SO reason for jaw surgery:
My top and bottom jaws only touched in the very back.. This makes biting into an apple pretty much impossible... along with biting all the way through the lettuce your sandwich. Aside from normal chewing, the incorrect position of my jaws cause too much stress on my back molars than normal in addition to some facial muscles. Aside from normal chewing and my overall well being... open bites.... well..they just don't look quite right. I don't think most people noticed, but especially when i was younger it was quite weird. It was actually when I was 8 years old that I was told jaw surgery was in my future because of my strange bite... 10 years later, I had grown into my mouth a little better, but my profile was a little off.
Like I said, my orthodontist and I have known about this surgery for 10 years so a lot has gone into getting ready for it. Step 1 was an upper jaw expander [VERY good thing I had this taken care of before surgery!], step 2 was braces on my top teeth to correct what damage the expander had done... Step 3 was just wearing retainers for a long time. Step 4.. getting x-rays taken at the orthodontist every 6-9 months to track my growing. No one was going to do jaw surgery on a growing mouth... thats slightly counter productive. Finally, fall of my freshman year of college, the orthodontist pronounced my growing complete, and a lovely full set of braces were installed. yay. Here i am, when all of my friends are getting their highschool braces taken off, just getting them on. Oh well. After 5 months of braces, I had my first consultation with my oral surgeon, Dr. Riek at the Mayo Clinic. Why Mayo Clinic? Because they're the best. When we're dealing with a major surgery, why settle for less than a top notch surgeon at a top notch hospital? Anyway, later in June my orthodontist decided that my braces had done their job and my teeth were now ready for surgery..The date was set for August 4th but was preceded 2 weeks by another appointment with Dr. Riek to take extensive molds, x-rays, and photos of my teeth, as well as give me some dietary guidelines to follow the surgery..... And that wraps up my 10 year orthodontist history in a nutshell. Other surgical preparation involved reading tons of other blogs from jaw surgery victims/survivors to know what to expect..I don't think you can ever fully prepare yourself though, its just too much to comprehend.
Well....I don't know if i can exactly explain the procedure very well..Let me show you some pictures so you can better understand the problem though:
Lower jaw is more prominent than the top.
kind of a weird angle, but this is my bite. you can see the top jaw doesnt fit nicely over the bottom.
.....Because i know you wanted to see this. yay for photobooth! Really though, this is me with my bite completely shut. barely any of my teeth meet!
Okay, so the problem is incorrect alignment of the top and bottom jaws... this is how mayo clinic describes the surgery on their website:
Maxillary Osteotomy (upper jaw surgery)
In this procedure, the surgeon makes cuts below both eye sockets so the entire top jaw, including the roof of the mouth and all upper teeth, can move as one unit. The teeth and jaw are moved forward until the upper and bottom teeth fit together properly.
Once the jaw is realigned, tiny screws hold the bone in its new position. These screws are smaller than a bracket used for braces and become integrated into the bone structure.
So thats what they're doing in my mouth. Basically sliding my top jaw forward. They're also setting my bottom jaw slightly back though. This involves removing some of the bone...i can't find an article explain it though so you'll just have to use your imagination. Before surgery the doctor talked about #1, bringing my cheek bones forward with my jaw, #2 adjusting my chin somehow so it would still look balanced with the new facial changes and #3, widening my top jaw...However, none of these three things happened because everything just fit together so perfectly. I'm VERY happy about this, especially the top jaw widening, because that would have seriously delayed recovery increased discomfort during recovery. When we're talking about breaking and moving bones, nerves, and muscles.....less is definitely more.