Before getting any kind of corrective jaw surgery, most people have to undergo wisdom teeth surgery first.
In most cases, wisdom teeth need to be removed anyway, so you may have already had this done.
If not, the surgeon and orthodontist not only need the extra room for hooks and devices, but if your wisdom teeth are still coming in, they could cause crowding or movement that interferes with the rest of the process.
While I’ve heard a few cases of patients getting their wisdom teeth out at the same time as their actual facial reconstructive surgery, most people, including myself, get them taken out a few months before the jaw surgery.
You need at least a few months for your mouth to fully heal before your surgeon can perform the main operation.
I loved the fact that my maxillofacial surgeon was the same one that performed my wisdom teeth surgery, so it was kind of like a trial run for me, especially since I had never been put under before.
The surgery went great and gave me even more confidence in my orthognathic surgeon.
What To Expect With Wisdom Teeth Surgery
The morning of the surgery, my Dad drove me to the surgeon’s office. You will definitely need a ride to and from, because even if you aren’t put fully under, you will probably at least have some type of laughing gas, and you will be out of it afterward.
For my first time being put under, it was pretty uneventful. He told me to count backward from 10, and I don’t even remember getting past 9, then I woke up and it was over.
I was definitely a little out of it, but I felt fine. My cheeks were very swollen for the first week or two, and it’s important not to use a straw during that initial period either, or you risk infection of the sockets where your wisdom teeth used to be.
I followed the instructions and stayed away from straws, but my cousin didn’t and said infected sockets are a very uncomfortable and painful hassle, so please follow your surgeon’s instructions.
Once your wisdom teeth are history, your orthodontist will continue to tweak things with your braces, while you heal up.
The wisdom teeth surgery itself wasn’t a big deal at all, and other than being a little sore and swollen for a week or two, it’s a small bump in the road on the path to your new smile and bite!
One of the first questions I get on a daily basis about corrective jaw surgery is, “Where do I begin?”
This comes from everyone who already knows they need surgery to someone who just wants to see what their options are and where to start.
The first thing I ask back is whether or not you already have an orthodontist.
If so, that’s where you should start, and there’s two reasons for this.
One, depending on your situation, you may be able to correct your bite with just braces, forgoing the surgery all together. While the surgery isn’t quite as scary as some make it out to be, it’s certainly no walk in the park and would be great if you can truly correct your issue without it.
Also, even if your orthodontist has already suggested surgery, they often know and work with experienced surgeons in your area, so they can give you a referral to set up a consultation.
In every orthognathic case, the orthodontist and surgeon have to work closely together in making sure that each does their job in getting you ready for a successful surgery.
The orthodontist’s job is, surprisingly, to make your bite worse. Huh?! Yeah, but there’s a method to the madness, because the ortho positions your teeth for your new post-surgery bite, so your current bite may get even more out of whack.
Don’t worry though, because the changes are so gradual, you will barely notice until it’s time for surgery anyway.
If you don’t already have an orthodontist, then that’s where you need to start.
Call around, ask some of your metal-mouthed friends, check online, or do whatever you can to find an orthodontist that you are comfortable with and can trust.
Don’t be afraid to go into a few different offices to meet and consult with various doctors, because this guy or gal is going to have their hands in your mouth for the next couple of years.
Once you sit down and discuss your options with your orthodontist, it’s time to set up the consultation with the orthognathic maxillofacial surgeon (sounds scary, right?).
During this initial consultation, come armed with every question you can think of, because this is the first true step in starting the process.
He will assess your overall bite and jaw alignment, and the office may even take new X-rays and molds. He may even be able to tell you if you’re due for underbite surgery, overbite surgery, or both, but don’t be surprised if a final determination isn’t made right away.
Some of the consultations are complimentary, especially if you’re going to go ahead with the surgery, and some charge a fee for the service.
Either way, it is absolutely worth the time and money to meet and consult with as many surgeons as you have to, until you feel completely comfortable and confident in the man or woman that’s going to be breaking your skull and bolting it back together.
Corrective jaw surgery was absolutely 100% worth it for me, but there’s no doubt that it’s a long and complex process, so having a surgeon that is willing to talk to you and answer any questions you have truthfully and honestly is essential to a great experience.
This video is an excellent visual demonstration of corrective jaw surgery, specifically upper and lower, which is what I had.
Don’t worry, it’s a digital rendering, so there’s nothing gruesome, but it’s amazing to actually see exactly what happens, where the surgeons cut, how they put it back together, and everything, all in about 60 seconds.
Check it out, and let me know if it was as eye-opening for you as it was for me:
They have a few other videos on YouTube too, if you want to browse around on their channel, but this one really stood out, so I wanted to highlight it here.
First, since there seemed to be a little confusion, let me make clear that this corrective jaw surgery contest was never about judging the best transformation, but rather to get people to submit their before and after photos, then selecting a completely random “winner” of the $20 Amazon Gift Card.
There were 13 official entries in the Before and After Pics forum, and they were all great, so thank you so much again to those that submitted. Now we’ve got the foundation of one unified place where future patients can come and see the potential results from real people.
The best part is the diversity of all the submissions, because there are younger, older, male, female, upper jaw, lower jaw, double jaw, you name it!
For complete transparency of how I chose the random winner, here was my process:
I assigned each of the 13 contestants a number of 1-13, then I went to Random.org, entered minimum number of 1, maximum number of 13, clicked Generate, and the result was number 1.
Corrective jaw surgery results can be dramatic, but even when subtle, the before and after pictures usually sum up the entire story.
I know how much people like to fast-forward to the ending, because I was searching for before and after photos before my surgery too!
What kind of results will I get?
Will there be a big difference?
Are my family and friends going to recognize me?
Will I look better or worse?
Is my face going to look “fake” a la Joan Rivers?
These are all questions that were racing through my mind, and they are questions that I still get on a regular basis from future jaw surgery patients.
I just set up a brand new section on the official Jaw Surgery Forums to try and further help people find and see real results from real people.
Wouldn’t it have been nice if you could have clicked a few buttons and seen an entire list of orthognathic surgery patients’ before and after photos, PLUS the ability to leave a comment and/or ask a question right underneath?
So, I need your help, and I’m willing to bribe you to get it.
To everyone who has already gone through the overbite and/or underbite surgery or is in the pre-surgery process, please follow the simple instructions in the video below to post your before and/or after pictures on the forums.
The contest will run from August 1st through August 31st, at which point I will randomly select a winner from the forums to receive a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate.
You can use this massive windfall to stock up on jaw surgery supplies or anything else that Amazon.com has to offer.
Of course the thought of genuinely helping out a fellow jaw surgerista should provide at least some extra value too…
Enter yourself in less than 5 minutes:
1. Watch the video below
2. Follow the instructions
3. Cross your fingers until August 31st
P.S. – The forums are located here, and if you have any trouble signing up or logging in, just leave a comment below to let me know, and I’ll be glad to help:
Hello fellow jaw surgery survivors and potential patients-to-be!
I’ve been meaning to launch this blog for a long time, and I’ve finally gotten it started. I had a pretty major surgery (even by jaw surgery standards) where both my upper and lower jaws were moved about 3 feet each (if you aren’t familiar with sarcasm or exaggeration, I suggest you find a duller jaw surgery blog now…).
I’ve been keeping a video log of the entire process: daily for the initial period right after surgery and weekly/monthly as time went on and changes were less dramatic.
It’s now been a little over a year since the surgery (though it’s been about 3 years since the preparation process began), and I’m now fully healed, braces-free, and have all the feeling back in my face.
I haven’t come across another jaw surgery video log quite as extensive as the one I’m putting together here, and I know I would have loved to see someone else go through this process in so much detail, so I hope that others considering a similar procedure will be able to learn from this blog.
I’m getting all of the videos converted and ready for upload now, so I plan to have the entire blog live and complete by the end of the month (January 2009).
Be sure to subscribe here in the meantime, so you’ll know first about the latest updates.
You can also check out a brief summary and a sneak peak of my “after” pics on my bio page.
Of course, I’ll be here to answer any questions and respond to any comments you may have, so feel free to get the discussion started in the comment section now, and keep on me to make sure I get things finished as soon as possible!