April 7-10 : Going to Chicago with my Mom and sister to see OPRAH!

April 14- Ortho checkup and getting impressions taken

April 19- Appointment with Dr. M to discuss genioplasty. This appointment wasn't required but I decided I can't possibly wait until a few days before surgery to discuss this.

May 12- Last Final Exam for the semester

May 16- Impressions at the Oral Surgery Center

May 17- Pre-surgery physical

May 18- Ortho - Getting surgical hooks on and Surgeon- Final measurements and last meeting with Dr. M before surgery

May 23- SURGERY at 10 am!
My teeth have constantly been sore due to the addition of the two springs on top, but when both '2' teeth (the ones located on either side of my two front teeth) started rotating, I became a little concerned. It wasn't anything obvious, but because my tongue could feel they were both back a bit, and it wasn't the normal smooth surface across the inside of my upper teeth. I couldn't tell if I was imagining it, but the right tooth definitely seemed to be tilting inwards toward the front tooth. It seemed to me like they were taking advantage of the new gaps the springs created and moving around a bit with the space provided. I called my OD office, and sent them a picture as well. They told me I could stop in today. WELL, I ended up being right, both teeth had shifted, and it was because the doors on those two brackets had opened! I hadn't noticed at all, but the wire was no longer being held in place entirely, so both teeth were free to move around as they pleased. I am so thankful I went in, I can't imagine how far I would have brought myself back had I let them continue to shift on their own. My OD and OA both said it was really good I came in, PHEW!



This is a pretty bad picture, but hopefully you'll get the idea. The tooth in the front of the spring was the one rotating. Anyway, after the wires were snapped back into place, they had to use a really thin wire to hold the bracket to the archwire, because the doors kept popping open. Thankfully it brought both teeth right back to where they belonged. They aren't going anywhere now!

Surgeon Questionnaire

I have to fill out a questionnaire for my oral surgeon to bring to my next appointment. He wants me to tell him what I would ideally like my results to be, and where I see problems with my current facial structure. When looking through pictures especially I can tell that my jaw line and chin doesn't look right, but I am having so much trouble trying to come up with the words to describe what it is that isn't right. This may be an odd request, but I need your help! Here are a few pictures taken in the last few days. Please tell me anything you notice or ways I can describe to my surgeon what seems off. I feel like my chin is really wide, and that I don't really have a defined chin, it just all blends together. When I compare what my jaw line looks like from straight on to what my friends do, I notice my chin never comes to any sort of rounded 'point'. I won't take any of this as criticism, it's just hard to be subjective when I am so used to the way I look and it's a bit difficult to find ways to describe my own appearance, so pleassee help me! :



Surgery Date!

I heard back from the surgery coordinator, and I am officially set up for surgery on May 23rd at 10:00 am! I am done with the semester on May 12 and could potentially have gotten surgery that following Monday (May 16), but I am going to use the week and a half off for all of my pre-op appointments (there are SO many!). I originally thought my last exam was on May 14 which is a Saturday, and thought surgery two days later might be too much. I didn't want to have to try and squeeze in all of my pre-op appointments in during the week of my final exams, so I thought it would be best to wait another week, even though I know I am going to be incredibly antsy! It will be great to use my time off for a few nights of going out to eat and ordering steak and burgers!

SO excited that the date has finally been set. and it's only 58 days away! :)

Surgeon Appointment

I get really excited for appointments with my surgeon, because it makes it more real that this is happening. I don't think Dr. M really needed anything at this appointment other than just making sure my teeth looked ready for May. It also gave me the opportunity to ask a few questions. I think he is a little surprised by how much I know and how many questions I had for him.

The first thing I asked him about was the splint. He confirmed my worst fear and said that yes I will be having a splint in for 6 weeks. UGH. I know this whole process is far from sunshine and daisies, but I have read nothing but horrible things about how much worse the splint makes everything, so I am really dreading it. He told me that they need to split by upper jaw because after the rotation of my jaws, the top and bottom most likely won't fit together properly. If by some grace of god they do, I won't have to have my upper jaw split and won't have to have the splint, but I am really not going to count on it.

One major concern I have had is something that most people will find incredibly silly, but I have been worried about my tongue piercing closing during the 5 hour surgery, or closing at some point during the time before I wake up. The hole typically can start closing after 3 hours, and could potentially close entirely during this surgery. I know it seems like a dumb concern, but it's kind of become a part of me in a way, and I can only handle so much change at once. Most people are completely unaware that I have my tongue pierced. I am certainly not the typical person who would, and because my mouth is so small, no one ever sees it! I had a friend ask me yesterday if I just got it done.. haha! So really, keeping the piercing is just a comfort for me. I talked to Dr. M about it and he said he would definitely help me out. He thought it was a little funny, but he said I could remove it in the OR just before the surgery and he would make sure it was back before I woke up. Woohoo, one less thing to worry about!

I asked him about length of the surgery, and he said typically 5 1/2 hours.

I also asked him about the genioplasty. He said it was an option for me, but I still don't feel like I got the answer I was looking for. He mentioned that when my jaws are rotated, it will bring my chin out, but then he also said a genioplasty would bring my chin out, so I am just not really sure what the pros and cons, or even the point of getting the genio is? I am worried that my chin may be still too recessed after surgery if I don't do the genio, but what if the rotation makes it perfect and then they do the genio and brings my chin out too far? Ugh, I still have no idea.

We also talked about the surgery date :) He said that he really thinks May will be a perfect time, and that I could go ahead and schedule my surgery! He gave me the name of a woman who works in one of his other offices who does all of the surgery coordination for him between their office, the ortho and the hospital. I called her on Tuesday afternoon and she said she would get in touch with Dr. S and the hospital to finalize a date. She told me she would be getting back to me by the end of the week, so I should be hearing from her soon. I will let you all know asap! Cross your fingers for me!

Springs 'n' MORE things

I am a few days behind, but I am in the midst of a week long sorority event so my life has been crazy! I had an orthodontist appointment on Monday, and my teeth are still killing me, but what's new? At my last appointment, they had downgraded my wires to the thinner, more flexible ones because they had repositioned a few brackets. It must be time for me to catch up because they really decided to go all in this week! They put a stainless steel wire on the bottom teeth, along with chain ligatures (the bands that go around the brackets). I have self-ligating braces, which means I don't normally have rubber bands around them, so this was a pretty big change. Dr. S told me the chain was used to get rid of any tiny gaps between my bottom teeth. Before putting the new wire on, he took a little file between each of my front bottom teeth to polish them. Think of sand paper running between your teeth, uh, it was nauseating! On the top teeth I moved back to the square stainless steel wire as well. I believe both wires are 18 gauge, but I could be wrong. I also got the springs back on each side to create gaps again between teeth 2 and 3 on each side.

One thing that irks me about going to my orthodontic appointments is that Dr. S always asks me 'So when are we shooting for again?' as it, when I will be having surgery. I have been very adamant about having surgery in May, and I honestly think that had I not kept asking if it were possible for me to get it in May, he probably would have just taken his time and it could have been a few more months until surgery. It seems like because he knows it's going to be in May, he hustles with the progress, but had I just let him make every decision and waited for him to give me the OK without asking a million times, he probably wouldn't be moving this fast.

I asked Dr. S about the splint, if I would be having one in after surgery or not. He didn't seem very sure on his answer. He told me that they aren't used that often anymore (uh, it seems like most of the blogs I have read have had a splint...) and that his patient that was getting surgery the morning of my appointment wouldn't have a splint in. Anyway, his answer really didn't help much.

Oh, and SOMEHOW my momma has happened upon my blog, so HEY MOM :) She knows I am a surgery blog addict, but I never told her I had one as well. She let it slip the other day that she's been following along with my updates, and that she's been following along with many of my followers updates too!

I had an appointment with my surgeon Tuesday, so I will update you all on that tomorrow !

Tired.

I have read a lot about all of the different ways that people are affected by the misalignment of their jaws, but I was SO interested after reading Whitney's blog about how she was tired all the time due to her lower jaw giving her a restricted airway, and I am so interested to hear if anyone else feels like this may be one way they're being impacted as well.

I literally am ALWAYS tired. and people don't go without hearing about it. I think I complain far too much about it, but it literally drives me crazy. It does not matter how much sleep I get. I rarely feel fully awake. I need at least 9-10 hours of sleep to even function properly, and a majority of the time all I want to do is take a nap. The words 'I'm tired' can honestly come out of my mouth any any single point during the day. I always blamed my tiredness on being so busy all the time, but there are times where I am not busy and still tired! Whitney had mentioned a few times that she was always tired due to not breathing properly at night. I have gone my entire life being told I breath 'funny' when I sleep, and I know I snore as well. I have had two septoplasties to try to correct a deviated septum, which have relapsed back both times. I was tested for sleep apnea and did not have it, but I think I just don't have a normal pattern of breathing while I sleep, which means I am probably not taking in the right amount of oxygen, causing me to not get a great nights sleep.

If anyone has heard anything about this, I would love to hear more about it. This was the first I have really though about maybe THIS is why I am tired all the time, and after reading that Whitney lost this tired-all-the-time feeling post-surgery, I am crossing my fingers that this will fix the issue for me as well!

Profile Pics

This is my profile with me biting down but relaxing my mouth. I never realized how much my bottom lip curves over. I am not sure if that is due to braces, or if it's always been like that. It almost looks like I don't have a top lip from the side compared to that bottom lip!

What does everyone know about cases that go with a genioplasty versus cases that don't? I haven't spoken with my OS about this yet, but I feel like when I pull my jaw forward to where my bottom teeth are reaching my top teeth, my chin doesn't change a whole lot and it still looks recessed to me. I feel like the area between the sides of my face and my neck just kind of blend in together and that I don't have proper definition of the jaw on the sides either. I keep noticing more things that seem 'off' to me about my jaw structure, but I find it's sometimes hard to put into words what I am even noticing or what doesn't look 'right'.

OD appointment

I am going to start from the end of my ortho appointment, and then go back to the beginning. As I was about to walk out of the door after my appointment, my OA called my name and said 'The Oral Surgery Center just called. You've been approved for surgery!' WOOHOO! After talking to my mom later that day, she said that she had heard back from insurance two weeks ago saying they would cover one surgeons costs, but paying for the other surgeon was up in the air. My surgeon always has another surgeon in the OR with him, so apparently insurance was fighting us on that one, but they caved and I have been fully approved!

My appointment this week was an hour long. They took impressions of my teeth to make molds. Although a majority of the braces experience has changed quite a bit since my first round of braces, the whole making impressions process unfortunately still sucks as much as it used to. My mouth is so small and those trays are SO big, so it's pretty uncomfortable. The OA made the molds of my teeth and then Dr. S showed me how everything was looking. He said molds like these were what Dr. M, my OS, will be using to do a mock surgery on.

Dr S also showed me a 'predicted image' of what I will look like post surgery. Both him and my OS told me that the software is only so good, and that it's really difficult to manipulate the lips properly, so in the photo my lips ended up like 1/4 the size they were supposed to be. I really just looked creepy and had no interest in looking at the photo any longer than a quick glance. I guess my jaw looked good, but it also looked different, and the whole idea of my face changing during this process is
really starting to freak me out. I don't have a copy of the predicted image, and probably wouldn't post it anyway. I just don't think it's a very good representation of what I am going to look like.

I went back to a smaller, non stainless steel wire this week. I had to have 5 brackets repositioned, and the stainless steel wire is too strong for them now. The gap that was created by the springs has closed, and I will have to restart that whole process at my next appointment in three weeks, when they put the stronger wire and springs back on. I feel like I am working a bit backwards with having to close the gaps and then bring them back, but I know I am still progressing. My front left tooth has been a bit in front of the right through all my months in braces, and he repositioned the bracket on that tooth so hopefully it will pull back a little.

For those of you who have been following my meltdown about having braces on still for my sister's wedding, I finally asked Dr. S what the odds were that he would remove the braces for me for a weekend so I could be brace-free for my sister's wedding. His response.. "Not a chance." He said they can photoshop them out in pictures, and my OA told me 'You will be beautiful no matter what!' but that's really not what it's about. It's about me feeling beautiful at my sister's wedding.. I could care less what anyone else thinks!

I have another appointment on March 21. At that appointment, I will be two months from surgery! Studying for classes seems to get harder and harder as time goes on. I feel like my brain is entirely consumed with this surgery, and all I want to spend my time doing is researching the surgery and reading blogs. Is anyone else like this, or am I just a little too obsessed?