Tuesday, September 11, 2012

2012 Update!

Everything's going GREAT still!  Ha ha look how totally cool I can be, ha ha ha... Sigh.  Sorry 'bout this.  I was bored in a cab one day.  Don't hate-mail me about this ridiculousness.   

This is me and best guy in the universe camping in Big Sur, CA!  Straight teeth! 

NOT Smiling... But just for blog-effect!  I'm at "work" here.  Can you tell?  This is what your psychotherapist does between sessions.  Not really.  Okay really.  

Driving the PCH all convertible-like.

So long story short, NO changes and NO problems.  I continue to use my dental-guard thingy once every few weeks to keep my teeth truly in line.  Flossing with SUPERFLOSS (it's great and so much easier than those threaders, I mean COME ON).  Electric toothbrush.  But mostly just in love and happy and continuing on with life.  Once again, I would recommend this surgery, but again, be prepared for an adjustment period of up to one year.  'Til next year, you unfortunate surgery-goers. 'Til next year.  xo


  1. I stumbled across your blog. You look beautiful! I am a 44 year old female trying to work up the courage to have jaw surgery. Did you experience hair loss after the surgery? How long for most of the swelling to go down? Thanks.


    1. Hi Andrea... Thanks! I didn't have any hair loss to my knowledge, and the stiffness is bad for at least 4 or 5 months but gets easier after 2 mos. I still have some stiffness but you just live with it. It doesn't get in the way of life. :)

  2. I love your Blog, wish me luck, I'm having this surgery on my birthday, November 9, what a gift,right???!!!! lol

  3. Wow, you're giving us jaw surgery patients everywhere so much hope. Also, I just have to say you have the coolest and I must say, sort of cute Dad ever! I know I'm being silly! God my mom would be all over him in a second though! Is he single!?

  4. Stacy you noodle, that's my husband! AKA greatest man in universe :)
    Pretty sure he's not my dad - unless my dad was 6 when he had me and I somehow was raised by an imposter father while my real dad was in grade 1.

    Tell your mom "hands off lady" - yours truly,

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  6. I love your blog!! It gives me so much hope since I have the same jaw problem. I have two questions: Did you have both jaws moved or was it just the low one(plus genioplasty)?? And for how long did you have to wear braces before you had your surgery?? Thanks


    1. 1) Yes I did!
      2) I wore braces for just under 2 years, I believe. I did adjustments more often / and didn't skip an appointment in order to make it more speedy.

  7. Thanks for recommending and building up my morale to some extent. Am planning for one

  8. Hi there,

    I also have a complicated situation and have been speaking to orthodontists and to Dr. Tocchio for the last 6 months or so. I had my discrepancy "dealt with" by an ortho who extracted a tooth and aligned teeth using braces alone, however I'm not satisfied because the underlying problem (the jaw size discrepancy) remains.

    I'm speaking with a few different orthodontists now about options. Your story gives me hope that there is still something that can be done, and that I shouldn't just "forget about it" as some have told me.

    Is there anywhere I could email you with a few questions, such as which orthodontist you worked with?

    Thanks and all the best

  9. I'm not doing email, but I was with Dr. Tocchio. Much luck! Feel free to post any questions here.

  10. Hey there.. I have had my surgery already... I read your blog before hand and still refer to it often. Please forgive me if any of my questions were covered before by you - I have read and re-read it all, but my mind is still a jumble these days.
    I must confess - I am missing bread and REAL solid foods... Loving the loss of 15 lbs and counting, but I am hungry all the time. The question in all that is; How long was it for you before you could actually eat bread, crunchy things... Basically everything... without making it into a "fine mist" and still feeling safe?
    Also, did you have any trouble with depression? My surgery was 18 days ago and I find I am severely sad much of the time. I cry constantly and find myself feeling very hopeless. It scares me sometimes and I am scared that I will feel this way forever. Happiness and all my dreams from before seem so far away. Did you experience anything like this?
    You look stunningly beautiful and I am very grateful to you for posting what you did. It helps me feel like there may be a day when I don't look at my new face and want to cry.. :) I just can't get used to it. I know it's early days yet, and that you said there is a year long adjustment, but it just seems SO far away and the bleakness seems to just take me sometimes... So out of my control, you know?

  11. Hi Ems. Congrats on getting through the first few weeks. It gets better.
    One idea that might help with the food issue - take some graham crackers and break into smallish pieces, put in mouth, suck a bit, then add a thin (wafer thin) chocolate (milk chocolate). YUM!!! Saved my sanity.

    Cheesecake... Yum again. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Yorkshire Pudding (clubhouse makes a ready mix and if you add gravy it is to die for and easy to eat. But to answer your questions:

    - Bread and crunchy things? Probably about 6 weeks. But I was eating at restaurants at week 4 and 5. Just break it up and go slow. It's the slowness that is frustrating, but give yourself a break (no pun intended)!

    - Depression? COMMON! a) you are probably isolated and staying in a lot, and I see you are in Canada in January - depressing for anyone, but for you? Doubly so. The cold can also bring on the pain, am I right? I cried a bunch too, but I just chalked it up to a break up, moving into a friend's apartment (temporarily), the weather, a new job, etc etc. MAJOR TRANSITIONS can sometimes mimic clinical depression, but often people adjust within a month. If it persists for more than a month, or you have a history of depression and it feels much like it did in the past, call your doc and get a referral to a mental health professional (ask them to fax it to a hospital psych clinic. If you are suicidal or have any thoughts of hurting yourself right now, then get your post-surgery self to ER or, if you think you can wait it out a little, tell your GP to write "URGENT" on the referral and to make sure it gets to your local hospital's crisis clinic.

    Hope - YES YES YES keep the hope alive. It totally gets better, and you will get used to your face. People will take some time to adjust to you too. It can be rough at times, but try to stay neutral by watching funny movies, having short visits with friends (movies are great ways to get out), get outside (take a scarf to cover your face), get your heart going a little (it helps with mood!!!), and know that it is really only the first month that sucks ass. After that, it is a little weird, but EASIER. And, it will be sunny and warming up soon, you will have lost 20 pounds by then (lol... not that that is necessary), and you may just love showing off your new figure in the spring. Think of all the awesome clothes you can wear again! Bring out your old clothes, go to value village if you have none, or better yet, get a friend to take you to topshop or something for a fun girl's day out. Follow with a little brunch, a mimosa or martini and you're good :)

    While I say it takes a year, that is the average person. You may get there sooner. And really, it's the first couple months that are the greatest adjustment. The next 10 are just getting used to how you speak, smile, etc. It's not that much of a transition beyond 2 mos.

    Best of luck! And remember, garbage vacuous tv is your friend :) I find gulianna and bill's reality show to be hard to feel bad while watching... except for the fact that I'm embarrassed to admit that.

  12. P.S. You are ALWAYS in control of how you deal with stuff. Always. Don't tell yourself otherwise. :)

  13. Hi there,

    I guess my question is... how do I know what I "need"? It does take a certain level of maturity to admit to yourself that you want to go through with it, as I'm sure you did, especially for those of us getting work done later in life. But how did you honestly decide you needed to get a double jaw surgery and sliding genioplasty?

    When I saw an orthodontist, he decided to "fix" my bite with braces alone, even though I thought I needed jaw surgery. Two years later, I'm missing a tooth and not happy with the results, and now I want to implant the tooth and go with my original hunch which was that I needed a jaw surgery. So I have learned the lesson of not "settling" for what others tell me should be good enough.

    But how did you decide you wanted to go this route for yourself? It would really help me to figure it out as well. I saw Dr. Tocchio briefly last summer and he suggested I could either implant the tooth and get the surgery or just get a genioplasty at this point to correct the jaw asymmetry... but my gut tells me that if I just leave it as is and get a genioplasty, I may regret it later on as I haven't really "fixed" the problem.

    How did you decide what was going to be good enough for you? Did you just go with what Tocchio suggested? Did you look at 3D imaging of what the different results would yield? Did you speak with multiple oral surgeons and orthodontists?

    Just trying to get an idea of your thought process as I really don't want to mess this up again...

    Thank you.

    1. Hi there - well, how did I know? I don't know really. I think it was because I was told that without it, all the work I'd done on braces would be lost (i.e. they may go back to their old ways due to my strongly deviant jaw pulling them that way).

      Genioplasty was a last minute thing. I didn't remember agreeing to it until just before surgery. I asked what they thought, and they said it would be more proportionate with the change to my jaw so... I just took their advice. They do this all day all the time. I took a chance. In retrospect, I may not have done it, but I may have regreted that, so I can't be sure whether I did the right thing. In any event, it's here now. And that's that. I think I look okay.

      My advice? Get a consult with a good orthodontist. Dr. Cameron at Yonge and Eg is a good judge of these things, but I'm biased.

      As for whether or not I knew what would be good for me, I didn't. I didn't see 3D imaging. I just knew I wanted straight teeth and that there was a chance it could help with the TMJ. And my profile was really quite slanted. And my gums were huge. So partly function, partly aestethic. I didn't speak to many surgeons. Just Tocchio. I did research the procedure a little, and I did see about his qualifications and experience. This helped put me at ease.

      I think second opinions are very useful, but would stop at 3 "second opinions", provided the professionals you are seeing are experienced, well respected, and most importantly respectful to you. :) Hope that helps.

  14. Hi,
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience in this blog. My 18 year old daughter is considering the surgery for an open bite (both lower and upper jaw - no genioplasty).

    After meeting with the oral surgeon, we feel the need to bring a plastic surgeon in as the surgery will change our daughter's face and we would like it to be done correctly. The oral surgeon knows the mechanics of the surgery but couldn't answer specific questions about how the structure of facial soft tissue would change.

    This became a bigger issue when a girl in my daughter's class had the surgery and afterwards looked much different (according to my daughter - not for the better).

    Did you consult with a plastic surgeon?


  15. Hi there - This is a really interesting question, and not easily answered. I don't think I can really help with "advice" here in fact. My sense is that your daughter (and you and your partner) are all very worried about her face changing. I'd be most curious whether she is most worried, or whether you are most worried. Are you all equally worried? I don't want to assume anything.

    Anyway, It will change, true. It will be an adjustment. Some people LOVE their new look, and others not so much. I think it depends partly on your personality and how much you currently like the way your face looks, your age (18 is a notoriously self conscious age!), how well you adjust to any sort of change, and how much stock you put in the opinions of others. Multiple intersecting factors! Very difficult to tease out and make sense of!!! PRIME time to see a therapist about this (really - it's not easy to determine how one will respond, so if it is a major major stressor, consider talking to someone who specializes in post surgical adjustment).

    I think this is (somewhat and to varying degrees) the same for any procedure that changes something about oneself. Of COURSE changing something on yourself that you see every day (whether a breast or two, a nose, a jaw, your hair, or a prosthetic limb) will be an adjustment. Adjustments take time to get used to. Sometimes a lot of time... it depends - again on many factors.

    Plastic surgery may help her to look a certain way, but some people (not everyone) may view it as an attempt to not embrace the change, or as a way of saying that you may not accept the person that comes through the surgery unless they actually "look" the same. High stakes! It's important that the person behind the face knows that they are going to be loved just the same (I know I don't need to tell you this) and wow this sounds preachy... I didn't think I had advice, so I apologize if this is not good advice. Bear with me. Plastic surgery is foreign to me, but that's me. I think it is an individual decision, but I would want to ensure that your daughter is the one who is wanting to consider it, and that she isn't feeling like unless she looks the same she won't be treated the same. People will treat her differently at first, but it passes. They get used to it. It's also an adjustment for other people. I actually had a friend say "your face is f'd"... it's one of my best friends, and he was just surprised to see me in a new way. That was him, but he got used to it. I didn't take it personally (sort of) - it is what is to be expected. Another friend said "you look like am model!"... it's subjective. Like art.

    Those who LOVE her face now will not like any change. That likely includes you and your partner. Your daughter may love the change - who knows. Her friends may be jealous... they may feel bad for her... it depends on how beautiful they think she is right now. She may get uglier to some, and stunningly more beautiful to others. Actually I guarantee it. :)

    Go take the Mona Lisa around and ask 10 people whether they think she is beautiful. See what happens. That's beauty. highly subjective. But if you're a parent, you'll probably hate it at first. Just my 2 cents.

    Great question. I hope I didn't offend you or assume anything about you, your daughter, or your relationship. I admit I know nothing about you, and I may have got EVERYTHING wrong, lol :)

    Best of luck!

  16. One more set of questions...

    Before you underwent the treatment you decided upon, did people ever tell you you looked great already and that you were crazy for wanting to go through such an invasive procedure? Or that you only needed braces to line up your teeth and that's it? Did they ever cause you to question yourself?


  17. Hi Mark - no, I didn't get any feedback like that - I think most people knew it wasn't for aesthetic reasons but more so to not just flush the 10K I spent on braces down the drain. Which would have happened as my jaw muscles would have pulled my teeth back to where they were without the surgery over time. Not wanting that, I was happy to avoid it with surgery. I was happy to get rid of the big gums though. I never was told I had a nice smile, so I think nobody was very opposed to the idea of correcting my teeth and gums a bit.

  18. Hi,
    Pls forgive if you have already answered this question. A lot of info to sift through...
    Did you have jaw pain before the surgery? (or face, head pain? I have a recessed chin and overbite, but more importantly alot of jaw pain that refers into my face and head. Am wondering if your situation caused you pain before. Thanks!

  19. Hi Debbie. Yes I had jaw and headache pain - like a 2/10 on a pain scale. Not intolerable, but annoying. I didn't have facial pain prior to surgery. There are pain clinics that specialize in facial pain disorders, so maybe it's worth a consult? In any event, the surgery wasn't guaranteed to ease the pain, but it totally did, and I was told that I was lucky. No pain anymore these days :)
    Good luck!

  20. Well, I know you are busy getting on with your life, as I would be as well, but I sure do appreciate your comments so quickly!! I do have a lot of pain, and it has been gradually building to the painful point it is currently at. I recently had an arthroplasty on the left TMJ, and I really thought that was the culprit(SP?) of the pain. But I still have the pain. I am currently seeing a pain management doc and going to PT. But here's the thing....it seems to me like my jaw is misaligned. The left side of my jaw (which is also the side I had the surgery on) seems to hang down a little...kind of like sagging. (And it did this before the surgery too...so it's not like the surg caused this). Inside my mouth you can see, and I can feel, the soft tissue on the side close to the roof of my mouth is kind of coming down...on the left side only. So, it literally seems like the soft tissue is losing support. I am 41 years old, and this has been going on since adolescense and just getting worse. I wore braces and headgear at like age 13 or so, and I am starting to think the orthodontist put my teeth/jaw in a bad position. I used to be able to take a few tylenol and it could be controlled. I am now back and forth between hydrocodone and oxycodone to control it. This has been a great mystery as to the cause of the pain. The doctors (Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons) I've gone to thus far all specialize more in the actual joint (TMJ) itself rather than the jaw. But I think it is time I see an orthodontist and another OMS. I've been to 3 OMS's so far. I would go to a facial clinic, but I just haven't found one I trust. Everyone I hve been to seems to immediately think its this mysterious nerve pain, but to me, I know it is muscle pain. The question still remains, though, what is causing it. And finally, I wonder if I went through a process similar to yours, if the pain WOULD go away. One sign that tells me maybe it might, is that I have been put in a splint (mouthguard) that goes on the bottom teeth since the surgery. Previous to this, I was put in 5 other splints...yes, 5. And they all made my pain worse - instantly. The key is that none of them supported my mandible. So I wonder if a surgery like this would help build up the support of the jaw and I wonder if they can do any work on soft tissues (I don't mean gums). I know you're not a doctor, but any feedback you have is appreciated given your experiences. I feel like I am really just figuring this out and I've been to a million places/doctors and one dentist. I certainly cannot be on painkillers for the rest of my life, and so far, that, besides the splint, seems to be the only that helps.

  21. And one final note....the thing that causes me the most pain, is TALKING. The more I do it, the worse it gets! And I'm a social person (as you can probably tell by my lengthy post), so this has been very dificult. I go back and forth between saying I'm not going to see or talk to anyone, to just saying, "screw it"...I'll talk to my friends as much as I want and spend an hour crying later.

    Thanks for listening.

  22. You look better and beautiful.


  23. Just a quick response to those who were questioning whether they needed surgery - I am on day 6 after a sliding genioplasty, and I considered the operation for YEARS before I even went to see a doctor.

    For me, the main issue was that I was worried about seeming vain, how other people would react, etc., etc. I finally realized that it was something I wanted to go through with, I wasn't happy with the way I currently looked or how my mouth 'felt' and the only person I needed to justify that decision to was myself.

    I have no regrets about doing this, although I have been fortunate that my procedure went very well. Good luck with your surgery, and thanks to 'jaw surgery aficionado' for such a great blog.

  24. Hi! First of all thank you for posting your journey, it's very useful and it's helped me prepare for my upcoming double jaw surgery. I just have one quick question - how soon after the surgery were you able to walk around and stand in one place for a long time (not anything strenuous mind you)? This is the thing that worries me the most because I play marimba in marching band, and my surgery has to be right in the middle of band camp. I'm super worried about missing out and hurting the ensemble, so I'd like to hear that you were up and walking the next day (but only if that's the truth!). Thanks again!

  25. Hi Marianne - uh, no I wasn't up and walking the next day. Not by a long shot. I would personally (this is PURELY my own advice) tell the band sorry, this is more than just dental surgery, and I'm going to be OUT OF IT for at least 10-14 days. I would trust (no, I would force) them to survive and to figure out a way to handle it and to give me time to recover.

    You are not a neurosurgeon (as far as I know)... you are in a marching band, and there is a BIG difference. By the way, I LOVE marching bands, so it's not like I don't get the desire to be there and to pull your weight, but you will not have the energy. I had trouble standing to catch a subway at the 2 week mark. I had to sit down while waiting for the subway. If you told me I had to go march in a band (keep in mind my love of the marching band), I would have ended it on the tracks right then and there. Just no.

    Ok, hope that helped :)
    Seriously, take time off. For realz.

  26. It's a blessing that I found your post on the net, I'll try it and see how it goes, saved me time and headache trying to figure it out by myself.

  27. At this point I'm just starting to look into this - have seen a couple of orthodontists and have an appointment with Dr. Tocchio in a couple of weeks. Both orthos have said it looks like double jaw surgery. Your blog is great - thanks. How long were you actually off work and how long before you could be understood? I know that's different for everyone. I'm also concerned that as someone older than most who do this - I'm 54 - healing may take longer, nerve regeneration and all that. This long after your surgery are there ongoing effects?