Considering surgery

This forum is for discussions relating to oral surgery for orthodontics.

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Considering surgery

#1 Post by Saffie »

After eight years of avoiding the dentist because I was too self-conscious about the appearance of my teeth, I finally made myself an appointment in November, talked about treatment options, and got a referral to an orthodontist. I went along to have x-rays and impressions taken, totally calm because I had accepted the idea that I would be getting braces, and I was going to do whatever it took to get the best result possible. Then yesterday I went back to hear about my treatment options and all of a sudden she's mentioning surgery. What the...? An osteotomy? It took me about two seconds to translate the Latin and realise that she was talking about cutting chunks of bone out of my face. I really wasn't prepared for that and it has kind of thrown me.

My lower jaw is far too big for the rest of my face, and even when I caught a glimpse of the computer screen over the x-ray tech's shoulder at my last appointment, the only think I could think was "bloody hell, that looks abnormal". I should have a pronounced underbite, but my teeth have grown in at an angle 30 degrees off from what is considered normal - so they're more like this \\ than like this || - and I've got a crossbite and uneven spacing. It would be possible to tweak things to a slight improvement and close the gap between my front teeth by just using a brace, but nature has already taken me pretty close to the limits of what is possible using orthodontics alone. The surgery option, would properly correct my bite problems, and totally change my profile so that I would no longer look as if everything below eye level angled outwards in one straight line - which is part of my appearance that I hate so much I won't look at a side-on photograph of myself. I hadn't even realised that this was possible, so it never occurred to me to look into options other than just braces, but being one of life's obsessive planners I'm more freaked out by it than elated.

The thing is, I need to do some reading before I can make a decision, and since the orthodontist I saw yesterday would have to refer me on to someone else if I opt for surgery, she couldn't exactly give me a lot of information. The eccentricities of the British NHS are such that, as an adult, I would have to go to a private clinic (such as the one I've already registered with) and pay full price for the relatively minor orthodontic moved slowly involved in the non-surgical option, but if I choose surgery, I can go on a waiting list for the local hospital and the government will pick up the bill because it's judged to be a serious medical issue. That means it'll be at least 3-4 months before I get to speak to someone who can give me more information on the procedure.

So I'm looking for any good links to information on lower jaw surgery, and some blunt honesty about the level of pain involved. The last time I was hospitalised or had a general anaesthetic I was a couple of weeks old, so it's all a step into unfamiliar territory. I just need to know more about the surgery before I can decide whether it's worth delaying the start of treatment just to be able to consider it. Are there many benefits to it other than cosmetic?

I'm also interested in finding out how other people's families reacted to this kind of treatment. My mother is kind of pushy and histrionic, and since I'm 25 and single, she won't be able bear letting me go through this alone *rolls eyes to indicate melodramatic sarcasm and insinuate that the maternal menace uses family members' medical issues to seek attention for herself*. I'm resigned to lying about the surgery date to keep her away if it comes to that, but I can't exactly hide the entire process. How did other people bring up the subject with potentially clingy and/or hostile relatives?[/i]

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#2 Post by ohmyjaw »

Hi Saffie, if you browse this message board you will find many stories from people who have had surgery, and that should probably give you an idea of what's involved. My personal opinion is that it's definitely worth it, and if you can get it done for free, go for it! It's not exactly a walk in the park; there will be some discomfort and swelling, but they will give you medication to deal with any pain you might be feeling.

As for your family, a lot of us have dealt with this problem, so you're not alone. You can try to educate them, explain the benefits, and hopefully win them over, but if not, you may just have to resign yourself to going ahead without their support. If your mother is determined to be by your bedside, I make sure she is prepared for what surgery entails (ie, your head will look like a basketball for the first few days) because the last thing you want is having to reassure someone, when you are the one who needs reassuring!

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