Hi. I’m Dan, I’m 19 and I have a class III malocclusion on a skeletal III base. Well, that’s what they told me. In English, that means I have an underbite.
I just want to let you know what has happened, and what is going to happen.
After all of my infant teeth had fallen out, my lower jaw was severely overcrowded, and the teeth in my top jaw were misplaced. I could bite, I could chew, but my teeth fitted the British stereotype perfectly. All I wanted was a nice smile. My orthodontist in Abingdon told me that my teeth were too complicated for him, and that I might even need corrective surgery. He referred me to the specialists in the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.
The doctors at the JR were hesitant to fit braces until I had stopped growing, but I couldn’t have teeth that looked like that for four more years. So, at age 15, the doctors decided to pull out two of my premolars and put braces on my top teeth, so at least I could have a nice smile.
The first wire that was put in was very thin and flexible. Every 4-6 weeks, my orthodontist would replace the wire with a thicker one, gradually pulling the teeth into position. Occasionally, that evening or the next day, one of the blocks would pop off, meaning I had to book an emergency appointment. I would usually be seen two days later, where a different doctor would stick the block back on and use a slightly thinner wire. The thinner wire meant it would not snap off again, and would still move the teeth. Unfortunately it did mean it would push my progress back a while.
Half way through dealing with the top teeth, my orthodontist put in a ‘full arch piggyback’. It is where the wire is replaced with two thinner ones, with one taking a different route, skipping a couple of teeth. I’m sure it had a very important purpose, but for me, the only purpose I observed was to inflict a lot of pain if ever I swept my tongue across it. Luckily, those wires weren’t in for too long.
After pic, once the braces had straightened my top teeth. Notice the visible gap between the top and bottom teeth.
So in February 2009, once my top teeth had been straightened, the braces came off and I was given a retainer. Now, I had a nice smile but my top teeth had moved such that I could no longer bite. My incisors didn’t meet up anymore, so I had to adapt my bite to pressing food against my top teeth with my tongue. My orthodontist told me this would happen, at least I was expecting it.
The braces were out, and I was a happy person.
(Just to clarify, I still am a happy person)
At age 17, my orthodontist set to work on my lower teeth. Again, two premolars were removed and the braces came on. It didn’t look much different, it just made my bottom lip look a bit swollen.
Once they were straightened, my bite had become so poor that some foods were almost impossible to eat, namely ham and cheese toasties (all the ham would come out in one bite) and any sandwiches with lettuce or tomato in. The only option to correct this would be to have surgery.
In order to prepare me for the surgery, I needed to have both sets of teeth in braces on really thick wires. So my new orthodontist put them in the top teeth again. She was training to be a doctor, and after I was on the strong wires, she left me under the care of the consultant.
So this is where I am at the moment. My bottom teeth rest 5mm in front of my top teeth, and I can’t bring them any closer. The only two contact points for my teeth are my molars right at the back of my mouth and I am physically incapable of biting my tongue, which I guess is a plus.
During my most recent appointment, the consultant filed down my lower-right canine because the models that were made indicated it would push against my top teeth. Now, I’m ready for the operation. I’ll try and get a picture of their model, it was pretty cool.
I’ve been booked onto an operation on April 2nd where I’ll be going under general anaesthetic. The procedure is called Bimaxillary Osteotomy, which means they’re going to operate on both jaws. My top jaw is going to be cracked and moved forward 4mm and the back of it will be rotated upwards by 3mm. And just to be pedantic it will also be rotated to the right by 1mm. My lower jaw will also be adjusted “as necessary”. Apparently it will be cracked and pulled back 4mm as well, and I will look like a normal person for once.
After the operation I’ll be recovering in hospital overnight with my jaws swollen and wired shut. I’ll be on liquid food for a week or two (some Easter dinner this is going to be) and then gradually move back to solids over a six week recovery period. I’ll still have my braces in for several months after the operation.
I’ll try and get the hospital’s photos and x-rays afterwards. I reckon they’ll be pretty interesting.
That’s all I can say now. I’ll post something new here in 2 weeks time. In the meantime, if anyone has any really cool smoothie recipes, that would be awesome.