Thursday, July 7, 2016

6 years later

I'm 3 weeks shy of my 6th anniversary for my jaw surgery. My cousin just had the exact same surgery. Trent, if you are reading this - I feel for ya buddy. Just know that it is WORTH IT!

Still numb on my lower lip, on left side and continuing down my chin. Oh well. Still worth it! I had the surgery when I was 34. Since my bone structure had been growing wrong my whole life, I could only attempt to have the surgery to salvage what was left of my right condyle and fix whatever was possible to fix. I'm still happy with the results, although my face will never be symmetrical. At 40 now, I'm comfortable in my skin, and with my (still crooked) smile. I will always advocate for this surgery. As hard as it was, it truly was worth it!

Before surgery - 34 years old

6 years after surgery - 40 years old

Monday, December 7, 2015

5.5 years...still a bit numb.

Quick update. Still have slight tingling in my bottom lip on the left side. Some days I swear it's getting better. When I eat something hot - the tingling sensation gets more intense, although I still can't discern much of a temperature difference in food on that side. It's really not a big deal. I've lived with it for so long now, I don't usually think about it. It doesn't impede my speech or kissing my husband, so I don't worry about it. :)

Here is a more recent "after pic" along with my dreaded "before pic". There have been nearly 100,000 views on my blog - so I sincerely hope it is helping others!


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tingling at almost 3.5 years post-op!

I said I wouldn't write again  unless something changed...and it has. The lingering numbness that has been plauging me for nearly 3.5 years post-op is going in and out. My bottom lip gets the "tingles" more and more which is usually good, unless I accidentally bite it. :) I am ever hopeful that I'll regain more and more feeling in it, even though I was told that at about 6 months post op, whatever feeling I'm left with at that time is probably "it" for me. I still don't feel much on the left side of my chin, and still have to be extra diligent when I'm eating soup in public so I don't end up with a drop or smear of soup where I can't feel it (it happened AGAIN recently!) but other than that, I've learned to live with it and it doesn't bother me. I've had people ask recently if my jaw is more symmetrical. I'm not sure that my jaw will ever be as symmetrical as I want it to be, but the comparison from before surgery is unreal. Ultimately, I'm still happy with the results. Here is a before an after. The before picture was taken just before getting braces on - 4 years ago. I feel like I look younger now, by getting this problem fixed. It has positioned my jaw differently so the lines on either side of my jaw aren't as deep.  Both of these pictures are not touched up (note to self, natural lighting is always better). Even in the after picture, you can see the lines around my jaw, but they aren't as deep. You can also see the lines of 4 more years of maturity (unfortunately) around my eyes.
 Before                                                     After

I will always be grateful that I had the surgery, regardless of the fact that it didn't fix everything 100%. Going from chewing my food with only 3 teeth touching, to having them ALL touch now is amazing. Digestion has definitely approved along with my self esteem! I would recommend this surgery to any and all thinking about it!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

3rd anniversary of double jaw surgery.

Each year I tell myself that I'm going to call up my surgeon and tell him that even though he swears that he has never had a patient who hasn't regained full feeling....he has at least ONE. But I haven't called him. And probably won't. So, here is the update. I still have some mild numbness on the left side of my bottom lip and chin. I always keep a napkin handy when I'm eating soup - especially in public. I also still have the "divots" (see this post: but I just get Radiesse injected into them once a year and it hides it. I'm about due for some more! Here are pictures of the divots mostly gone (for before pics, click on the link above).
 This side is more noticeable than the other, and needs another injection.
This side is still smooth without the divot reappearing yet.

And here is my third year post-op before and after pics:

And here is the closer up one so you can see my smile better.
Still not perfect as far as my bite, midlines and symmetry of my face but I have never regretted it! I'm so glad that I can chew normally and have more than 3 teeth touching as was the case before the surgery. 
For anyone wondering if the pain, numbness and having your jaw wired shut is worth it, it IS.

Monday, November 12, 2012

2 + year Anniversary!

So - this post is a few months late. I meant to put a 2 year anniversary post on here - on Aug. 2, 2012.  I've had many people write to me concerning my post op this far out - so they can be aware of their own prognosis. Lately, the questions have been specific to my continuing numbness. Yes, I am still numb on the lower left side of my lip and down to the bottom of my chin - kind of a triangle shape. I am also still numb on the front right tip of my tongue and also the gums covering that lower part of my jaw, also on the left side. It just always feels like tingling - as though Novocaine from the dentist is wearing off. For a long while it bugged me - but now it's a normal part of life. I still hope to regain full feeling, but at this point - over 2 years after surgery, it's not likely. It doesn't interfere with my life - I don't bite it without knowing and I can still kiss my husband (yay!) - I just can't feel if I've dripped something down the left side of my chin. Eating soup in a restaurant is always entertaining. :) Something that has given me hope, however is cranial sacral therapy. I've only had one session, but afterwards, I felt some burning/pain in my teeth/gums behind the left side of my lip where it has been numb. It felt kind of like when a foot has fallen asleep and it tingles/burns as you stamp your foot on the ground to wake it back up - so that is encouraging! I hope to schedule another session this week. You can google cranial sacral therapy - it's fascinating! Anyway, keep the questions coming - I'm more then happy to walk the prospective patients or already operated on through this journey! Even though my jaw will never be perfect (because it grew wrong for 34 years!) and even with the numbness...I would do it again. Here is a before and after picture. The after pic was taken this morning. 

Update: Ok, now I'm realizing that you can't see my teeth very well in that pic - so here is a closer up one. You can see that my midlines no longer line up perfectly like they did immediately after surgery - but almost all my teeth touch each other when I bite (instead of only 3, like before surgery) so yay for that!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

So, ONE YEAR AGO today I voluntarily had my jaw broken to bits, then put back together better.

First, the cons: my lower left side of my bottom lip is still numb/tingly. All the way down to the bottom of my chin. Sometimes I can feel hot/cold and sometimes tingly pain - which still gives me hope that ALL the feeling will return someday. My doctor said he's never had a patient NOT regain full-feeling so I hope I'm not the first! The right tip of my tongue has just the slightest amount of tingling to it. It was also numb up until about a month ago - so I know things are still healing back together! Also a "con" - my face is not symmetrical. I really thought it would be. I'm disappointed it's not. My midlines do not match up. I thought they would. I have "divots" in the side of my jaw - where it must've been broken and shifted so the bone no longer matches up. I wear my hair down a lot because of this. Will the bone fill back in, eventually? Will I need to get "fillers" there to make it look normal? Also, my skin was stretched so much during the procedure (and I'm not so young anymore) that I feel that the skin on my face sags slightly- something that I wasn't aware of before surgery. I still have questions. I need to call my doctor.

Now, the pros: Previous to surgery, I only had THREE teeth line up that I could use to mash my food. Now, they ALL do, so eating is much easier. Also, my jaw has moved slightly back into the correct position. Not totally - but still an improvement. It no longer pops, clicks or gives me headaches. Yay!

I know the "con" list is longer, but the "pro" list is more important for overall heath. Bottom line is - Would I do it again? Emphatically I answer, "YES!"

Here are some recent pictures that shows the difference.
I LOVE before/after pictures! :)
First, this shows the "divot" or indentation now in my jaw bone (in the after shot).

Here is my "Before" and "1 year after"
You can see it's DEFINITELY not perfect. But it is much better than it was!

Before braces and surgery - and 1 year later!

So, I will always be the girl with the "crooked" smile.

But I can usually work the camera angles to allow for a good "shot" here and there....

....and as long as I didn't pass it on to my kids....

...and my family loves me the way I am.....

Then I'm ok with the results!

If/when the numbness in my bottom lip goes away - I will post again. Otherwise, this is
Tamara's Double Jaw Surgery signing off.

This is regarding the divot in my jaw. It's still there, but I've had Radiesse (dermal filler) injected into that spot to smooth it out. One side of my face still looks smooth, but on the other side the divot is coming back, which means it's time for more Radiesse. Small price to pay for the overall benefits!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

8 months and counting...

I haven't posted in a while - and since I'm now past that 6-8 month mark that my doctor talked about - I figure I should say something! It's been about 8.5 months since surgery. I still have an area in the front right part of my tongue that is numb-ish and tingles, and also the left bottom half of my lower lip going all the way down to the bottom of my chin. It also tingles, so I'm still hopeful that my nerves will continue to heal and I'll be back to normal by my 18 month mark. My mid-lines are no longer perfectly aligned, but they are much better then they were. My jaw still doesn't look symmetrical but I'm not willing to undergo another surgery to correct it further. All in all, it's an improvement on what it was before and it's much easier to chew my food! Here are a few pictures taken between the time I got my braces off in December, until now. For anyone about to undergo the journey (or is thinking about it) feel free to ask me questions! I gained a lot of my knowledge by perusing through others' blogs as well!

I think the best part for me is that I'm not "afraid" to smile anymore. I still don't think my smile is my best asset or perfect in any way - but it's such an improvement from how I used to feel about it, that I grin all the time without thinking about it! It's great!

Friday, December 3, 2010

4 month anniversary and the braces are OFF!

Yesterday marked 4 months ago that I had my double jaw surgery - on Aug. 2nd. So glad that's over with! I'm supposed to have about 90% of the nerves reconnected by now, and I'd say I'm probably at about 85%, so not too far behind! Today was a momentous day - I got my braces off after 1 year and 6 days of having them on. In the beginning it was estimated that they'd be on for 16 months "at the longest". Today my ortho said the reason they are coming off so quickly is because the jaw surgery went so well. Here is the great part of today - Jared had no idea they were comning off! The last thing he knew, I was scheduled to get them off on the 13th - in another week and a half! Ha ha, I'm so sneaky! :) Here are some pics I took to document today. I was taking them all myself - and I'm shocked that I aimed well enough!

In the car, ready to go in!

In the chair. Hurry up already!

Sharon taking off my lowers.


This was a beautiful moment!

I did this a lot. "Rinse please".

That's half the battle!

Dr. Luddington, my new best friend.

Off comes the top row!

Almost done...

2 brackets were left on - to band together and sturdy my top teeth for the retainer process.

Etching the back of my two front teeth for the perma-retainer.

Bonding it to my teeth. It's only behind my two front teeth. I will also get a removable retainer with a fake tooth to hold the spot of my missing molar until I get my implant done.

Yay! Another happy customer!

Time to go home and surprise Jared!

It took about 15 minutes of grinning at him like an idiot before I pretty much outright told him! Hee hee hee. I'm so sneaky for keeping it a secret for so long!
(can you tell how much Jared looooves pics?)

Just in time for Christmas! We need to take some family photo's now!

My BEFORE pic - from just over a year ago (left) and now (right). Can anyone see a difference?
So - everything still isn't perfect, or symmetrical. But at this point - when all is said and done -
I think I'm ok with it!

Thanks for letting this happen Jare. Love you forever!