- Did you have huge concerns over nerve damage?
A: I was concerned, but I did a lot of research, read people's stories on the Internet and talked to people who had the procedure done. I also looked into alternative health practices that would help with nerve repair, such as acupuncture, supplements, and homeopathic remedies. You can see my list of homeopathic/supplements that I took before and after surgery here. Also, all my posts that deal specifically with numbness can be found here.
- What did your surgeon tell you about the risks involved and how likely it is that something will go "wrong"?
A: My surgeon told me that there was a risk for permanent numbness in the chin/lower lip and that risk went up with age. So, at 32 years old, I had a 32 per cent chance of having permanent numbness. However, this guy had been doing this surgery for longer than I have been alive, so I had faith in his abilities to minimize damage and risk.
- Did you hesitate about going through the surgery? If so, why did you decide to go ahead?
A: No hesitation. Once I did all my research and felt comfortable with the surgery, I moved forward and never looked back. I did this surgery because I was having a lot of TMJ pain as a result of my overbite and knew that it would get worse if I didn't do something.
- Do you regret having gone through the surgery because of nerve issues?
A: No regrets. And no major nerve problems because of the surgery.
- Has all the feeling gone back to your chin/jaw/lip areas?
A: A year after surgery, I have almost full feeling in my lower lip and chin. It is more than 99 per cent there and improves everyday. I don't notice it unless I touch the area very, very lightly. If I use a regular touch, it feels like the rest of my face, and I can't tell the difference. The majority of the feeling in my chin/lip came back very quickly (within a month of surgery) and then slowed down, but improved on an ongoing basis. I have faith I'll have full feeling return, but even if I don't, I can live with the way it is - it's not weird at all.
- Would you have done something differently?
A: I would have taken iron supplements post-surgery. It was the only thing I didn't think about doing and I became anemic as a result. Of course, this isn't the case for everyone, but it was for me. I also would not have let my orthodontist take off my braces when he did - it was too soon and gaps opened up between my teeth and I had to have the braces put back on a few months later. Otherwise, no "what ifs". I was very prepared.
- Knowing what you know now, will you do the surgery all over again?
A: Absolutely. No regrets. I'm happy with the results, and I am looking forward to a pain-free life with a winning smile.
Of course, this is my situation and experience and everyone is different.
Thanks for your questions, and 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!!