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!