Thursday, February 2, 2012

9 weeks post op (lots of before and after pics)

Sorry I have been MIA for too long.  I kept taking pics after I got my splint out but I didn't make time to put them on my blog.  I will have to upload all those pics and show the progression later.  The last pic I had up was the day my splint came out and I was swollen again because my face was not thrilled about my extra metal being ripped out.  My cheeks still feel a little swollen and my jaw line is still not completely smooth but Dr said it should smooth out with time.  It feels a little weird along my upper jaw where my stitches were but not often.  Honestly, I feel totally normal, other than still being numb, and can't even believe I had my surgery and was so miserable a couple weeks ago.  Amazing!  I love my smile now.  I love smiling and only seeing teeth.  No gums on the top or sides anymore.  I put some pics of me before braces because when I used to smile you could see ALL of my gums.  Look below to see a jacked up smile.  :(  So glad it is gone now.  You could see the whole top and the sides all the way to my molars.  It pretty much looked like you lifted my upper lip up and just looked at my entire upper jaw.  I love, love my new smile.  :)

A few days after I got my splint out my husband and I went to a wedding.  I was nervous that I wasn't going to be able to eat anything.  Plus I was not excited to continue my practicing to eat in front of people.  To my surprise I was able to eat the chicken cut into tiny pieces and covered in sauce.  I found that the more liquid on food the easier it is to chew it.  I can eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as long as there is a lot of jelly and soft bread.  I tried to eat a tuna sandwich but I had to put a lot of tuna on the bread to even try to eat it.  Cereal has to be almost soggy to eat it, which I'm not a fan about.  I can eat pancakes and waffles but again with a lot of syrup.  I tried to eat a hot dog on a bun but I had to rip it apart into tiny pieces to be able to chew it. 

I find myself chewing with focus and my mouth tends to be open.  I try not to eat in public yet if I can avoid it and if I have to I just put my hand in front of my mouth, which is what I did before surgery anyway.  My braces moved my teeth so far out that I felt like they were sticking out.  So I felt more comfortable with my hand in front of my mouth.  Sounds sillier than it looked.  I tried to eat a bite of salad and that was a joke.  Not possible. 

My teeth are still pretty sensitive when I brush them so I have to make myself brush them longer and just get through it.  It is worse when I eat something that gets stuck in my braces easily since I have to really work to get my braces clean.  I try to avoid things that do that.  My chin and lower lip are still numb.  I can feel my lower lip more than my chin.  I can feel my chin pull when I try to say certain sounds but I practice talking in the mirror to make it less noticable for others.  It still feels like I have novacain on my face.  Also, the lower part of my nose/nostrils is still numb.  My lips still swell up when it is cold outside but it doesn't hurt.  It just feels tight.  Actually I like how my upper lip looks when it is slightly swollen.  I was joking to my husband that I almost want to get a little lip filler because I think it looks better when it is slightly swollen.  lol. 

My midline is off again, thanks to my surgery, but that is easy to fix with my rubberbands.  Now my ortho has me in 2 rubberbands to fix my midline and one side that has a bit of an openbite.  I see my Ortho on Feb 16th and will continue to see him every 4 weeks.  I don't see my surgeon until April. 

Most people that have an overjet with a gummy smile do a really good job of hiding all of it.  I have read a lot of blogs and saw that people tell them that they look like they had work done on their face but can't figure out what it is.  They just look refreshed.  My changes are subtle but and they just make my face look similar to what I worked hard to fake.  It is so nice not to have to think about my teeth or my smile anymore.  Just for that alone this surgery is worth it.  I have gotten lots of compliments from people saying that I look younger.  Woo Hoo!  I saw the nurses and receptionist at my kids Drs office right before surgery and then just recently saw them again and they totally noticed a difference.  Three different people at different times asked me what was different about me.  They said they couldn't figure out what it was but they were looking at me puzzled asking what was different.  I told them I had jaw surgery and they realized that my smile was different.  They had wonderful things to say about my new smile and loved that it was all teeth now.  I was cool to get such positive reactions from people I have known for 9 years.  My husband and some family and friends have commented that my eyes look bigger.  I always had really squinty eyes when I smiled big and they stay open more when I smile now.   You can see a difference in the before and after pic below.  Not a big difference but I see it too.  Not sure if it is swelling but my cheekbones don't look as prominent either.  My upper lip and the area between my nose and lip isn't swollen at all, unless it is cold, but my cheekbones don't stand out as much as in my before.  Who would think jaw surgery would affect my eyes.  Crazy.  I like the newer me so far and can't wait until I can see the real final results.  :)  Can't think of anything else right now. Thanks for going through this journey with me and I will try to update at least every month. :)

~Before and After~

Before big smile

After big smile

Here the pic from the day my splint was taken out on day 41. 
I like to compare the swelling side by side.

Funny thing is my new big smile is similar to my before fake smile
This is a pic of me trying to do my fake smile while waiting for the nurse to take me to the OR.

These are before pics of a genuine smile years before braces.  They are pics from my wedding day.  I usually deleted all the bad pics of me smiling with a gummy smile but I kept all the good and bad ones from my wedding for some reason. 
I rarely let myself smile this big normally.  This was the night before my wedding and I was so excited  I guess I kept forgetting to do my normal fake smile. 
 (This is almost 11 years ago so I look like a baby.  lol)

Happy cry.  Smiling super big and trying to hide it with my hand. 

You can't even imagine how much I hated that this picture existed. 
See how you can see ALL of my gums, all the way to my molars?  Ugh.

This is me doing my fake smile.  Didn't want to only show ugly pics of me from that day.  The hundreds of pics from that day all were good ones.  The 3 above were the only ones that I hated and showed my genuine smile.   

9 weeks post op pics
my right side is not as swollen as my left side. 

Sorry I blinked.  Didn't notice it until I was posting the pic here.  lol

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


An awesome thing happened today.... I got my splint out!!  It feels so good to be able to close my mouth and I can't believe my teeth touch now.  :)  The splint romoval process was pretty interesting for me today.  Went to my surgeon's office in the morning and I was super nervous.  They took me to a procedure room in the back and the girl stuck 4 q-tips in my mouth with numbing gel.  After awhile I figured it was numb were she put them and started rubbing them around the other parts of my gums.  She said it would spread but I didn't want to take the chance that she was wrong.  After awhile my surgeon came in and did a couple shots in both my upper and lower jaws to numb them.  My gums were mostly numb and didn't feel the shot but the front of my upper gum wasn't as numb and I felt it.  Ugh.  Then he left the room again for awhile saying he would let it numb me up good.  When he came back he got right to work and I could hear and feel him clipping the wires.  There was a lot of clipping of wires.  The nurse was talking to me about what my labors were like when I had my kids and it was helping to distract me.  We had been talking about our kids before he walked in so she was just finishing the conversation.  I told her that it was helping to distract me and she kept going.  Now I'm really good at talking without moving my mouth so I was able to talk to her while my surgeon continued to clip the wires.  After a lot of clipping he said he was going to be pulling the wires out very quickly and asked me to try to keep as still as I could.  He took his tool and jerked really hard on the wire.  He kept doing this to each wire on my lower jaw.  It seemed like forever.  I could feel my head jerk forward each time and I was happy it didn't hurt.  I could taste blood in my mouth.  I knew it would bleed because my gums were so attached to these wires now there was no way it wouldn't bleed.  The best way to describe what he did is to compare it to opening a new toy.  Not sure if you are familiar but most new toys my kids get are fastened down by wires that are twisted around themselves holding the toy in the perfedt spot in the box.  Well after you untwist it you need to pull it out really fast because it is usually in there really tight.  No matter how curved the wire is when you pull it out really fast it usually ends up straight because it had to go through the hole in the box to get out.  Well, that is what happened to my wires and teeth.  The wires were wrapped around my tooth.  He cut it in front, gripped one side of the wire and pulled really hard and fast, ending with a straight wire.  Sounds like it hurt but I didn't feel it at all.  Just the jerk of my head.  He said I did a really good job of cleaning my splint because usually people have lots of "fur" on their teeth.  Ewww!!  He was surprised that I didn't.  That was a pretty gross visual and I couldn't wait to brush my teeth to make sure he was right.  He told me I could brush my teeth and he would see me in 3 months.  Woo hoo!  I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth forever.  The gumline were wires were just kept bleeding.  I kept sticking my mouth in the cold water to try to get the bleeding to stop.  It mostly did but everytime I brushed my teeth after one stop in my upper front teeth would start over again.  I was very excited to get the splint and wires out but I couldn't feel "normal" yet because I was totally numb from the shots.  Ugh.  I knew it wouldn't last long but couldn't wait for it to go away.

Here are the wires and hardware that was wrapped around my teeth.  Sorry the pic is huge but I don't know how to crop it on my new laptop so big it has to be.   All the wires that are straight were not straight before they came out.  You can see chunks of tissue on some of them.  Ew.  Fun stuff

Here is my fun splint.  This doesn't look as thick as it was in my mouth but it is really thick. 
It is 7mm thick.  That is more than my OS shortened my upper jaw

We went to my ortho's office after so I could get the mold done for the bar they are going to put in my mouth to prevent my jaw from regressing.  My ortho wasn't there but the other Dr in his office was the one I was there to see today.  He took off my wires on my braces and told me he wanted me to be able to brush everything really good and floss.  I have never been so excited to floss.  lol.  I brushed again what seemed like forever and flossed carefully, trying not to start bleeding again.  They took a mold of my upper jaw with the regular mold contraption since I could open my mouth pretty wide.  I think I'm at 33mm now.  I brushed all the extra stuff from the mold when I brushed my teeth again.  He said I had a loose bracket so he replaced it and put my wires back in.  My lower teeth are super sensitive so all that he did hurt.  The drying stuff that tastes gross hurt my tooth, the water to wash it off hurt, pushing the doors on my braces hurt.  Guess the numbness was wearing off because putting the bracket and wires on hurt more than ripping my wires out at my surgeons.  lol.  They ended up steel tying the new bracket to not hurt me more.  Thank goodness.  He measured my overjet and said it was 3mm.  It was 9mm right before surgery so I guess my surgeon pushed my upper jaw back 6mm.  I will be back there Thursday to get my bar bonded on though and then in a month to start my adjustments again.

After we left my husband was dying to take me to eat.  I was a little nervous to try to eat in public but I agreed to try.  We went to Coco's and ordered pancakes, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns and biscuits and gravy to share.  I couldn't eat the crispy parts of the hashbrowns because they were too dry but I was able to eat everything else.  Not much of it since my stomach is so much smaller now and I get full really fast.  I was able to chew it all.  Actually chew.  I could hear my teeth touching as I chewed.  It wasn't loud but a light tap.  Not sure where they are in my mouth now so they kept touching.  I asked Andy if he can hear his teeth touching when he chews and he said a little but he never thought paid attention before.  I tried to drink orange juice with a straw but I couldn't get it right and I felt a little embarrassed even though no one was looking my way.  I tried to drink out of the glass and was able to do it ok.  Still felt silly though.  After our food we went home and took a nap.  I took some anti-anxiety pills my Dr gave me before I went to my surgeon's office and I was feeling loopy and needed to sleep it off. 

Our friend, Rowena wanted to take us out to lunch so we met her at Olive Garden after we woke up.  I ate soup and lasagna, again not much of it.  I couldn't eat the bread sticks though.  Those are my favorite there so I hope I can sooner than later.  We had a nice visit and she was excited to see me without my splint. After lunch we picked up my girls from school and they were so excited to see my splint was gone.  I told them I was getting it out while they were going to be in school.  My mom was really excited to see me without my splint so we went to her house after we picked up the girls.  She was very happy with the results.  My teeth and gums are really swollen and sore.  The sore gums feel kind of like silly putty.  We hung out and I was exhausted so now I'm relaxing at home happy that I can chew again.  Dr said I should take it easy this week and I should be able to eat a lot more normal foods next week.  :)

Before pics in my surgeon's office.  It was really hard to take these pics because they had already numbed my mouth and I was trying really hard to make my lips smile in the last pic.  lol. 

After splint was taken out
My mouth closed without trying to touch my lips.  They are close but not touching

I can get them to touch but I look a little strained. 

The pics below were taken with me making my lips touch

Just for comparison I am posting my before pic here again.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 40

I can totally feel the edges of my chin and a lot of my lower lip!  The numbness used to go all around my chin and lower lip and a little under my chin.  I can feel the bottom of my chin.  I can feel under my chin, a few mm of the bottom of my chin and a mm or 2 on either side where it used to be numb.  It all used to feel tingly when I touched it and it feels different.  The majority is still numb but it feels like it is less on my whole chin and lower lip.  I can feel the inside of my lower lip and a little bit of the main part of my lower lip.  I can feel my upper lip touching my lower lip when I try to close my mouth.  Also, it doesn't feel strained when I close my lips.  That gives me hope they might touch later.  After surgery when I tried to close my lips I could feel everything strain on my whole lower face down to below my chin.  The skin pulled all around.  It feels more natural now.  Still strained but not nearly as much. 

By the way... tomorrow is the day!!!  I picked up my anti-anxiety pills today and can't wait until it is all over with.  My surgeon said he has to numb my gums to get the metal stuff off my lower jaw so I'm not sure how long that will last before I can eat.  I will post what happens tomorrow night so I don't forget any of it.  Wish me luck!!  :)


Day 39

I felt around the back of my mouth and realized that I didn't feel any stitches.  I looked in the mirror with a flashlight and nothing was back there.  My husband said he could see the little holes were they were but no stitches.  Guess I swallowed them.  Don't know when but I didn't see them when they came out.  I don't remember when the last day I felt for them was.  I tried to look at the stitches on my upper jaw above my gums to see if they were gone too.  They were still there.  I was able to lift my upper lip all around to see all of my stitches really good.  I am going to take a video of my stitches and my splint and metal sculpture on my lower teeth before they all go away in.... 2 days!!!!!!!!!!!  Tuesday can't come soon enough.  :)  Othere than exploring my mouth I did absolutely nothing all day.  It was awesome.  The kids played outside with their friends and only came in the house to eat lunch.  Andy and I laid in bed and watched mindless tv all day.  Last weekend to do that because I can't wait to get out of the house and back to normal.   We are usually very busy and always doing something fun with the kids.  Soon.  :)

My mouth relaxed

Trying to close my mouth.  Only moving my lower lip. 
I think it will close more once this splint and all the extra metal is out.  Still have muscle weakness in the lower part of my face so it might be even better once I work those muscles longer. 

Day 38

Lots of tingling and the bug crawling feeling today. Today was interesting because I had to go to my grandma's to see my great uncle that I haven't seen in 15 years.  Ugh.  This is EXACTLY how I wanted to look to see relatives I haven't seen in years.  Ugh!!!  Oh well.  It was a nice visit but I pretty much sat there quiet listening to the converstion going on around me.  My aunts, uncles, grandma and mom were all there too.  Funny thing was that my husband mentioned that I had jaw surgery to my Aunt and Uncle when they walked toward me to hug me hello but they didn't acknowledge what he said.  I was ok with that but I thought it was weird that they sat in the room hanging out talking to everyone for at least an hour before they asked me about the fun going on in my mouth.  It felt weird that they were ignoring the elephant in the room for so long.  It would have made me feel better to ask about it right away and then move on.  We ate lunch together which meant I went to another room to eat.  It was bad enough sitting there.  I didn't want to let them witness how silly I look when I eat.  Still using my syringe for liquids and I ate some mashed potatoes too.  I lean my head back to let the mashed potatoes drop in my mouth so I don't get too much stuck in my splint.  Well, it is over now and it could have been worse.  lol.

3 more days!!!

Day 37

Last night I had a lot of itching in my lower lip and chin.  It feels so weird.  Actually it feels like a little bug is quickly crawling on my lip or chin.  You know when you think you feel something on you and you quickly brush your hand on it to get it off?  Well that is what it feels like.  Freaks me out everytime.  I had that same feeling on and off all day today too.  Haven't felt the zings, like needles for awhile.  My upper and lower lips both quiver at times.  I can't catch it but I think if I was looking in a mirror when I felt it I might see it move.  It feels that strong that I think it has to be something you can see. 

I still have the earache occasionally.  Mostly at night.  It is inside my ear and sometimes I feel it right in front of my ear.  So uncomfortable.

My lower gums are bothering me.  The metal stuff all over my lower teeth, around my gums wiggles everytime I brush my teeth.  Things get stuck there and I have to really brush good but it is a gross feeling to feel it wiggle back and forth between my teeth.  Also it looks like my gums are growing around the wires on them.  So not cool.  I can't wait to get this stuff off my teeth.

One very cool thing is that I can take my pants off without unbuttoning them or unzipping them.  :)  I needed to lose weight anyway and just didn't want to do it before my surgery.  Never took off the baby weight with my youngest and I thought this surgery would be the jumpstart I needed to get it off.  I know most people gain their weight back after they get to eat but I plan on going on a diet once I can eat again.  I won't be as hard to do it since I had to eliminate soooo much because of my splint so anything I can eat now will be awesome, even diet food.  :)

Almost forgot to add the best part..... I get my splint out Tuesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Woo hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My ortho office sent me a text confirming my appointment so Tuesday it is!!!  I am a little freaked out thinking of the process needed to take all this stuff out.  I called my dentist and asked him for the nice anti-anxiety pills he gave me for my root canal last year.  I was so relaxed I didn't care what he was doing in my mouth.  Thank goodness he said he would prescribe them to me to use on Tuesday.  Freaked out but so excited to get it over with.  Haven't decided what my first meal will be. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Day 36

I talked too much today.  My face kind of hurts in my jaw joints.  I also had my earache again tonight.  It was episodes of shooting pain in my ear more times than I would have liked.  I talked to my friend for almost an hour on the phone.  Both of us going back and forth but apparently my face decided it was too long.  Not sure if that is what brought on the ear stuff but I'm not talking much now since it hurts at the moment. 

I had a great day other than my face hurting at the end of the night.  My cleaning lady came.  That always makes for an awesome day.  My friend Gloria, she is the one one that made the awesome potato cheese soup, brought me beans she made.  They were sooooo good.  I had to mash them up but they were full of flavor.  It was so nice to actually taste something.  Most things I put in my mouth and swallow don't taste like anything.  I have tried mac n cheese and eggs and they don't taste like anything really.  When you eat you chew up your food and mix it with your saliva and taste the flavors on your tongue.  I just put it on the back of my tongue and swallow it because I don't want it to get stuck in my splint.  Apparently flavor isn't worth the mess of cleaning crap out of my splint. 

Went to my mom's after I ate her yummy beans and my mom made me au gratin potatoes that I was able to mash up and swallow.  My grandma was worried about my lack of vitamins due to my limited diet and was so sweet and made me homemade veggie soup.  I was so full from all the beans and potatoes that I couldn't try the soup yet but I can't wait to.  By the way, my stomach can not hold any amount of food compared to presurgery.  I fill up so fast now.  I really am not hungry at all most of the time.  I just eat because I am bored or because I realize I probably should.  In total I am still at 24 lbs weight loss and staying there at the moment.  I would love to lose more since I never finished taking off my baby weight from my son.  I figured there was not point in starving myself before my surgery when I knew I was going to be on a liquid/no chew diet for 6 weeks.  Who would have thought it was going to take so long to get to the point where I was ready for surgery.  Even with all my beans and potatoes I ate tonight it was not much food at all compared to the calories a normal person has. 

Ohh, I almost forgot to add that my chin feels different.  When I touch my chin it has a different feeling.  It feels like a whole piece again.  Not the layers I was feeling before.  It is so hard to describe but any different feeling is awesome.  Can't wait until it is back to normal again.  Earlier today I was opening my mouth wide today and I felt the fun metal sculpture wrapped around my bottom teeth kind of stab the inside of my lower lip.  It hurt.  The good thing was that it hurt.  I could feel it stab me.  I also can feel my splint touching the lower right teeth for the first time.  Awhile ago I could feel the left side touching my teeth but not the right and I'm happy I can feel both of them touch.  Can't feel the front yet.  Before my surgery I had to shift my jaw to one side for my teeth to touch and shift them to the other side for those to touch.  My left and right low teeth couldn't touch my upper teeth at the same time.  Today I attempted to close my mouth and My left lower teeth touched my upper left teeth AND my right lower teeth touched my right upper teeth at the same time!  So weird.  My front teeth felt like they did before surgery so they must still be numb.  My front teeth always stuck out so much it was never an option to get them to touch any teeth.  It will be so weird to feel everything touch at the same time.  I read a lot about people needing to learn how to chew again after they are ok'd to eat normal food again.  Funny thing is I had to ask my husband if he bites his food with his front teeth since that is something I haven't done.  I might have when I was younger before my jaw decided to be jacked up but not as long as I can remember.  I always used to tear my food with my first molars.  I would get the food all the way to the side of my mouth to bite it.  See all the things people with normal jaws take for granted.  lol.  Hope I figure out how to chew quick.  :)

Fyi... Still didn't get a call from my ortho's office.  Hope we are still good for Tues.  :)  (knock on wood)  :) :) :)