Thursday, 16 December 2010

Youtube videos

I've been getting a bit carried away recently searching on youtube for videos that demonstrate the surgery. But don't worry, they're just computer images, not actual videos of the operations, so nothing gory!

The first one here shows what I now think I'll be having done. It's called a bimaxillary surgery (i.e. two jaw surgery). The operation on the bottom jaw elongates it (mandibular advancement) and the operation on the top jaw reduces the length of the jaw, to stop the smile looking so gummy and makes the face look less long (LeFort 1 operation). I read somewhere that this surgery takes about 5 hours to complete.

This next one shows just the lower jaw surgery...

And this one shows just the top jaw surgery. I don't think I'm anywhere near as gummy as this video shows, but it still illustrates the sugery well. It shows it in a bit more detail than the bimaxillary video...

Third hospital appointment

I went to my 3rd hospital appointment yesterday. I just saw the orthodontist this time instead of the surgeon. I haven't met this orthodontist before but she said that she'll be the one doing my braces throughout the process.

First of all she took me to stand in front of this big bright, white screen and took some photos of my face from the front with a relaxed mouth, and then smiling, and then from a kind of half-front, half-side 45 degree angle, and then one directly from the side.

Then she did some close-up photos of my teeth from loads of different angles, and then took some measurements and did moulds of my top and bottom teeth. I also had to go along to the x-ray department to get some x-rays done for their records.

But during the appoinment she kind of dropped a bombshell on me...up until now I've thought I was just getting lower jaw surgery, but she said that she thinks I'll need upper jaw surgery too! I said that the surgeon had only spoke about lower jaw surgery, but she said that she thinks I'll need upper jaw too to get rid of my gummy smile. This is something I'd definitely like to change, but now I'm even more worried about the surgery, as there's more chance of numbness, swelling, and apparently upper jaw surgery can change the shape of your nose. This could be a good thing for me though, because I've heard that it makes your nose wider, and I have quite a thin nose, so I don't think it would necessarily be a bad change! I think it might also make my nose a bit shorter too, which I wouldn't mind as I think I have quite a long nose anyway!

Anyway, she said I'll discuss this properly with the surgeon nearer the time. But I think if I'm going to go through all of this, then I might as well get everything done - the top and bottom jaws, otherwise I'll just end up regretting it like I regret not having the surgery done when I was first offered it. I assumed up until now that just having the lower jaw advancement would get rid of the gummy smile, but obviously not. I don't want to go through all this and have a nice bite but still a gummy smile! So I think if they think it's for the best then I'll just trust them and do the whole thing!

She also informed me that I have a hole in between my wisdom tooth and the one before it on the left side of my lower jaw, so she's told me to go to the dentist to get it fixed, but I booked a dentist appointment today, and they gave me 11th February, but I don't know if this will be too soon after having my wisdom teeth out on 31st January!? Or should I try and get the filling done before I have my wisdom teeth out?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

I haven't been able to update for a while because I've been so busy with uni, but not much has really happened anyway! Basically, a while ago I had a massive panic and suddenly wondered if I was completely mad for even considering having this surgery done! At one point I really thought I wasn't going to go through with it. But after talking to lots of people about it online, I've decided I am going to get it done. I know it bothers me enough for me to want to go through with the operation. It might be a long process, but it will benefit me for the rest of my life, and I know I'd regret it so much if I backed out now!

I've got a hospital appoinment on Wednesday 15th December, but I'm not completely sure what it's for! Obviously I'm having my wisdom teeth out on 31st January, so I think it might just be the pre-op apointment for that. But I'm not entirely sure, so I'll just have to wait and see what happens on Wednesday!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Wisdom teeth removal date!

I rang the hospital yesterday and have now set the date to have my wisdom teeth taken out. Unfortunately they couldn't fit me in during my Christmas holidays, and then because I have exams in January the next possible date was 31st January. It seems like a long way away at the moment, but I've got plenty of things to be keeping me busy (like my final year of university!) so I'm sure it will come around soon enough! Although I'm not looking forward to actually having my teeth out, I'm just looking forward to officially beginning the process!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Second hospital appointment

I finally had my second hospital appointment today! It feels like I've been waiting for so long but it finally seems like everything's starting to get going now! Last time I went I felt like the appointment was a waste of time and like the orthodontist I saw wasn't very helpful, but today was the complete opposite.

I got to meet the surgeon today, who I think said that he was the surgeon that would be performing my operation. He was really nice and talked me through everything and made me feel like I could trust him with my operating on my face! He had a little jaw model so that he could show me exactly what happes to the jaw in the surgery. Until now I've been a bit confused about how they cut the jaw but he showed me on the model and it's all a lot clearer!

He spoke to me about the risk of numbness. He said that 8% of people are left with permanent numbness, and showed me on the model where the nerve goes through the jaw. I asked him whether the people who get permanent numbness regret having the operation done, and he said they didn't.

He also said that there's a risk that when they go to break the jaw bone it won't break in the right way, and that if this happens then you have to have your teeth wired together after the operation, but out of all the operations he's done (which was over 200!), this has only happened once! So I'm not too worried about that!

So, the next step is to take my wisdom teeth out! Apparently this makes it easier for them to break the jaw in the actual operation. The surgeon was really nice and is trying to make sure my operation to take my wisdom teeth out will be in my Christmas holidays from uni, which will be good as I won't have to miss any lectures or anything.

After my wisdom teeth are out I'll have my braces put on. They'll be fixed braces (i.e. train tracks) and I'll have them on my top and bottom teeth for 12 - 18 months! But the orthodontist did say that because I've had braces on before that should mean that I won't need the braces for too long. And then I'll be having the actual operation! It seems such a long way from now but I'm sure it will all be worth it in the end!

Anyway, I've got to ring the hospital on Monday and let them know when my Christmas holidays are so that they can arrange a date for me to have my wisdom teeth out!

I'm just so glad it's finally all underway!

Sunday, 27 June 2010

So frustrated!!!

I got a letter in the post yesterday from the hospital saying 'due to unforseen circumstances your appointment of 22nd July has now been moved to 16th September'!!! I'm so annoyed! I was already annoyed at how slow the whole process was, and now I've got to wait an extra two months! :(

The reason I'm most annoyed is because the later I get my braces on, the more chance there is that I will have the operation when I'm doing my PGCE teaching course which I'm hopefully starting next year, and I really can't take loads of time out from that.

I know I should be grateful that I'm getting it done at all, but it's just so frustrating! I just want to get it all started and now I probably won't even get my braces until the end of this year :(

Saturday, 5 June 2010

First hospital appointment

I had my first hospital appointment on Thursday. I'd been waiting so long for this appointment after initially seeing my old orthodontist in April, and to be honest, the appointment just made me really frustrated because it felt like a such a waste of time!!!

I only got to see an orthodontist at the hospital, not the surgeon, so most of the questions I had planned to ask he couldn't answer anyway! He didn't tell me much I didn't already know, and just gave me a couple of leaflets about orthognathic surgery and wearing fixed braces. But when you've done as much research on this as I have, there's not many 'general facts' that I don't know about it!

Anyway, he did tell me a couple of helpful things, which were:

1) Just having braces for a second time round has its risks - apparently there's a small risk of damaging the roots of the teeth, and there's also the risk of being left with white marks where the braces have been glued on your teeth.

2) 5-8% of the patients at their hospital who have had the surgery have some permanent loss of feeling/numbness after the surgery - most people have some temporary loss of feeling after the surgery.

3) On average they carry out 2 orthognathic operations a week at the hospital, so for anybody like me who lives in the UK and is getting the surgery on the NHS, I found this quite reassuring as it's obviously fairly common and they've had a lot of practice!

He also told me that I'd probably have to have my wisdom teeth taken out as well, and he also noticed that I have a kind of 'mottled' effect on the surface of my top front teeth. My mum had noticed this before, but it's not something that I've ever been particularly bothered about, but the orthodontist seemed concerned about it and even said that they'd put veneers on them after the surgery! I thought veneers were just something that celebrities had to make their teeth nice and white, but if I'm getting them for free, then I'm not complaining!

When we were talking about what I'd look like after the surgery he made me hold up a mirror and push my bottom jaw forward (which I've already done a million times anyway!), and said that this is what I'd look like after the surgery. Now I understand that this is what the surgery would do - make my lower jaw be in the same place as my top jaw - but I'm hoping this isn't a true reflection of what I'd actually look like after it, because to me it looks like I'm pushing my jaw forward, and when I smile naturally with my bottom jaw pushed forward, to me it looks really stupid and worse than my smile now, cos it looks really gummy and you can hardly see any of my teeth! I said to him that I assume I wouldn't look exactly like this after the surgery, and he was just really dismissive and said 'well this is what the surgery would do'. But from all the pictures I've seen of people who have had it done, all of them have normal smiles and don't look like they're pushing their jaws forward, so I hope at my next appointment I'll have some reassurance that it will all look normal after surgery!

Anyway, so my next appointment is on 22nd July - 7 whole weeks away :(. I'm meant to be seeing the actual surgeon this time, but I'm just so annoyed because if I'd been able to see the surgeon at my last appointment, then the whole process would be 7 weeks ahead of what it is now! That appointment just seemed like a waste of time and I just want to get it all started!!!

Monday, 19 April 2010

The beginning...

Hi I'm Sarah, and hopefully within the next two years I'll be undergoing jaw surgery to treat a Class II Division I malocclusion, which basically means an overbite due to a lower jaw that is set too far back. When deciding to have this done (which to an extent I still am) I spent a lot of time researching it on the internet and found it very helpful to read blogs like this from people who have already undergone this surgery, so I've decided to write this blog in the hope that it might help anybody else who is trying to make this decision.

My jaw problems were caused by 11 years of severe thumb sucking, where not only did I suck my thumb, but also leant on it, which over time has led to my jaws somehow going out of alignment so that my lower jaw is further back than it should be. This left me with goofy teeth and has an effect on my profile which I feel makes my face look out of proportion and makes my nose look a lot bigger than it really is! Everyone says I'm paranoid about this, which I probably am, but I really hate it!

When I was 12 I was referred to an orthodontist, who during my orthodontic treatment referred me to a surgeon to talk about jaw surgery, which would've been carried out when I was 16. At the time I had to make this decision I was only about 13 years old, and ultimately this decision was more down to my parents as I was too young to make such a decision, and at the time it hadn't really crossed my mind and didn't really bother me. So instead I just had normal braces to straighten out my teeth, but this has still left me with an overbite.

As I've got older I've become more and more bothered by the effect that this has on my overall appearance, and within the past year I started looking at possible options to correct it. As I'm now 21 I thought that there was no way I'd get the operation on the NHS anymore, so I began looking down cosmetic surgery routes, such as chin implants which cost around £4000, but don't actually change your jaw. Because of the cost, and also my lack of trust in cosmetic surgery, I forgot about it for a while and decided it was just something that I'd have to live with. However, in February this year I met a girl who had had jaw surgery to correct the opposite condition - an underbite (i.e. her lower jaw was further forward than it should be). She told me that she still received this for free even though she was 18 when she had the surgery, and said that although the surger was horrible, it was definitely worth it. She advised me that the best place to start would be by contacting my orthodontist.

Taking her advice, I arranged a consultation with my old orthodontist, which cost about £100, but as he had told me that I may have some NHS options still available to me, I thought that going down this route could save me a lot of money in the long run, and also my mum said she'd be much happier about me having it done if I went to an orthodontist rather than a cosmetic surgeon.

When I went for the consultation last week I had some x rays done, and my orthodontist looked at my teeth and confirmed that jaw surgery would solve the problem, and to my surprise he told me that even though I'm 21 I would still be able to have the surgery on the NHS! This was a big relief to me as I'm a student so I'm not the richest person in the world at the moment! The downside is that I will have to wear braces again, which he said would probably be for a year to a year and a half. Although I really am not looking forward to having braces again, it's a small price to pay to be able to have the surgery!

My orthodontist has now re-referred me to a surgeon and sent me a copy of the letter that he sent to the surgeon. So now I'm just waiting for a letter from the hospital, and then hopefully it will all be under way soon!