Saturday, October 13, 2007

From the beginning...(it's a long one!)

This all began last May with an innocent dentist appointment. Dr. McCarty was my new dentist so I thought I'd ask him a couple of questions regarding my smile. I've always had a "gummy smile" that I've hated. I asked him if there was a way to do gum recontouring with lasers. He told me that I actually needed braces instead. Are you kidding me?! I'm 26 years old and need freaking braces?! Ugh. So, then I proceed to the orthodontist. Upon my intital consultation, the first thing out of his mouth was that I would need orthognathic surgery to get me the results that I wanted. Not only would this correct cosmetic problems, but also the way my teeth fit together. My jaw is too long on the top and too small. I had adjustable retainers when I was little, but everything has moved back since then. So, then I go to the oral surgeon that was recommended to me by my general dentist. He was going to be taking out my wisdom teeth anyway, so I thought he could be my first to ask about the surgery. Geez Louise, this guy obviously does not do very many jaw surgeries. He told me that it would be an easier recovery than getting my wisdom teeth out. I'm beginning to think this guy is on drugs or something. Is he serious? Obviously, I'm in need of a second opinion. My orthodontist referred me to another oral surgeon that is supposedly the "jaw guy" of Austin. It's basically all he does. I had a ton of questions and he had an answer and then some for every one. However, he has more planned for my face then I thought. Instead of just having the upper jaw done, he wants to do upper, lower, and a genioplasty. I'm glad about the genioplasty (which I refer to as a "chinectomy") since I've always been a bit long in the face. So, now he will be cutting across the front, down the front, and twice across the top of the roof of my mouth to widen the entire upper jaw. I didn't think my mouth was that small! As far as the bottom, I think it's going to be moved up a bit and then take a chunk off the chin. He said on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the most difficult), that this would be an 8. Yeeozah, like that made me feel any better. Then, you all know what happens next. The pre-determination letter gets sent to the insurance company and then you wait...and wait...and wait. I think they got tired of me calling because I got an answer in less than a month. I used to have to fight with insurance companies when I worked at a pharmacy so I learned early that more gets done when you wear them out. Well, obviously the surgery is going to be covered. The genioplasty will not since it is considered cosmetic, but I'll just be saving my pennies until then so I can get this all knocked out at once. I have to admit that I'm a bit freaked out. I mean, they are basically breaking the entire lower half of my face and putting it back together. My doctor said that there will be quite a dramatic change in the shape and contour of my face. So, that is background. I've been braced since last Wednesday (which sucks) and can't wait to get this metal out of my mouth. Between the braces and the spacers before that I haven't been able to eat right for two weeks. I guess at least I'll be losing some poundage while on this escapade. I have my next appt with Dr. Quaroni (oral surgeon) next Thursday. The surgery hooks on my bottom braces are still cutting into my lips quite a bit but its nothing that a few Mexican martinis can't make better.


Kristy Clucas said...

unfortunately for you it sounds like you are going to have the exact same thing that i just had done, upper, lower, chin and roof expansion. Unfortunately its not the most fun thing in the world, since theres so much going on at once, but the end results should really pay off. Im only almost 2 weeks post-op, and things are finally getting better. Hopefully you have a great journey and get the care that you need! Look forward to following your journey!

Brandyleigh35 said...

May I ask why you are in surgical hooks already if your surgery is not until next summer? I got mine put on like 10 days before surgery. Seems weird that an ortho would put those on already, they are a total pain in the rear!

Honesty I personally didn't think it was that bad, and I had to have a separate surgery for the palate expansion. It has gone by very quickly and at least you won't have to wear a stupid RPE appliance! That was the worst part of it all! You are young, you will heal quickly. I mean I'm 43 and it has been pretty easy.

What I can tell you is that having a good surgeon is very very important! It can totally affect your recovery. You have a good surgeon your after affects will be minimal and you have less chance of any permanent numbness issues. If your surgeon is not very skilled then you risk all off the above. My doctor has been doing this surgery for 30 years. He is very up to date and current on the latest trends. I'm convinced his expertise is what made my whole ordeal as painless as possible.

This is not something a person wants to rush into, I mean you are right, they are going to reconstruct your face! And he is telling you that it is going to be relatively complicated. I was terrified! I had no real choice as I was doing it so I could fix my sleep apnea and be able to breathe, however, had I not had a breathing issue, I'm not sure I would've gone through with it. Just because I would've been too scared. In retrospect I'm so glad that I did as I'm totally thrilled with my results now, and I know once the braces come off it will all be worth it. Most everyone I have read that has had this done has been happy, the ones that I have seen that are not, are usually ones that had a bad surgeon, complications, or were not well informed prior to the surgery, regarding the changes that would take place, or the possiblity of numbness or post surgery issues. Do your research the more you know the better.

Good luck to you and I'm glad my blog has been helpful. Do you mind if I add a link to your blog?