I was recently contacted by someone who found this blog and thought that I may not have made it past last March. It turns out that I did make it, and I’ve had an interesting year.
Since the last update, I have kicked the drugs prescribed by my doctor with positive effects. I found that the retainer I was using after the surgery was causing my joints to flare up causing me frequent discomfort and inflammation. Several nights without the retainer were enough to clear up ongoing discomfort. After a few weeks, most of the inflammation had subsided. Occasionally I managed to upset my jaw by eating something too hard or drinking caffeine (mainly coffee) too often. The solution was always simply taking it easy for a few days.
About 3 months ago I had a new set of retainers made by Dr. Alan Marcus in Milbrae, CA. The goal was just to maintain the alignment I had on the upper teeth and correct the lower incisors which had drifted in the several months since I used my pervious retainer. After an adjustment or two, the new retainers fit great and now I barely notice them. These are a different style of retainer with a wrap-around wire on the top that never goes over the teeth (this is important!), but goes all the way around and applies pressure front and back. The lower retainer is a short 4-tooth piece that clips on easily and is easy to talk with.
In the two and a half years post surgery, my joints deteriorated slightly, enough to through off the alignment of my bite. Its not significant and impossible to notice by anyone except a dentist or orthodontist (or myself).
My orthodontist(s) and my surgeon have starkly different opinions about how to properly handle a surgery like this from start to finish. My experience will probably be different than anyone else’s, but there’s a chance it will be similar. Here’s a few tips I would offer to anyone considering the surgery:
- Its worth it, but like any investment it takes time to pay off.
- It requires more patience than you currently have, but you will learn.
- You will eat a lot of blended foods — buy a great blender, a juicer is optional.
- You will get tired of blended foods.
- Likewise, you will get tired of soft foods.
- The truth probably lies somewhere between what your surgeon and your orthodontist says.
- You will lose weight. I lost about 10lbs in the first few weeks.
- If you notice clicking, sticking, friction, or any feelings that you didn’t have before the surgery, take note and tell the surgeon if they persist more than a day or two.
- You won’t have the same symptom or feelings twice as you recover so its impossible to learn from the past. Be sure to bring up anything that feels unusual with the surgeon.
- Experiment to avoid frustration. If one thing isn’t working, try something else to see if thats better.
Best of luck and remember that while it may be hard for a short while, you have years of enjoyment ahead that will make the current day or week of pain seem irrelevant.