Tuesday, December 9, 2008

3 months post-op and exciting news!!

Recovery from the plate removal was much better than I expected. I had absolutely no swelling, and I didn't need to take any pain meds, not even OTC. By the next day, I was feeling absolutely normal.

Today I am 3 months post-op. I had an ortho appointment, which went very well. Dr. L looked at my bite, and could tell I have been very diligent about wearing my bands, because my bite is almost perfect! He said that we won't even need to put in the TADS anymore to pull my bite back! So we can close up the space that was just opened with the coil. He said that in the "old" days, when they used the splint, it could actually work against the orthodontics if the splint wasn't exactly in the right position, and the orthodontist is basically SOL. But now, without the splint, he can get started much earlier with elastics to move things into place before they set. I believe I read on Archwire that teeth are more mobile than usual in the couple of months post-surgery, due to the prostaglandins that are released around the damaged tissue. The OD can make the most of this by getting a lot of movement done in those few months. And it looks like that held true for me!

Given the good news on my progress, I finally had the courage to ask about a potential debanding date. The news that followed made my day, and was honestly much better than I ever had hoped. He said I could expect to get my braces off in 4 months, which would put me at April! I have been in braces for just over a year now, so I can handle another four months. I am so excited ... I really didn't expect to get them off so soon.
I now only need to wear my bands after dinner and at night, just to keep my bite wear it is. I got my power chain replaced on my upper teeth, and a new power chain on my lowers. The coil came out as we are going to close up that hole between my molers now that we don't need the TADS. I also asked about my airway, so Dr. L ordered a Lateral Ceph so we could compare. Below are the side-by-side images ... it is amazing how much my airway opened up!

In addition to the wider airway, there is a dramatic difference in the soft tissue around my chin in the above x-ray. When I got my plate removed last Thursday, I mentioned to Dr. P that I haven't had any migraines. He mentioned that coventional wisdom points to my now stable occlusion and less load on the joints, however he also has been reviewing some recent research on airway and I believe he said fibramyalgia. Basically, these studies show that there is a correlation between pain and small airway. When the airway is opened, the patient many times doesn't experience some of the pain they suffered from before. This could also be something that is helping to reduce my migraines, in addition to to my TMJ's being much more stable now. The piece I don't really understand is why I used to get migraines when I drank alcohol, and now it seems that alcohol does not trigger a migraine for me anymore. I was hoping for my migraines to be reduced with the surgery, but I honestly didn't think they'd be eliminated completely because I never thought it would prevent me from getting one when I drank. In the end, I guess I don't need to understand it, I am just elated that they have been almost non-existant! I just hope it stays that way!

Below are my 3 month before and after pictures. I am so happy I went through this. It has been worth it in every way and I am very pleased with the results thus far, on all accounts.

Here is my panoramic x-ray, so you can see all of my hardware. You can also see the gaps in my bones from where my mandible was advanced.

I will post more pics of my teeth and bite later this week. My teeth were somewhat sore after my ortho appointment today, I don't know if it is because that space is already trying to close up, or because I was really aggressive with chewing today. I am hoping my ROM will start to increasing at a faster rate now that I am only in bands at night.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Plate Removal Successful ...

I am back home, everything went very well, in fact I believe I was awake for most of the procedure and remember most of it, but felt nothing. I had to stop on the way home for my antibiotics, but at this point no pain and no swelling as far as I can tell. Hopefully it will stay that way! I have to be on the Peridex another 2 weeks which is when I will see him next, and hopefully after that I can schedule a cleaning!

I forgot to mention yesterday on my post that when I run my fingers along my lower jaw line on both sides, I can feel the gaps from where they advanced my jaw! He took another x ray today after the plate removal and I am down to 7 plates now, 39 screws. The sutures should disolve much more quickly this time, within a week or so. I am hoping I will be feeling this well later when the IV sedation wears off ... so far a piece of cake!

Plate Removal Tomorrow and Before and After Pics

I thought since I will be puffed up tomorrow on my left side from my plate removal procedure, I should put some before and after photos from the month before surgery to 12 weeks post-op. You can really see a difference in my nose. I think there is still some swelling in my nose because my nostrals are uneven, so it will be interesting to see how things settle out. You can also see a big difference in my lip incompetence, no more gummy smile, and a more defined profile.

Lately I have been getting a lot of food stuck in between my last two molars on my upper right side. The other day, I took a toothpick and usually the end would tightly wedge in between the two teeth. Well, I forgot about the coil that was creating a gap in between the two teeth, so the toothpick went right in and stabbed me. I put my tongue up there and a siqeable gap has opened up. So, that's good news. I have also been flossing for the last few weeks ... I can feel the floss in between my lower teeth, but I can't in between my upper teeth. If my teeth have even a tiny gap between them so the floss doesn't "click" between them, I keep putting pressure waiting to hear the click, and then realize that the floss is already on my gums. They don't bleed, though, I think because the surgery cut off the blood supply and all of those blood vessels have not reconnected and regenerated yet.

My lower incisors have dark stain marks on them from the Peridex. I am hoping things heal up quickly from my plate removal so I can go in and have a cleaning. Hopefully I won't have to keep taking it. That would be a great Christmas present, my pearly whites back!!

I'll post an update after tomorrow's procedure ...