Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ask Bella: Bite post-surgery

Q: Hi Bella. I'm having the exact same surgery in a month or so and your blog has helped me so much to prepare myself. Thank you so much for sharing your procedure! I've got a couple of questions (if you don't mind answering).

Immediately after surgery, do you have a normal bite? - Do your back molars touch?

My orthodontist will have me slide my lower jaw forward to give me (and him) an idea on how it will look after the surgery. When doing this, of course there is a strain and it's not comfortable. After surgery (and healing), does the moving of the jaw forward feel normal and comfortable/relaxed? - Does it feel like you're jutting your jaw forward all the time?

A: I do believe I had a normal bite after surgery. I was wired shut for two weeks, but from what I can remember, my molars did touch at the back.

As for your other question, it sounds like your orthodontist was trying to give you an idea of the aesthetics of your face post-surgery - the changes to your chin/jaw line and what you look like. That uncomfortable strain you were feeling isn't reflective of what it's going to feel like post-surgery because that's not what's going to be happening to your jaw.

You jutting your jaw forward pre-surgery means moving the lower jaw forward in its joint, which is not what the surgery does. The surgery cuts into the bones on the sides of the jaw and lengthens them, making your jaw bone longer. This way, your joint stays put and you're able to use your jaw the way "normal" people do - without jutting it forward to be able to have that function and aesthetic.

Does that make sense?

After the surgery, your joint and muscles will have to make some accommodations to get used to your new jaw length/position, but it won't be the same feeling as jutting it forward. I don't know how much advancement you're having (mine was 4 mm) but I imagine there is more of a difference in feeling with larger advancements because your muscles have to stretch/change their orientation to connect with a longer jaw. Also, don't forget that you will also have some numbness in your chin, which will affect your feeling of what's "normal."

Good luck!

*To ask Bella a question about her jaw surgery, email her at smilingbella at gmail dot com or leave a comment on this post. Go ahead: ask away!!

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