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My Experience with Corrective Jaw Surgery

I just heard that Bristol Palin had a corrective jaw surgery.. Boy, does that bring up memories for me! I had corrective jaw surgery years ago. I don't know if hers was as extensive as mine but either way, it's a life altering experience. Anyway, for all who are interested, I am happy to share my story with you.

I had my jaw surgery, more technically termed orthognathic surgery, when I was 14 years old. It was really rough to go through but It was one of the best things my parents have ever done for me.  My dad said when I was around 3 years old that they began to notice I had a little bit of an overbite. I assume they probably blew it off figuring it may get better but it just continued to get worse. My top teeth jutted outward, my upper jaw overlapped my bottom jaw considerably and to top it off, I didn't have much of a chin.

The main thing I remember about those years is how cruel the kids were and how much it hurt my heart to have to go to school every day. I can't even tell you how many times I heard the names "bucky bess", "buck teeth" and "bucky". Even my younger sister would tease me. It was really lonely, as I didn't have many friends. The kids would point and whisper, nobody picked me to be on their team.. you know how it goes. Kids can be so cruel. Still to this day it makes me sad to think of those experiences.

I had to go through a couple years of getting all my baby teeth pulled in order to get all my permanent teeth in and finally when I was 12 years old I got my braces on! The plan was to get my teeth in order with the braces and then move on to the surgery. So it finally came time to get my surgery to fix the overbite or more technically termed malocclusion. I actually got lucky and the oral surgeon that I went to referred me to Dr. Bell who was located in Dallas with the University of Texas Health Science Center. My surgery would be a "teaching" type surgery and many doctors in training would attend and I was also told my pictures (before and afters, pictures during the surgery) would appear in medical books! We had to make a couple trips to Dallas to see this doctor to get prepared for this surgery. There were many pictures taken of me during this whole process and many questions that first visit. It was determined that the surgery was medically necessary because of my troubles with not being able to eat properly and things like that so I was blessed that my mothers insurance paid a good portion of it.

The day finally came and I was on my way to Dallas for the actual surgery. I remember getting to Parkland Hospital and checking in. That night they actually let me have a pizza delivered to my hospital room since I wasn't going to be eating anything solid for quite some time. I had NO idea what I was in for! The surgery started very early the next morning. I don't remember anything up until I woke up in recovery 14 hours later. I remember them saying something about taking a tube out and feeling something slide up out of either my nose or my throat and I gagged but realized I couldn't move my mouth. Then I remember a nice nurse wiping my lips off with a cold, wet cloth. I was still really groggy and looking back I'm not sure exactly when but some time after,maybe even the next day or so, I remember them wheeling me to my room and stopping for a second because my dad was there in the hallway. I remember him saying something to me and then walking off and then I heard him sobbing.

A while after that, after I got to my room and had settled in, I began to feel nauseous and immediately started vomitting. My mom ran out of the room for a nurse. My jaws were wired shut so it was kinda scary but it all came out my nose and it was ok. It was mainly blood that had gotten into my stomach during surgery. My mom and the nurse came running in and got me all cleaned up. Thank goodness this was the only time I remember vomiting with my jaws wired shut!

Illustrations of the Jaw

The red part is the maxilla which they "broke" in several places and reconstructed.

The red part is the maxilla which they "broke" in several places and reconstructed.

They "broke" the mandible on both sides and extended it by inserting pieces of bone taken from my right hip.

They "broke" the mandible on both sides and extended it by inserting pieces of bone taken from my right hip.

I remember my room really well. They had what looked like some sort of wire cutters taped to the wall next to my bed and I remember sharing my room with a lady who had her arm hung in a sling from a pole. Apparently the lady had told my mom she had some sort of infection in her arm. My mom was a nurse and knew the risk of transferring that infection over to me, being in the same room so she asked to have me moved which they did. I remember some time later they took the catheter out and I felt the need to go and use the restroom. Aside from being weak I also had a huge pressure sore on my heal from being in the same position for the entire surgery so I needed help to get to the bathroom. So as they were helping me up out of bed they were warning me about my appearance and saying that I should wait a while to look at myself in the mirror. I was still curious about what I looked like and didn't think much of what they were saying until I actually did look in the mirror. It was quite a shock and it took a minute to realize it was even me I was looking at. My head was very swollen, my lips were crusted and bloody (from being dried out during the surgery), there were bandages all around my head, neck and chin and I had two black eyes. I looked like I had been hit by a truck or something!

I was in the hospital about a week and they let me go home. It was a rough ride back home but we made it. That next 7 weeks were absolutely torture! I felt like I would starve to death. I had to eat with a syringe with a small tube on it. My jaws were wired so tight that I could barely get that small tube in the space behind my molars in the back of my mouth. My meals consisted of thinned out liquids and eventually I just stuck with chocolate milk since it was the only thing that even tasted right. I had a couple of fainting spells during those 7 weeks, I guess just from lack of solid food.

On two occasions soon after I got back home from having the surgery, I woke at night panicking because I could hardly breathe through my nose and had to rush to the ER. The reason was because of gross, sticky mucous and chunks of blood that was still draining and clotting from the surgery. They had to push soaked gauze way up into my nose and pull it back out (along with all the gross stuff) in order to clear my nose so I could breathe properly. From then on I had to clean my nose daily with saline spray. My jaws were wired somehow with a plastic white mouthpiece between my top and bottom teeth sort of like a mouthpiece for football players. They had wires weaved up through my braces through that piece very tight (and also internal wires that ran up into the bones of my face up toward my cheeks) so I couldn't breathe at all through my mouth.

I finally made it to the day I got my jaws un-wired along with taking the plastic splint out from between my bite. It was a piece of cake though it felt very weird to be able to open my mouth again- it's almost like I had to relearn how to open my mouth but it felt so good to be able to breathe through my mouth again. Soon after that I had to go to have the internal wires that ran up through my facial bones to my cheeks removed. They literally had to be "jerked" out and that was pretty painful but the doctor was very satisfied with the outcome and so was I.

Basically what they did during the surgery was they went in and "broke" my bottom jaw and took bone from my right hip to reconstruct it and extend it to match the top one and also from what I understand, did some "breaking" and reconstruction of the top jaw and facial bones connecting everything back together with 30 screws and 9 plates (or 9 plates and 30 screws-can't remember!) and I also got a chin implant.

By the time I got my jaws unwired I was 15 years old which started a whole new journey in my life with a whole new set of challenges- having such low self esteem yet starting to get a lot of new attention mainly from the opposite sex due to the onset of puberty. It was kind of a recipe for disaster but I'll get into that in another hub :0) Looking back I do wish I could have gone to counseling after the surgery to help me adjust to the major change that had taken place in my life especially at that critical age of 15.

Even though it was quite a lot to go through, I would do it all over again in a second. It was all completely worth it-every single bit of it. Looking back on all this, I feel the need to seriously thank my mom and dad for having this surgery done for me and for being there for me during that time. I can not imagine how my life would be if I had not had it done.

I will add some before and after pictures to this hub as soon as I can find some... Thank you for reading :)

A Fellow Hubbers Experience with Jaw Surgery

  • Corrective Jaw Surgery Procedure
    These are the highlights of my jaw surgery regarding the hospital stay and my recovery time at home. Symptoms after surgery included excessive swelling, weight loss and pain. Different aspects of the day of surgery are addressed to provide the reader


John on July 30, 2016:

I had maxillary advancement Lefort 1 3 segments done 3 weeks ago. I was supposed to have it done when I was 17, but my mother refused. After 15 years I finally had the procedure, and the benefits are already worth it. I have had no complications and by the fourth day of recovery, I already felt better than before the Surgery. Yesterday, I went swimming in the ocean and my life is pretty much back to normal, I still can't wait to get the splint out, but it's growing on me. I'm pretty much eating whatever I want of relatively soft food. Just cutting it up reallyrics small and not chewing, but just kinda mashing it with my tounge.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 16, 2015:

Scroll to Continue

Kiara- Its been a very long time since you commented& I'm terribly sorry I am just now replying. Time just got away from me. I don't know if you will even read this or you may have already had the surgery but what I want to say to you is that if you haven't done it, you should do it. It will change your life. It will be scary but if I can do it, I promise you can do it too :) Best of luck to you!!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 16, 2015:

Kristen Howe- It was quite a lot to go through but so worth it though. Thank you so much for dropping by and reading about my experience :)

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on September 12, 2015:

Jamie, that sounds painful surgery to me. Yikes! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Kiara on April 06, 2015:

I'm 15. My doctor told me that i need to have a jaw surgery as i have underbite. But i am so scared, not being able to eat solid food, not able to breathe very well, that all freaked me out. i am having trouble with breathing now as i got an asthma. i couldn't imagine a life with my mouth being wire shut for a while and with braces..

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on August 19, 2013:

Melissa.. Wow.. blast from the past... sounds JUST like my surgery with the braces and jaws wired shut.. etc. I'm so sorry it was such a bad experience for you... and being 12 I can understand why. It is traumatic for an adult much less a 12 year old child. I am actually surprised that the docs did it on you so early... I always understood it was imperative to wait until a particular age to be sure that your bones are finished growing. Perhaps that is the reason for the pains and clicking you are having?? Are you happy with the outcome as far as appearance?

Thank you for dropping by to read my story. I wish you the best of luck :)

Melissa on August 16, 2013:

I had the same surgery when I was 12 (I am now 42). I didn't want to have it done at the time and it was one of the worst things I have gone through. Waking up with a massively swollen face, braces wired shut, and tube down my nose was just terrible. I have jaw pain and clicking...not sure if it is caused by having the surgery but I suspect that it is. I also wonder it the metal wires in my jaw are safe. I feel like my parents forced me to have this surgery because they (my father) didn't like how I looked. Yuck. I am glad to read that someone had a good experience with this type of surgery. I suspect being just a few years older was perfect (good for you...kudos to your parents for waiting)...perhaps if I had been older I would have felt more of a choice and I wouldn't feel so much anger.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on June 27, 2013:

Alicia, I'm so sorry that I'm so late reading this... according to the time frame you, you are going to get your surgery tomorrow or even today? So sorry I'm just now getting to this! I wish you the best of luck in your surgery... you will do GREAT! I think 10 days should be well enough of time for you to get better and be able to take care of your little one. This surgery will change your life... it's TOTALLY worth it. Don't worry girl... just GO FOR IT. If you need any help or advice in your recovery please don't hesitate to write me. I promise I will check back frequently to see if you have contacted me. Don't worry.. your going to be just fine :)

Alicia Harriman on June 17, 2013:

I'm supposed to have this surgery on my lower jaw to correct my overjet in 11 days. I'm lucky because my surgery will be completely free due to my husband being in the military and our insurance. I'm seriously rethinking even having it done however because we have a 6 month old and I'm afraid that I won't be able enough to care for him. My husband will only have 10 days off with me tops (if that) and I'm afraid I'll be unfit to take care of my son.... So scared! Any advice? We are in Alaska, so we have no family to help unfortunately! Thank you for your thoughts!


Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on June 16, 2013:

Thank you for reading my story! Best of luck to you on your surgery... it most definitely will be worth it for you, I'm sure :)

Ger on May 24, 2013:

I will be getting surgery jn a few months. I am so nervous. I know it will be worth it and I have to say that reading most of these stories are comforting

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on January 07, 2013:

laura- I have not been able to add photos yet.. I was 14 yo at the time so my mom has the photos I need and unfortunately some photos were lost in a house fire and the remaining are in a box somewhere and mom has yet to find them. I visited my Grandmother over Christmas and I looked at her house for photos but she has recently moved into a smaller apartment and all the other photos are in storage at her home which is being rented out to someone right now. I just haven't been able to locate any photos but I KNOW there are some out there of me before the surgery. I have a photo of me after the surgery, just not before. As soon as I get my hands on a before photo, it will go up on here ASAP. Sorry about that! Thanks so much for dropping by and reading about my experience.

laura on January 07, 2013:

I'm seriously considering this. Did you add before and after pics as I can't see them.

Abby on December 31, 2012:

Rach - I had double jaw surgery in May. The total cost of the surgeon, hospital and anesthesiologist was about $77k. Although my insurance paid most of the hospital bill, they paid the surgeon less than I was expecting (everyone involved who is not an actual employee of the hospital will bill you separately). I ended up paying $22k out of pocket.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on December 03, 2012:

Rach- Quite honestly, I don't know what the cost was, I would have to ask my mom to see if she would know or remember. I do know it was super expensive and that my moms insurance paid for a good bit of mine but my moms portion was still a few thousand (if I'm remembering right) I do know it was very expensive though.. If you have good credit and no insurance, you may be able to get it financed..there are companies especially for financing medical surgeries, procedures.etc.. If you have insurance, you may be able to get it covered if it's something medically necessary because of problems eating or breathing while sleeping,etc. You would just need to consult with a doc and I'm sure they could give you a ball park figure of what you may be looking at for that kind of surgery.

Rach on December 01, 2012:

Hi Jamie. How much did it cost as I'm wanting to get it done

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 30, 2012:

Shae- I'm glad this has been helpful for you! You will get through it and every single bit of it will be worth it. It is life changing in a very positive way. Best of luck to you :)

Shae on November 28, 2012:

This helped me so much. I'll be going though THE EXACT SAME THING ( except it will be my BOTTUM JAW). I will also being having to eat though a tube, with a liquid diet, a nod all of that ( except I will need to keep it in for 3 Monty's). I now have had braces for a year, and I hate it after the dentist tightens them. Thanks Again.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 27, 2012:

Sharkye11- Yeah.. it was a lot to go through for sure. Looking back on it, I don't remember even having a choice about it but I had such a massive overbite, I'm sure my parents felt it had to be done and the kids were so cruel about it, it was ridiculous. I was so tired of it I couldn't wait to get it done. I wish I had some photos of me back then to post on this hub.. I keep forgetting about it when I visit my mom's house. Thanks so much for dropping by and reading about my experience :)

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on November 27, 2012:

Wow. You poor thing. That sounds like one of the most awful experiences in the world. They wanted to do something similar to me to correct a bite and recessed chin. I refused. I am so glad now that I did. I can't bear the thought of not being to breathe through my mouth. I shudder thinking how awful it would be to have a flu or something with no way to breathe!

But that is just me. I am so glad it worked out for you. You were incredibly brave to endure that at only fourteen!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 22, 2012:


Absolutely, I think it would be worth it for you.... things have improved considerably since I got my surgery back in the 80's and even if I had to do it all over, just like I had to the first time I would. It was worth it for me. Try not to worry too much.. I am sure you will be just fine. It will change your life for the better, especially if your under bite has caused you significant emotional pain due to low self-esteem. It would most definitely be worth it to you :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 22, 2012:

Abbysmith4959 -I think it is possible for your body to reject the screws... absolutely. I have heard about things like that happening before. If it keeps on, I would definitely consult a doc about it. Thanks for dropping by!

kathy on November 22, 2012:

Im having an underbite surgery in about 5 weeks. Reading your story really made me realize how serious this is. I'm very nervous and scared. As much as I want to fix my overbite Im having second thoughts about it? If it would be worth of all the pain!!

Abbysmith4959 on November 20, 2012:

I'm 30 years old. When I was 28 I had orthognathic surgery due to an open bite. My problem is not with the result. It is with the screws after the fact. I have already had some removed due to a crazy infection. I don't know why they didn't remove all of them at that point. Now there is infection starting at some of the other points where there are screws. Is it possible that I am allergic to these screws, or is my body rejecting the screws? Keep in mind it has been two years since surgery.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 18, 2012:

Sallysmith- No, I don't think you are crazy. It seems like something that could happen... It makes me wonder because once in a while I'll get this little swollen place up in my gums (like up between my gums and cheek under my cheekbone on the top left side) and I wonder if it's not an infection around one of those plates or something. One time it got really swollen and even my face swelled but I was told it was an abscess and it eventually went down again. All in all, I am happy I had the surgery done though. I think my life would have turned out vastly different (and not in a good way) if I hadn't have had the surgery. Thank you for dropping by and reading about my experience :)

Sallysmith on November 16, 2012:

I had orthognathic surgery in 11/10. I have trouble complaining because I love the result. Is there anyway you can know if u are allergic to the screws that are put into your face? I've already had some removed, because of infection, (a year later), it's now been two years and I feel like I'm just allergic to the metal that was put in, because I think my body is rejecting the screws. Am I crazy?

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on November 08, 2012:

susieq- I'm thinking that there is a possibility that your health insurance would cover it... One of the reasons my mom was able to get me covered was because of the fact that I couldn't eat properly because of the uneven bite. If you are having difficulty eating, I would bring definitely bring that up to the doc.. Anything that affects your general health should be considered (in my opinion) when it comes to getting things covered by insurance. Having pain to me seems like it should be good enough reason but you know how funny insurance can be. The best thing to do I guess would be to talk to a doc. I hate to hear that your jaw is giving you trouble and are in so much pain. I hope this has been helpful.. good luck to you :)

susieq211 on November 08, 2012:

I could really use some help. I'm 34 and have been suffering from jaw pain and teeth clenching. I recently discovered I have a jaw abnormality similar to the stories here. I've done a lot of research but still haven't figured out - can medical insurance (not dental insurance) cover this, and if so, under what conditions? I am hoping there is someone out there that has experienced or knows someone who has experienced this and could help me understand in what situation medical insurance will pick up the cost of this. Any help is appreciated, thank you.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 12, 2012:

Bless your heart! Hang in there :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 12, 2012:

TavensMama- Oh my GOODNESS! Bless your heart... I know you must be in a lot of pain.. Wow... I'm happy my hub as been of some comfort to you.. but honestly, I can't imagine having to have all that done because of an accident caused by a must have hit the floor REALLY hard! Also, I couldn't imagine being a mom and going through that! I do feel your pain though I remember being on the pain killers and also how tough it was being hungry and not being able to eat. It can take quite a toll on a person.. Thank goodness you will only be wired for 3 weeks... maybe you will be able to at least try and start eating some soft foods.. at least it won't have to be pure liquid anymore, hopefully. Thank you for your super sweet comment.. for me it was tough, but in the end was completely worth it. About the pics, I have not found them yet but hopefully I will be visiting back home for Thanksgiving and will be able to locate some of them then. You said I'm a fighter... but I say YOU are a fighter.. so keep hanging in there! Wishing you a very speedy recovery :)

TavensMama on October 12, 2012:

Mine too, was the right TMJ and from what they've told me it's the most painful break you can have!

TavensMama on October 12, 2012:

Oh my goodness! I just had my jaw fixed and wired shut with 4 screws because I had a seizure and fell face first causing my chin to split open requiring stitches and also caused my jaw to break horribly. I just had it done this Tuesday that just passed and I'm in a lot of pain and it's becoming very hard to deal with. Thankfully, I have to wear the wires until the 30th (3 weeks) then he's going to put rubber bands on (not sure but I think for at least another 3 weeks) to keep my bite in tact. It's really becoming hard for me to cope with because I haven't eaten since 4 days before the surgery and I really want to eat and the pain killers make it hard because there's no food in my stomach to absorb them and I need high doses, plus my 2 year old son is with his Grandparents until I'm back to normal and I miss him sooo much and he watched the whole seizure and everything happen. Reading your story has completely changed my view on the whole thing. I mean yea I'm very happy just to be alive but it's tough like this. Seeing what you had to go through on top of the amount of time, makes me think mine is nothing now lol. If you can do that and manage and make it through that and a lot more, then I think I can too. Thank you for sharing your story and giving me some comfort and something to look forward to and I'd love to see pictures if you found any yet! Thank you for being a tough fighter :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on August 27, 2012:

cerccii- Ouch, your accident sounds like it was terribly painful! I couldn't imagine breaking my jaw that way. I'm so sorry you are still having to have surgery for that. What a mess. I think you are right, it probably is a bit easier to deal with surgeries when we are younger. I'm not sure how i would do if I had that surgery now being in my late 30's. Thank you for stopping by and for sharing your story with me. Best of luck to you and I hope all goes well with any future surgeries you may be facing :)

cerccii on August 27, 2012:

I think that I can somewhat imagine how you felt, however, I broke my right tmj snow tubing with friends in 1974, had a rib graft tmj reconstruction in 1991 and am now in need of another reconstruction. I have an anotomical mess in my tmj right now, and am on pain management for now. I do remember so well when I first broke the jaw, I was wired for six weeks, I remember crying so much also, because I was always hungry, was so unhappy and felt anger about it at times too, crying to my mother so much about my hunger. It was hard. I do also remember getting the wireing off and how surreal it felt to open my mouth. Unfortunately, in my early 30's, I began clenching and grinding and my joint became arthritic and was disinigrating. So my Maxillofacial surgeon did the 3 1/2 hour reconstruction, and I had have other surgeries before and after and that was the most painful and tramatic surgery ever. So, I can just imagine how much tramatic pain you endured with your longer and much more involved surgery so young. However, I sometimes wonder if we are more resilent when we are younger. I was 12 and had a large thyriod goiter, it was surgically removed, and I remember that it barely phased me. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on July 04, 2012:

khood12- Thank you for reading about my experience and also for commenting and sharing about your recent experience. I have heard that there are major improvements in this type surgery nowadays, so your experience should be of some comfort to those who may run across this page. Best of luck to you!

khood12 on July 04, 2012:

You poor thing. For those thinking about this surgery, things have changed alot since back then. I just had orthagnic surgery for overbite 5 weeks ago. I also had the surgery done in Dallas but with Dr. Spingola. He doesn't believe in wiring anymore unless the jaw is shattered. He also didn't band me except during the surgery. I went in that morning, and he finished the surgery in 1-1/2 hrs. and I left the next day. The 1st 72 hrs. were the worst with alot of swelling and bruising. They gave me good pain meds, so didn't experience overwhelming pain. I also kept ice packs on for the 1st week. There is still some numbness/tingling in the lower right part of my face. He said it could take a few months for the feeling to come back but he believes it will. At my 2 week checkup, he told me to start opening my mouth as much as I could so I have been able to eat soft foods since that time. It is a little hard though not just getting so tired of the same foods, but definitely better than you had it. I usually have yogurt, oatmeal, soups, pan seared fish and mashed potatoes. I want a pizza and steak so bad :-) Anyway, this surgery wasn't nearly as bad as a I imagined. I was petrified, had family and friends in Dallas to help take care of me and didn't really need it. I was pretty self sufficient after a couple of days. Hope this helps anyone that is thinking about the surgery. And, by the way, Dr. Spingola is wonderful for those in DFW area.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on May 15, 2012:

anivardiashvili- Hello, I know how you feel.. I remember how it used to feel and how excited I was to be finally having my overbite fixed. I hear nowadays they do like for kids to be at least 18.. so I imagine it is discouraging for you. I think it's just because they want to make sure that your are finished growing so that you don't have a relapse which is really a good thing. Try and hang in there..I know right now to you it probably doesn't seem like it but it really will be here before you know it.. and I wish you the very best..After the surgery, your life will change and you will feel so much better :0)

anivardiashvili from Georgia on May 15, 2012:

hey, i read your story and it was so encouraging for me. I am 15 years old and have the same problem. You have no idea about how much i am looking forward to fixxing it!However doctors keep telling me that the best age is 18 and i shouldn't fix it now..

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on April 28, 2012:

Stokermm- Oh, Wow! Hi, it's so nice to meet you! I just love your mom.. she's great! She's always so upbeat and never fails to put a smile on my face :) Thank you for reading about my jaw surgery. I hear that jaw surgery these days is a lot less invasive as it used to be. Mine was done back in the 80's... It was a lot to go through for a 14 year old but I would do it over again in a heartbeat, even as an adult. Finally having my overbite fixed really changed my life for the better. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best of luck! If you decide to do it, it will probably be a little rough at first, but every day it gets a little better and after the swelling goes down and you start getting back to normal, I bet you will feel like you have a new lease on life.. especially if you are really self-consieous of your underbite. Thank you again for dropping by! I would love to hear back sometime to see how everything works out :0)

Stokermm from Gainesville, FL on April 28, 2012:

Thanks for sharing your experience. I am Sunshine625's daughter...she speaks highly of you! :)

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on April 28, 2012:

Hi Linda, I am so glad that my experience may help someone. My daughter is going to have to have the surgery too.. but from what I understand they have improved the procedure quite a bit from back in the late 80's when I had mine done. Even though it was tough, I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was worth it :) I don't have any pics like Emily does.. mine are all my before pics are with my mom at her house 4 hrs away but as soon as I get a hold of some of them, I'm going to update the hub. Thank you for stopping by and reading and tell your daughter not to worry! I bet after the surgery and recovery she will be very happy she made the decision to do it :)

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 28, 2012:

I just read Emilybee's hub this morning about jaw surgery. I'm sharing this hub with my daughter since she's considering it for her underbite. Emilybee's kind of scared her a bit. Thank you for sharing!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on April 28, 2012:

Laura, Wow! We really had a lot in common- our ages, both in the 80's, both our moms nurses, both our mom's requested we move to different rooms.. that's amazing! It's so cool to meet someone else who had such similar experience. I can relate to everything you said in your comment.. except I don't remember smoking being allowed in the hospital but it just may be that I was not roomed with a smoker. It sounds both funny and insane when I think about the fact that they used to let patients smoke inside the hospital! The lady I was in the room initially had a staph infection from using IV drugs. My mom knew how terrible staph was and how easy it was to spread so she wanted me out of there.

Did you use the syringe with tube on it as well? It sounds like you did....I bet the roast beef juice was good..I bet it was nice and salty. I remember my mom trying several things but it was just so watered down that it never tasted right. The liquid jello sounds good too.. I know she tried to thin down mashed potatoes, white gravy, potato soup, milkshakes and things like that. If all else failed, chocolate milk would sort of hit the spot, LOL!

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and tell me some of your story.. it's so neat to meet someone else who has had to go through that, especially someone with so many similarities. My daughter is going to have to have surgery, too but I hear that they have really improved things and it's not as bad as it used to be although, her problems are not as extensive as mine were. Again, so nice to meet you! Thank you for stopping by :)

Ps Yes, they did TONS of X-Rays... I wish I could see some of those pics and X-rays now. It would be interesting.

Laura on April 27, 2012:


Thank you for sharing your story! I too had jaw surgery back in the 80s at age 13 in 1981. I so remember that feeling of being hungry as that was before the era of protein drinks, so my mom and I had to create my own. Fortunately my mom figured out how to turn potroast into liquid and I lived on that. She cooked it in a clay pot with way too much water for too long and then thru the blender and strainer. It was the only thing that had any flavor well that and liquid jello. Hmmm, maybe the liquid jello is why I ended up with needing fillings in almost all my molars within six months of the surgery.

I had surgery on both the upper and lower jaws and at that time there were very few surgeons in the country that were doing the upper jaw. I know that one was in Dallas, may he was your surgeon, but I had mine in Chicago. Did you have all the hand x-rays to see if you'd stopped growing? As well as all the facial ones. I know that I had a lifetime of x-rays in the years leading up to surgery.

And all the gauze bangading they did on the head to "reduce swelling" the doctor had told me about that, but I guess my mom wasn't there then so she cried when she saw my head wrapped in gauze. And she was a nurse so one would think that she should have expected that.

Boy have times changed, checking into the hospital the night before is now unheard of! And I too had to change my rooms because the first room that I was in the other patient was a smoker and back then you could smoke in the hospital, but as I have allergies and my mouth was going to be wire shut we knew that wouldn't work.

Again, nice to 'meet' someone else that lived thru the 80s era of jaw surgery!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on April 15, 2012:

Millionaire Tips- Yeah, it was quite a bit to go through. I think they prepared me as much as they possibly could but I was so young that I didn't really "get" how hard it would be. I was focusing more on the fact that my mouth was finally going to be fixed. The worst part about it by far was not getting to eat any real food for 7 weeks. That was torture! I'm grateful that my parents made sure it was done and it was all worth it though. I'm not sure what kind of life I would have today if it had not been done. My overbite was extremely severe.. and on top of that I didn't have much of a chin. Anyway, thank you so much for stopping by and reading about my experience :)

Shasta Matova from USA on April 15, 2012:

Wow that is amazing. I know a couple of people who have had that kind of surgery but they basically focused on how wonderful they look now, and try to forget the trauma. I can't imagine getting your jaw broken and moved like that. I hope they gave you some kind of warning about what to expect, although I'm sure just words wouldn't be enough until you actually went through it. I'm glad you are through that and that you are happy with the results.

emilybee on March 27, 2012:

Oh, they were wired, but I didn't have the splint. I commend you for being so strong at only 14 though - I just can't picture myself going thru that so young, I'm 23 and it was scary, lol. It is SOOO nice to be able to close my mouth and have my lips meet together now. If you have time check out my hubs on the surgery, I wrote one on various blended meals I tried post-op, and one on the surgery as well. Great to meet you too!!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on March 27, 2012:

Hi emilybee! Yes, we made it! It sounds like you did have it a bit easier since your teeth were not tightly wired together.. I couldn't get anything through that syringe unless it was complete liquid. My mom would try to make things that were tasty by blending foods but by the time they were all watered down and thin enough to make it through the syringe tube and into the very small space behind my molars, it just didn't taste like food anymore. It's nice to talk to someone who understands that feeling of being SO hungry and having to look at all this food and watch others eat. That family reunion was pure torture to me. I cried several times during that 7 weeks because I was just so hungry. I had a yellow legal pad (one of the long ones) and I would sit down and write every single food I wanted when I got my jaws unwired. I had like 5 sheets filled up!! Anyway, I'm so happy for you because I'm sure the surgery has changed your life like it did mine. I wish you all the best and I'm very happy to meet you!

emilybee on March 26, 2012:

Hey there! I was just searching on HP to see if anyone had written about jaw surgery experiences and I found you. I'm trying to document as much as I can before I forget. I, too, had jaw surgery on both jaws this past August. Like you, I remember being called Bucky a my older brother mostly. I'm so glad I had it done. I agree, seeing people eating afterwards was the worse. I went to my cousins's wedding exactly 1 month after surgery, it was the day after I was told I cold eat soft foods, but I really couldn't because my jaws wouldn't open enough yet. So it wasn't fun watching everyone and seeing wonderful food go to waste in front of me. I think you had it more difficult, I didn't have a splint and lucked out with no vomiting, (that was my biggest fear). But, here we are, we both survived. Way to go! Great hub and thanks for sharing your experience.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on March 25, 2012:

alessandra- Absolutely! My face changing so much for the better.. my family were telling me I should go out for Miss America! Of course, they were teasing but Yes, your face will be more beautiful and you will see a real change. I wish you the best of luck!

alessandra on March 25, 2012:

thanks a lot, i really appreciate it, good luck to your daughter too! and one more thing: when you had the surgery done, did you realize any dramatic change in your face? Because my mun is telling me that my face will be improved a lot after the surgery

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on March 23, 2012:

alessandra, I keep hearing that too.. in fact, my daughter is 18 and she will have to have the surgery soon too. I know that it's hard and you want to do it right away but it's always best to do with the doc suggest. I am still satisfied with the outcome now but I suspect I may have had a little relapse with my jaw. Not much at all.. but a little. I wish you the best of luck.. please let me know how everything goes :)

alessandra on March 23, 2012:

hey, i read your story and it was so encouraging for me. I am 15 years old and have the same problem. You have no idea about how much i am looking forward to fixxing it!However doctors keep telling me that the best age is 18 and i shouldn't fix it now..

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on March 21, 2012:

Hi Teresa, Yes! That was probably worse than the surgery itself... Having to watch people eat food when you are literally starving is not fun.

Why are you having to do the surgery again? I wish you the best of luck.. would love to hear back from you to see how you are doing :0)

Teresa Wilkinson on March 21, 2012:

hi reading your story is like dajavu for me i was seventeen when i got my i remember having to sit in front of 26 people eating xmas dinner bu ti have to have another 1 in 8 weeks hope this finds you well good luck and good health for the future

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on February 12, 2012:

teaches12345- Thank you for stopping by and reading about my experience. It was a lot more than what I was prepared for, that's for sure! I was 14 at the time though so I guess I was prepared as I possibly could be. Occasionally I wish my mouth was wired shut again so I would quit gaining so much weight! Anyway- I appreciate the vote and thanks again for stopping by :0)

Dianna Mendez on February 11, 2012:

My what an ordeal you went through. My husband had reconstructive jaw surgery about fifteen years ago but it was not as painful as yours. He would agree that it was worth all the pain. Voted up!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 18, 2011:

Angela Finley- YES...I completely understand about how traumatic it was to not be able to eat anything but liquids- that kept me really depressed so much of the time. Wow.. so sorry you are having to go through that. If you do that support group site please let me know and thank you for reading about my story and I hope all is well with your jaw and the healing process :)

Angela Finley on October 18, 2011:

WOW Jamie ~ I have a really bad fall on Sept 24, 2011... I broke my jaw in 3 places and had to have a metal plate. It has been a difficult experience. It is not the pain.. It is the uncomfort and the total liquid diet... It is hard to handle on a day to day.. It is hard to sleep and talk... But, God provides a way through each and every day... I want to start a Web Site to help people going through this situation... I had a lot of questions and just needed a support group... Food ideas etc..

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on October 10, 2011:

vocalcoach: Thank you so much for reading about my experience with jaw surgery. It was a rough time but SO completely worth it. I found out recently that my daughter will have to have surgery too but I'm hoping it will be easier on her than it was for me.. hopefully they have some newer ways of doing it now. Thank you for the feedback on my writing too... sometimes I wonder about my writing... Anyway, thank you again and take care!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on October 10, 2011:

Wow, Jamie, you have been through so much. I'm glad it worked so well for you and that you are pleased with the outcome. That's great. So wonderful of you to share you story. A very good good read. Well written and thought-out. Rated across and UP! Thank you, brave one. vc

Rick Noel on June 22, 2011:

Hi Jamie, your post brought up memories for me like the story on Bristol Palin brought up memories for you. I had a similar experience when after several years of braces, my orthodontist (2nd one) felt that breaking my upper jaw (maxilla) and removing bone and tissue to correct my overbite and provide me with a more natural look in terms of my upper gum line was the recommended course of treatment. Mind you, this was after 5 years of braces, several "headgear" and retainers, etc. My lower jaw is also smaller than normal and the surgery would correct that too. Part of the issue was low gum line that would have to be moved up. I was 10 at the time and my parents and I decided to not go with the surgery as I couldn't contemplate the procedure recovery at that age. Thanks for sharing your experience and the technical details with us.

KK Trainor from Texas on June 06, 2011:

Oh Jamie, I'm with you. I had to attend my cousin's wedding with mine wired shut and could only squirt broth into my mouth. Nice huh? And my jaw was still loosening when I began college. I was still puffy and weird looking for my first college id and had wires coming through my inner lip and attaching to my braces. Yuck!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on June 06, 2011:

KK Trainor... Wow! Thanks so much for reading my story..and I see you completely understand having been through this yourself. It is interesting talking to connect with others who have actually been through it. Looking back on it, I think the thing that really caused the most misery was not being able to eat solid food for seven weeks. I used to write down on a yellow legal pad all these different foods I missed.. I think i filled every page! Also, I remember during that time I went to family reunion and there was a table full of food that looked amazing and I just sat there and cried. One more thing, I started my freshman year in high school with my jaws wired. Talk about stressful!! I appreciate so much you stopping by! Maybe you could write a detailed hub about your experience. I would love to read it. Take Care!

KK Trainor from Texas on June 04, 2011:

I can't believe this but I went through the same thing many years ago! It was 2 days after graduating from high school and it was miserable. I was in Atlanta and I think that your doctor was the only other one in the country at the time doing these very complex surgeries. Mine was on both top and bottom jaw for my underbite. My doctor was at Emory, and I was supposed to have pins put in instead of being wired shut. Well it didn't work out that way and I woke up to a big surprise! Awful. The vomiting blood and stuffy nose. Yuck. And being so hungry! I lived on melted ice cream most of the time. My aunt cleaned out an old mustard squirt bottle and I would squirt the stuff into the back of my mouth. Once I was unwired it took forever to be able to yawn again because it just wouldn't open very far. I still have some wires in my cheeks and can't feel my bottom lip or chin, but I've gotten used to it. This was in 1987! Great reading your story, it felt like reading my own.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on May 11, 2011:

Paulina, Thank you for reading about my experience, it was hard to get through but so worth it!

Paulina GV on May 11, 2011:

WOW!!! I cannot imagine that! I have problems in my jaws and am constantly scared that sthg will happen and I will have to go through something similar!

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on May 06, 2011:

Sun Girl, Thank you so much for reading about my surgery and for the thoughtful comment. It was tough to get through but it was worth every bit of it. Just found out my daughter is going to have to go thru the same thing :( God Bless you!

Sun-Girl from Nigeria on May 06, 2011:

Wow Jamie broke ,what a painful experience you passed through at that tender age of 14 but am so happy for you that it really worked out well for you.Thanks for sharing this personal experience of yours in here.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on April 24, 2011:

Ashley, Thank you for stopping by and reading! I had my surgery done in the late 80's so hopefully they do have a better way to do it without having to wire the mouth shut.. but I really don't know. Probably it would be best to ask your doc. Just remember anything you have to go through will be WELL worth it! Best wishes to you :)

Ashley. on April 23, 2011:

Amazing !

I'm 15 and having that surgery done shortly on my bottom jaw (bottom jaw and top jaw don't aligne properly), and was curious about the mouth wiring.... Do they wore everyone's mouths shut? Or does it depend on the situation and doc?



Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on March 29, 2011:

toknowinfo.. thank you so much for reading and for the nice comment.. it was a lot to go thru but I can't imagine my life if my parents had not made sure it was done. Thank you again.. :0)

toknowinfo on March 29, 2011:

Wow what a story. I am glad it worked out well after everything you went through. It was inspiring to read and I am glad you shared it.

Gary on March 15, 2011:

I had this surgery done, a little over a year ago. Still have numbness in my upper lip and facial area. But at least my teeth meet now.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on February 16, 2011:

OUCH Christine..punching your mouth back open, sounds like that probably hurt! I've heard TMJ is painful. I have this nervous habit nowadays of clinching my jaw alot and it gives me headaches sometimes. Thank you for stopping by and reading my story.

ChristineVianello from Philadelphia on February 16, 2011:

Thank you for your story, very well written. Sorry to hear you had to go through all of that. I have TMJ, and it can be painful, I can remember when I was younger my jaw would lock and I would have to punch my mouth open.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on February 10, 2011:

Thanks agusfanani.. I appreciate you reading my story.. it was pretty hard but I made it through.. I hope I can help someone else who may be facing it and let them know it's worth it when you get to the other side.

agusfanani from Indonesia on February 10, 2011:

It's always painful dealing with teeth problems. I can imagine the torture you felt caused by the pain and your not being able to eat. Thank you for sharing your experience JB.

Jamie Brock (author) from Texas on February 09, 2011:

Thank you for reading, rpalulis.. yes, it was quite an experience. I can't tell you how many times I cried because I was so hungry.. During that time I went to a family reunion and they had a huge table full of all this food and it smelled so good.. I just went outside and cried. It was torturous!!

rpalulis from NY on February 09, 2011:

Wow, what an experience, sounds like a pretty intense surgery. I am so glad that it did work out for you and that your happy with the results. I couldn't imagine having my jaw wired shut for 7 weeks.

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