I can’t believe it has been a YEAR since my jaw surgery! My life is so, so different than what it was a year ago. People often ask me if it was worth having surgery, and my answer is unflinchingly YES. I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was absolutely worth it, and I have no regrets.
A year ago, I was under the knife. My doctor broke my lower jaw in two places, realigned it, and pinned it in place with two dog bone-shaped titanium brackets. I swelled up like a somewhat square balloon, and spent a week with my mouth locked shut (by way of rubber bands, not wires). That week was spent in bed, being fed by syringe by my darling husband. (Sadly, he once tried to mask the taste of medication with peppermint tea…and I haven’t been able to stomach the taste of it since.) After a week, the rubber bands were removed, and I began the slow process of recovery…a few millimeters of opening at a time!
Now, a year later, I am almost completely pain-free. My right joint still pops regularly, but it isn’t generally painful. Apparently, popping is normal. (Alas.) My braces were removed on November 13–just 2 years and 2 weeks after they were put on!–and I am now living an almost-entirely normal life. My jaw is still weaker than the average bear’s, and I require wisdom with my food choices. But overall, I am without pain almost daily.
It is true that I still have some pain, however, much to the chagrin of my family and friends. (I, however, never expected to be 100% out of pain, so I am not disappointed.) I do still grind and clench my teeth at night (just lucky, I guess), which can, after particularly bad nights, cause migraines. But, I used to get migraines on a near-weekly basis. Now I experience maybe one every two months. So really, it isn’t so bad. I find that exercising my jaw as directed by my doctor, and maintaining regular massage really helps.
I have zero regrets about my decision, and am deeply thankful for my doctors and support system. My orthodontist, Dr. Z, was a perfectionist with my bite, and my teeth turned out gorgeously because of it. Thank you, Dr. Z, for wanting everything to be perfect! You gave me a smile I’m proud of. And my surgeon, Dr. D’Addario, was nothing short of outstanding. His careful work in the OR resulted in a healthy, healing, and strong jaw. I am so thankful for him, and for his kind and generous staff.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… BEFORE AND AFTER PHOTOS!!
I first saw Dr. D’Addario in 2009 for a consultation. These are the photos he took at that initial appointment. During this phase, my pain was debilitating.
My bite, pre-braces.
Finally, after several years of wrestling with insurance, I was able to commence treatment with both Dr. Z and Dr. D’Addario. These are the pre-op photos taken by Dr. D’Addario after I had my braces on. These were taken about a year before surgery.
These were taken at my most recent appointment (and my last!) with my surgeon, on December 14, 2012. 50 weeks after surgery.