Jaw Surgery – Part 1

Dann olive office

Olive  was watching a video of a Ricky Gervais stand-up routine when this pic was snapped.

Many people have suggested that I should be writing about the experience leading up to my pending orthognathic (jaw) surgery. As I write this, the surgery is a couple of days away. I’ve contemplated this for some time. If it would be worth while to share a complete experience or no experience at all. Save for a few witty comments on Twitter. In this weekend leading up to Tuesday morning, I have given in to the temptation to write a few lines about it. It’s an excuse to work in some personal writing while I plan and work on other writing.

In my view, Graham Kent’s website is the best resource available to describe this surgery in the best written language. There are other sites on the web that share some beneficial information and personal experiences. So far, every other one I have seen offers something interesting to read. Every experience is different. I’ve continued to refer back to Graham’s site for reference points. So should anyone else who may be facing this surgery in the near or distant future.

I was fortunate to have the same dentist for the first 20 1/2 years of my life. He is still working today in a small village practice in Cape Breton. There were few problems throughout those first 20 years. During my first year living out west in 1999, I started to develop very sensitive teeth on the left side of my bite. I started to brush with specialized toothpaste, not thinking anything was seriously wrong. In November of that same year, I returned to Nova Scotia for six weeks for an extended holiday break. Since I still had some coverage under my Dad’s medical plan, I made an appointment to see the good doctor before returning to Alberta. They were unable to work on the left side of my mouth because of having so much sensitivity. It turned out because I was clenching and grinding my teeth at night, I wore down so many, so bad, that they needed fillings to protect them. 

What was supposed to be a routine appointment turned into a painful cycle of needles and fillings. I left the dentists’ office with 7 total new fillings. Fillings that were not due to any cavities. It was not enough though! Christmas Eve I was back at his office, getting the eighth filling needed to protect another tooth. This part of the story is important because it has been suggested that the clenching and biting may have possibly been the start of my bite being so messed up. 

Throughout my life it was suggested that I should never need braces and that my wisdom teeth will never have to come out. This was a constant source of relief and made trips to the dentist office easier. A few years ago, my present-day dentist sat down with me to tell me that she thinks I am going to need surgery to correct my bite. For as long as I could remember, I knew something seemed off about the bite but thought nothing of it. No dentist prior to her ever suggested that I would need to do something about it. So you could imagine after years of being told that I should never have any problems, how irate a person could feel being told that surgery would be required. I felt betrayed and very confused. Why did no one alert me to this years ago? Could they have known that something was wrong? So many questions. 

It would be several months later when I would agree to getting braces and starting the process to get in the queue for jaw surgery in due course. That day is now approaching. Having this process going forced me to face my own deep insecurity about my smile. There are many reasons I do not like appearing in photos.

Having a smile I can barely stand to look at, is one of them.

To be continued 






2 thoughts on “Jaw Surgery – Part 1

  1. As a recovering addict who neglected her physical health for decades (including teeth), I can absolutely understand where you’re coming from. I’m still in the process of trying to fix all the damage I did. Sending you good wishes for your surgery!

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