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.


Katherine said...

Your post is brilliant! Your new airway looks awesome. I imagine you love breathing now. Since deep breathing is supposed to help with pain, I can see the link between airways and pain...very cool. A possible debanding date is certainly exciting - here's a virtual high five from down south.:)

Katherine said...

Awesome! You've got to love it when things go better than expected! Not even OTC the following day?! Awesome! And a huge relief, too :)

Ah...glorious before & afters, Stephanie, the differences are truely amazing. How's the feedback been from those around you?

Sounds like that was one positive visit all the way around: Plate removal a huge success, no TADs, capitalizing on prostaglandins for the final movements, potential near-future brace removal, visible airway opening, migraines taking a hike.... thats's a whole lot of reasons to celebrate.... with a pain free tipple of vino, perhaps? :)


Michelle said...

It's amazing what a difference this surgery has made. I can only comment on the aesthetics from these pictures, and truly, your face looks much softer now. You looked good before, don't get me wrong, but you really are looking great these days!


stephanie said...

I am so happy for you. It would be so amazing to not have migraines anymore... ever... It would almost be wierd!

You are looking truly amazing! I can't believe the changes - what a success!

Kam said...

I don't have words to describe the amazingness of this post. Excellent before/afters. You're looking incredible.