may indicate potential permanent nerve damage. Parts of my lower lip and chin are also not completely numb, but they tingly when I scratch them (or when I shave my chin). It’s difficult to know at the 90-day mark if this will be permanent for you, though, as many people’s nerves continue to heal up to around the 6-month mark, so try to remain hopeful.

      2) Your lip and chin being stiff at this point is likely due to scar tissue in those areas. As far as I know, it is possible to get rid of this tissue by doing things like whistling throughout the day. That type of movement will break up the tissue and restore full movement into those areas.

      3) I was still swollen at the 90-day mark, but not super noticeably. I thought I looked like I was mostly back to normal, but my friends and family told me I looked swollen until around the 5-month mark. This is normal and, as long as there is no pain involved with the swelling, is nothing to be worried about.

      Hope this helps! 😊

  13. Katharine Bronwen

    March 24, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Really appreciate your informative blog.  Before our son’s surgery I read tons of articles and my husband spoke at length with the oral surgeon, so we both had a good understanding of what was involved. What was lacking was a personal perspective. I wanted to know what it felt like to have this surgery and what really happens during the recovery phase. When I searched the Internet your blog came up and I read the entire thing. It helped me prepare for my son’s double jaw surgery which was done on March 8, 2016.
    I stayed with him for two weeks and each day I read your daily posts. I was surprised by how closely your experience paralleled my son’s. Had I not read your blog I would have been extremely alarmed by his pain, nausea, swelling, bleeding, difficulty breathing, etc. I can’t tell you how comforting it was to know that this was all normal. You had a similar experience and you got through it and I knew he would too.
    The only difference in your account, and I commend you for it, was your positive attitude throughout your recovery. My son is normally upbeat and positive but his outlook turned bad the minute we brought him home from the hospital. He complained about how ugly he looked, how horrible it was to spit up blood, how hard it was to sleep sitting up, how embarrassing it was to spill his drinks like a child and on and on. I found out that it is quite common for people to experience depression their first week post op. So your readers should not be alarmed if this happens. His mood improved on day eight and he started going out again and reconnecting with his friends and that was good to see. I’m happy to report that he is back at school now and is doing well. In just four weeks he should be hoisting beers and eating pizza with his college buddies again. Can’t wait to see him smile. 
    I am so grateful to you for publicly documenting your experience. I’m sure your blog has helped numerous people who are considering the surgery as well those who are in the recovery phase. It helped me understand what my son was about to go through and that did a lot to ease my parental anxiety. Thank you, Graham. 

    • Hi Katharine, thanks so much for sharing your son’s experience here. I think feeling depressed and, quite frankly, miserable, is very common during the initial couple months of recovery, so it’s nice that you’ve been there to coach him through it.

      I remember feeling excited about life again around the 6-week mark. That’s when I was able to talk to people, return to the gym, and begin resuming normal life for the most part.

      Hope he’s able to persevere through these next few weeks. Freedom is so close!

      • Katharine Bronwen

        April 8, 2016 at 1:53 pm

        Hi Graham, I emailed you a few weeks ago and I mentioned that my son’s jaw surgery was not covered by my insurance policy and so I had to pay for it myself and it was very expensive. It has taken me many many weeks to discover why my insurance company denied it. It is a long story and I hope you do not mind that I share it here. It is also on my FaceBook page. I think it may help you and others understand why it is so difficult to get this type of surgery covered in the United States. Please share it with as many people as you can. You are so lucky to live in Canada where none of this nonsense goes on. My son is at week four now, two more weeks to go. Yay.
        This is what I discovered about U.S. Health Care Insurance:
        I had to pay $56,0000.00 for my son’s orthognathic surgery because I live in the United States of America. Most people do not have the money to pay this much for any type of surgery so they have to buy an insurance policy that will cover the costs in full or in part. And that is extremely difficult to do. Let me explain. Many Americans are poor and they have to buy insurance on their state’s health exchange and our government subsidizes their monthly premiums. That means that if you are poor you will never get your orthognathic surgery covered because all of the silver, gold, bronze, and platinum plans on the exchange have exclusionary clauses that deny coverage unless you can prove that you have one of these conditions: life threatening sleep apnea, reconstructive surgery either due to trauma or cancer, and birth defects such as cleft palate. If you can afford to buy an individual insurance plan either on or off the state exchanges or you have a health insurance policy that is paid for by your employer then your orthognathic surgery may not be covered because orthognathic (jaw) surgery is a standard exclusion from coverage in most fully insured plans. If it is covered it will be up to you to prove that it is medically necessary. It does not matter where you buy your insurance or whether you are rich or poor if your primary goal for the surgery is cosmetic, meaning you want to improve your appearance. No insurance company is going to pay for your cosmetic surgery. Of course, rich people don’t need insurance to pay for cosmetic surgery they just pay for it themselves. So that leaves the middle class and if you are in this category and you can actually find an insurer that covers medically necessary orthognathic surgery, and that is a big if, you will have to fight tooth and nail to get it. It will take months or years in some cases to properly document and verify that your condition meets the medical necessity criteria established by your insurance company. Here are two examples of things you may be required to document that were copied and pasted directly from two insurance company’s policies that provide health insurance plans in the United States of America:
        Example #1
        You must document that you have:
        E. Malnutrition related to an inability to masticate properly when both of the following are met:
        1. Patient has had a significant weight loss for greater than 4 months; and
        2. Patient has low serum albumin related to malnutrition
        I think that any medical doctor will tell you that a person who has been starving for 4 months is not a good candidate for any surgical procedure.
        Example #2
        1. Maxillary and/or mandibular facial skeletal deformities associated with significant malocclusion and/or masticatory dysfunction that contributes to difficulties in swallowing and/or choking, significant intraoral trauma while chewing and/or the ability to chew only soft or liquid foods when all of the following are met:
        Symptoms must be documented in the medical records, must be significant, and must persist for at least 4 months (episodes witnessed at home, school, or work should be documented in the medical record.).
        Let me translate that for you: your jaws have to be so messed up that you can’t swallow or chew solid food. If you want to eat you have to puree your food or make smoothies or shakes and someone has to witness this and document this for four months. If you are on a diet like this for that long you are probably painfully thin and unhealthy. Such a person is not going to be a good candidate for any surgical procedure.
        And that my friends is why it will take you months or years in some cases to properly document and verify that your condition meets the medical necessity criteria established by your insurance company. Most people just give up because they don’t have the time, energy or resources to fight it anymore. And that is exactly what insurance companies in the United States of America want you to do. Why is that, you ask? Because insurance companies are not in business to pay for your surgery no matter what type of surgery it is or how desperately you may need it. Insurance companies in the United States of America are in business to make money. And these companies do not give a rat’s ass about your health or welfare. GOD BLESS AMERICA!

        • Thanks for sharing all of this information here, Katharine. I think formatting these insurance details you’ve provided into a blog post may be helpful for others. Most of the people who visit and comment on this site are from the U.S. and there have been numerous questions on what insurance does and does not cover. When I find the time to write such a post, I’ll of course send you a personal email requesting your permission. Thanks again for providing all of these details. 😊

        • Your post is very interesting. I am from the United States and live in Massachusetts. I just hit the three month mark for my double jaw surgery recovery. Which was almost all paid for by my insurance company. I did have a co-payment and had to pay $900 for an extra splint. Which I think isn’t so bad for an “elective” surgery. My insurance company denied my surgery the first time requesting proper documentation. However, it should not be your job as a patient to prove it. It is your surgeon’s job. My surgeon first sent me to my primary care to run blood and glucose test, to make sure it wasn’t a metabolic issue. Then he sent me to the orthodontist to have him take pictures and x-rays. All of this was covered by my standard blue cross/blue shield insurance, and the small orthodontist fee was held, then paid upon approval. My doctors did all of the work and I was just along for the ride. Insurance companies do set standards, but review cases on a person to person bases. Also if your insurance company denies you, they cant simply say no, legally they have to give you and your surgeon written documentation of why. Again, it is the surgeons job to fight, not yours. I work for a non-profit agency and make only a little over minimum wage and eventually had my surgery covered. If it is just cosmetic than it really really stinks, but if it is significant than your surgeon should be able to get it covered. People live without arms or legs and with horrible incurable illnesses everyday, so its all perspective I guess. Anyhow, people need to start small at their primary care doctors and get the documents started. Its timely and anxiety inducing, but there is hope that in many cases it can be done.

  14. Hey Graham!
    First of all thanks for taking the time to do this blog, and keep answering all questions! This must be time-consuming, so… thank you! 🙂

    After 2 orthodontic treatments, one when i was a kid, then a second one around 30 (for 3 years), i started a third one last year, and my double jaw surgery was finally scheduled on January 4th… But it has been cancelled at the last minute because of a broken teeth that had to be extracted… And now i’m back at it, bimaxillary osteotomy + genioplasty is finally scheduled for monday 21st march, in 4 days. Scary!

    What would you recommend taking to the hospital for the first days after the surgery? Do you have any last minute tip? i guess what scares me the most is my ability to breathe, while my teeth are clenched and my nose clogged up…

    I’ve been waiting this surgery for about 8 years now, it’s been cancelled once, feels strange to finally face it!

    Thanks for your help 🙂

    M.

    • Mat, you are not alone in waiting years and years for this surgery, but that is certainly a frustrating experience. Glad to hear it’s really going to happy this time, though!

      I would bring a small whiteboard and marker to the hospital so you can communicate with family and visitors after your operation. You may also want to bring a pair of headphones and a laptop with some TV shows on it to pass the time.

      As for breathing, you should not have any trouble getting air. You’ll certainly be swollen and congested, but as long as you’re able to remain calm, you’ll be able to breathe without any trouble. Good luck! 😊

    • Hi! I’m a random stranger, but I just want to say yeah, I was supposed to get my surgery 10 years ago. I don’t have a date set yet, and even though my braces are a pretty good reminder that it’s coming, it doesn’t feel real yet.

      Just wanted to reach out and say glad it’s FINALLY HAPPENING for you! I understand your frustration, and I am so happy for you!

  15. Hi Graham

    Do you have any bone loss (shown by X-ray) after braces? I have some around my lower front teeth and my hygienist seems worried about it, but my dentist not so much. Need to ask my orthodontist next time I see her. Not sure who to believe but really don’t want teeth to get loose/fall out after all I’ve been through with 3 rounds of braces and jaw surgery 🙁 They don’t feel loose at all.

    • Elizabeth, I didn’t experience any bone loss that I’m aware of. I can totally understand your fear of losing some of your teeth after all of this trouble, but to provide a bit of reassurance, I haven’t met a single person in the last 5 years who has experienced that.

      Let me know if anything becomes of the situation. I’d be interested to hear if it’s something people should be aware of. Good luck!

  16. Hello and thank you!
    I have read quite a few blogs and wanted you to know yours had given me the most comfort, information and humour. At day 8 post op, I’m so glad to see there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you thank you 😃

  17. I started my journey to a better smile in November 2015, and am now less than two months away from my jaw surgery (April 28th, 2016) and have re-read this blog several times now to try and wrap my head around everything I am about to go through. I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to post about this, and to even still respond to comments. I have really bad anxiety, and since they set a date, it has become increasingly worse, but I know the end result will be worth it. I have an underbite and a cross bite so daily tasks haven’t been easy my whole life. I am now 23 and taking the plunge (my parents wanted it to be my choice). Do you have any tips for the week after surgery? How long before you went back to work? I have 12 days off after my surgery, my surgeon says that should be more than plenty.

    I’m glad everything turned out so well for you. It makes me feel a lot better about my decision!

    I will keep you up to date post surgery!

    Thanks again!
    Emma

    • Emma, if you’ve read through this blog a few times, you are likely more prepared than most people. You also have all of us here to help you through the recovery!

      My only tips for the first week after surgery would be to rest lots, keep yourself occupied with TV and movies, go for walks outside as soon as you’re able, and try to drink as many fluids as you can (water, meal replacement drinks, etc.).

      I returned to work after 2 weeks, but I recommend taking 3 weeks off. I was very lacking in energy when I went back to work.

      I recommend joining our chat group so you have people to talk to during the first few weeks of recovery. I sent you an email inviting you to the group last week, so let me know if you’d like to join. 😊

      • A chat group! My surgery is officially in 6 days and counting so I could definitely use some people soon who will know what it’s like. I have also followed a bit in your steps with a blog to help keep my friends and family updated and to keep track of stuff in a more visual way than my usual journaling.

        https://journeyofthejawsblog.wordpress.com/

        • I could definitely use that chat group, too! my surgery is in 4 days, on monday 21st… Seems like i have a new interrogation every hour!!! Pfeewww

    • Emma- I hope your surgery went well! You got your braces on in November? And surgery in April? How long will you have braces on after?

  18. Hello,

    How long did it take you to re-gain full ROM? Did you do any special exercises, or did it return naturally, for the most part?

    I had double jaw surgery on December 16th, and this limited ROM is the only thing I feel is really bothering me at this point.

    My surgeon was fantastic, but honestly, she’s pretty… harsh. She wants me to do jaw stretches for 2 and a half hours each day to regain my ROM. I’m currently able to fit about 2 fingers in, and my goal is three.

    Now, when I talked to another surgeon(I had an entire team of them), he told me I only had to do them a few times a day, a few minutes at a time. And then some people online have said they never had to do any exercises at all.

    Honestly, trying to fit 2 and a half hours of jaw stretching into my day, between work and school, is not exactly practical, and sometimes, it’s downright torture. Seriously.

    So honestly, I haven’t been doing them that often. I’ve been chewing gum, and I do the exercises some, but not for that long… I would rather regain my ROM more slowly WITHOUT torturing myself every day.

    I know you’re not a doctor and you’re not here to give medical advice, but it’s been surprisingly difficult to find much documentation about this aspect of the recovery process, so I’m just looking for some reassurance that I will be normal again, and your personal take on it.

    🙂 Thank you.

    • Rachel, committing to jaw exercises for 2.5 hours per day is unrealistic even for the most diligent person. Personally, I found that chewing gum during the day (as long as it’s not painful) and whistling for a couple minutes a few times each day was enough for me to get my full range of movement back. Another thing that really helps is simply eating. The constant chewing is great exercise for the muscles in your jaw.

      I think I finally got my full range of movement back around the 4-month mark. Despite being “fully recovered” at the end of the third month, it still took me another month or so before I can open my mouth as wide as before or eat tough foods.

      In other words, your current range of movement is actually quite normal, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. Have patience, keep chewing gum, try whistling each day to break up the scar tissue, and your jaw should be strong again soon!

      • Thank you so much for the response.

        I feel like my surgeon is pretty intense with her instructions after surgery… This is the same woman who tried to get me to eat soft food while I was still in the hospital, right after surgery. I ended up just sobbing because I couldn’t really open my mouth at that point!! Great surgeon as far as the actual surgery goes, but I think she’s a little… un-empathetic about certain things.

        When I told her it was impractical for me to do them that long, especially with work, she tried to tell me to sit at my desk for an hour with the tongue depressors in my mouth. Yeah… I talk to people all day as part of my job. Let me just sit there drooling all over myself in front of them.

        Thanks again!

  19. Good luck!
    I am in the 7 day post op and reading your blog every day; it is harder then I thought, but I hope for the best.

    All the best,
    Lucian.

  20. Hi Graham!I just wanted to ask you:how old were you when you had the surgery performed?I’m currently 16 yrs old and after reading your whole ,,adventure” I have decided to have it done on me too….

    • Daniel, I was 24 when I had the surgery. The important thing to note age-wise is that you should only have this operation once your jaw has stopped growing. Most orthodontists will measure the length of your jaw every 6 months until they’re confident it has stopped growing. At 16 years old, my guess would be that your jaw will still be growing for another 5–6 years, but I recommend asking your orthodontist to check. 😊

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