Before and After Photos

These photos and X-rays were taken both before and after my double jaw surgery experience. They do a decent job of showing the drastic change that took place on the operating table.

Before the surgery

These X-rays show my bite when I first got braces in 2008 and again two years later when my teeth are aligned. The photos demonstrate what I looked like just before having surgery.

A few things to note here are how poorly my teeth fit together and the fact that my lower jaw extends beyond my top jaw (ie. underbite). I never realized quite how crooked my bite was before the braces worked their magic.

Feb 11, 2008 — I just had braces put on in this X-ray. Notice the underbite!

Feb 11, 2008 — Are you convinced my bite was poor enough to warrant surgery now?

Feb 9, 2010 — This is after wearing braces for two years.

Feb 9, 2010 — I challenge you to try biting an apple, or even a chip, when your front teeth refuse to touch.

Feb 9, 2010 — These photos were taken just before having surgery. Notice the underbite and the awkward smile.

After the surgery

These photos and X-rays show the state of my bite three months after having surgery. A few things to note here:

  • I look much more confident when I smile.
  • My teeth finally fit together like they’re supposed to.
  • Sadly, my molars aren’t touching on the left-hand side of my mouth.
  • Oh, and I have 8 titanium plates permanently holding my skull together… cyborgs unite!

 

May 10, 2010 — These X-rays were taken three months after surgery. My underbite is no more!

May 10, 2010 — My journey to becoming a robot begins here.

Jun 22, 2010 — I’m still a bit swollen in these photos, but notice how my upper jaw now sits ahead of my lower jaw. As a bonus, my smile is more confident now!

That pretty much sums it up! If you have any questions about jaw surgery, feel free to post them in the comments!

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53 Comments

  1. Greetings from Australia,
    I’m booked in for my double jaw surgery in a 8 days (12 Feb). I was originally only having the bottom jaw done, now they tell me I need both. I have a holiday booked & paid for to Japan with my adult children (flying out 17th March). I really want to go we’ve been looking forward to it for a year! I’m happy to take it easy and rest up a lot in the hotel room and let the kids do the exploring.
    I’ve never seen snow, so looking forward to it (I won’t snowboard or ski though I know that is out).

    Is it possible I’ll be up to the trip?

    • Tasha

      I had the surgery 01/05/16 by day 16 I was feeling excelent! I was out and about, driving, little swelling, from time to time a bit weak but overall great! I asked the surgeon if I could travel that weekend 01/24/16 and he said no! I told him I feel excelent and he said that eventhough I am feeling well double jaw surgery IS major surgery and being that there are appointments to be followed and that I have yet to fully recuperate there was no convincing him on changing his recommendations. I figured He is the expert so I ended up not going (Ecuador – South America)

      So all in all after all that I wrote will you be up for it well it all depends on each person. Everyone heals up differently but I would recommend you bring it up to your surgeon. I was probably better than before surgery and he said no lol

      Wish you well with everything!

  2. I’m 15 years old and have a class 3 malocclusion/severe underbite. At a young age I had it treated and my upper jaw was widened, and now it doesn’t look too noticeable unless I smile. I was told that the only option I had to correct it is to get corrective jaw surgery when I finished growing. I am well over 6’4 right now and I think I may be done growing for the most part, do you think it is possible I could get surgery within the next year?

    • Jack, my surgery was delayed for that same reason. At 15 years old, your body is likely still growing (despite you already sounding quite tall).

      If you really want to begin moving forward with the surgery, call an oral surgeon nearby and go in for x-rays and a free consultation. They will generally ask you to return in 6 months for another x-ray and then measure the difference between them to determine if your jaw is still growing. 😊

  3. Hi Graham
    I had double jaw surgery on December 2nd, so currently 53 days post-op. I cannot shake this feeling of depression whenever it comes to thinking about my surgery. I just really want the constant numbness in my chin that is a perpetual reminder of one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure to be gone. I’ve always considered myself a pretty optimistic person but as of late whenever I think about the surgery it just makes me sad. People often ask if you think the surgery was worth it and I can’t really come up with anything concrete that makes it so. Theres so many times where I just wish I could go back. I’m not really sure what commenting on your blog is going to do to help but I guess because I haven’t really told anyone about the way I’m feeling because I’m trying to be strong for my parents this is my way of releasing it into the world. I also think that how you’ve kept up with this blog and been answering peoples is remarkable. Reading about other people’s experiences really gave me some piece of mind through the worst parts of recover and even now.

    • Sarah, recovering from this surgery is certainly difficult, both on the physical and emotional levels. Know that you are not alone and that many of us have been through a similar experience and have emerged on the other side very happy with the results. Also try to remember that until a full 3–4 months have gone by, your body is still healing and dealing with swelling, so it’s expected that you will not feel like you are completely back to normal. I encourage you to hang in there for another month — I think you will come to appreciate this experience as soon as you are fully recovered. 😊

  4. Theresa Forthofer

    January 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

    Thank you for sharing such great information! My son is 22 with Myotonic Dystrophy and Autism. He is relatively high functioning and so we have been able to share a lot of your story with him. It has also helped us understand what he is going through when he is not capable to tell us himself. His underbite was so severe that his teeth didn’t touch and eating became a huge problem with choking and weight gain a life threatening situation. He is recovering very well (day 5). We know we have a very long way to go but having a “baseline” is so helpful! Thank you again.

    • Theresa, thanks for sharing your son’s experience! It sounds like he deals with many hardships in his life, so praise God he is blessed with a mother that loves and takes care of him. If you have any questions or concerns about the recovery, please do let me know! 😊

  5. Great post! I am 33 and just had my tonsils removed (serious infections) in preparation for braces with this surgery in about 18 months. Although I have a while to go, I am terrified and claustrophobic the fear of not breathing comfortably the first couple of weeks is making me panic. Since the worse surgery pain and recovery of all in my life (including 2 csections and gallbladder) tonsillectomy had terribly delays and recovery problems I have been on liquid diet for two weeks and crying in pain to swallow. Since this terrible surgery I am afraid under bite (double jaw surgery) will be so much worse than what I just endured. Can you offer any insight to this? Plus how soon do adults really return to work after this surgery?

    • Hi Kristi, if you’ve already experienced a liquid diet for a couple weeks, you will actually be better-prepared for jaw surgery than most people. That is not to say jaw surgery will be a walk in the park, but at least you’ll know what to expect.

      The only advice I have for dealing with a fear of claustrophobia following the surgery is to be mentally prepared for it. You will be able to get enough air and you will get through it, but the first 2 weeks are most certainly frustrating. If you are feeling like you cannot get enough air, I recommend going outside for a walk. Being vertical, moving around slowly, and being in the fresh air can do wonders for one’s state of panic. After the first couple of weeks, your swelling will decrease enough that breathing will no longer be an issue.

      As for returning to work, I recommend taking a full month off. This is enough time for your swelling to decrease, your speech to become clear again, and your energy to return.

      Try not to worry about jaw surgery so early on. I recommend going ahead with the braces, as they will be beneficial even on their own. In another year and a half, as the option to have surgery approaches, reach out and say hello again and we can help you through the process. Take care for now! 😊

  6. Hi Graham!
    I’m on the track for double jaw surgery, and at best my procedure can be done by mid-ish July, although at this point some things are up in the air. I go back to school late August and am just wondering if that month (or less) between July and August is enough time to gain the energy/mental standing to go back to the college environment (walking to class, doing homework, being with friends, etc.) I also plan to go abroad in the Spring semester (which would be about 6 months post-op), do you feel like at 6 months you were fully recovered enough to eat most things/talk without pain/ etc, and do you feel like, at that point, you would have felt confident and comfortable enough to go abroad for 4/5 months?

    Any information would be so helpful!
    Thanks!
    – Kendall

    • Hi Kendall, recovering for 4–5 weeks before returning to college should be sufficient. Just be aware that you may still be on a “soft food only” diet and your speech may not be perfectly clear by that point. You should have enough energy to return, though, and you should be back to normal shortly thereafter.

      And you’ll have no trouble going abroad by the 6-month mark. By that point, you’ll be fully recovered, all of your swelling will be gone, and you’ll be completely back to normal. Enjoy the trip! ✈️

      • Thanks so much for your response! That is definitely very reassuring. By 6 months did you find that you still had any side effects, even minor ones? Were you still careful/hesitant about your jaw at that point, whether about chewing or getting it knocked into? I feel like my biggest concern post op will be getting knocked in the face or tripping haha. Was that a concern still by 6 months?

        • Kendall, after 6 months, you will not have to be any more careful about getting hit in the face than you normally are. Remember that your bone will be fully healed after just 3 months, so your jaw will essentially be as strong as it was before at that point. 💪

  7. Hey Graham, I’m 17 days post op, I had double jaw surgery along with a genioplasty because I had a severe facial asymmetry, currently my swelling is going down really slowly, and my swollen lips do not touch, I’m wondering if this is normal and how long will it really take for all my swelling to go away or at least swelling other people can see cause college starts in 2 more weeks and i’m really self conscious. Thanks for your amazing blog by the way, your recovery is very similar to mine, the only difference is my surgeon did not wire my jaw shut, he said medical advances doesn’t require that anymore so I could drink from a cup a couple hours after my surgery, no syringes needed 😀 Anyway looking forward to your reply.

    • Hi Zachary, it is fairly common for your lips to not touch until you are about 1 month into the recovery. You can expect most of your swelling to be gone by the 6-week mark, but you should begin to feel okay about it by the time you start college. Try to remember that this is a one-time recovery, so in just a few months from now, you’ll be fully recovered and smiling again. 😊

  8. Hi! I just had double jaw surgery 7 days ago, and have a really hard time sleeping on my back in and upright position, is it necessary? I’ve been trying to find the answer but no such luck. Thank you I advance!

    • Hi Madeline, sleeping is unfortunately a very frustrating activity during the first 2–3 weeks of recovery. You likely won’t be able to get a full night’s rest for a while, so try taking naps whenever you feel tired throughout the day. Having a difficult time sleeping is perfectly normal, so there’s nothing to worry about. 🙂

  9. It’s not clear why you had double jaw surgery as opposed to just lower (mandible) surgery?

    Sorry perhaps I’m misreading, but what did they do to your upper jaw?

    Also inspirational, very smart to realize 90 days of recovery avoids a lifetime of potential dental problems; I wish I’d been so smart!

    • Hi Big Mike, my upper palette was too narrow to fit over my lower jaw, so it had to be expanded, hence the reasoning for operating on both jaws. I’m glad my surgeon took this approach because it enabled him to shape my two jaws together instead of trying to force one to fit with the other.

      • Ah fair enough! It wasn’t too clear from the x-rays.

        So your upper jaw (maxilla) was basically widened sideways whilst your lower jaw was brought backwards?

        Do you know your overall measurements of movement?

        E.g. lower jaw reduced 5mm
        upper jaw widened 3mm?

        Many thanks and glad to see you recovered okay!

        • Mike, that’s correct: my upper jaw was widened and my lower jaw was moved backward. I don’t actually know what my measurements were before and after, sorry!

  10. Thank you for your insight. I’m 6 months away from surgery, but have been on this road for about 20 years now. Finally have the “medical evidence” in the form of torn tmj discs to justify double jaw surgery for an open/underbite. What was your experience post op with sinus blockage? I’ve heard some people experienced anxiety around breathing just because of that.

    • My daughter had such horrible problems breathing through her nose before surgery, she was always congested and clogged up but after the surgery she could breathe through her nose and now has no issues like she did before the surgery. Actually I think the surgery solved her sinus problem!

    • Hi Jenn, it can be difficult to breathe for the first couple of weeks due to swelling in your face and dry blood in your nose. Many people say this makes them quite claustrophobic. If this happens to you, remember that it is perfectly normal and that the best solution is to relax as best as you’re able. The swelling should decrease and your nose should clear up by the third week. 🙂

      • Thank you both for your replies! Mamma, I was told many years ago that my sinuses should open up a bit more with this surgery. Sounds like it is just those first few weeks to get through. I appreciate the tips, though Graham! Thanks again!

  11. Dear all
    I am from the uk .
    I am now 5 days post op double jaw surgery , I am experiencing everything that the others have except my numbness in my face goes from my chin into my eye sockets , the feeling or strange lack of is worrying me somewhat , it feels odd when I out eye make up on and tingles a lot .
    Has anyone else experienced this amount if numbness that can help me believe I m not going to feel like I m wearing a mask forever 😁

    • Jane, what you’re feeling is to be expected during the first month of recovery. Almost everyone feels numb from their lips down, but many people (myself included) feel numb all the way up to their eye sockets as well. This is merely a result of your nerves being slightly bruised during the surgery. Your feeling should begin returning by the third week. 🙂

  12. I am so glad that I came across your blog! I am having double jaw surgery this next Wednesday (12/09/15) and I couldn’t be more terrified. But reading your blog post gives me a little comfort in knowing what is going to happen. Thank you!

    • Hi Kiley! Glad the site has provided a bit of comfort for you. Let me know how you’re feeling when you get home from surgery. 🙂

      • I had my surgery three days ago and now at home recovering. The morning of the surgery I was a mess. I was terrified but all the nurses and doctors were really nice. Recovery has been what I have expected. Lots of long nights and uncomfortableness , but I try to keep the end in sight. Thank you again for your amazing blog, because it helped me tremendously!

        • Glad to hear you’re home sweet home, Kiley! Try to keep yourself busy and make an effort to go for a few walks outside each day, if you have the energy. Take care for now!

          • Hello. I have a major question.
            Before my surgery, My lips did not touch each other unless I forced them too. And now, 5 days out of surgery, I still cannot. I am a little swollen still. but I would think they would touch even a little. Im starting to get scared that they might not ever. Is this something I should be worried about, or is still too early?

          • I would not fret about anything until you are at least a full month into recovery. Swelling will do weird things to a person’s face and is often the cause of lips not touching, teeth not touching, noticing your face is not symmetrical, etc.

          • oh ok! great. Ill try not to worry about it then. Thank you again!

    • My daughter had hers on 12/08/2015. Her surgery took 6 hours and she came through with flying colors. She just came home from the hospital (12/11/2015) and surprisingly enough the swelling already looks much better. I can already see the difference in her bite as her jaw is not wired shut. I think the worst thing for her is the constant drooling. She has a syringe with catheter tubing attached to it which makes it easier to get liquids down the throat as it is still a little hard for her to swallow. A word of advice for any pain meds prescribed to you after surgery. Her doctor gave her a script for liquid Oxycodone, however, there is not one pharmacy anywhere that will fill it. They all “claim” they don’t have it and they say they cannot get it. This is an ongoing problem from what I have read, so if your doc prescribes something like that you might want to ask him to prescribe something else to avoid having to go through not having anything to manage your pain with. Lucky for us, my daughter has not had to take anything since she left the hospital, but just in case I have liquid acetaminophen on hand till I can get something different on Monday. Hope your surgery is a success, it will be a long road but in the end I am sure you will be happy with your new look. Our surgeon was the bomb and we couldn’t be happier .

      • Interesting that pharmacies cannot (or refuse to) fill the prescription. My surgeon prescribed me Tylenol #3 for pain, which is very easy to find. I hope your daughter is feeling alright today! 🙂

      • Just a thought, but is it possible the meds are a compound? A lot of pharmacies won’t compound anymore…you may have to find a specific place to do so.

        • He prescribed another pain med, it seems to be working ok for now but I know you can build up a tolerance after a while and if that is the case I will have him prescribe something else. She is looking really good after only 2 weeks. I am glad she decided to have it done. Hope everyone who is getting the surgery has great success with it!

  13. This site has been a godsend. Over the summer, I found out I need double jaw surgery for asymmetry in both of my jaws. I cried and was terrified. Your site has calmed me down (although it’s still terrifying). Projected surgery is Jan 2017. I’ve was in 3 years of orthodontic treatment using Invisalign and the asymmetry was missed (long story). When I relocated to another state for a job, I thought I was done but guess what! It’s very apparent I have asymmetry and my TMJ is fully present. I work full time with college students doing lots of talking. What would you had a recommended for the length of time off? I’m thinking 3 weeks right now.

    • Lindsay, if you’re required to talk a lot at your job, I would recommend taking a full month off. Personally, I returned to work as a programmer after 2 weeks of recovery, but I was unable to speak and could only communicate via email.

      It’s also important to note that the more you talk during that initial month, the greater your swelling will be, so talking all day can lead to much frustration and discomfort.

      If you rest for a full month, you should be able to ease yourself back into your job without too much trouble. 🙂

      • Thank you for that feedback. So very helpful.

        Any pro tips for getting braces? I had invisialign for almost 3 years, so I’m familiar with a sore mouth but not the experience of braces. Any advice (especially as an adult in braces)?

        • I personally didn’t find braces to be too painful. I’m not sure I have any tips other than to remember that they are only temporary and you will have a delightful smile at the end of this road. 🙂

  14. Hey Graham – THANK YOU for this amazing website.

    It’s prepped me a TON for the big day, beginning of November, (double jaw surgery as well!)

    I live in Alberta as well and have been quoted $9,000 for my surgery.

    I have an overbite and crossbite. My dentist recommended me looking into jaw surgery as it wrecks my dental work. A sleep clinic also recommended jaw surgery due to my lack of oxygen during sleep (therefore never feeling fully rested). Of course, it’d also be nice to have a great smile. However, everyone in this process – dentist, sleep clinic, orthodontist, oral surgeon – have been adamant that jaw surgery is not covered.

    My question: how did you get Alberta Health Care to approve? Was this through a doctor?

    Thanks in advance for any insight you have!

  15. Hello! I am sitting here one week after my double jaw surgery all wired shut and swollen.

    I just wanted to thank you to your blog and realistic timeline!! There have been a few differences but so far your information has been spot on.

    I had been pretty spooked when I first heard that I was going to need such an intense surgery.

    I can’t wait to be on the other side of this wired mess!

    Thank you again for your help!

  16. Oh ok, I get you. Looks like I’ll be having a splint in too, my quote for the surgery mentions top and bottom splint. Luckily you have out a tonne of info in this blog about what to expect with a splint! So nice that you keep coming back and answering peoples questions so many years on. I appreciate the time you’ve taken to answer my questions.

  17. Hi Graham,

    In your after surgery photo you have the wire, I have a wire just the same it’s called a palatal arch wire, mine is to pull an unerupted eye tooth from the roof of my mouth. In another comment you said you had something similar. Just curious why you have the wire in after your surgery? And it’s purpose.

    • Jacinta, the wires I had in during recovery were meant to hold the splint in place and attach it to my braces. I had my eye teeth surgically exposed years earlier and that was an unrelated operation. =)

  18. courtney pfau

    June 3, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I just had my jaw surgery with cheek implants and rhinoplasty 5 days ago.. the diet sucks! Alot of the swelling has resolved although still pretty swollen… its not bad, I haven’t taken anything for pain since day 2…. cant wait til end of 6 weeks and start eating food again!

  19. Hey Graham,

    I am scheduled for double jaw surgery on July 25th. I would like to know more about the recovery timeline. I begin my Master’s course on September 15th. I would like to know, from your experience [and general advice/thoughts], whether you think six or so weeks is enough time to fully recover from this surgery and begin a Master’s course? It is imperative I am close to full health [almost fully recovered] when my Master’s begins so I can hit the ground running and not fall behind due lack of energy/pain as a result of the surgery.

    I personally do not think six weeks is enough time to be close to fully recovered after undergoing double jaw surgery.

    Thank you,

    Bret

    • Bret, six weeks will be ample time to regain your mental stamina, so you should be good to begin your Master’s course in mid-September. Your physical strength may not have fully returned by then, but you should have no trouble focusing for a full day at that point. I found my mental acuity was back by the fourth week. =)

  20. Thx you so much for answering my question! 🙂

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