Did you have upper jaw surgery or lower jaw surgery?
Why have just one, when you can have both? Oh right, because both leads to much more swelling, recovery, and general discomfort — I’ll take two please!
Yes, I had upper and bottom. They moved my lower jaw back, upper jaw forward, and, if that wasn’t enough, corrected for a diagonal misalignment as well.
All together, they moved things about 12mm. Anyone out there have a bigger distance than that? (that’s what she said…)
How much did the surgery cost?
This is one of the hardest questions to answer, since it depends on so many different factors: severity, location, insurance plan, time required, and on and on…
BUT, this was one of my biggest questions as well, and it seemed like everyone was afraid to even give a ballpark number, so I’m going to tell you what it cost ME.
Remember, I have no idea what your specific needs and/or plans are, so my figures may be COMPLETELY different, and I can only speak from my personal experience for my personal surgery.
You may pay MUCH less or MUCH more, so you get the idea, right? Take these figures with a grain of salt (whatever that means)!
- ~2 years of braces (1 year pre-surgery, 1 year post-surgery) = $5,100 out of pocket
- amount insurance paid for actual surgery = $5,028.79
- my co-pay for the surgery = $300 out of pocket
- various lab fees and co-pay’s during the entire process = ~$200 out of pocket
Total Out of Pocket Cost: ~$5,500-$6,000
As you can see, the braces were the biggest cost, by far, since they weren’t covered by insurance, but I was “lucky” enough to have such a horrendous, mutant bite that insurance deemed my case extreme and covered the surgery.
Mine was considered a medical case, but if yours isn’t quite as severe, it may be considered cosmetic, which would probably leave you with the full cost of the surgery.
It’s also interesting to note that the bill indicates if I had used an out-of-network provider and/or not had insurance, I would have owed an additional $81,879.07! I’m not even sure exactly how that works or what it all means, but I sure am glad I didn’t get hit with THAT bill!
What exactly happened to your jaw? Why did you need the surgery?
Although it may have looked like I planted my skull in the middle of a heavily-trafficked railroad crossing, it was actually a much less dramatic process, where my jaw just gradually grew out of whack as I got older.
Technically, I could have managed for the rest of my life without the surgery, especially since I had never really know what I was missing. When chewing, I only had a few teeth that actually fit together, but it happened so slowly that I just naturally adapted.
If only I had known what a difference it would make when my teeth actually touched each other, I would have been filing for total disability before! It literally feels like I have a blender in my mouth now, and it’s so nice to experience what “normal” people take for granted.
I knew the surgery would make a big different, but I was still really surprised at just how much more functional it made me.
How long did it take to heal? How long does the swelling last?
The answer to this really depends on how you define “heal.” Again, my surgery was relatively complex and “major,” so your times may be a bit less.
I was in the hospital for 2 days and 2 nights following the surgery, just to ensure I was recovering well, getting adequate fluids, and stopping the bleeding. Some less severe cases may even go home the same day.
Once home, I was wired shut for about 5 weeks, and this was the most uncomfortable period, but the healing process was already in full swing.
I’d say it took about 6 months to really feel normal again, in terms of the last bit of swelling and being completely comfortable chomping back into my carnivorous diet, though I was about 75% or so after around 3 months.
Are there any risks associated with jaw surgery?
Of course, there are always risks associated with any surgery, but that doesn’t make them any less serious or worrying. Besides all the more general potential complications like infection problems or bleeding issues, one of the most pressing for me was the idea of a relapse.
There are very few patients who undergo the entire process of jaw surgery, only to have their jaws regress right back to where they were or misaligned in a whole new way.
This, of course, would require doing the entire process over again and can be a result of any number of things, including getting the surgery done too early before your jaw is done growing.
As with any surgery, it’s imperative to follow your doctor’s and surgeon’s guidelines to the letter. I took my post-op care and check-ups very seriously and was fortunate enough to not have any issues or signs of relapse at all, so please do the same!
What about the tingling/numbness?
Right after surgery, I could not feel most of my face at all, which is normal. It was definitely a slobber-fest!
Over the course of the next several weeks, the feeling slowly returned and radiated out from my lips. So, the feeling first starting coming back to my tongue, then my lips, then in a small circle around my lips, then down into my chin and so on.
The last bits of tingling and numbness lingered for several months, but you get used to it after a while, once you get your lips back — that’s the most important and frustrating part at first for eating and k-i-s-s-i-n-g (and things of that nature…)…
Do you look like a completely different person after?
Did you lose weight while you were wired shut?
Would you do it again?
What/how did you eat while you were wired shut?
I love all the questions coming in, so I’ve decided to move them to a much more organized place to make them easier to navigate for everyone. That means the comments here are now closed, so now you can ask your questions in the forums, and I’ll be able to answer them even faster.