Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A regular visit..

It’s 6 month since I’ve last had something to blog about, but I guess not a lot has happened during that time. Surgery-wise at the moment is still a waiting game, any day now my date could come with Mr Posty man through my letter box, but until then, I’ve been visiting my orthodontist every 6-8 weeks just for general check ups!
So yesterday (9th October 2012), I went to see my orthodontist as I usually do, just for him to change my bands and make sure that I was doing ok in general.  As soon as I walked in his face lit up, he asked me if I’d had my date yet and how excited he was to see my finished results. As always, I answered with my ‘no date yet’ and I thought that was that. HOWEVER, his assistant (Dental nurse? Whatever she is) whilst I was being seen by my orthodontist went into another room to print a spreadsheet off. She then came back into the room and started talking about something that I assumed was ‘dental banter,’ until I realised that they were telling me how many people was on the  op list - there was 1, 2, 3 and then me. They both looked at me, grinning down at me while I was lieing in that stupid chair, telling me that I was 4th on the operation list. I cannot contain my excitement now, as I’ve never been told how close I was, and I certainly didn’t expect to be this close! I had the biggest smile on my face imaginable!  Obviously, this is subject to change as you never know what emergencies may crop up, but non-emergency, maxillofacial wise, I AM 4TH ON THE LIST. (Still excited, can you tell?) My orthodontist made me another appointment for the 4th of December, and said that hopefully, by then, I will have received my date! Fingers crossed!!!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Clinic Appt'

So today was the day of my clinic appointment, I was told by my orthodontist that the clinic was to finalise everything that was going to happen to me, and to check that I was generally ready for surgery. I went in all smiles, convinced myself that the operation was going to happen soon, and i’d maybe get a date. However how wrong was I…
Before we get to the disappointing part, let’s talk about what is actually going to happen to me surgery wise. I met with both of my oral maxillo-facial surgeons, my current orthodontist, two registrars and an orthodontic nurse. We looked at my first ever moulds and x-rays and compared them to them as they stand now. My surgeon also showed me using the moulds what my teeth and jaw would likely to look like afterwards. It’s pleasing to say that already there has been a dramatic improvement, and i’m sure that the end result will look as fantastic as the moulds, it’s just getting there that seems to be the issue. :P
My surgeon explained that my Jaw is a pretty unique one, and can be improved in two ways;
  • A) A fairly simple and straightforward operation, whereby my bottom jaw only would be moved forward and will be just a few hours operation.
  • B) Maxillary Impaction with Mandibular Advancement and Genioplasty Surgery- a larger scale version on what could be done, giving me an even better result. It would involve moving my top jaw around 5mm upwards, my bottom jaw forwards approx 5-6mm and, my chin-bone being cut and moved also. 
It was agreed that the second would be my better option and it’s main aims were to sort out my general positioning of my jaws, my inability to close my mouth, my gummy smile, my open bite and my lack of strong jaw bone and chin. 
They explained to me that after a potential 7-hour operation I’m likely to be in hospital for 3-5 days, after then I’d return home all ’battered and bruised.’ I’d then be seen by my surgeons once a week for 8 weeks, just to make sure that post-operative my Jaw and Chin remains ok. After the 8 weeks I’d be given back to the care of my orthodontist who will make any final adjustments and continue to monitor my post-op progress.
They also went onto talk about the possibility of relapse a few years post-op, where i’m very likely to get a slight open jaw after around 4 years, however they also pointed out that even after relapse, the improvements will still be 100% better than they are now, and the benefits outweigh the negative aspects. 
My disappointment comes to the wait. I’ve officially being put on the waiting list and marked as ready for my operation, it’s April now and I’ve been told that my operation would definitely be after August, and potentially into next year. However it remains a waiting game, and i’d only be told a month in advance of my surgery date. This is mainly due to emergency operations taking priority over myself which is understandable and to be expected, but still, the disappointment made me cry before I’d even left the room. 
Now I’ve accepted the facts, I’ve come to terms with the longer journey that  lies ahead of me. I’ve waited so long for my operation, and a couple more months really isn’t going to hurt!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Why am I undergoing surgery...

It was never noticed as I was younger, but it became obvious that as I grew up and my face took it’s shape that something wasn’t ‘quite right’ about it - I started to get quite a gummy smile, a weird looking jaw structure, and I was unable to close my mouth.
During 2002, (I was about 12 years old) I was told that one day I may potentially need either screws or surgery in order to correct the position of my jaws, but I’d have to continue to wait until my face fully grew before they could be sure. Until then however, they tried a number of braces in order to try and reduce the ‘mess’ all of which failed. As my face did grow, I developed an overbite, open bite and additionally a severely set back lower jaw. (At this time I also took a knock to my jaw which somehow made everything worse!)
It was during 2008 that it was confirmed i’d need surgery in order to correct the alignment of both of my jaws, however it was a choice. I didn’t HAVE to have the surgery, but I was told it would improve my appearance and my problems greatly. During this time I’d had a pre-op clinic appointment with my maxillofacial surgeons and the ortho-team who all confirmed what they intended to do with my jaw, the process that would happen, and what was to be expected in the next few years.

It was decided that I would have bimaxillary osteotomy, maxillary impaction, and Genioplasty. Not long after this, I did agree to surgery, consent was signed and I started on what feels like one of the BIGGEST commitments of my entire life.
In August 2009, I had permanent braces put on. The braces were used to align my teeth into the surgery position and will be used after surgery to wire both of my jaws together. It was estimated that i’d have them on for 6 months before I was operated on. HOWEVER, 2 and a half years later, (March 2012), I’ve only just been told that i’m pretty much ready for my operation (Have another clinic appt 11th April, to confirm everything!) and It’s today that i’ve started my blog! I had ENORMOUS complications at the start of having braces, all which have slowed down the whole process entirely. My teeth were also far too stubborn to move into their surgery position! 
Why i’m actually having the operation;
  1. Correction of Discomfort. I desire to use all of my teeth to chew in a 'normal' position, not hit and miss, and with this, I want to be able to fit my jaws together into a correct position.
  2. Due to the position of my jaw, It’s impossible to breathe through my nose, so it makes me a mouth breather. (Breathing through my nose makes me feel like i’m about to drop dead with a lack of oxygen.) People with a set back lower jaw also have an increased risk of sleep apneas
  3. Correction of Physical apperance. I’m sure people who have the same problems as me can agree, the psychological effects of having a pretty messed up jaw are enormous. I know from personal experience I am incredibly paranoid and self-conscious about my appearance  especially side on when it’s most noticed. You see pictures and realise how gummy your smile is, or how weird your jaw is, and you just feel so unattractive. People can consider this as 'vein,' however, how I look at it, why shouldn't I be able to have a normal jaw structure like the majority of the population? There is no shame in wanting to feel good about yourself in every aspect of your life, jaws included!