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 Post subject: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:31 am 
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Almost two years of braces, wisdom teeth being extracted, and endless trips to Boston have led up to this... my jaw surgery. I've got one week, and I'm in a panic.

This surgery is to correct a bad open bite (where the top and bottom front teeth do not touch, but the back teeth touch constantly). I'm really excited to get this done and have a gorgeous smile, but reading stuff online has me in terror of recovery.

The "what do I eat?!" aspect isn't a worry, as I recently had my wisdom teeth out and know what to expect from a liquid diet.

For those of you who've had this or a similar procedure or know a guy, my questions are *deep breath*:

What do I do?! How long is recovery? Is the pain bad? Am I going to look jacked up for a long time? Is there usually a stay at the hospital? And my biggest fear, am I going to throw up a lot? (Did that the first day after wisdom teeth because of the pain meds, and it hurt like a bisque.)

Any personal accounts are appreciated. I don't personally know anyone who's had this done.
Gym


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 1:37 pm 
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My advice (which I personally would hate taking) is to call the place where you're doing this and ask someone there. They will (of course) know all the answers and won't think it's weird that you're asking.

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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Hey GymClassZero. Back in 2001, I had corrective jaw surgery to fix a giant underbite. My memory is pretty hazy about a lot of the details and from what I gather, people can react very differently to the procedure based for a variety of reasons. So my experience could be very different from yours. That being said, I'll try to address your questions as best as I can.

Quote:
How long is recovery?

I'll consider the recovery period to be the same duration that my jaws were wired shut. Realistically, they probably didn't feel perfect after they earned their freedom, but the bulk of the pain/discomfort will come before that. Anyway, my jaws were wired shut for three or four weeks, I think. I could be off by a week or even two. I know mine had to be kept shut a week longer than they anticipated, but by that time I'd adjusted to it pretty well, so it wasn't that big of a deal.

Quote:
Is the pain bad?

I had to get shots for the pain every now and then while in the hospital. I had a bottle of liquid painkiller prescribed to me for home use, but I only used it a few times. I was still in pain, for sure, but it was endurable. Maybe if the painkiller tasted less disgusting, I would have used it more.

Quote:
Am I going to look jacked up for a long time?

I honestly don't remember at all how long it took for swelling to go down.

Quote:
Is there usually a stay at the hospital?

I don't know how similar our operations will be, but I stayed at the hospital for two or three nights.

Quote:
And my biggest fear, am I going to throw up a lot?

I didn't throw up at all, but I didn't after having my wisdom teeth pulled either.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:39 pm 
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I had braces for years all in preparation for this, my teeth didn't need straightening or anything, but yeah, I have a massive underbite (and open bite, my front teeth don't close either).

I had an appointment all scheduled... And then I cancelled it, went to some cheap ortho, got the braces removed, and said FORK IT!

So no advice here, other than... I feel your concerns! And *pats on back*.

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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 5:45 pm 
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FootFace: I've got an orthodontist/impression taking appointment on the 10th, and I was going to barrage her with questions (she is working with the surgeon). But that's a good idea. I'm expecting a call from the surgeon's office tomorrow, so I could ask then.

broseph: Thanks for all that! I am uncertain whether I am getting wired though.

Mars: I wish I could say fork it too! I'm so nervous. But thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 9:53 pm 
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I had some major jaw surgery years ago for tmj problems: cut the upper jaw away at the top of the gums, split the pallet up the middle through the nose, take wedges out each sides of the rear of the jaw, insert spaces in the pallet, and screw the jaw on in the front with a couple of screws. I had braces put on at the time so I was able to "wire" my jaw with double elastics while it healed. Aside from eating blended foods with a straw (my mum would just blend out whatever they were having for dinner so it would be some pretty gross concoctions), it was actually smoother and less painful than getting four impacted wisdom teeth out a couple of years before.

Anaesthetics are much better now and I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how well it goes....very little chance of barfing compared to 10 years ago. Swelling wasn't even as bad as wisdom teeth which made me look like I lost a fight to a heavy weight. They aren't hacking away you trying to extrude stubborn teeth growing in the bone...it is a more precise operation and the trauma was not as visible in my case. I believe I had some wicked drugs in post op but after that it was only Tylenol 3's. I think it was 3-4 weeks of "wired" but it was way easier than you would expect once you get used to it.

All in all it was far better experience than wisdom teeth extraction. It was 100% totally worth doing because my tmj problems were a real bugger to deal with.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:33 am 
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Awesome! My face was pretty huge after my wisdom teeth were removed (and there's STILL a lump on one side of my face) and I was worried it would be three times as bad with this surgery.And that makes sense- they do have to do a lot to get the wisdoms out. No wonder it hurts so much after. Sounds like you had a lot done, too! Would you think something like a liquid Tylenol would be good for pain (when not taking what is prescribed)?


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:09 am 
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^ I am not sure as I have never had liquid tylenol. I can't honestly remember how long I took the T'3 for...my mum was a nurse so she would of had me off them asap and onto regular tylenol. I don't associate the experience with pain at all so I don't think it was that bad at all. The only part I remember as a real negative was the doubled elastics which were bothered me at times because it is like gritting your teeth for hours on end. Because your jaw is static, the pain is a type that is similar to having your arm in a cast...the worst part is way over once the parts are set and there really only remains a dull aching pain that gradually diminishes as it heals. The pain is well controllable and, as long as you don't focus on it, it can easily be mentally forgotten/avoided. The pain from sutures and such is mostly bad when you are still in the hospital and on heavier drugs; the suture pain at home is more of a bother than a pain -- best part is your tongue can't be messing around with the site because it is locked on the other side of the teeth.

Wisdom teeth experience I remember puking all over the car on the way home and lying in bed, crying from pain until my mum whacked me out on drugs and I had morphine induced dreams. It sucked.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:31 am 
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Jonny- So the elastics were on your braces? Is this the new version of wiring? I'm really, really glad to hear that it wasn't a painful experience! Interesting that wisdom teeth seem to be a worse experience than jaw surgery (and extremely encouraging).

I'm concerned about recovery, because it looks like I'll be missing more school. Hopefully as long as I get my work done, my grades and financial aid won't take a blow.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:51 am 
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^ The elastics work as wiring if you have braces on: the tmj problem/operation was the reason that I got the braces and the super straightened teeth were just a bonus. My jaw would lock in position and the constant jaw clicking and popping were driving people around me nuts whenever it was meal time.

I can't remember how many days I was out of commission for....if my mum was still around she would be able to tell me (dads don't remember that kinda thing at all). Pretty sure you won't much want to hit the books for a few days. Is there not a way you can schedule the procedure during a break? Everybody has a differing degree of pain tolerance. It is kind of like those days of pain when your braces had a major adjustment...that dull aching pain that can ruin your day if you focus on it or you can just try to forget about it and get on with your business at hand. After the first couple of days, I found it to be that kind of pain which you may be able to study with or you may not depending on where you are at. Sounds like you have a pretty strong interest in succeeding in your studies so hopefully that mental fortitude will help you along the road to recovery faster.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:38 pm 
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Unfortunately, there were three dates they gave me and all of them are in the very near future: 12th, 15th, and 22nd of this month. It's a major pain to have it kind of in the middle of everything but I also really just want to get it out of the way.

Probably I'll take the week off and go from there. Work might be a bigger issue but at this point, if they can me for this, that's fine. I can find more work when I'm healed up. I think I should be able to catch up on my school work- I'm in 4 classes now and the work load isn't bad at all- just one essay, math that is done online with work written down, and reading.

I think I might be able to do this without a huge anxiety attack! I have to remember that this is a good thing and the results will be totally worth it, even if in the meantime it's not fun.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:53 pm 
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Quote:
I have to remember that this is a good thing and the results will be totally worth it, even if in the meantime it's not fun.


yep..that is the key. Positiveness of attitude can really make a difference in the route the road to recovery meanders. You will be in good hands with skilled technicians who have done it thousands of times. There are not a lot of variables in what they do so be assured that they have seen it all before and know how to deal with your precise issues. Anaesthetics are so good these days, they don't have to burden you with unwanted depths of drugs to make sure your out...they get you just under which makes coming out much easier on the system (stomach included).

Focus on what you can control and trust the skilled professionals to the variables that are outside of your realm of control. No point in worrying about things that you can't directly influence...that just adds stress.

Hope it goes well for you.


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:59 pm 
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Thank you very much!


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:34 pm 
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WOW SOMETHING I CAN HELP WITH!!!! YAY!!!!!!

almost exactly 2 years ago i had MASSIVE jaw surgery to correct really bad sleep apnea. my airway was so teeny tiny that the mask thing did nothing for me. so basically for me it was either live like a zombie and have every health problem in the book happen to me or completely surgically rearrange my face.

im not exactly sure what you are having done but ill tell you what i had done so you can compare and contrast. i think i actually had more stuff done than what you are having so i can tell you that i am perfectly fine and it was the best thing i ever did for myself.

basically i had my jaw sawed off (for lack of a pretty term) and moved forward to open my airway. that was the biggest part of the surgery. i also had what's called a "turbinate resection." your turbinates are way the f in back of your sinuses and are shaped like spirally shell type things. he basically roto-rooted mine, again to open my airway up. i think they did something to the muscles of my tongue so it would match my new jaw, and i had basically a chin tuck. it wasnt for cosmetic reasons (obviously) but to keep the muscles taut and help keep the airway open (my insurance company wouldnt pay for that part though, :-( )

it was a 10+ hour surgery, i was in the hospital for about a week, in the ICU for most of it.
i was out of work for i think a month and a half. i was on a liquid diet for i dont even remember how long then on a soft foods diet even longer. several MONTHS i think. it was a LONG time before i could eat HARD food like bagels. i am still sort of half and half with potato chips. sometimes i eat them and im like "ugh that hurt"

i was hopped up on all sorts of drugs for a long time. in the hospital i had an IV of dilaudid which my mom told me later is even stronger than morphine.
i went home with tons of Rxs and ended up having to take more meds for nerve pain after awhile (a potential side effect but not necessarily always going to happen)

i gave myself a full year to say "im still healing" and i think that was a good goal in my mind. the INITIAL healing like being able to talk again, and walk around, and go back to work WAS INSANELY FAST.
considering what they did to me i was back at work in a little over a month, that was CRAZY.
the OVERALL healing was much slower.

since they moved my jaw they obviously disturbed and moved nerves. i still have what they call "hyper sensitivity" in my bottom lip and a tiny bit in my chin. it is slowly SLOWLY getting smaller. other than that sometimes my jaw will ache a bit and that's about it. i have titanium in my face which i think is damn cool but it doesnt bother me. initially after the surgery for quite a long time if i pressed certain areas of my face i could feel it. it didnt hurt it was just a weird sensation. that seems to be gone now. i can eat whatever i want for the most part. the only thing that every once in a while is tricky i really hard chips like a tortilla chip.

i didnt write all the above to SCARE you or make you think twice about what you are doing.
i want to share it and then say IT WAS THE BEST THING I EVER DID FOR MYSELF. would i do it again? HELL forking YES IN A HEARTBEAT.
all the pain, the hospital billz, the meds, the sleepless nights cause my face was covered in ice packs, the bloody nose i had for three weeks straight, IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.

i cant even express how much better i feel now. i literally feel like this Dr saved my live.

bonus tidbit that is topical to the PPK. before i had surgery i was a veg for 15ish years. i tried to go vegan several times and couldnt hack it because i was SO EXHAUSTED all the time and felt like shiitake and couldnt get my act together. i had my surgery 10/12/10 and officially declared myself vegan 1/1/11.

i know it's two different surgeries for 2 different reasons but go into it thinking what a positive thing it will be and just know that things will come up. you'll be in pain and uncomfortable for a bit and being on a liquid diet blows but once you're in the clear you'll feel so much better.

please feel free to ask me any questions. i am happy to answer anything.

since we are both in MA ill just tell you my dr was Dr Willie Stephens and i had my surgery at Metrowest M.C. in Framingham. you mention you've been going to Boston so im guessing you will be at a different hospital but i know Dr Stephens as works at the Brigham so maybe you have him too?
he is the best in the bizzzz.

GOOD LUCK!!!

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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:42 pm 
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i just realized i didnt actually answer your questions.

like someone else said everyone has a different experience with surgery but i can tell you my experience.

What do I do?! How long is recovery?
i think i did answer that one. i gave myself a full year for real healing. the initial healing in terms of pain and swelling was pretty fast but again i think my surgery is even crazier than what you had done

Is the pain bad?

i had a lot of pain meds so i dont remember being in dire pain EVER. most of 2010 has been wiped out of my memory but i have no recollection of being in pain. i do remember DISCOMFORT for sure but no real serious pain.

Am I going to look jacked up for a long time?

i have pictures at thanksgiving where i still look pretty swollen but compared to where i was after surgery it's really not that bad. people said there was a huge difference in me between Thanksgiving and Xmas. Thanksgiving i was lost in space somewhere in a drug haze (i even fell down a large flight of stairs! weeeee!) by Xmas i was much more myself.

Is there usually a stay at the hospital?

not sure for you. but for me i was in the ICU for 3-4 days and the hospital for about 5-6 i think (memory=blurry) but a lot of the end was to monitor my sleep/breathing

And my biggest fear, am I going to throw up a lot?

i never threw up. this sounds like maybe a personal reaction pain or meds but i had no puking issues. i do remember the first thing they asked me when i woke up after the surgery was if i was nauseous. i said i was a tiny bit and before i could even blink someone jabbed me in the asparagus with a needle.
i may have also been getting anti-nausea meds through my IV. not sure.
once i went home i dont think i ever had issues with nausea.

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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:48 pm 
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also (sorry ill shut up soon i promise) stop reading stuff online.

FOR REAL.

the surgery i had done i had read about online and read horror stories of people who needed MORE surgery afterwards because it f'ed things up even more.
i read about people who ended up with permanent nerve damage. blah blah blah.

unfortunately you'll probably find 100 people who had a bad experience and felt the need to share it online but the 8 million people who had a really good experience are off living their life and not thinking about it. they never thought to share it online cause they are back to leading a normal life.

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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:54 pm 
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This is extremely helpful-thanks! I'm glad it worked out so well for you. My surgeon is Dr. Pushkar Mehra and I'm going to the Goldman School of Dentistry (same place I get my braces done).

I am a little nervous about the liquid diet- I know what to make and what to get, it's just kind of sad, haha. But in the interest of healing up, I'll stick to it strictly. Hoping that it's much better by Thanksgiving :)

But thanks so much! If I think of anything or if something comes up after the surgery, I'll be sure to ask you!


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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 1:26 pm 
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just remember Thanksgiving is chock full of soft food!

mashed potatoes!
rolls!
squash!
STUFFING!!!!
PIE!


consider everything i had done and i was able to eat solid food by then.

slowly and carefully and not without a little bit of pain but i did it!

good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: One Week to Jaw Surgery
PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:01 pm 
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True! And if I made a loaf of some sort rather than a roast, I could even have that. Thanks!


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