Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nine Months Post Op...Braces Removed!

Braces off, five days before my 60th birthday
Nine months post jaw surgery and three years and two months after I began my journey to fix my bite — the braces came off.  To say yesterday was a happy day is an understatement.  That is not to say that all the work is done, because there is still some "restorative" work left, as my orthodontist said.  He was unable to fully close the spaces between my upper teeth.  I took my photo carefully, avoiding the spot where they are most visible.  My dentist will now enlarge some of my teeth to fill in the gaps.  He may also make some of the teeth longer, to counter the bad effects of all the grinding and clenching I did in the past.  Then the final bite adjustment will be made and some teeth may need to be shaved  a bit so that it is perfect.   Then the whitening.

But most of it is behind me now and even without the professional whitening, my teeth look pretty good.  It took less time than you would think to remove the braces.  About ten minutes.  But it took more like 40 minutes for them to polish off all the cement left on the teeth.  They use a burr on a tool that looks a lot like a dentist's drill and the noise is disquieting, to say the least.  My teeth and jaws were sore afterward and it did trigger a headache later in the day, but that could have been partly from the manhattan cocktail I drank in celebration!  It was worth it (the manhattan, I mean).  Actually, it was all worth it.  The last several nights have been peaceful with no clenching and the snoring and apnea disappeared months ago.  I like my profile a whole lot better and most of the numbness is gone ( still have a little on one side).

My only regret is that I didn't lose much weight in the process.  This is possibly due to my age and likely due to much feeling sorry for myself during the process.  Six months of wearing a bite splint that stuck out of my mouth and made me drool all the time, then braces, then lower jaw widening, then double jaw advancement and the bone graft for my upper jaw.  I am still recovering from the latter as it left my hip muscles weak.  So, ok, I gave in to some ice cream and pudding and later, when we downsized and moved wine helped a lot to ease the stress.  Time to get back into shape now.  I begin my sixth decade with fewer problems and less pain.  That's something.