Orthodontics - Orthognathic surgery

Orthodontics - Orthognathic surgery > My story > JUNE 6, 2008 - On the right track

My story

JUNE 6, 2008 - On the right track

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Hi all,

After 5 weeks of waiting, it was finally time yesterday to go back to see my surgeon and my orthodontist since my last appointments.

When I arrived at my surgeon's clinic, I didn't even need to give my name to the receptionist. She greeted me by my first name and I'm now used to go there, so we barely need to speak at all! One of my surgeon's assistants came to get me in the waiting room before the scheduled time of my appointment, I found this strange. She installed me comfortably in one of the examination rooms while telling me that my surgeon was in surgery (teeth removal), but she had preferred transferring me to the examination room right away. I took this opportunity to show her the difference between the pictures of my old and new driver's licenses. She couldn't believe (and me neither, after receiving my new license last week!) how I looked like 4 years ago, before my orthodontic treatments...

I waited about 10 minutes before my surgeon came to see me and when he entered the room, he greeted me as usual and he told me: "Hey, you are all quiet, you don't say a word and you're just patiently waiting for me..." I then said: "Well, what else do you expect me to do?" He laughed and told me that it was because of that that we were called "patients". Hahaha Before he even started examining my jaws, he told me something along the lines: "Well, I read your letter and I thank you very much for what you wrote. It's well written and it's really good." I then told him that I had reread it 2 days ago and that I was still thinking the same thing about him as I did then, even that I would have written a couple more lines if I had waited a little longer. Anyway, he seemed touched by the contents of the letter and to my great surprise, I felt a little embarrassed by the way he was talking about my letter. I wrote it from the bottom of my heart and I rarely fail when it comes from there! I then quickly told him about the inner peace that I feel now and how happy I am to have gone through it all.

I talked to him about how I still find it difficult to chew because my mouth doesn't open very wide and also that my tongue and my cheeks are getting between both my upper and lower teeth and that I bite them... My teeth also hurt when I brush them. Some days, I even get nauseous when the toothbrush bristles touch my gums. He then told me that it was normal and that it was even a good sign because my nerves are reconnecting well. I also told him about the numbness that slowly goes away from my chin (I can now feel something everywhere on my chin when I touch it) and he explained to me that the chin could take from 3 to 6 months to heal completely (it's been 2.5 months since my first surgery). And it's weird, I often have the feeling that a cold liquid is flowing down my chin. To explain the situation, I took as an example the fact that when my boss arrives at my desk at work to talk to me, I often ask him: "Am I drooling?" My surgeon explained to me that my nerves are simply doing tricks on my brain and that he often sees patients that constantly wipe their chin with their hand even though there is nothing to wipe off...

He looked at the scars on my cheeks and he was not too happy about them, mostly the one on the right side of my face. It's still very red and when I touch it, the skin is still stiff. I then told him that I massage myself every night with a cream enriched with vitamin E. He told me that he saw improvement since the last time we saw each other, but not enough to be completely satisfied. He then asked me if I had other scars on my body. On the spot, I didn't think of the scar that I have on my lower lip since the first surgery, I was rather telling myself: "well... yeah, but it's somewhere a little too embarrassing for a maxillo-facial surgeon to see!" So, I preferred telling him that I didn't have any other scars. He then told me that I have a type of skin that would probably remain marked from wounds. He advised me to continue to massage myself and avoid any unprotected exposure to the sun this summer.

When he saw my teeth, he told me right away: "How come you still have your surgical posts?" I hadn't seen my orthodontist since my last appointment with my surgeon, but I knew that she would take them off right after today's appointment with my surgeon. Let's just say that I was very looking forward to having them removed from my mouth!

I asked him when I would be able to go to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned (my teeth are so dirty). He then asked me how wide I could open my mouth. When he saw the result, he told me to wait a couple more weeks because it would be a challenge for the dentist to do a good job! He also gave me some "jaw physiotherapy" exercises to do twice a day with my thumb and index finger. He told me that I would probably need to take one Advil or Tylenol caplet after each exercise because it will hurt me, but I would be able to open my mouth one extra centimetre in a couple of weeks. Believe me, one cm makes a big difference! He had talked to me about dentists in the area where I live when I went to his clinic for the preparation of my first surgery, so I reminded him. At the end of the appointment, he asked his assistant to tell the receptionist to give me the dentists phone number so I could contact them. If my surgeon thinks that they are good dentists, they must be!

When he examined the way my teeth fit together when I close them, he told me that my occlusion was perfect and that we shouldn't say that I have 6 months to 1 year of braces left but instead, start counting in weeks... OK, let's say that my surgeon is a forever optimist, so I will rely on what my orthodontist had told me the last time with her estimate of 6 months before she removes my braces. Good for me if it's before that.

I also told him that when I returned to work at the office, I received a second get-well card. I had received one after the first surgery, but another one circulated after my second surgery even if I hadn't gone back to work at the office in between! My boss had written something that I was able to appreciate even more than before: "Being a perfectionist can be rough, especially when once is not enough." My surgeon found that funny, and I found it funny too the first time I read it, because my boss, my surgeon and I are all perfectionists! Hahaha

I don't need to apply moist heat anymore to my face for the swelling to subside because the swelling is almost completely gone, and as my surgeon told me, I can go back to a normal life. I then told him that I was a little tired of kissing my heat pad every night. (I put the heat pad for half an hour each night directly below my nose to make the swelling of my chin go away.) He seemed to sympathize with the situation.

Before I left (it was almost time for my appointment with my orthodontist!), I showed both my old and new driver's licenses to my surgeon. He couldn't believe how much I have changed. He asked his assistant to come and see them, but she had already seen them! He told me that it was too bad that I have so much "hardware" in my mouth on the recent picture. He didn't remember how long my face was before I started my orthodontic treatments! I think it hit him to see both pictures side by side like this because he has seen my face evolve over the last 6 months...

I will not see my surgeon until the beginning of September, so it's a good sign that everything is good!

Then, I went to my orthodontist's clinic. When I arrived, one of the receptionists immediately called me by my first name (it's a change compared to a few months ago when she had to ask me my name when I arrived). I was 2 minutes late, but I wasn't slowing anyone down either, so I decided to show my driver's licenses to the receptionists. They couldn't believe how much I have changed either! My orthodontist came to the front desk, one of the receptionists told me to show her my licenses as well. I explained to my orthodontist how happy I was and how I felt like; it feels like the cross I had to bear inside of me is slowly leaving my body. She then told me something I will never forget and that sounded like: "All that you have suffered from makes the real person in you finally come out of your body and show herself."

After a few minutes waiting in the hallway where my orthodontist brought me to, I finally ended up in one of the hygienists' chairs. My orthodontist came to examine me. The hygienists removed the transparent brackets glued to my 6 upper front teeth to replace them with smaller metal brackets. My orthodontist told me that these metal brackets will shorten my treatments by 3 months! She didn't want to replace the brackets glued to my 6 lower front teeth right away because my mouth doesn't open wide enough yet...

I didn't feel any pain when they removed my brackets, but the removal of the glue was another story... oh boy! The hygienists used a vibrating and pivoting device that hurt me on one of my teeth so bad! So much that they had to use another device that vibrated less! The vibration was going in my upper jaw bone and up to my skull! It was awful! My head was spinning so much that I thought I would pass out from the pain (I felt the same thing as when they put me to sleep in the hospital). The hygienists didn't seem to believe how much it hurt me, but anyway...

I saw myself without the 6 brackets on my upper front teeth, and I have only one thing to say: I will have a wicked smile when I won't have my braces anymore! I felt like my teeth were very long, but it seems like it's normal to have this feeling...

I asked my orthodontist a question that had been on my mind for a long time. Would I have had to go through surgery if I had had braces when I was a teenager? She didn't want to answer the question because each case is unique, and she didn't see me when I was a teenager. She could only tell me that I needed surgery as an adult! She said that I was a severe case and that usually, for severe cases on teenagers, she warns the parents that it's not guaranteed that their child wouldn't have to have surgery later on even after having braces... It seems like every child should see an orthodontist as soon as they reach 7 years old to monitor the development of their jaws (it doesn't mean that children necessarily need to have braces at that age).

After I got up from the chair, I went to talk to the receptionists before I left. I told them that I will miss them, the hygienists, my orthodontist, my surgeon, my surgeon's receptionist, etc. after my treatments because they make me feel good about myself. After a few minutes of discussion on that subject, one of the receptionists told me: "Well, you better come to see us once in a while after your treatments!" hahaha I will not see my orthodontist until the end of August...


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