Before and After Photos

  • Pain: 0/10
  • Inconvenience: 0/10

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a mugshot!

Have you ever bitten clear through a sandwich? How about a piece of pizza? What about a hot dog? Let me tell you something: It is absolutely incredible! The mere fact that I no longer have to tear through my food like some rabid beast makes this entire ordeal well worth the time, money and discomfort. I would do it again in a heartbeat. I never knew how simple chewing was until now. It almost makes me speechless. I understand that this sounds ridiculous to those of you who were blessed with a working set of teeth, but I’d like you to know that you’re lucky. Very lucky.

As promised, I’ve returned with my before and after photos. While the change may not appear to be that great, it has made a huge difference in my life.

Before surgery (Feb. 9, 2010) – Notice the underbite (and the awkward smile).

After surgery (June 22, 2010) – Four items to note: a confident smile, the appliance in the roof of my mouth, the open bite on the lefthand side of my mouth and my off center goatee.

I had another appointment with my surgeon since we last crossed paths and he left me with the following statements:

  • Feeling should hopefully commence its long journey home to my bottom lip over the next 3-6 months.
  • The feeling I’m left with after 18 months is what I’ll live with for the rest of my life.
  • I can choose to correct my open bite enough by wearing elastics until early next year, or I can opt for another surgery to bring my molars together.

I’ve eaten everything from pasta to cereal to salad to steak. In fact, the only item I’m still unable to chew at this point is a peanut (or any kind of nut, for that matter). They’re a little too solid just yet. Despite my open bite, I’ve been chewing on both sides of my mouth, but eating something like a steak becomes quite an exhausting activity. It doesn’t keep me from eating steak every single weekend though. I’m also able to chew gum again, which I’m grateful for, considering its my one and only addiction in this world.

I even got to experience chattering teeth again on one of our cold mornings! That, however, felt less than amazing.

I know my bone is completely healed because I’ve already taken several falls landing directly on my face and had no problems at all. On a seemingly unrelated note, never let the handlebars of your bike hit a tree while riding, because that very bike will launch off the trail. And then, whether you like it or not, you’ll get to experience all the excitement of doing a flip. I’m not saying that happened to me but, well, that definitely happened to me.

The Fortress of Ensure collapsed on July 12th when I attempted to add another can to its spire. About 15 people came from every corner of the office when they heard the crash. I recycled every last piece of rubble, donating over $6 of free cans to the company. The offending building block was a can of Sun Tropics Mango juice. I imagine people will one day share tales of The Great Collapse with their grandchildren, but they’ll be referring to the Fortress of Ensure instead of the Mayan civilization.

My one last piece of advice to anyone who has recently taken part in this party we like to call jaw surgery is this: Above all else, give your body time to recover. Eventually, you’ll stop chewing on your own cheeks and lips. You’ll naturally adjust to your new mouth and you’ll be very grateful for the ability to chew properly. It took me almost a full month before I could eat a meal without accidentally eating part of my own face.

I’ll likely make one more post in approximately six months detailing the final outcome of this little adventure. Until next time!

52 Comments on “Before and After Photos”

  1. Samantha July 25, 2014 at 5:14 am #

    My overbite is worst I’m quite surprised. Mine is so horrible they said I was the worst case they ever saw and that Louisiana state university and charity want to do my double jaw surgery. Btw I know how it feels when I eat a sandwich I could only eat the bread my teeth missed the meat and cheese it’s so embarrassing. My fiancé thinks its funny also he thinks it’s funny I talk funny because of my big gap. After the jaw surgery I think imma be a little more happier people say I’m just being overly sensitive but unless people have a bad overbite and need double jaw surgery they don’t understand how rude they are. But today I’m gonna plan a day for the surgery with the surgeon and his team the results should be worth it after all the pain and I heard you cough up blood. Which makes me scared but gotta do it for myself. I’m scared imma look ugly after ._. Sigh

  2. Christy November 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Thank you for commenting! Also, did you stay really stay really stiff in your cheeks for a long time! I have a hard time talking due to numbness & just tightness! Did you force yourself to talk & move your mouth more??

    • Graham November 9, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Christy, forcing yourself to talk is something of a give-and-take situation. Talking each day will aid in the breakup of scar tissue, but it will also leave you more swollen. I tended to minimize my speaking until I noticed my swelling subsiding.

  3. Sarah November 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    Yeah, unfortunately with trumpet it sits on your front teeth, and with only three valves you do a lot of work with air flow to control which note and octave you’re actually playing at. I reached my peak with trumpet just as my braces were removed/the following weeks, but senior year I started to struggle with it, and then continued to struggle in college. I also noticed my first year of college that I was clenching my teeth in back when I was trying to play high notes–something I had never done before, and I didn’t realize until much later that I was trying to narrow that passageway just as I had before my bite opened up, but I could no longer physically do it due to my open bite.

    Unreal, indeed! I just wish I had figured it all out sooner so I could’ve spared myself from that feeling of failure. I’ve been playing clarinet for six months now, and it’s been so much easier/refreshing to be succeeding at an instrument again.

    Thanks!

  4. Christy November 7, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Thank you so much for your blog! I am 3 weeks out of double jaw surgery! I have found your site so reassuring to just know I am having all the “normal” thins going on! I have done really good since my surgery but have started having spasms petty bad since my last rubber band check!! Did you find the spasms were worse after new bands?? Also, about when did they stop??

    • Graham November 8, 2013 at 8:42 am #

      Christy, spasms got worse for me after I started wearing rubber bands as well. This is simply a product of the newfound pressure being exerted on your jaw. Spasms usually last for about 6 weeks, so you’re at least halfway through them. Exciting, right? (Hopefully!)

  5. Sarah November 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I just discovered this website today and all I could do was laugh reading the first paragraph of this entry, because it is the same frustration I have been dealing with for YEARS and it is what eventually convinced me to finally go and get my consultation to begin this journey.

    I had braces years ago, when I was in my teens. Had them for five years. Got them off my Junior year of highschool. I started off with an underbite, and while my teeth looked great when they first took my braces off, my bite opened up, and continued to open, until I literally only touched in the very back on either side, and had nearly a half inch gap between my top and bottom teeth in the front. Chewing was impossible. I have hated eating in public because it’s such a chore. Like you, I had to tear, and sometimes that didn’t even work–I would have to shove food in back and use my molars and tongue to chew. I also realized that my facial expressions did not translate well, because of the fact that my teeth did not meet like they’re supposed to. It even screwed up my original major in college (music ed major with my primary instrument being trumpet–I didn’t realize until a couple years after changing majors that my jaw issues were probably the reason I couldn’t make any headway with it).

    So I’ve had braces again for about 6 months now (nearly 10 years from the day I got them off), and have had my wisdom teeth pulled. That alone has closed the gap to about half of what it was, and has helped immensely with the jaw pain that was becoming a part of every day life for me. My surgery is probably going to be scheduled mid June of 2014. Reading this definitely gives me hope that this will fix the things I’ve hated about my teeth for good. It’s just really nice to know that I’m not alone, and what to really expect in the post op process. Thank you so much for making this blog.

    • Graham November 7, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      Sarah, I’ve never encountered anyone whose jaw issues inhibited their musical talent, but that does make sense. It’s quite unreal how many areas of our lives can be affected by something like this, isn’t it?

      Thanks for sharing your story and good luck next summer!

  6. Jesse October 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    Hey Graham

    At the 6 week mark. Been getting constant loud ringing/sharp pains in my ears. Mostly in the right one. I’m assuming it’s the feeling in my nerves coming back. Any suggestions other than toughing it out, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, Exercise which is what I am currently doing. I realise it will get better but I have University exams starting this week and finding it hard to concentrate on my study. Heard that Magnesium is good for relaxing muscles. Would that help?

    Very informative blog by the way
    Thanks

    • Graham October 15, 2013 at 10:03 am #

      Jesse, I didn’t actually experience any ear pain, so I’m not sure what to do about that. You’re right in that it’s likely a combination of nerves reawakening and muscles regaining their movement. Have you tried sleeping with a heat pack on your face to relax the muscles and nerves throughout the night?

  7. JANET June 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Graham,
    as stated on another comment section, i’m the 51 yrs old trying to decide whether to have the surgery…leaning towards…YES!! you’re before and after photos seem slight…though, noticable. you’re so precious (and made me giggle out loud) about your off center goatee! hilarious. i’ll be getting back to you as time goes on. i’m still not in braces yet (it’ll be a 2nd go round for me) and i’m hoping to have surgery in Jan. 2014?! keeping checking back.


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Note from Graham — After 4+ years of responding to each and every comment, question, and experience shared in this community, I must humbly step down from this task due to other life commitments. I've provided answers to the most common questions here (last updated July 20, 2014). Please continue sharing your stories in these comments for the benefit of future patients, and thank you so much for joining me on this journey. Cheers!

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