Wednesday, 30 December 2009
But lately I've noticed my upper jaw is straining a little bit, and doesn't really feel 'stable' when I'm chewing something particularly dense or just something larger generally. Because only 2 teeth touch, and on my left side, I do most of my chewing on that side. But I'm noticing that when I do chew something on my left side, it feels almost as if my upper jaw is being forced even more slanty. Obviously I don't mean my jaw is actually moving, but it just feels 'wrong' and uncomfortable like it's causing undue pressure on the right side. I can't really explain it properly, but it's just because of the discrepancy between the left and right side of my jaw, like a balance scale type scenario. I'll re-post a pic of me biting down just for the sake of clarity:
So I've been having to relieve the uncomfortable feeling by chewing on my right side instead. But this isn't good for me generally since it means I'm chewing less well than normally because the teeth don't touch at all (which isn't really saying a lot anyway since I can't chew well to start with!)
I think it will take me a while to get used to how to chew with a normal jaw relationship, but I'll be glad when I can eat a sandwich or an apple without any drama! lol (oooh, I long to bite into some fruit!)
Also, my countdown says 13 days to go! I'm weary of a phone call to tell me it's been cancelled any time in the next fews day, so it will be tense. I haven't bought anything yet either (other than a pair of slippers to walk to theatre in! lol), mainly because it's not definite enough yet for me to get really prepared. I have some revision and essays to write, so that will take my mind off it. And what's more- on the 11th I will be at uni to hand in said essays, and take an exam. What fun the eve of my operation will be!
I feel ambivalent about the surgery too. I don't feel anxious or nervous. Even though 13 days isn't really a long time left to go, it feels like it. I think again this is all due to the fact that it could be cancelled. It feels less 'real'
Saturday, 26 December 2009
Basically what he did was bring to the surface my lack of esteem and my feelings that my jaw makes me look -and feel- masculine.
Well, he came to me an apologised for the joke (which in itself wasn't why I was upset), so when I told him it was because I thought my jaw made me feel un-feminine he immediately realised why his lesbian comment struck a chord, he apologised again more profoudly. I accepted his apology, but I'm still upset.
I'm not upset for what he said in terms of blaming him, because nobody really knew how bad I feel about my jaw. I just get upset when something or someone reminds me of how I feel about myself. I can't help the lack of self-esteem because it has grown with me as I've grown up waiting for this treatment, even though people won't understand it. This is how I feel and why I simply cannot wait until my operation.
The good thing to come from this? Well, I suppose in a way it's good that my family realise the extent of my feelings about my jaw now. Also, it happened after midnight so it didn't offically ruin my Christmas!
I don't think this is too personal to share, and the fact is that however I feel about my jaw cannot be resolved or comforted because my opinion won't change until my appearance does. Not in a shallow way of course, but in the sense that once my underbite is corrected, so my appearance will be, and hopefully so will my esteem
I always say in my posts sorry for being melodramatic. Maybe if I hadn't gone through most of my teenage life with the knowledge of my underbite and that is was serious enough to need correcting, I might not have focused so much on it. But, that's life.
So, sorry for sounding melodramatic!
Bring on the 12th........
Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Please make sure that for at least 24 hours after your operation you do not do the following:
- Drive a car or ride a bike
- Operate any machinery including domestic equipment
- Sign any legal documents
- Smoke or drink alcohol
- Take sleeping tablets
But, I'm sure it's good advice. I will make sure not to sign anything :P
Anyway, hope everyone reading had a good Christmas. I'm planning to buy a blender, etc, in the sales! That's one benefit of a surgery at the start of the year, lol
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
But yeah, my pre-op was uneventful really; we managed to find the place straight away because it was right at the front of the hospital (so why the need for the convoluted instructions I don't know), and I went in twith the nurse straight away too. I had my weight and height measured to calculate my BMI (I'm slightly overweight. Boo hoo society! lol), then we went through my medical history questions (which was a series of me answering 'no' 'no' 'no' - allergic to penicillin 'no' 'no'...etc, etc!), blood pressure (perfect), pulse (slightly fast because I was nervous, as most people are in this type of setting), breathing, etc.
Then I had to do some swabs to check for MRSA (and let's hope I haven't got that!)- of my nose, and my....'leg crease'. I thought the nurse meant like me knee or something, but he meant my groin. So I was like 'okaaaaay', and went in a little area by myself and got the sample. It was quite odd, but I was perfectly mature about it :D
Then I had to go into the main hospital and get some blood tests done. It's an odd bingo-type system where you get a ticket with a number on, and they call you down. I was waiting quite a while- from number 30 to 66- but the actual blood test was fine. Whilst we were waiting though, we suddenly heard this loud cry of 'OOOOW!' which was quite funny. It's like when you go to the dentist and you hear the drilling in the other room. Luckily I have no fear of needles, or dentists (or orthodontists or maxillofacial surgeons....)
I will go to the same place when I have my surgery too. It's bascially theatre admissions for most of the hospital, and then you're taken to whatever ward you need after. I'll be in the Head and Neck ward this time, which is a bump up from the general Ear, Nose and Throat for when I had SARME (I feel all important and special).
I also asked the nurse about the cancellation policy too, since I've been told numerous times the surgery is likely to be cancelled, and he looked quite surprised and said my surgeon doesn't usually have many cancer patients anyway. So the situation clouds...*shrugs*
A nutritionist and dental hygienist will come and see me after the surgery too, which is good. Here's hoping I get some freebies
Well, I think that's it. So here's hoping -again- that my surgery won't, in fact, be cancelled. I have no idea what will happen at this point! : /
Monday, 21 December 2009
Anyway, even though we're used to bad weather here, we're not used to snow. So, it was snowing pretty heavily yesterday here in Yorkshire- but did the council come and grit or plow the main roads? Did people take note of the weather and decide not to go for a Sunday drive? No on both points- and that equals a bit of a mess! There's loads of abandoned cars outside my house because it sits on a hill, and obviously people aren't used to driving in snow and they got stuck.
The Eurostar even got cancelled because 5 trains got stuck in the Channel tunnel, lol. Madness. You'd think a tunnel that goes under the bloody English Channel could handle some snow. But obviously not!
So yes, it's a bit mad here for the transport side of things. So I'm hoping it won't snow anymore now so on Tuesday I can get to the hospital for my pre-op tests.
Ok, maybe it can snow a little bit this afternoon, but then we can't have anymore fun and we have to be serious. It's stopped snowing up in the north anyway, but I don't know about elsewhere...
Anyway, I'll see how it goes tomorrow. I imagine I'll be doing more waiting than aything else, but we're going early because we still don't quite know how to get to the right bit of the hospital. I think we're just going to go into the main building and ask for directions, lol
Friday, 18 December 2009
It's very disconcerting, but also I still don't really understand why it has to be me that gets cancelled. You know what I mean? Do the important surgery first, bump off a tonsillectomy or something, and just do my surgery later in the day after you've had a cuppa and KitKat
My knowledge of how things work is skewed, obviously....
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
The hooks went on quite easily- my wire didn't have to be removed, and the hooks were just 'clamped' on, as it were. I have 8 on the bottom, and 4 on the top. The pressure on my lower teeth was quite painful, though. But then we're used to pain, aren't we?
Speaking of pain, when I saw the face bow for the first time today I thought 'oh, so orthodontists do use torture devices after all!'. It's a rather odd looking contraption that needs to be screwed tight on your head. Seeing someone holding a screwdriver over you isn't the most welcoming sight in the world. But the good thing is, it just looks scary, but it's actually quite tame! All you have to do is bite onto the mold, and the frame is just there to measure your bite correctly
The face bow for those who haven't experienced it:
So after that I had a lot more molds taken- I had 2 'normal' ones where you have all the vile goo in your mouth. I don't really have a problem with these except that the goo is vile, and they don't take long.
Anyway she then need to take some different molds to just get my bite indentation. Basically they were sheets of wax or whatever, that were warmed in water to make pliable, and then you bite down on them, etc. It was 9.40 and her next appointment wasn't until 10, so my ortho thought she would 'experiment' if I didn't mind. So she used quite a lot of new stuff that she hasn't used much...and wasted quite a lot of it too. It's difficult taking a mold of a bad bite though really, because the whole thing is that your teeth don't meet well, if at all (like in my case they don't meet on the right side at all when I bite down). She got it right in the end, though
And then finally, she took another photo of my bite to add to the collection.
And that was that.
I'll get a photo of my hooks up soon too.
Also, my ortho said her last 2 patients did not get their first surgery date cancelled. Is that a good sign, or a sign that 3 times in a row is unlikely to happen? : (
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
The only thing really in terms of adademics is that I need to fit things around my appointments and surgery. For instance next week I need to hand in an assignment early because I need to come back home for my ortho appointment (more molds for my splint, X-Rays, measurements, etc). I have an exam the day before my surgery (not a huge, scary one, though thankfully), and also have to hand in assignments then, because the hand-in date is my surgery date (well, assuming it's not cancelled). I'm a procrastinator though, so I tend not to get overly-anxious about work anyway. I work better under pressure, I find! lol
I have been thinking about breathing after surgery though. I seriously can't breathe through my nose well, and at night if I try I just feel suffocated, so the idea of wearing a splint does worry me just a bit. Of course, if the whole point of my not being able to breathe through my nose is because of my malocclusion, then I suppose after surgery I should be fine anyway! I just think a splint seems too 'claustrophobic', if that makes sense. Heres hoping I don't need it in the end!
Then there's general worry my surgery will end up being cancelled. It doesn't feel right to have my appointments and my pre-op assessment when my surgery could be cancelled at any time. I just have a general feeling of unrest, and that's probably where my anxiety is coming from actually
Oh, and a question- how annoying are surgical hooks? I think I might be getting those next week too, so I'm going to have them on during Christmas, etc. I have to pick enough crap out of my braces without having to pull turkey out of these as well! lol
Friday, 4 December 2009
Umm, anyway! :D I finally got my confirmation letter today, and my pre-op assessment is on the 22nd December at 10.30 (I wonder if I should come in an elf costume, or wear a red nose or something, it's so close to Christmas day). The letter said I may be there 2 or 3 hours (um, how long?). I suppose it's the usual humiliation of being weighed (well, I am a teenage girl, my weight is a sensitive issue!) and poked. I think it said I would also meet the staff who will be looking after me too.
For the actual surgery I need to be there for 7:00 (the hospital is about an hour's drive, so it's not too bad).
Now, I still have some confusion though. When I had SARME I was in the main hospital in the Ear, Nose and Throat ward. My letter is from the office of the 'Dental Hospital', which is god knows where, and all it says is to go to the Theatre Admins Unit.
So I get that I'm having the surgery in the Dental Hosptial, whereas I suppose SARME is minor and so was carried out in the general hospital. What I don't get is if my pre-op assessment is in the Dental Hospital or the main Hospital, because the directions are slightly different in the letter, so I don't know whether it's a typo or not. One part says Road A (for the assessment), and one part says Floor A (for the surgery). On the map included there is a Road A, which is nowhere near the Dental Hospital, so therein lies my confusion!
I know it will be something obvious, but I'm going to check it out just in case!
And let's hope my surgery date won't change in the meantime!
PS- the hospital is called the Charles Clifford Dental Hospital....my first thought was he's a PR man for Z-listers in the UK, isn't he? Or maybe that's Max Clifford...
Off to get a google map, now!
Wednesday, 25 November 2009
I've tried to take a picutre, but you can't really see it clearly. Here they are, anyway:
Saturday, 21 November 2009
It's because I don't know what the procedure is for these things. Also it's odd waiting to see when or if the surgery date will be cancelled (as my ortho and surgeon stressed it probably would be )- I have to simultaneously be ready for both eventualities- I either have the surgery on the 12th, or I don't, but either way I need to make sure I'm ready for the 12th! lol
Can anyone from the UK tell me what the general procedure is once you get a date? As in, will they ever acknowledge it with some form of communication to me?!?! I'll repeat, I am very paranoid! :O
I think at my next ortho appointment (December) I will have the surgical hooks placed too. I hear they are pretty annoying, and I don't exactly want to wear them for ages before the surgery, especially if it gets cancelled round one!
On a brighter note, this is a UK thing, but I thought the Children In Need song was a great idea. Not a fan of Peter Kay nowadays because he's abit of a fame-hog (and a food hog, by the looks of him now), but he does have good charity song ideas! Love it when it gets into Take That- and onwards! My cousin is 2 and she loves it :D Just thought I'd share it:
Monday, 16 November 2009
Anyway, I have a slight concern about my apearance post-op. My ortho mentioned that my jaw-length from my neck ratio is pretty long, so when the jaw is moved back, I could look like I have a bit of a double-chin thing going on. Not really a look I'd be thrilled with! However I can't imagine it would really be that bad. I mean, I'm not a waif, but I can't imagine I have too much chin fat!
I'm waiting to get my letter in the post as well; I want it to feel official, and then I can get on with my life until my next appointment comes (and it's only 2 more appointments with my ortho before the surgery! It seems odd to only have 2, but then the are a month apart!)
And I thought I'd get a picture to show how my midline is off, but looking at it I realise my upper jaw is seriously slanted! Perhaps it seems more so because I'm not exactly using high-tech equipment to get the photo, but still! Look:
Friday, 13 November 2009
I have 5 weeks off uni at Christmas which is why I wanted the December date, but I was just looking at my online timetable, and the 12th of Janurary is actually the start of the 4th week, so that's quite good luck (but I have an exam the day before! Luckily it's not one that is too worrying or difficult- well, hopefully not- and the uni I chose isn't too far away from home...which is one of the reasons I chose it; for the time when my surgery would finally come around ). But, if that date is cancelled and moved to Februrary time, I will end up missing a few weeks of uni. Still, the main exams are not until May, so I can catch up relatively easily because I can work online and get my lecture notes, etc. So here's hoping to keep the date I have now!
And, I don't know if the high percentile for cancellations is just a local thing (because my surgeon treats patient's with oral cancer, if a surgery case comes up, they need the priority dates) or more broadly to do with the NHS, but my surgeon was saying that the rule is if my surgery is cancelled when I'm actually in the hospital on the day, they have to do my surgery within the next 21 days. So really, it would be better for me to have my surgery cancelled the day of the surgery, so my new date will be sooner! Not so good for my state of mind though, I suppose! lol
I will be banded with elastics, and I may possibly have to wear a splint for the first week if they think I need it. The surgeon said hopefully this won't be the case, but I'll just have to wait and see. My ortho said my first week will just be liquids, and of course if I do have to have the splint I've got no choice! Not looking forward to this, because I don't even like soup, and I'm sure while milkshakes may be quite nice for a while, I will get sick of them quite quickly.
I will be in hospital for at most 3 days, but if I'm fit to go sooner, I can. My surgeon joked some people recovery quite well, but some go through a bit of a dying swan phase. I know anaesthetic and me don't go too well though, so I predict I will be there for the 3 days, swooning and crying! :D
I forgot to ask about what I can do for the swelling. He said they give me steroids on the first day to try and 1) reduce the swelling 2) pick up my mood a little bit, but they don't continue with that after the first day (for obvious reasons! I'll be alright walking in a jaw surgery patient, and walking out a pro body-builder!).
So, would you guys suggest ice packs or stuff like that?
I also won't be having a genio. I never considered this anyway, but my ortho says I don't need it.
I can't wait! I feel odd preparing for the 12th though, when it might be cancelled.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
12th Janurary = preliminary date. It's not December, but it's as near as damn it. I'm more than happy to take it!
I was soooo relieved when those words came out of his mouth. I did think if it wasn't December it would be Easter (which would then eventually need to be changed to June time to fit with my exam schedule), so when he said January I was pleasantly surprised (perhaps my mum was right that I'm too pesimistic, after all )
Of course this is just a preliminary date, however if it's cancelled the new date will still be around the same time, so it doesn't matter about that.
Also, on a second look at my molds, my ortho reckons I don't need more expansion after all.
I will be having around a 9mm movement all in all, with my upper jaw being rotated to fix the cant I have (or perhaps it's my lower jaw...I forget).
My ortho showed me a prediction of how I will look, but those things are never too accurate, and in the photo I ended up looking lip-less! because the computer doesn't account for lip structure, etc. So my ortho was quick to reassure me it is just a rough look as to how I might look. It was only a profile picture too, so not too much was gleaned from it. She also said it may take quite a while to come to terms with my facial changes, and I might feel like I'm not the same person anymore, but I dislike how my jaw makes me look now, so it's not like I'm going to be depressed once I no longer have an underbite. I'm rather looking forward to looking slightly different! And rather looking forward to being able to bite into a bloody sandwich! (among other things..)
The surgeon pointed out that my nose may also be slightly different and upturned, but not to a great degree. So long as I don't end up like Tubbs and Edward from The League of Gentlemen (great British comedy!):
He said I may possibly need a splint, but it depends on how the surgery goes. He'd rather not use one, mainly because of the hassle for me of not being able to clean my teeth, or really move my jaws at all, but it's a possibility. I'm prepared to feel like crap for a while afterwards, and from my SARME experience I already know the anaesthetic doesn't bode too well with me. But it's not something I'm dreading, more something I know will happen, and in the end it's totally worth it.
I will have drainage tubes, and possibly an NG too, if anyone cares to know!
My other dates then, are:
16th December- hour long appointment with my ortho to do some more molds and stuff
6th January- quick appointment to make sure the splint fits
12th Januray- possible surgery
(the recptionist got into a right tizz when she was booking in my appointments to fit around the 12th. She didn't realise the 12th was my actual surgery date at the other hospital, so she was booking me in to see my ortho, and confusing herself as to what she was working around....honestly, I had to help her out a few times. And she was blonde, but that's neither here nor there :lol )
I will also have an appointment made at the hospital where my surgery will be to do the pre-op tests a week or so before the operation (ugh, I dread these things...I don't need to give them a urine sample or anything, do I? )
Hmmm, think that's it. Yay
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
I'm sure all this build-up will mean tomorrow actually turns out to be an anticlmax, in a sort of 'a watched pot never boils' sort of way.
In other news- I trapped my finger in a door today. The door is like an emergency door which you push a small handle outwards, and somehow as I pushed, my finger got stuck between the door that was opening (because the handle is right at the edge of the frame) and the frame next to it (like a double door). So to de-trap the finger I had to carry on opening the door against my finger. Ouch
It's still a bit sore, and the top of it was numb earlier, however it hasn't 1) swollen to an ungodly degree 2) gone black, so it's not too serious. And you know what, it's because I'm clumsy. It's a curse. I should know better than to use such types of doors! It was bound to happen...
hmm.... so is it tomorrow yet?
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Saturday, 7 November 2009
My mum told me off yesterday for moaning, because she was talking about a holiday in May or June time, and I said you'd better wait because it's not like I'm going be having the surgery in December now, so it will be around that time. She told me not to be so defeatist, and that I always think of the worst. So I said, erm hello, my ortho said I was '6 months away' in January so I don't hang onto her every word, my first surgery date is 80% likely to be cancelled anyway, and it's already November. All in all, I said I was being a realist! I still wish I could have a December surgery though. And this has made me come to a realisation-
I hate waiting for things without resolution, and getting hopefull for things that turn out to elude me yet. As I get closer to major appointments (and this is the most major), I always end up making myself upset (like now, as I write this), because I dwell on the outcome; now, whether my surgery will be in December, or not. I'm not pessimistic because I want to be, but because I don't want to be disappointed, and pin my hopes on a 2009 surgery that won't happen. My underbite is literally the bane of my life; I don't enjoy feeling masculine and, in turn, ugly. I don't not being able to eat foods properly, neatly, normally. I don't enjoy having a lisp that makes me sound childish. All in all, if I were to be slightly melodramatic (but truthful all the same), all these things make me feel degraded
So, whenever the surgery eludes me, I get upset. To counteract this, I try not to feel hopeful about getting the surgery this year, so the blow won't come too hard if/when it turns out my surgery indeed will not be this year. But I still can't stop myself from hoping for a 2009 surgery. But my hope is incongruous, because I'm not optimistic.
I can't describe what I mean, but perhaps people understand somewhat! I hate to sound like a whiny teenager who is talking nonsense, but I want surgery this year because, while I can cope with waiting until next year -'some time' next year- I don't relish thought. A December surgery would give me time to recover, without missing any school work, and I could start the new year positivly. To me, waiting until next year is a huge slap in the face, because then it will be a case of having to wait until my exams are finished- so, effectively, waiting longer than I need to. If I wait until about May or June time, then all I will be able to think is this could have been done ages ago.
I'll feel pratted around by the system- how hard is it for everything to be ready for December? Just to be clear about my annoyance on this- this is in terms of appointments with my ortho for molds, etc, as I don't see why there needs to be a huge wait between those- I think I've already mentioned my surgeon specialises in oral cancer, and I would never resent these patient's having priority over me
Well, again, I hope I don't sound like a selfish teenager who needs a slap. Though perhaps I could do with one
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Main things I'm interested in knowing:
How much more expansion do I need, and is this all going to be done during the surgery?
Will I wear elastics, or have to have a splint or TPA again? (because of the extra expansion)
- to follow up from the previous question- Will I be given an ice pack or some such aid at the hospital?
Things I'm sure the surgeon will cover during the course of the appoinment anyway, but if not I will ask!:
What exactly are you going to do? (that sounds rather accusatory! ). I'll add: 'How much will my jaws be moved, and where to?
How long will the surgery be?
How long will I be in hospital for?
What will I be able to eat post-op?
How long will it take to recover, approximately?
Hmmm, I think that's it. I don't really think there's much that is essential to know, although of course it's great to be well informed. I'm just not going to ask about every particular.
Anyone have any questions they think are important though, and that I've missed?
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Like something Jessica Rabbit might say: I'm not moody, I'm just made that way!:
I'm prepared for lots of 'bite down', 'big smile'....'bigger!'...'bigger please!'..'ok bite down again'. I really hate having to bite down for a prolonged period of time though, because my bite is so..unstable, that after a while my jaws start to shift and grind a bit. It's like when you have to balance for a long time and your muscles start to shake!
I don't really have much I want to ask, other than stuff like what can I eat, and how can I reduce the swelling. I don't think there's any need for me to ask about every single detail, but I'm sure he will answer possible questions I might have in the course of the appointment anyway.
I'll post any questions I might have later, and if anyone has any questions they think are particularly pertinent to know, do let me know!
I'm going to post some more photo updates too. Because I started writing this mid-treatment I don't exactly have progress pictures, but I have got some current pictures, which I will share nonetheless. Also a few of my profile, which though it pains me to look at them, it's the best way to see my underbite in its full glory
I tried to make a slideshow to put on my blog, but I couldn't do it. Might try again!
Oh also- my lower lip is in such pain lately. The braces seem to irritate my mouth sporadically, but the main issue I've always had is my lower ligs on the front 4 teeth rubbing my lip, and digging in them when I'm asleep (but I mean how does it happen? It's not like I lay face down on ym pillow!), creating a perpetual imprint along my lip of the pattern of the barces. I woke up today with a massive red indentation in my lip, so needless to say I've got the wax on now. I like this stage of treatment I'm at, where my wires aren't changed often now, so I don't get sore teeth much after appointments anymore, but my lip is irritating the hell out of me!
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
Then she got my molds that were taken last appointment, and while she was fiddling with them she gave me the bombshell (though not too much of one, in terms of the big picture) that I still need more expansion; relapse obviously comes into play, but she said for me I could have done without the relapse because I needed so much (I think overall I expanded 10mm the first time) to begin with. She said during the surgery they will just do the additional expansion then. I suppose that means I will have to wear an expander or TPA again, though I won't be actively axpanding my jaw after surgery. From what I gather all the expansion that I need will be carried out during the op. If it's a TPA I don't mind ( http://www.qcortho.com/TPA%201.jpg ) because it doesn't get in the way too much. However I don't know what else I will have in my mouth from the surgery- a splint? Might be rather in the way!
After that she just took some measurements of my midline/cant/underbite (or 'reverse overjet', as would be the technical term)/lip diameter...and one that seemed funny to me- length of neck (she measured from my chin down at an angle to my neck). Apparantly mine much longer than is normal. Who knew....
She said that generally people have more of a movement of the uppr jaw than lower, however in my case my lower will be moved the most. Doesn't really matter in general terms, but it's good to know. Also I remember hearing the measurement of 6mm for something, which I will assume is my underbite. According to this site (which I just stumbled on): http://www.guysandstthomas.com/services/ambulatory/dental/orthodontics.aspx that puts me in the highest grade of 'need of treatment'- Grade 5. Yay, I feel so special. Like when you get an A* in an exam
So now I'm done teeth-wise, it's just a matter of when will my surgery be? Again she reiterated that a lot of the time surgery dates are cancelled first time round. My question to that would be; if you know things are overbooked and will inevitably be cancelled, why not just not overbook and not get people's hopes up, and book dates you know will be followed through with? As with anything though, that is too simple a view. I will just take my first surgery date as a general timeline, and go from there. I suppose though, that given my appointment with the surgeon to find this out is in November, chances of a surgery this year is slim. Well, the chances of an actual surgery date, and not just one that will be cancelled!
Any clairvoyants in the house (although who would believe them?)
Thursday, 17 September 2009
Yesterday as my molds were being prepared she somehow got onto the topic of Scottish accents (was telling the assistant she should visit Edinburgh). She loves them, apparantly. The assistant doesn't, apparantly. So I said I like them, but I like Irish ones more. Oh, she loves them too! And Birmingham accents, and she doesn't even mind a bit of Scouse either. We're situated in Yorkshire, which also has a distinct array of accents. My ortho either wasn't born here anyway, or she's just lost her accent over time, but she was telling us her 2 1/2 year old daughter has already got a Yorkshire accent.
- Ok, so anyone outside of the UK might not really know much about the wide array of accents we have. Old broad Yorkshire accents are very abstract. I think you might need CliffNotes to get through it all, much the same as if you were reading Chaucer lol
Anyway she then mused she loves the term 'innit', and a lot of her Asian patients say 'innit' a lot. Apparantly a very good Asian implantologist who works at the main hospital where the specialist oral surgeons, etc work, always says innit, and all his patients love him. Well, there you go!
I've found out some poor child who used to go to her daughters nursery was called Branston Pickle?!?! She once got a complaint from a patient of hers who was trans-gender because she called them by the wrong pronoun....
Should I really be sharing this? I don't know, but I find it very intriguing and funny! :D
So, there you go. Such insight!!!
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
To start with though, my ortho also filed/sanded down my back two molars. I found it tickled more than anything else, but I tried not to laugh in case her hand slipped and she drilled a hole in my face of something! I think it's the noise of dental drills, files, etc that 'the people' seem to hate, but it's not too bad really. I think if you had a fear of the dentist prior to having orthognathic work and surgery, you won't once you're finished that's for sure!
Photos- bad. I looked a bit of a scruff today (or greb, as a Yorkshireman/woman like me would say. My old favourite saying used to be swamp donkey, but apparantly that means a fat ugly woman at a club trying it on....anyway what am I talking about...)
Molds- simple. I thought would be annoying with the braces but it wasn't at all. All she did was just put on a long strip of wax (pretty much) over the archwire, and bob's your uncle.
Then I went for the cephalomatric X ray. I have problems with my ears and wax build-ups (yuck, I know) though, so my ears are actually a bit sore now from the pressure of the things they put in your ears. And why do Radiologists take so long to actually take the X ray. He had me bite down and hold then, then went on adjusting everything; moving my hair, adjusting the neck brace thing- now my bite is practically non-existent, so trying to hold it for a period of time just doesn't work! My teeth start to grind a bit, and my mandible slips. So I open my mouth again. Then he tells me off. So I laugh. Then he tells me off for laughing. Honestly, if you get on with it then I'll be fine! It's like holding a smile for a photographer who is taking their time...
So, then I asked her would I be ready for surgery in December.
Answer: Yes, however my new surgeon is a specialist in oral cancer, so if I get a date it may have to be cancelled if he is needed elsewhere to do his specialist surgeries. They're trying to change how the waiting lists work so as to reduce cancellations, but that doesn't exactly help me.
So I may get the surgery in December. But equally I may not. Then I'm looking as Easter. Christmas would really be the best thing- one because I have a long break from uni to recover, and two, because well, the sooner the better! I think my ortho realises I'm really hoping for December, so she'll do what she can.
My next appt is in a month exactly, and according to the plan, I'm having a clinic with my surgeon either in Oct or Nov, but for now I don't know the exact date because at first the secratary said the first available opening to see him was January, so it better bloody not be! My ortho's working round it!
So perhaps good news? Perhaps not....will just have to hope I get lucky
Thursday, 27 August 2009
My bottom teeth are annoying me as well lately because they seemed to be nice and straight a few weeks ago and now they have some black triangles. And these are hideous to floss! It's seriously like nails on a chalkboard and it just goes right through me *shudder*. Thankfully the only brace floss that they seem to sell in the UK is OralB Superfloss whcih has the spongey bit on it, so I use that. The triangles aren't huge like I have gum recession, just due to the teeth not being quite in their right positions yet, but of course it's annoying because it feels like I'm going backwards and not forwards to the ultimate goal of having my bimax surgery this December. I just feel like I'm waiting and waiting for December but I don't even know if I will be ready then. It's very discouraging to be waiting for nothing, possibly.
I actually think that at my next appointment if my ortho says in fact I won't be ready for December I may just cry right there and then. I'm even getting teary eyed as I type, because If I know when my surgery will be then that wait I don't mind, but currently I'm just sick of waiting with no resolution.
I know I must sound so whiny, but I'm past happiness that my fangs are gone or my upper jaw is a nice arch now. It's over and done with. Everytime I go to see my ortho and she doesn't tell me anything I feel I'm being messed around. It's just a build-up of hope and then disappointment when I go again with nothing else gleaned
Everything about my jaw makes me uncomfortable- the way it looks, the way I speak with a lisp, the way I bite my cheeks whenever I talk, the difficulties I have chewing...ugh, some days I just get so sick of it all! Sadly today is one of those days.....
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Here are my teeth now, compared to how they started:
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Okay, there is no denying that a malocclusion is going to give you some, well, mal side-effects. By this I’m talking about self-esteem issues, confidence and overall self-perception. I’m not going to talk too much about my personal issues, but let’s just say I do have problems with all of the above.
But the main thing that I think it is important for everyone to know though, is that in terms of vanity, in most of our cases any opinion of our appearance and hope that it might be improved is just a by-product of the underlying fact that an abnormal jaw is just that; an abnormality.
Obviously this is going to have numerous adverse effects on many things- both externally (appearance wise) and internally (about the function of our bites and trouble breathing). I would say it would be a very minor malocclusion for a person to only have a problem with the way they look and no other issues relating to their bite, breathing or TMJ (joint and ear pain). In that case it can be viewed as just a cosmetic thing due to vanity. However in the majority of cases where the problem is bad enough, I think any issues we have about our appearance are totally justified. It’s not about seeking perfection, but seeking normality. If it ain’t broke then don’t fix it; but if it is, then do.
Next important thing to consider is that if it is true that the majority of us considering having or actually are having oral surgery will have a problem bad enough, then problems with appearance and functionality will be interlinked, not separate . By that I mean if you have one you will most likely have the other. The main difference between us all then, is simply how we deal with them. For some of us, the problem with appearance manifests itself into low confidence, little self-esteem and a generally bad self-perception. And it’s not easy to just undo these feelings. For others, this isn’t such a huge downer and it doesn’t affect their character. Could I be presumptuous and say that those of us having the treatment during their teens feel this the worst? Not just because we’re moaning teenagers with so many ‘issues’ (!) but because this means that for most of us it has been a case of knowing we need the surgery from a young age, but having to wait until we have stopped growing to have it done. The older ones among us have led their lives without the thought of jaw surgery on their minds, and without necessarily having to wait for it, but choosing to go through with it in their own time later in life, so the effects of their malocclusions have remained rather dormant in their minds, rather than manifesting like in our minds. Is that a fair assumption?
- This is sounding a bit like a bloody thesis, so I hope I’m not boring anyone, lol. I just think it’s important to think about, especially when people don’t understand what you’re trying to get through to them. Anyway...
Additionally we’ve all grown up with misaligned jaws –and consequently breathing issues and eating problems. So to us this is just natural. We have adapted our bites. You become habituated to it, and cope with it, and so is this going to be the main issue on our minds? Can the same be done about the way we feel about our appearance? The difference is that this is constant, as you can’t escape seeing yourself one way or another every day. So you focus on the way you look most of all. And so maybe people who think they are only having this done for cosmetic reasons fail to realise that they do have other issues because of their malocclusion, it’s just that they don’t register it. Either way what I’m saying is it’s hard to have one problem without the other; if you have a malocclusion chances are you’re going to have bad functionality as well as a problem with your appearance (among other things).
And at the end of the day it’s not vanity to want a ‘normal’ jaw. Everyone else has one, right?
Friday, 10 July 2009
First thing is this- the expander takes a while to get used to. Some people get their expander put in a week or even a few weeks before the actual surgery, however I got mine in the day before. Perhaps you could argue that having it for a while before the surgery helps you get used to it, but it’s better to have your diet messed up because of the surgery and not for a few weeks prior because of the expander, right? So I would say either way it doesn’t matter, but maybe you’ve lucked out by having it in for only a matter of hours before your surgery.
Anyway once I got the expander I was straight in to claim my bed at the hospital (why I couldn’t just go in on the morning of the surgery I don’t know) so I had a sandwich with me and tried to eat it right after the expander fitting. And I just couldn’t. It felt like I couldn’t chew, my tongue didn’t know where to go or what to do with this big hunk of plastic blocking its natural movement. So I thought great, I’m going to be starving all day and have to get soup or something at the hospital (I loathe soup- which incidentally doesn’t bode well for when I will be having the bimax surgery and I’ll be eating only food with a soup-type consistency). So, eating just feels so wrong and abnormal at first; this is because your tongue needs to get used to its new restricted area of movement.
Eating With the Expander After Surgery:
Always listen to what your surgeon tells you over anything else. If you aren’t allowed to chew, then don’t. That being said, my surgeon told me I could eat whatever so long as I felt I could. I didn’t push it, but after say day 2 I found I could eat pretty normally and didn’t just need soft foods. I wasn’t really in pain and my jaw felt stable, so it really wasn’t an issue. And if this is the case for you I don’t see why you can’t give eating your normal foods a go as soon as you can. Especially for those of us who are having second surgeries- let’s keep some of the liquid diet fun for that and not waste it on SARME :P
Keeping a Clean Mouth:
Food getting stuck in the expander was such a pain. Here are some basic ideas to help. It’s not always a nice picture, but if food gets stuck you need to un-stick it! :
- Swill your mouth with water at the end of everything you eat and during a meal if you feel a build-up of clog coming up. Swill fairly rapidly to blast the food out.
- Use a thicker type of interdental brush to push it through the gap between your palate and the expander to push out any clogs and to reach some of the trickier areas around the molars or other teeth
- Get a syringe or something along those lines (I’ve heard of waterpiks, however I don’t own one so perhaps this is similar), fill it with some water and have a squirt around. Then fill it with mouthwash and repeat to really keep your mouth fresh. My ortho gave me mine, so perhaps ask yours
- If you really hate getting things stuck in the expander keep clear of flaky fish or tinned fish like tuna, and things like beans. They are real buggers to get out because one can get lodged somewhere without you noticing and it gets wedged in so you can’t poke it out.
Talking with the Expander:
Sadly talking with an expander in is never 100%. Talking will certainly improve after a while as to what it was like when you first got it fitted, however I think you will find some words or sounds very difficult to properly enunciate. I had trouble with the k, q, and s sounds. You might come across other problems. You’ll get used to it after a while, but talking won’t be 100% normal until you have the expander removed.
Bridging the Gap:
Aah, the gap, it’s quite awesome really. Not really much you can do about it except embrace it. If people know what you’ve had done they won’t much care about your gap, and won’t really pay too much attention to it.
Things to do with your gap:
- Pretend to be Cletus from The Simpsons
- Use it to hold a straw when you have a drink
- Make a fake tooth out of dental wax and pretend to knock out your tooth to scare someone and/or pretend they have knocked out your tooth and get them to give you a gift as an apology
- Drop said fake tooth into a family members drink or dinner, wait for them to discover it and then say ‘Oh that’s where my tooth is, I thought I’d swallowed it when it came out. Sorry’
Well not really! You just need to live with it until it closes. Not much else!
Sunday, 5 July 2009
In Jan or Feb this year, I had an appt with my ortho and she said we might be ready for surgery in around 6 months. Cue next appointment, which are approximately 8-10 weeks apart for me- she said the same thing. Cue 6 months later- she says the same thing. So what looked like a possible time for August became a possible time ‘in 6 months’ from...eternity. Now you see why I’m sometimes I might be a little despondent and forlorn! But last appointment she estimated (6 months again) for December, and on my next appt which was last Wednesday she again said December. So I’m tentatively going to hope for a December surgery. It’s pushing the boundaries of a 2009 surgery, but by God if it’s not I will be extremely disappointed. Even thinking about a possible set-back at this stage makes me quite teary-eyed I have to be honest. I hope I don’t seem melodramatic, but, you know....
Anyway to brighten things up for me a bit, the past week has been quite good. At the last appointment she put on some steel wires (I perhaps heard ‘no. 19’ size, but then I wouldn’t know what that means anyway) and said these were my final wires, and that at the next appointment which will be September 9th she will take new moulds of my teeth. I think this bodes well for a surgery date this year, at least! She was showing her assistant my old moulds and my bite as it is now and they both agreed that 1) my teeth look great now (why thank you) and 2) I will have fantastic results in the end (but when is the end?!?! ).
Next bit of good news needs me to go back in time again- at the start of all this my upper jaw was so crowded my canines sat above the arch (see pictures in the previous post). After SARME and a few months of braces my canines had moved back down into their right spots thereabouts, however my left canine did not fill the gap the was left for it after I had had two extractions (the 2 teeth next to the canines- are they lateral incisors?). My right one moved very quickly, but still, for close to a year in braces, the left one lay dormant. My ortho said she needed to ‘redistribute the space’ in order for the gap to close, but as of my last appointment she hadn’t done anything to start this process. So now she put on some springs on both sides of my mouth, and yesterday, oh yes- HALLELUJAH THE LITTLE BUGGER HAS MOVED. Only a teeny amount, but wow; amazing. Thank God for these horrible springs! So I hope this progress continues. My next appointment is scheduled in 10 weeks, so it has time to.
So happy days. Progress finally. Let’s keep it up.
The problem for me was the anaesthesia, as I was pretty weak and out of it for at least a week. I felt back to normal after 2 weeks, however the next week I ended up with flu so that didn't help things. But I got on with it and it wasn't too big a deal. i was just happy I'd had the surgery at last.
Also my issue was with turning the expander. I simply could not turn it myself. Those who do manage to- you are fantastic and I bow to you. Really, it was impossible for me! So I got my mum to do it for me, but she was scared it would hurt me and in the end couldn't turn it completely correct. So we had to go get a masterclass from my ortho a few days later. After that she did it fine. All in all I expanded around 10mm, turning twice a day. The expansion hurt a couple of times, but only briefly. The only real pain I remember from it all was a few weeks afterwards in the middle of 2 consecutive nights where my entire gumline was just burning. Thankfully it only lasted 2 nights, but it always seems worse at night because if you can't sleep, you can't do anything except think about the pain.
I've found out some old pics pre-surgery and braces, that I have to say I'm pretty shocked at now! At my last appt my ortho showed me my old moulds too and I can't believe the difference. In terms of my teeth being straight, my only problem was with my upper jaw and my 'fangs'- otherwise I'm not really in this for perfect straight teeth (I am a Brit, you know...) because it doesn't bother me so long as they are healthy. But hey I'm not complaining about having straight teeth anyway! Maybe I will move to Hollywood when this is all over....
Anyway this is around the end of 2007:
As you can see, my fangs were pretty awful. My upper jaw was very small, and my lowers were also relatively crowded.
The below pic was taken a few months ago, and it's the only one I have currently, but you can see the difference quite clearly in my upper jaw:
The difference is seems so unreal to me, and it's actually great to look back now and think wow, that went quick, though in reality I've been braces for over a year now, so it's a good job there is such a huge difference! lol
The day before the surgery as the day I had to go claim my bed at the hospital. It seemed pretty pointless and weird having to stay overnight when I was perfectly fine and normal, but I suppose they wanted me there in good time (maybe this is a UK thing? because I know a lot of people in the US get SARME and then leave the same day). It was a pain though, because in the morning I had to go and get my expander fitted by my ortho at my local hospital where the clinic is, but my surgery was being conducted at a different hospital, so straight after I had the expander in we were off to the next one. Also what needs noting is that beforehand I had an appt to see if the expander would fit my mouth. It didn't.
Now the thing with my ortho is that she is very persistent and tenacious, so even though it didn't fit she was going to make it fit. The worst thing with appliance fittings- and which I'm sure those with braces will know- is that you have to bite down on a stick thingy yourself to push the appliance onto your molars securely- so not only was she forcing this thing into my mouth and causing me pain, but I had to inflict it on myself to try and push it in place. Maybe sadism is a require qualification in order to be a dentist/orthodontist? Anyway she finally decided the expander didn't was too small and I needed another mould taking, so I left in pain, slightly bleeding and dreading round 2 and the next expander. Thankfully next time the lab technicians or whoeer got the size right, and it fit perfectly.
The expander was horrible at first, and even a measly sandwiche thwarted my attempts to eat properly. At that point I was actually glad I would be staying at the hospital because I had an excuse not to eat their food (I actually ended up having pea soup, but it was really just warm water in a cup with a pea floating in it....good old NHS :D)! I wasn't nervous about the surgery in fact I was pretty excited, but it was boring waiting for tomorrow because I was in a ward alone. There was an old woman with me for a while, who only had about 8 fingers (though maybe she just had arthritis...my memory is distorted somewhat now!), who came in because her nose wouldn't stop bleeding. At one point her nose started bleeding uncontrollably again, and because she was fingerless or had lost the use of some of them, I pressed the buzzer thing to call a nurse to come. About 3 came and all gathered around me, but I swiftly told them I was fine (I was just some girl crashing in a hospital at this point, afterall- though to be fair the expander made me sound rather odd) and they went and saw to her. She was fine eventually and she could go home. The ambulance guy who came for her kindly asked me if I wanted something from the vending machine, but I told him I couldn't eat anything, but thanks. To him I was just some normal girl crashing in a hospital too, and he didn't know i had the expander in, so I hope he wasn't too hurt by my refusal, but he'll live.
So the next day I was looking forward to going down to surgery. That morning the ward filled up (it had 4 beds), and they all got their surgeries before me! I was like hello, I'm pretty sure I bagseyd first spot when I got here at 3:00pm yesterday! But hey, I'm not the selfish type. Turns out one of the women came from the same town as me, and I've seen her a few times afterwards round and about. Small world!
So finally it's my turn, and when I'm being wheeled down to surgery I finally start to get a little nervous. I remember the anaesthetist not being able to get the vein in my right hand (because I have 'delicate veins', apparantly) so I ended up with two bruised hands getting it right, but that wasn't exactly the most important thing on my mind. I drifted off, then suddenly it was over.
I wasn't in pain, but I the anaesthetic really did me in. It was probably the worst thing about it, really. I stayed for the night, then the next day I had to wait for my perscription which took pretty much the whole day. While I was waiting to go home I wasn't told whether my mum or dad had rung, or what was happening. They let me ring them but of course I could barely talk, and I started to cry (aaaww). Turns out they'd been ringing all day but the nurses said I couldn't go until I got my perscription. Eventually things were sorted out and they came and got me.
Next post: recovery and turning the expander
Saturday, 4 July 2009
The thing is I've been told from about the age of 13 by my dentist that at some point when I've stopped growing I would need jaw surgery. So since then I've waited and waited until 2007, at 17 when I suppose I did eventually stop growing) when we got the ball rolling and I had SARME (surgically assisted rapid maxillary expansion, to widen my upper jaw). Now I'm waiting and waiting until my teeth decide they want to move and give me a break. It's a bugger
And so I suppose I have a lot to update! For now I'll just post from my ticker-
* It has been 19 months, 2 weeks, and 4 days since I had SARME
...and 13 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days since I was braced (upper and lower at the same time)
For my next trick, I'll time-travel next post to talk about when I had SARME, and all what's happened inbetween