These last 8 weeks have flown by really, I've been incredibly busy with work and my MBA but I think like throughout all of this you need something else to focus on or you just get consumed by all things teeth and jaw related.
My eating has come on leaps and bounds since my orthodontist gave me the go ahead to start eating. At 2 weeks post op I was given the green light to eat mush, so things like scrambled egg, mash potato and rice pudding. Things that I could move around my mouth but not chew.
By 4 weeks I could start to try and chew these things and by 4 I was ok to move on to things like soft pasta, ravioli, minced meat etc. From 5 weeks I've just been gradually building up my eating, cutting things up really small and just trying to chew. If its too difficult i just swallow it, but why not have a go is what i thought.
Right now I'm pretty much eating normal food, again any meat I'm cutting up small and trying to chew it, not forcing anything, but eventually my muscles will figure it out and I will get there. I have noticed all ready the vast improvement just on how i chew with my teeth at the back, they actually work properly, I chew efficiently now, which is so nice!
Biting into things is a whole other story, it is so weird! I'm still getting to grips with that. This will sound weird to people that haven't experienced mis aligned jaws and teeth, but I don't know how to bite through something with my teeth. I don't know what the movement is, or how much force to use or if you pull the food away as you bite or do you just bite down and it cuts through? I don't know, I guess it's just practice and really I have to stop a habit of a lifetime and stop cutting things up, I need to start biting into things to get my muscles going and learning how to do it. I've cut things up instead of biting through for so long it's second nature, but that could be my news years resolution, no cutting food! Just biting food!
Swelling & Numbness
My swelling is so very minimal right now, I still think i'm slightly puffier on my right side than my left, but that will go down with time, I notice it but i guess others probably don't. I'm still numb on my left hand side of my chin and bottom lip. I am getting tingle and pain and a very annoying sensation every time i eat something liquid like yoghurt or ice cream or even have a drink, where it feels like running water or that i've just dribbled it all out my mouth and down that left hand side of my chin.
My ortho tells me its a good sign, so i'm sure I can put up with it for as long as it takes so long as i get my feeling in my lip back. Not too fussed about my chin, just want my lip back. its not nice kissing and not feeling it! Plus putting lipstick or lipbalm on feels strange!
Orthodontist & Teeth
Every time i go back to see my orthodontist he was very pleased with the way my teeth are lining up and how I'm doing. At 4 weeks I had my power chain adjusted on my bottom teeth to help close some gaps up. At 6 weeks I had my lower wire changed, an extra long 8 chain power chain fitted on the bottom and a chain on the top to close a gap that had formed over the last 2 weeks. This was painful and I can honestly say, hand on my heart that the pain from the orthodontics both before and after surgery was far worse than any "pain" i felt after my surgery and during recovery. Surprisingly enough moving teeth hurt me more than moving bone did.
On my last appointment at 6 weeks out, my orthodontist said that I can expect to have my braces removed in 6-8 weeks! wahooooooo! There was no way i saw that coming! my next appointment is in 7 weeks, so I guess we will have a look and see where i am. I'm so surprised by how quickly after surgery my braces will be coming off, I think it just highlights the importance of having a good orthodontic treatment before your surgery, and that it pays to be patient and get your teeth right (the wrong way round) before surgery, because it just makes it all a whole lot smoother after.
How I feel about my face
To be honest I've been a bit naughty and i haven't really looked at my face a lot, like really scrutinised it. Obviously when i did the before and after pictures in my last post I saw what a big change there was, but i think i'm scared to look closely at myself in case i don't like it. But I do like it, maybe I'm scared that I will change back to how i used to look? I'm not sure on this one. I am really happy and pleased with how I look and I think the team have done such a good job and I don't think i will hear any nasty comments again.
Maybe my problem is that I'm not ready to embrace my new appearance and let go of the past and how I felt about my face before. Yes i came to love my face the way it was but I was never 100% happy with my appearance because of the problems I had with eating and with being called names. I still wait/brace myself for someone to say something about my face when I'm out and about. Nobody has made a comment since my operation, so I'm hoping that this is something that will fade over time, and I wont think about it any more.
Any Advice for before and after?
- Be patient - it takes ages, all of it, the braces, the wisdom teeth removal, the surgery, the recovery, but at each stage there are lots of little moments of joy that make it all worth while, like when my underbite was fully developed or when I first noticed how straight my teeth were getting.
- Get a waterpik/oral irrigator - I hate flossing, i did before my braces and I did with them and I probably will still hate doing it after my braces are off. My waterpik has been amazing in helping me keep my teeth clean and my gums healthy. It's not a substitute for flossing but it sure as hell makes my life so much easier!
- Take pictures! - Take so many pictures of your teeth and your face, especially before you even get your braces on. I wish I had taken more before pictures because it is so bloody wonderful to be able to go back and see how much improvement has been made. It keeps you happy when it gets tough, to see how far you have come.
- Keep family and friends close - It is tough, it is hard, expect to be sad, frustrated, worried, scared but expect to be happy and excited too. It's so helpful to have family and friends with you to support you through all of this. They may not get you 100% but they will be there and so will this wonderful community of bloggers!
- Smile!!!! - Keep on smiling, you are doing the right thing and you will get through it. You smile and the world smiles with you! Show off your bracey teeth, be proud and be bracey!