Category Archives: Surgery

Fame and fortune (sort of)

2 years after my operation

I’ve learned to not write “the end” now because there’s always going to be something new to write about in the future. That said, this is going to be the last update in a long time.

To mark 2 years since my jaw operation, I had another check-up at the hospital with my orthodontist and my surgeon. While in the waiting room one of the nurses walked past, noticed me and said “Oh hi Daniel! We’ve just been reading your blog – we showed it to the trainees this morning.” Way to make my day 🙂

The appointment went well, apart from the fact that they’d lost my medical records. No big deal though since nothing new has happened to me since the last appointment. He said now that 2 years have passed, my teeth aren’t going to drift as much anymore, so I don’t need to wear my retainer every night.

We spent the rest of the appointment talking about this blog only to be interrupted by the nurse taking a mould of my teeth. My surgeon said that even if they paid someone to write a blog about their experience it wouldn’t be half as good as this – I missed out on an opportunity there! He mentioned that some people get put off having the surgery after reading what goes on in the operating theatre, and that this blog should help calm nerves. I really hope it’s done that.

So here we have it: I’ve been discharged from the hospital. I’m free!

Just the other day, I got a letter from the orthodontist to say that they’re writing a book about all the different types of jaw surgery, and my case is going to be a part of it! I’m not going to be involved in the book’s writing which is a shame. Some of their photos of me are going to be featured anonymously, and they’re not even going to link to the blog! However, my face is going to be in a book and that’s pretty cool anyway.

The end…?

After-effects

I booked an appointment with my orthodontist after a concern raised by my dentist. He noticed that my left premolars weren’t meeting when I bit together, and seemed to think that they’d drifted an unusually large amount since my braces were taken off. I thought it best to check this over at the hospital, so I phoned up for an appointment.

The appointment was booked for 1:45 on the same day I was planning to move home for Christmas. I decided to book train tickets early that morning so I could then take the bus back home from Oxford to drop off my stuff and still have time to drive to the hospital for the appointment. Later, I thought that was a stupid idea since I didn’t need to bring back too many things, but I had already bought my (non flexible) train tickets. In the end I took the bus to the hospital, arriving 2 hours early (a new record), giving me plenty of time to do some coursework on my laptop in the waiting room.

Much to my disappointment, I was still seen at 1:45. The last time I arrived very early for an appointment, they shuffled me into an earlier slot. I saw my surgeon and raised my concern with him: it turns out that teeth move after braces, even with the retainers. I also pointed out that my nose feels slightly blocked all of the time. It isn’t exactly causing me any trouble, but he said if ever it does, I might need more surgery to fix it. I wasn’t keen on that idea. We also had a bit of a chat – it turns out he, like me, likes listening to Ben Howard and BBC Radio 6. He also enjoys reading this blog and said he’s going to recommend it to his future patients 🙂

So in short, the surgery has left me with a semi-blocked nose, drifting teeth with shorter roots, a receding gum line, and a numb lower-right lip. But on the plus side, I look a lot better than if I hadn’t had my jaw done and I have a decent bite. I definitely don’t regret having the operation (and that isn’t just because my surgeon reads this)!

How to clean those clear plastic retainers

Clear plastic retainers

I’ve been wearing these retainers at night for the past 10 months, and they’re still looking pretty clean.

Before my operation I had a retainer on my top teeth for a while. One day, this retainer started collecting a little bit of plaque on it, and I thought it would be a good idea to clean it out with a strong-flavoured mouthwash (not naming brands). This looked like it did the trick, then only a couple of days later the plaque marks were back, only worse. The situation with that retainer never improved, but luckily I didn’t have it for much longer. It seems as if the mouthwash corroded the plastic slightly, allowing the plaque to collect on the surface easier.

I’m not making the same mistake with my new set of retainers. The trick seems to be to only ever clean them out using water and a toothbrush. No mouthwash or toothpaste, just water. So far, it’s been working very well.

But seriously though, if that’s what happens when you bathe your retainers in mouthwash, just imagine what that mouthwash does to your teeth!

The End!

I wrote most of this in December, but I never got round to getting these photos done. Then Christmas happened, then I got distracted by my new camera, then Spring didn’t happen, then I realised it’s been ONE YEAR since my operation, so I thought I’d better get this post published.

It might have taken a REALLY long time, but it was definitely worth it.


Feb 2008, before everything happened.

 
April 2012, after the braces had done what they could, and the day before the operation

 
April 2013, a year after the operation

Before bimaxillary osteotomy surgery After bimaxillary osteotomy surgery

The lower-right bit of my lip is still numb, but I’m used to it now. Somehow I don’t think it’s going to get much better any time soon… I can’t whistle either. But on the positive side it’s only a small part of my lip with no feeling, the swelling after the operation went down pretty quickly, and I’m really pleased with the final result.

clear plastic retainers

I got these retainers in mid November. Yep, I can’t see them either. They’re really easy to lose, and with a replacement fee of £63 each, I don’t want to misplace them. I have to wear them every night forever, probably. Lots of my friends have been saying they regretted stopping wearing them, so I’ll do my best to keep wearing them for years to come (until they disintegrate).

John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford

I hope never to come back here again, although I will because I’ll need a check-up in a couple of months.

Using orthodontic elastics as cable ties

I have so many elastics left over now, but I’ve found a good use for them – they act as fantastic cable ties. Now what was once a huge clump of spaghetti in my man-drawer is now lots of small spaghetti clumps.

Shark from London aquarium

I’ll leave with this photo: if your teeth look like this, you should probably get braces.

X-Rays are Cool

I’ve got my retainers now. I’m still going to write about it, but I’ll do that later. I think this is cooler though.

It took quite a while to get them, but a few months and £30 later (!) I have the X-Rays on a CD.

2007

2007-side

This was before any braces were put in, and before any teeth were pulled out. You’ll be able to tell at that time, my front and back teeth were meeting fine, but the ones in the middle weren’t. What you can’t really see here is how overcrowded they were. I’m sure they did an X-Ray showing it, but they didn’t give it to me.

2009

2009-back

After they’d taken the braces off my top teeth, they took this one. Notice the overcrowding in the lower jaw, and the fact that I have 16 teeth there.

2009-side

Here’s a problem – I can no longer bite my front teeth together.

 

2011

2011-back

Obviously this one is with both sets of braces in. Count the lower teeth again – I’ve now got 14. My bite had now become so bad that I couldn’t grip onto the little plastic thing with my front teeth (that’s the blurry grey lump in the centre of the image). I moved a little, and this is why it’s slightly blurry.

2011-side

This was my bite. Damn wisdom teeth, and look, I’ve got two more on the way. Woop.

2012

x-ray after bimaxillary osteotomy

This was taken the day after the operation. I can just about feel the titanium plates in the lower jaw. I’m also slightly concerned at how short the roots on the front lower teeth have got (compare it with pic #2). But hey, that’s what dentures are for, I guess. They didn’t do a side profile that time, apparently it wasn’t necessary.

But the main point to take away from here – look at how awesome my bite is now!

:-# –> :-D

After 5 and a bit years (on and off, and on again) I had my braces out on Tuesday afternoon, and about time too! Though it was one of the weirdest appointments I’ve had at the hospital…

I got in on time, Monsters vs. Aliens was showing in the waiting room, pretty standard. My orthodontist was running late as usual, but when I eventually got called in, I saw another orthodontist instead, in fact she was the first consultant I saw 5 years ago. She said that the braces were coming off today and that I would need impressions taken. I was surprised how quickly the braces came off (there was a fair amount of pain involved), and at how long she took polishing the teeth to remove the residual glue.

After the metal was removed, I had to have impressions taken in order for the retainers to be made. Impressions are weird, it’s odd having raspberry flavoured goo slowly setting around your teeth. My orthodontist was in a rush and she didn’t wait long enough before removing the goo. Twice. I loved how easily the trays were removed: the last few times I’ve had the blocks in and it was a nightmare removing the trays – it felt like they were going to pull out all my teeth at once! I actually had 4 impressions taken that day, and I’ll never need them again! Let’s hope so anyway.

And that was it. She said “Right, that’s done” and just disappeared. The nurse gave me the form to get my next appointment, but reception was closed for the evening so I gave it straight back.

Hopefully they’ve remembered to make an appointment very very soon. Now I’m just worrying about how far my teeth are going to drift before the retainers come in.

When I got home, I thought I’d see how long it would take for my parents to notice that my teeth were no longer full of metal. I hadn’t told them that my braces were coming off that appointment, I thought it would be fun to make it a surprise. When I was asked how the appointment went, I just mumbled “It was all right”. 15 seconds – that’s all it took for them to notice.

When I brush my teeth, the brush just slides across the teeth, it doesn’t feel like it’s doing very much at all. I was used to the brush getting caught up in the metal. I’m glad my orthodontist spent so much time polishing the teeth, they now feel almost unreal – I’ve never had teeth which felt like this before!

I’ll get some photos up here soon, when I take some photos.

eeew, dentists

7 months after the operation

I had an appointment at the dentist yesterday, for a change. I was getting a bit concerned at the amount of tartar that built up quite suddenly on the front of my teeth, but he said there was no decay 🙂 He wouldn’t clear the tartar for fear of dislodging the braces, but in true dentist fashion, he revelled in inflicting as much pain as possible cleaning the back of my teeth. Stupid dentists.

Looks like I’ll be going back there again as soon as the braces are taken off.

…still nearly there…

5 months after the operation

Another appointment, another configuration of elastics to wear. I’ll probably keep up with it for two, maybe three days this time.

Just as I was leaving the surgery, I saw another consultant talking to a young girl, telling her for the first time that she might need braces. The girl looked horrified. Pfft. Try having them for 5 years and having an operation on your jaw part way through.

This might well be the last set of elastics for me to wear. Let’s hope so. Next appointment? Nobody knows.

Nearly there..?

4 months after the operation

Well, I’m back from the Alps now (and have been for quite some time). Unfortunately that insurance premium I paid just went into the company’s pocket, but if I hadn’t paid, the rock that punched me in the face would have hit the fracture rather than my cheek, or the baguettes I had for lunch would have destroyed the blocks on my braces, or something.

It’s been ages since I wrote about my jaw, but that’s because nothing much has happened.

The twinge that I had disappeared before Friday’s appointment. Also I’m starting to get feeling back in the lip that was completely numb. It feels “weird”, like pins and needles, much like my upper right was feeling many weeks ago. This is a positive sign meaning normal feeling will return soon, I hope.

It turns out I made a good choice taking the elastics out when I did. In fact I should have taken them out sooner because I now have a new wire pushing one tooth back in a bit, resulting in more pain.

I’ve got a different configuration of elastics now to push my lower teeth a little further forward, and my next appointment is in 7 weeks time. After only one day of having them in, I feel they’ve moved enough so that I’m happy with them, so I’ve already taken them out.

That’s all for now.

“You look like Dan again”

9 weeks after the operation

Now there’s a good observation from my housemates! Honestly, I thought I looked like myself again quite a while back, but hey.

Speaking of “quite a while back”, I noticed my stitches magically disappeared recently. They might have gone quite a while ago, I just didn’t notice at the time.

That funny twinge and the same numbness is still there, so I thought it best to get the extra insurance premium for my trip to the Alps, just to be on the safe side – of white water :S

Other than that, there’s nothing new to report, so I’ll write something when I get back.