Monday, 29 September 2014

Life goes on after jaw surgery

Shame shame shame shame shame on me!  My name is Ellie and its been way too long since my last blog post :/

So my braces came off.......four and a half months ago.......and I really did intend to update my blog to show the world my lovely straight teeth, my lack of over jet and lack of over bite and how happy I was that my journey was done, and I could smile - just smile and not have to worry about which angle you might be looking at me from.  But life got in the way.

We had many family birthdays, lots of sporting events to attend with and for the kids, and well - I got married too.......and I just kinda forgot to finish my journey on my blog.  Sorry.

So, for anyone who might be interested still, here it is.....

May 11 - my (then) fiancé and I drove up to the big smoke the afternoon before, and camped in the back of the car at a truck stop so that a) we didn't have to get up so early; and b) it meant that we were on our way a whole day earlier; and c) who doesn't love going on a bit of an adventure?

May 12
But - who were we kidding, it was braces off day, so I was up at the crack of dawn waiting waiting bloody excited, and not really believing that the almost two years was up already.  As you can see - I was just a tad excited, and I think that Bernie was too - and it took FOREVER to get to 10am. 

So, my first appointment of the day involved the fitting of my fixed retainers - Dr O checked it all out, and then left me with a lovely lady who cemented the retainers on the back of my six top, and six bottom teeth.  They are kind of zig-zaggy so that it is easy to floss.  Then she removed my braces, and took moulds for my other retainers, and although I remember getting mould goo all over my face/mouth, I was really happy about it because this time they didn't have to try and wiggle it off my braces, so it didn't hurt. Yay! 

And then, it was time to go and have a celebratory lunch and smile, smile, smile, until a few hours later, when it was time to go back for my retainer fittings.  Yep - I had ribs - and they were THE.BEST.RIBS.EVER!!!

This time I got to see Dr Ong, and I remember him telling me that he and Dr D could not have hoped for a better result for me, adding that at the beginning, he didn't think it would work this well because I had issues across so many levels with my teeth/jaw/face. Alrightythen.  I am so glad that I chose to wear my sparkliest top - because I no longer felt like a freak so it was a pretty sparkly kind of day :)

My hero - Dr O.  Officially the nicest, most awesome Orthodontist EVER
I was given two different types of retainers - one - a plate with just a wire for my top teeth and to provide support to my new wider palate.  I did wonder about that because if my palate has not had support since I had my expander out a long long time ago, why would it need it now?  Anyways - if Dr O says I wear it, then I wear it.

The second type was hard clear plastic (for both top and bottom) - I imagine that it is something like invisalign (although I have never used invisalign so I can't be sure) and is made via vacuum suctioning onto the moulds taken earlier.  Dr O actually had to break the moulds to get the retainers off.  Eek. 

And I was instructed to wear the clear plastic ones during the day (all day except eating and brushing); and replace the top one for the wire plate retainer (Hawley I think) at night for three weeks.  It was a long three weeks....  Following that, I wear the clear ones at night only - and have only managed to slip up a few times and forget to put them in.  Once I went about four days - and I knew about it when I put them back in - ouch.

All is good, I have an alarm on my phone to remind me now.

I'm not sure that I can properly describe the feelings I had that day, but they included excitement, sadness, amazement, awe and such huge gratitude to Dr O & Dr D and their teams.  So much so, that I had to give Dr O a big hug - the least I could do to convey my feelings; and I cried - like a big baby because I was just so overwhelmed.  This - what he did, what they did - it changed me, not just on the outside, but the inside too.

I remember thinking many times when looking through magazines and coming across pictures of people laughing, those big wide mouthed laughs - that they just look so good - and feeling ripped off that if anyone ever took a picture of me doing that that I would just look like a freak.  And it's funny, because compared to some, I really don't feel like there is a huge difference in my appearance before vs after - that is, I still look like me, no-one would not recognise me, because I haven't really changed.  But now that I have gotten used to looking at my new face, and my new mouth and jaw without braces - when I see old photos of me I realise how much I HAVE changed, and I cringe at how long it took me to do something about it. 

And when I saw these pictures taken at our wedding, where I was laughing one of those big wide mouthed laughs - for the very first time I actually thought that I looked good like that, and I am so, so, so very glad that I did what I did.

To anyone who is deciding whether or not have jaw surgery - there are risks (just like with any surgery), not everyone has the result they are after, and some come away with permanent damage (like numbness etc).  But the same can be said for the next time you drive to work, swim at the beach or walk across the road - there are risks with that too.

Do your research, and prepare yourself, and be comfortable with what you can or cannot accept if something doesn't go quite right - that's all you can do.  From there you just have to have complete and utter faith in your team to do what they do best.  And, I have absolutely no hesitation, none whatsoever in recommending my team, to be yours too.

So, from me (Ree, not Ellie because I no longer feel like I have to hide behind an alias anymore) to you - best of luck on your journey.

If you'd like to contact me, feel free - my email address is

Ree xxx