My experience with jaw surgery

All of a sudden mirror’s, taking pictures and brushing my teeth became my worst nightmare- and I hated it. Here is my experience of Jaw surgery and how I’ve never looked back since.

Before heading into secondary school I was referred to many orthodontists, I knew I always needed braces- I knew it but one orthodontist raised the question about ‘jaw surgery’ as a 13-year-old me I didn’t even know a thing like that could exist. I had to wait until I was 18 until my mouth was fully grown in order to make sure everything was going to work out. The orthodontist asked me why I wanted braces and I remember bursting into tears because it was always a sensitive topic for me.

Through your teens, you’re already going through so many changes but this was definitely something I wanted to change. I always had said yes to jaw surgery and to this day would never look back. After my Leaving Cert in 2015, I had the braces on and I felt a million dollars. This was the start of the journey. Having braces is no fun and games- With many appointments and the constant looking after the cleaning of your teeth had to be done.

Fast forward to September 2017 I was seated waiting in a hospital chair ready to be called for my operation. I had only got back to college a week but for now, the surgery was the most important thing. My very close and good friend Deirbhile rang me that morning at 5:30 am to see if I was up for my surgery. I had to be in the Mater hospital for 6:30 am (good thing I was renting in Glasnevin at the time). The night before I couldn’t sleep- from anxious to nervous all the emotions at once. My sister and mother also came up that morning for moral support and take my mind of what was going to happen.

My very close friend also had jaw surgery done a few years prior to that and had the same surgeon who was going to be doing my surgery too – so I felt much at ease and she too highly recommended to go for the surgery as well.

Around mid-afternoon, my name was called and the final details by the doctor were done and reassured me of what was about to happen. Everything seems like a blur after that. I had my surgery kit on and was wheeled to get an injection to put me to sleep so the surgery would happen. After that, I woke up a new person.

The surgery roughly takes between four to six hours (which includes the coming around after the surgery). I woke up and the nurse told me I looked like a princess (which I know I didn’t but it did reassure me). My first night in the hospital I was drifting in and out of sleep as they had given me a lot of medication to deal with the pain. But every minute you’re getting better. I had my surgery on a Friday and was let out Sunday afternoon and was back at home. I was lucky I had my neighbour who was a nurse as well, she knew the story with the surgery aftercare.

My boss from work came out to see me and was probably shocked by how I looked. You are bruised around your face but it does settle. I also went into my friend Maria after she was done for work just solely to get out of the house for a while. For the first few days after surgery you are solely on water and then soup and smoothies can be brought in to help the healing process. You then have pureed meals which you will be on for about eight weeks to let the jaws heal as chewing isn’t recommended during this time. For the first week I couldn’t talk so I depended a lot on my ‘notes section’ on my phone to type everything down. I met my surgeon once a week for the first month and then after it was back to the orthodontists until the braces are off.

Fast forward again to April 2018 and the braces are off – I couldn’t stop myself smiling. Finally the smile I’ve waited for many years. This was it, and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. If you want or need them, I highly recommend braces and jaw surgery too, I have no regrets. It was tough but the end result were worth it. I’ve never looked back.

Thanks to the team at the Mater hospital, and my orthodontist’s, my friend Deirbhile (for her encouraging support) and to all my other close friends and family and anyone who helped in the process.