Monday, 30 April 2012

So you've chosen to have all that done?!

I took the day off work on Friday and spent the morning in one of my favourite places, the hairdressers. As we were discussing my new cut that would suit my face shape I told him about my surgery and said that in a couple of years he would have a slightly different face shape to work with. His response like most people that I've talked to about my surgery was, "So you've chosen to have all that done? You've agreed to have both your jaws broken, cut and moved?!" 
I don't really find this response surprising, I suppose for someone that doesn't have to choose such drastic and daunting measures as a necessity to improve their bite, the way they eat, their speech or even their self confidence, the whole procedure can seem like such an odd thing to sign yourself up for.
But for someone that longs to able to bite into pizza, or eat an apple whole, or smile showing teeth, or to be able to walk down the street without fear of being called names, orthognathic surgery is wholeheartedly embraced and accepted because we know that after the braces, the surgery, the discomfort, the swelling and the liquid diet that we will be able to do all of those things. 

And on a lighter note, here are some pictures of me and my mum trying on silly hats in TK Maxx when we went  shopping for my holiday clothes on Saturday! 

P.S I will get round to taking some pictures of my face and teeth before the braces go on, only 4 weeks and 3 days to go! 

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Spaghetti braces are coming!

My official brace face date came through the post yesterday, Thursday 31st of May at 11.20. I'm  sort of looking forward to having them fitted, to start the treatment, see all the changes and to get a little bit closer each day to a proper bite.
However I'm scared about getting them put on, or as my dad says "your just scared of the unknown" and I guess I am. I've never really had any dental work done like fillings, when I was maybe 10 I had a retainer fitted to push my front teeth forward to give me a sort of proper bite, and when I was 15 I had a canine removed because it grew above the baby one and rather than having braces to move it down where it should be I wimped out because I thought it would hurt too much to move it, and that's about it.
I've never broken a bone or really hurt myself, I was a very safe child, too much of a wimp to climb a tree and jump, so I haven't really experienced pain. I don't know if my pain threshold is big and strong or if it's a wimp.
I don't even know if having braces fitted hurts!? I hope not. It's my boyfriends birthday the day after so I had wanted to go out to dinner but not sure if I can, my teeth might be sore.
When I discussed my concerns about the birthday dinner with my very good friend, she kindly laughed and said imagine if you got spaghetti stuck, dangling from your braces! I couldn't help but laugh too, that would be funny. So I've decided if my teeth are sore or I can't bare dangling spaghetti I'll have a wine and cheesecake dinner instead!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Enjoying fresh bread while I can!

It's been a bit of an emotional weekend, sadly I had to put my cat Jasper to sleep on Friday. He was 15 years old and had a good life, he was a bit of a grumpuss at times but always loved a good chin scratch, unfortunately he had cancer of the tongue and was no longer eating and in pain, so like many pet owners I had to make that horrible decision.
 I was meant to be going to Kings Lynn for the weekend with my boyfriend but I just felt like staying in bed with my other cat Casper and crying all weekend. But my boyfriend came over and after I'd had a good old cry on him and created a lovely wet patch on his top and received lots of hugs and kisses I decided to go away and try and enjoy myself.
We checked in at our hotel which was lovely, it had just undergone renovation so it was all new and fancy then we went for a walk round Kings Lynn in search of somewhere to eat lunch. We found a nice little deli and had some lovely coffee and a sandwich made with fresh bread!
Now although I can't eat fresh bread or a sandwich without looking like an idiot I still try to enjoy it. Those of you reading this with an underbite will understand the fine art of eating a sandwich, a technique mastered many moons ago!  You "bite" into it as much as you can and pull away with a slight side to side motion to help the bread and filling rip, however this technique does not come without its risks such as the filling face slap. Occasionally your initial "bite" hasn't really got anywhere through the sandwich to actually cut the filling but it has enough to hold it in your mouth, so as you pull the sandwich away to rip it, your filling e.g chicken, ham or I often have this trouble with spinach or lettuce leaves, slides out of the bit of bread your pulling away and ends up slapping you in the face/chin.
So after I negotiated the filling face slap successfully we went back to our hotel and had a nap (I was tired from all my crying earlier) then got ready and went to dinner. I had some lovely fresh bread again, I'm making the most of this because I think it's off the menu when I get my braces fitted. Dinner is less of an embarrassing eating minefield because you can use a knife and fork and cut it up into nice small bits, no ripping action needed, the same goes for eating desert and drinking wine, certainly no problems there!
I've been thinking about all the little things I do day to day to make eating easier and the food choices I make because of my underbite and I cant wait for the day when I can just pick something up and eat it without assessing whether I need to cut it up, assessing how easy it's going to be to chew, and knowing that I'm going to be last to finish my food again. Now I'm a long way off that yet, and my underbite will get worse over the next year or so but it's all about the end goal and eventually my underbite will no longer be a part of my life and shiny, straight, fully functioning teeth will be! So next time I have some fresh bread with dinner I will enjoy it and make a toast to having a proper bite.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The meeting of minds and a wimp!

Yesterday I had my clinic meeting with my orthodontist and I met my surgeon and I am really thankful that they are both so lovely. My orthodontist Mr O'Neil is great, he first met me when I was 15 and knows all about the difficulties I have experienced physically and emotionally over the years and he did a very good job informing about the entire procedure and really helped me to feel confident that this is the right decision for me and my mouth. He even did a nifty trick to give me a rough idea of what my face should look like after surgery, he gave me a hand held mirror, put two small cotton wool rolls under my top lip and did some clever masking of my chin and lower jaw with his hand and voilĂ  my new face! Well sort of! It was good though, really interesting to kind of get an idea of what I might look like in a couple of years. Got my mum and my boyfriend to have a look, they approved, not that had much choice really but I'm glad that Mr O'Neil did that because I am starting to worry a bit about what my face will look like after surgery. 
I will get my braces on the 31st of May!!! Eeeeeek! I'm sort of excited because I'm about to start my treatment and I can start counting down till I can eat and speak properly, but being a wimp I am absolutely petrified of having them put on, living with them, eating with them, kissing with them, getting them tightened, how I'm going to look with them on and them cutting my lips or cheeks. So I have 6 weeks to man up! 
My surgeon was equally as nice, (I can't remember his name) but he talked me through the complete procedure very reassuringly and explained the risks involved like temporary or permanent numbness of your face and lips. However I'm pleased to announce that I only have to have my lower wisdom teeth removed before surgery, he said that he will deal with the uppers during my double jaw surgery. So I will have my wisdom teeth removed under general anaesthetic in a couple of months, it will be like a trial run of my double jaw surgery, Yay for me! I've never had general anaesthetic before, I've never really experienced any pain so I don't really know how high my pain threshold is, I'm useless with needles and giving blood is like trying to find water in a desert, my veins seem to run and hide, as I'm typing this the veins on the back of my hands have retreated! So I'm rather worried about that, but I will try and put off worrying till I get my surgery date through the post.
Then we got talking about my actually jaw surgery and I am having upper and lower and possibly some genioplasty too! The surgeon gave me a rough estimate of how much he wants to move my jaws but said in a years time once my teeth are moved he will have a better idea, but so far the rough estimate is; top jaw 2-3mm, bottom jaw 7-8mm and chin maybe 2mm. So that seems like a lot to me, compared to other measurements I have read on various blogs but I guess if I need it, I need it. It just adds to my worry about how I'm going to look after surgery. 
So in 5 weeks and 6 days time it will be brace face time and I will be on my way to nice, straight, properly functioning teeth! ....................I'm so scared! 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Clinic Meeting Nerves

I have my clinic meeting tomorrow with my orthodontist and surgeons and I'm starting to get a bit nervous, I know that they're not going to slap some braces on me and start jaw surgery tomorrow but I guess it dawned on me last night that it's actually happening. I am going to have braces on for 2 years,  my wisdom teeth are going to be removed, I will have double jaw surgery and I will end up looking a bit different. I don't know what part of all that frightens me more!
I'm taking my boyfriend, my mum and my dad along with me tomorrow partly for moral support and tissue supplies (being a wimp I will cry) and because I think it's important that we all know and understand what's going to happen to me and my mouth over the next 2-3 years.
It will be interesting to see my molds and my x-rays and I am looking forward to find out what they plan to do to fix my teeth, because that's what all of this is about, giving me a proper bite and nice teeth. I've just got to remember that whenever I get worried or scared, I've just got to concentrate on the end goal and think about how nice it will be to bite into food properly and not eat like a cow on my back teeth all the time!

Friday, 13 April 2012

X-rays, pictures, molds and mum!

Well after watching the dvd and  having a good old think about the 2 years of braces, the wisdom teeth extraction, the double jaw surgery and deciding yes this is for me and my mouth I went back to the orthodontist to have a chat and say sign me up, lets get going!
I decided to be brave and less of a wimp and go by myself to this appointment. So there I was sat in the waiting room trying to remain calm, stay in my seat and not change my mind and run back to my car, and then appears my mum! A lovely surprise :-)
So in we went for my chat, told my orthodontist again why I wanted the surgery and that I was definitely sure I want to go ahead with it. Then I think he got a bit excited because before I knew it I had a bib on and was having molds taken!
Now this was the first thing about all of this that I was really dreading. I remember having these molds done when I was younger and it was horrible, it was slimy, and when they  pushed the tray into your teeth the putty would ooze out everywhere and make me gag, horrible!
So I was sat there thinking come on tash if you can't have a poxy mold taken then how the hell are you going to cope with having braces fitted and double jaw surgery so man up, stay calm and it will be fine. And it was! It was over before I knew it. I think they have made some technical advances over the years because the putty stuff that he used this time was great, didn't ooze everywhere, set really quickly and I didn't gag. Wooooo!
Then off I went to go and get pictures of my face taken and some of my teeth, they used the cheek stretcher things, not very glamourous at all! A little tip, make sure you put lots of lip balm on because they really stretch your mouth and you don't want cracked or split lips!
Now the next step is an appointment on the 19th of april with my orthodontist and some surgeons to have a look at my x-rays, pictures, and molds to figure out how much to move my teeth and jaws, exciting stuff!

The Magic DVD

So it was a good 2 weeks before I stopped avoiding the Orthognathic surgery DVD that my orthodontist had given to me. It was accidentally left in my car for a couple of days, then left by the kettle for a week, then I moved it into my bedroom where the cat slept on it for a few days and then it migrated to my bedroom floor. I eventually got fed up of slipping on it and took it to my boyfriends house for a good old Friday film night!
Well my first impression was that it was very well structured, it had lots of different sections to it describing the entire process that you could dip and out of so it didn't have to be viewed in an single sitting. There was a nice man that told you about all the technical bits and interviews with people that had had the surgery and their views about different parts of the process.
It was good to hear and see people that had undergone this procedure in the UK as a lot of the blogs I have reading/am reading are from the USA. There was a really good 3D video/model of a jaw that showed you what would happen during the operation, what parts they would move and remove and how they held it all in place after, which was certainly an eye opener but it did help me to understand exactly what will be happening to my face in a few years time. What I liked most was that each person they interviewed had different experiences with the level of pain and discomfort after surgery and how long it took for them to recover after, so maybe there is hope for a wimp after all!
Saying that I did cry after watching the DVD, it is  daunting when your faced with 3d models of jaws being broken, cut and screwed back together, but I mainly blame the bit about drainage tubes post surgery, I wasn't aware of that bit!!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The orthodontist has a dvd drawer?

I was first offered this treatment when I was 15 and I politely declined, the idea of braces and surgery didn't really appeal to the 15 year old me, it still doesn't but needs must!
My teeth have moved and shifted as I've grown and as a result my bite has got significantly worse, my speech has been affected, i'm a bit lispys when I pronounce certain words or syllables, and I struggle to eat. So I have finally decided to man up and get my mouth fixed!
So as I said during my first appointment with the ortho we spoke about my teeth and what my treatment would involve; removing all my wisdom teeth, braces to move my teeth back into a full underbite for about 2 years then an operation on my upper jaw to move it forward and one on my lower to remove a bit and then move it back.
So after hearing all that again I presented a fear filled face to my ortho and he presented me with a dvd pulled from a magical drawer, nice tactic I thought, probably designed to prevent you from crying then and there in his chair.
I was told to have a watch at my leisure with family and friends (I'm sure they will enjoy that!) and come back in 3 weeks and tell him if want to go ahead with it. So off I went with my dvd in one hand and my worried looking boyfriend in the other to go and have my first xray.
The xray was great, nice and easy, sat down, bit on some metal, the xray machine went round my head, you had to stay very still, and that was it. Got to have a look at my bones on the way out too, bonus!

The story so far...

Well I'm Natasha, 23 years old and I've started treatment for my delightful class 3 malocclusion! I've been prescribed a 2 year course of braces, wisdom teeth extraction and orthognathic surgery, I'm having bi-maxillary surgery, so my upper and lower jaws are being operated on. Oh and I'm a massive wimp!
After my first orthodontic appointment; it was a nice chat about what orthognathic surgery is and what treatment I will be having,(I got a DVD, but more about that beauty later) I did what any professional wimp does and got scared, cried a bit, composed myself and then googled orthognathic surgery. I came across all sorts of pictures post and pre surgery, NHS websites and such but then I found loads of blogs about people going through or that have gone through orthognathic surgery and it was brilliant! So much information, pictures, tips and shopping lists for post surgery and it was all first hand experience. Yes a few things I read like drainage tubes post surgery did freak me out but I decided the more informed I am then I won't be as scared (that's the plan anyway). 
So I decided to create this blog to put my take on all of this out there to hopefully help other people going through the treatment or thinking about it, and to help me get my head round it all and so that I can look back and say I'm no longer a wimp!