Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ask Bella: The real basics

Cecilieaux asks: Okay, what I have never understood is...why? (Or maybe I missed it.)

A: You missed it only if you've read all my archives, because I've been dealing with jaw problems for more than two years now. So you don't have to go digging for it, here's the story of why I subjected my face to the bone saw.

I had an overbite, which isn't a big deal for most people, but in a few, it can cause jaw joint problems. I was fine the majority of my life, until I started doing a lot of stage work, singing, acting and using my jaw a lot more than I was used to. Then, I developed crippling migraines and jaw pain while I was a poppy/jitterbug/citizen of the Emerald City in an extended run of the Wizard of Oz musical. Because of the overbite, I was thrusting my lower jaw forward in order to sing and enunciate properly, and that was putting strain on my jaw joint.

I saw an orthodontist, jaw physiotherapist, and orthognathic surgeon and all suggested that this surgery could help my TMJ problems get better. Of course, it wasn't guaranteed, but the stats I was told were that 70 per cent of people get better, 20 per cent stay the same, and 10 per cent get worse.

Singing is such a huge part of my life and my expression of who I am that I couldn't imagine not being able to do it because I was in too much pain. The TMJ pain was also interfering with my social life - I found myself not spending as much time with my friends because I had too much fun. After a night out of talking, laughing and smiling, I had migraines that kept me at home and alone for four days straight.

I had a strong feeling that for me, the surgery would work. I'm still recovering and haven't tried going back to the stage yet, so we'll see what happens in the next few months.


Dana said...

I have the same problem ~ overbite, migraines, TMJ, hyperacusis (extremely sensitive hearing brought on in part by the TMJ).

So I at least somewhat understand what you were going through. But I can only imagine how painful the surgery was and all that you are dealing with in terms of recovering.

Bella said...

Thanks, Dana, for stopping by, and for the sweet comment.


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