|6 months before and one year after jaw surgery|
One year and two days ago, November 16, 2011, I had double jaw advancement surgery. Today while cleaning out some photos, I came across the ones on the left of me in braces after the lower jaw widening, but before the advancement surgery. The ones on the right were taken on the one year anniversary of my surgery, wearing my retainers. Aside from the changes in hairstyle and glasses, I was struck by the difference in my face then and now, one year after the surgery. In the first photos, my nose is much more prominent and I can clearly see the lower part of my face set back. Today my face seems normal in its proportions. It is still clearly me, just better, I think.
Looking back at how terrified I was the day of my surgery, I can still appreciate the apprehension, but I am so glad I made the journey. My sleep apnea is gone, I can chew on both sides of my mouth, and I am in less danger of losing my teeth. I still have some minor adjustments to make in the spacing in the upper teeth which will happen by the addition of a crown on one of the front four teeth and then adjustment of my retainer. The final bite adjustment will come after that. Then I can start reducing the time I have to wear the retainer. Eventually it will go down to night only. I am looking forward to that.
Right now I am waiting for the crown/veneer to be made for one of the upper teeth and because of that I am relegated to drinking tea, coffee, and red wine through a straw. The whitening is done and but the first veneer they made was whiter than my other teeth so they had to start over. I have to maintain the level of whiteness I have now so that they match when it is ready.
The feeling came back almost entirely in my jaws after the surgery. I still have a little area on one side that has mild pins-and-needles feeling, but it is very slight and I can feel through it. The only area that is still problematic for me is the weakness in my hip where they did the bone graft. The timing of my jaw surgery was unfortunate in that it collided with my recovery from knee surgery to remove torn cartilage. The knee surgery and the bone graft were both on the left side. It has taken six months of grueling physical therapy to get me 90% back to where I was before my knee and jaw surgeries because of muscle loss during recovery. But I am hopeful that by the end of the year I will be finished with PT and can go back to more or less normal physical training in my sport. For a 60 year old, that's not too bad.
My headaches are fewer now and I am really hoping that after the final bite adjustment, they will be fewer still. For those of you still considering this surgery, my advice is still to just make sure you have a good orthodontist and a great surgeon. I had both.