Monday, December 27, 2010

Bye-Bye Braces!!!

Today was the day! The braces are gone!

19 months total: 6 1/2 before surgery, 12 1/2 after surgery,and now my teeth are free!
I don't have pictures or x-rays from the orthodontist yet, those will be taken at either my next appointment or the one after that.

Cleaning off the cement hurt on some of the teeth, mostly the ones in the very front and the very back. They took several impressions, and I'll go back in an hour or so to pick up my first set of retainers, and go back next week to get my more permanent ones.

I suppose I'll post again after I actually see my orthodontist (she's on vacation right now) and my OS!

<3 Stefane

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1 year

Hello All,

1 year ago I was waiting in the pre-op area, all hooked up to my IV, getting ready for a long surgery and recovery. I've been thinking about this post for awhile now , and I don't quite know what to write. Though it has been a year, the recovery certainly isn't over: I get my braces off in a week and a half, my chin is still a big block of numbness, and I'm probably going to have at least one of the plates removed.

A lot has changed since my surgery. All of my teeth it together now, and my jaw hasn't locked up in over a year. I can actually bite into foods with my front teeth (before the surgery I didn't know that "normal people" could bite into a baby carrot with their front teeth and actually take a chunk clean off). You can no longer see my tongue when I smile, nor can I touch my tongue to my nose anymore (though I hope that I will be able to once the braces come off, as I an strange and miss being able to do that!).

Somethings haven't changed that much. My muscles are still sore sometimes, since they're trying to adjust to my changing bite. Once the braces come off I think that that will change. I still get migraines, though I didn't think that the surgery would change that, since I started having migraines long before I started having jaw issues.

The numbness is still there, though I think it is getting better! There's a patch along my jawbone on the right side that feels more normal than the rest of my chin. I talked with my orthodontist about it during my appointment this week and she said that it took a really really long tome for the feeling in her chin to return completely (I don't know if I even mentioned that she had the exact surgery I had-expanding and advancing the maxilla and shortening the mandible- with the same surgeons!).

I don't see my surgeon until Jan 3, since this is their busy time of year, haha, but you'll get an update from me before then...just check out my countdown clock!!!

<3 Stefane

Monday, November 29, 2010

Again? chain broke again. It broke in exactly the same place, so there's obviously something rubbing against it that is causing it to break. I only realized this yesterday, and I'm not going to call my emergency ortho up here again. I will be back in Denver and at the ortho 2 weeks from today, so it shouldn't be a big deal. Plus, I'm heading into finals week, have 2 lesson plans due and an exam this week, and am working extra shifts at work for the next 2 weeks, so I don't have time to get it fixed right now!

Hopefully I'll post again in 2 weeks saying the Dr. W has given the final ok for the braces to come off on December 27th!

<3 Stefane

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

3 Months til Done!

Hey everyone!

In 3 months I will no longer have braces!! I really need to start another countdown clock...90 days!!! Things are going well with the braces (I did manage to get the top chain replaced): my back teeth are moving down, they're not touching all of the way yet, but they're getting there!

The nerves in my lip and chin are not cooperating as well as my teeth are. I still don't have feeling from the corners of my lips down to the bottom of my mandibular. It has me worried now, though my OS says that it takes between 6 and 12 months and I've found other sources that say it can take up to 18 months for full feeling to return. It's been 9 months...

And, since it has been 9 months (and since I haven't posted before and after pictures since about 9-weeks post op) I have pictures!





It's been a long road, and it's not over yet! I can't wait for these 3 months to fly by! Plus, after I get my braces off they'll take my x-ray (my OS has post-op x-rays, but my ortho puts all of that stuff on my patient website so I can access them) and I'll be able to post those before and afters!!

<3 Stefane

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Broken Chain

Hello everyone!

I was reminded this weekend of the struggles and headaches that accompany going to school far away from home. Every trip I take home is filled with appointments (Ortho, OS...though I don't have to see him so much anymore, Dentist, Dr...I was sick the last time I was at home), and then I leave to come back to school, with the phrase "If something feels off while you're at school/before you come back (fill in blank with what to do)..."

On Saturday night I realized that the chain on my top teeth had snapped waaaay in the back of my mouth (the second to last tooth from the back). Since I'm wearing box rubber bands on my back teeth at night, the tooth and bracket are being pulled downward, popping the wire out of the bracket. Now, the break in the chain is pulling the chain off the back tooth. No big deal...typically...but, I can just call up my orthodontist and pop in there to get it fixed. So, I called an orthodontist up here (luckily I had to go to one before, when I was having TMJ troubles...check out my first post) and am trying to get in to see him (and it would be really great if his office would call me back when they say they will!!!). I also called my ortho back home, to let them know what's going on.

So, it's just another day in the life of a college student with braces. Hopefully I can get this taken care of before the chain pulls off of my back tooth and drives me crazy!

Yours in frustration,

<3 Stefane

P.S. I'm back on the Nerontin, and there is still no change in the feeling in my lip/chin. I'm supposed to call Dr. N about upping the dosage.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lots of News!

Hello All! I have lots of news to share with you all, so I'll try to make everything short and sweet!

Funny story I can't believe I forgot to share: Leaving for Hawaii from Denver, instead of going through a normal metal detector, we went through one of those new scanner machines...and they held me for 5 minutes until they were able to identify the metal in my face. Seriously. I'm laughing about it now, but I was a bit peeved at the time.

Surgeon update: Everything looks fine, bite wise, but my chin and bottom lip are still tingly. Dr. N wants me to start taking the Neurontin again, and this time we're going to up the dosage a little. I won't see him again until after I get my braces off, which leads me to my next tidbit...

Ortho update: I have a debracing date!!!!!! Since I won't be home again until Christmas Break, it is still a long way off, but here's the scoop! She wants to do a final check on everything December 13 and then the braces will come off on December 27!!!!!!!!!!!!! All that's left to do is get my back teeth to meet, because everything else looks great! So, I have new bands to wear: boxes on my back teeth. 4 1/2 months!!!!!!

That's all for now, I'll keep everyone updated on how my nerve is healing up!

<3 Stefane

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quick Update

Hello all!

I'm working at a camp this summer (no internet) and it's my first day off, so I thought that I should write a 6 month update (6 MONTHS!!!!!!).

I went to the orthodontist before I came up to camp, and if I wasn't going to be here all summer (aka if I spent the summer in Colorado) I would likely have my braces off in August...but since she won't see me until August and I'll only be home for a week that wonderful day will have to be postponed (maybe until winter break...darn it!). On a happier note, I only have to wear my rubber bands at night now, which is really nice since I'm so busy all day I would never remember to put them back in! So my muscles are a bit more tired now, since they don't have the rubber bands holding my bite during the day, but it's never painful, just a little sore sometimes.

I stopped taking the Nurontin that Dr. N prescribed for me. After a few days at camp I realized that I needed to take allergy medicine (I have about 50 million bug bites which all swell like crazy! And my eyes were watering and I was sneezing all the time). I took both for one day...I was slightly loopy. So I stopped taking the Nerontin.

Other than that, things are going well! Hope everyone is having a great summer!

Much Love,


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Scar Tissue

As I mentioned in my post after my teeth cleaning, I had one little cavity. I got that little cavity filled today...and the scar tissue from the surgery was a bit of a problem. Since the cavity was on one of my bottom back teeth, the novicane had to be injected right around the incision. So, my dentist had trouble getting the needle where he needed it to go. That, plus the nerve issues I'm still having, led to THREE novicane injections before I was finally numb. I've probably mentioned before that I hate needles, and it was painful! My poor dentist felt so bad, because on the third one the pain shot down into my chin and lip and I basically started crying.

Now that I'm starting to get the feeling back, I can feel the tightness in my jaw I always had after dental work/novicane, but it's even worse. I popped a couple of Ibuprofen and laid down with that side of my face on an ice pack, which seems to have helped a lot.

I'm packing so that I can leave for Hawaii in the morning (yay!!!!), but I wanted to share the troubles to scar tissue with all of you.

<3 Stefane

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5 Month Pictures!

Here are a couple of pictures taken last weekend. There aren't any of my profile, but I'm really happy with how my bite and profile look!

Hope everyone is doing well! I can't believe that it has been almost 6 months since my surgery...time sure does fly.

<3 Stefane

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quick Note

So, I'm working at a summer camp, June through August. On our application they asked if we played a musical instrument. I play the flute, so I marked yes, not even thinking about the fact that I haven't played since before my surgery. When they sent me all my paperwork, it said to bring my musical instrument with me in June.
Now that I'm home I decided to pull out my flute and see how everything is so much different playing with a normal bite! I played for so many years with an underbite, it feels strange to play with my new bite. I had to play simple melodies over and over again, trying to get the notes right: even though my fingers were correct, I was out of tune! My chin and lower lip being numb is really not helping either, after 10 minutes it was really hurting, so I had to stop.

That's all for now, but I'll post pictures later this week or early next week, since I haven't posted any in awhile.

<3 Stefane

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


So, the scary teeth cleaning is over! But first I went to see my OS...

Dr. N is really happy about my bite, and about my opening. I'm back to what my max opening was before the surgery, at 50 mm. I told him about the issues I've been having with the nerves in my chin and bottom lip. It has really been bugging me lately: when it's windy or cold out, or when I rub my chin (wash my face...), it gets really painful. He told me that there are a couple of medications we could try that would help with the nerve pain. So, I decided to try Neurontin for a month and see if it helps at all. Since I'm trying this medication, he wants to see me again in June (before I go back to Michigan).

The teeth cleaning was painful, not all the time, but when she hit certain areas... I'm just really glad that it's over with! I do have one cavity, way in the back, where I couldn't brush because of the splint. Overall it wasn't too bad.

Alright, I'm falling asleep, so I'd better go to bed!

<3 Stefane

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ow, Ow, Ow!!

Happy Summer everyone!

I'm on break already, and I saw my orthodontist yesterday. She says that everything is looking good, and we just have to finish up the detail work! She'd like to get the braces off before I go back to school in August, but only if everything is perfect. I totally agree with her, and it's not that big of a deal for me to have them until October, or even Thanksgiving.

I have new bands...boxes. OW, OW, OW!!! They're not on my back teeth, but closer to the front, and they are quite painful right now! I know the pain will go away in a couple of days... I'm also worried about how the elastics are going to affect my opening. When I took them off this morning everything felt tight and I wasn't able to open my mouth as much as I have been able to. Since I see my OS on Tuesday morning and he wants me opening to 38mm, this might be a bit of an issue.

Other than that, everything is going well! I'm home for another 3 weeks, then we're going to Hawaii, then I'm going back to Michigan to work at a camp!

<3 Stefane

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hello All,

I can't believe that it's already been more than 4 months since my surgery! I haven't written in awhile, just because there's really not much to say...I am still at school, so I haven't seen my ortho or my OS since spring break. Everything is feeling fine, except my chin. It is still just tingly, and I'm getting tired of it! I want full feeling back! Most of the time it's just an annoyance, but sometimes when I'm outside for long periods of time, it starts to hurt...
I still have a gap on the right side where they expanded my top jaw. The rubber bands (or band, since it's only one) I have still is slowly closing the gap, but it's still pretty big.
This is my last week of classes, then I have finals, then I'll be heading home! I see my ortho and my OS sometime the week after next...and I'm getting my teeth cleaned. I'm really worried about the teeth cleaning part. My top gums are still numb-ish, and my bottom gums and teeth are still hypersensitive sometimes, so I'm worried that it's going to hurt. I know, I know, I survived double jaw surgery, this shouldn't scare me...but it does.
Well, that's all for now. I'll post in a couple of weeks after my appointments!

<3 Stefane

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to my old self!

I've been feeling better and better since my surgery, but this past weekend I truly felt like I was completely back to normal.

Saturday afternoon I was speaking at a conference held at my University, and I (of course...) procrastinated on writing my speech. That's not really a good thing, since I was supposed to speak for 30 minutes, lol! So, Friday night I was up really late working on it...I finished at 2 am and was still wide awake! I actually stayed awake for another hour, watching tv until I felt tired. That is the kind of energy I was used to having before this surgery, and this was really the first time I felt that I had it back :)

I'm also eating completely normally now: I was eating carrots yesterday and was amazed by the fact that I could bite off a piece of carrot with my front teeth...I've never been able to do that! My friends just laugh and shake their heads when I get excited about stuff like that...

Much Love,

<3 Stefane

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week 12: Haircut time!

It seems like everyone else gets a new hair cut after surgery, and today it was my turn!

These are the first pictures that have been taken where I think my smile looks normal! I guess my muscles are healing nicely...if only the nerves in my chin would heal that quickly! :)

<3 Stefane

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Closing in on 12 weeks!

Wow, it's hard to believe that my surgery was almost 3 months ago!

I was home last week, saw the orthodontist and Dr. N and everything is fine! There are no signs of infection in those stitches and they should completely dissolve in another 3 weeks or so...I've been cleared for most physical activity, but I'm still not allowed to do anything where I could possibly get hit in the face, for obvious reasons!

I'm pretty much eating everything now, though I'm being super careful with sticky and chewy foods! I'm getting better at chewing on the left side of my was pretty painful at first, after having chewed solely on my right teeth for this many years :)

This weekend I'm going to get to see a friend who hasn't seen me since the surgery, and I can't wait for her reaction! Everyone else saw me for the first time less that a month afterward (and I was still pretty swollen!), so it's nice to have someone who will see me for the first time this far out! I have friends who are still astonished by the change, just this afternoon one of them commented on my cheekbones, and my friend Ann has mentioned a couple of times that she can't believe the difference in my facial structure.

My chin is still pretty numb, though it is tingly now. I'm having the same reaction to cold that Kelly's ( having...whenever something cold touches the right side of my lip it feels like it travels in a line down my chin. At first I thought stuff was dripping out of my mouth, but then I realized that it was just the cold. It's weird and annoying, but the feeling is definitely coming back!

That's it for now, I'm getting my hair cut on Friday, so I'll post pictures then!

<3 Stefane

P.S. Kelly, I tried to comment on your latest post, but it wasn't working :(

Saturday, February 20, 2010


So, 3 1/2 weeks ago when I saw Dr. N he was concerned about 2 inflamed areas, one on each side of my nose. He though that the two stitches up there were infected and put me on antibiotics. I finished the antibiotics last Sunday (almost 2 weeks ago) and the areas were still inflamed and painful to the touch. I called the office and Dr. N prescribed me another round of antibiotics. I finished those on Thursday night...and the areas are still inflamed and swollen. I'm worried that it's something serious...

I'm going home for spring break next week, so I'll see Dr. N a week from Tuesday. However, I don't know what to do in the meantime. There's not much that can be done when I'm in Michigan and he's in Colorado.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Before and After

So, I figured it was time for before and after pictures!





I'm really happy with my new smile, sometimes I find myself smiling when I glance into a mirror. It's just so different (and pretty, haha). Sometimes I can't believe that it's been 9 weeks!

I still feels like I'm swollen and I'm not really seeing any changes in that (though people who only see me occasionally say there is improvement each time they see me). The gaps on each side of my front four teeth are slowly closing-the one on the left is almost gone already!

Since the infection hasn't cleared up yet, I'm still not allowed to swim :( but I was feeling well over the weekend and decided to go hiking with my friends. A winter hike up Sugarloaf Mountain, might not have been the best idea; I was exhausted by the time we got to the top, but it was fun! I wore YacTrax (those grippy rubber things on my shoes) and that was really helpful, since falling would have been really bad!

I realized as I was writing this that I never wrote a reactions post about how some of my friends reacted to the changes in my face, so I'll have to write that soon!

<3 Stefane

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Well, tomorrow will mark 8-weeks since my surgery!

Bad news first: The infection in the stitches up by my nose wasn't cleared up by the first round of antibiotics. I finished the antibiotics on Sunday night, and the area was still swollen and painful to the touch, so I called Dr. N on Monday morning. He ended up prescribing me another round of antibiotics. Hopefully this round will clear up the infection.

On to the good news!

I'm feeling fine (most of the time) I still get really tired, especially when I get stressed out. I'm really making an effort to not let myself get tired out, but it's difficult with stress from school and my busy schedule.

The swelling is going down, but it's still there. I can usually feel when I'm more swollen, and it's usually the left side that's more swollen than the right side.

My chin is still quite numb, there's a little feeling coming back along the edges. That's somehow more annoying than the complete numbness...a lot of the time it feels like something is dripping out of my mouth, when it's actually just the nerves tingling!

I'm being really careful with what I eat, and I'm not really biting into anything with my front teeth. They still feel very loose, so being super careful is better then moving too fast!

I'll be home in 3 weeks for spring break, so I'll have my next check up then!

<3 Stefane

Friday, January 29, 2010

The splint is out pictures!

So, as I said in my post yesterday, the splint is out and everything looks good!

Everything is where it should be, and there is only a little bit of ortho work to finish up :) so I should be out out of braces in 8 months!

Things are still a bit loose in my mouth (especially the front ones), and I'm still a bit puffy, but it's getting there...

<3 Stefane

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!!!!

THE SPLINT IS OUT!!!!!!!! It is perhaps the best 20th birthday present I could have ever asked for :-) It feels weird, but it also feels wonderful!

I flew home to Denver yesterday (and thankfully it was an uneventful trip) and had an appointment with Dr. N this morning and then I went straight to the orthodontist. Dr. N is very happy with my bite, but he isn't so happy with how swollen I am. I'm more swollen than I was a couple days ago, but the same thing happened after my flight a few weeks ago. Other not-so-good news, the two stitches holding my nose in place are slightly infected. It's not a big deal, but I'm back on antibiotics for another 10 days, just to make sure that it doesn't get worse...

It didn't hurt when he took the splint out, it was a little uncomfortable when he was pulling out the wires, but nothing terrible. My teeth were disgusting. I can't tell you if they were fuzzy or not because I refused to feel them with my tongue :p I brushed them for about 10 minutes...then they kind of felt clean!

The orthodontist is very happy with the way everything looks, and she thinks that I will be able to be debraced before I go back to school in August! Yay!!!!

I'm going to run errands and do some shopping with my mom, so I'll have to post some pictures later!

<3 Stefane

Sunday, January 17, 2010

4 1/2 weeks, wow!

Getting back to normal life has been a little more difficult then I thought it would be, but for entirely different reasons. I thought that my swelling was still so bad and that it was really noticeable and that people would have trouble understanding me...there is still noticeable swelling, but it's not too bad. A few of my friends have said that it gets better every time they see me :) I have a lisp, because of the splint, but I only have to repeat things occasionally, so my speech obviously isn't too bad!

My energy level is one thing that has made this last week difficult for me. I start the day off with lots of energy, but it drains quickly and then I need to rest. I had meetings that ran late two nights last week, and all I could do was sit there and try not to fall asleep...I was just exhausted! My OS told me (a million times, lol) that I need to listen to my body and rest when it tells me to rest, and I'm trying, but sometimes it's difficult with class schedules, meetings, etc!

The other thing that has made the transition difficult are the limits on activities I can do right now. I'm still in the initial "no heavy physical activity" phase, plus I can't do anything where I could get hit in the face... I want to go have fun with my friends, but I can't go sledding or skiing or snowshoeing, I can't go play volleyball, and that's what they're doing. My friends are wonderful and supportive, but they want to be outside enjoying the weather (it's "warm" and sunny), not inside watching movies or whatever...

So, enough depressing stuff, on to the good parts!

The bruising is completely gone, there's not even a tinge of yellow left! My skin is clearing up...I'm still broken out, but it's getting better. I'm only taking pain meds at night and occasionally during the day (only when I need them), so the pain has been pretty manageable.

My bite is wonderful, I'm biting into the splint perfectly! I can't wait to get the splint out and feel my actual bite!! Just 11 days left!

A tip for anyone with a splint: try that new kind of toohpaste: Isoactive toothgel. I bought some last week, and am amazed by how clean my splint feels after brushing! It gets food bits out of my splint even before I use my waterpick! Just make sure that you only use a little bit of the gel, because when it starts to foam it will fill your mouth if you use too much :)

Ok, I need to do homework and work on my online classes, but I'll leave you with some pictures!

Much love and best wishes,

<3 Stefane

Saturday, January 9, 2010

25 days down...back to normal life

Hello all! Well, I'm back at school..actually I'm staying in a hotel with my mom for a few days so I get good sleep (which wouldn't be easy in the dorms!!).

On Thursday I had my 3-week (since I won't be in Colorado 4 weeks after) post op appointment with Dr. N. He was impressed with my color- apparently I look healthy. I only have to wear my bands at night now (YAY!) because I'm biting into my splint perfectly (double YAY!!), so my mobility and opening should improve significantly!!

On the way home from that appointment I stopped by my orthodontist's office just to say hi. Everyone was so happy to see me and they all said that I looked wonderful, that my bite was perfect, etc.

Yesterday I flew from Denver to Chicago...I was in a little bit of pain during the flight, I think it was the pressure changes. However, it was nothing a few Motrin didn't relieve! I did notice that I was more swollen after the flight, and that seemed to go away overnight.

We had an 8 hour drive up to Marquette today, so my mom was worried about where we could stop to eat (where I could have some type of soup...) I found a Panera right on our route, so we ended up stopping there for lunch :) I had Macaroni and Cheese and Baked Potato soup. It was very yummy...despite the strange looks I got from a few people because I was eating it with a baby spoon!

So, that's a rundown of the last few days, and here are some other updates:

Skin- I expected to be broken out after the surgery, and was pleasantly surprised when my skin stayed clear. The clear skin lasted for almost 3-weeks after the beginning of this week I began to break out along my top lip, then my chin, and now my cheek too! I'm washing my face with my normal stuff (that has always worked well for me), but it hasn't seemed to help.

Sleeping- I'd been sleeping well from 1 week until just before the 3 week I'm having trouble sleeping again. It's probably just anxiety about starting the semester, but I've also woken up in pain a few times...

Bruising- It's mostly gone! Just a little tinge of yellow on one side!

Alright, that's all for pictures tonight, my camera is at my dorm room!

Much love and best wishes,

<3 Stefane

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year, New Face. (Day 18)

Hey All! Happy New Year! I can't believe December is over...I still look at my countdown clock and am a little shaken when I see the phrase "since my jaw surgery" and it's been 2 1/2 weeks!

I'm starting to get ready to go back to school...though I'm not sure if I'm ready yet. On one hand I can't wait to get back there and see my friends, but I don't know if I'm ready to be back to "normal life" I still get tired really easily, after a trip to the mall (lasting less then 2 hours) this afternoon I came home and took a nap! So, I'm just going to have to take it easy and listen to my body.


Sleeping- I'm sleeping much better than I was even a few days ago. I haven't taken the Ambien in 5 nights, and I usually sleep for about 7 1/2 hours then I wake up and take some Motrin, then I go back to sleep for 3 hours! I'm still sleeping slightly propped up, but I am sleeping on my side!

Bruising- The bruising is almost gone, there's just some yellowing left along my jaw line and on my neck. It's hardly noticeable, unless you're me or my mom! Today I was getting some new mineral powder at the MAC store and the lady put two different shades on my face, one on each side, but then we couldn't decide which one because of the yellowness :)

Pain- I'm still taking Motrin about every 5-7 hours and that seems to control the pain for the most part. Sometimes my face starts throbbing or there's just a general soreness.

Sneezing- OW OW OW!!! I've sneezed twice in the past 24 hours, and it hurts!!

Numbness- The feeling in my lower lip is definitely returning, it tingles and I can feel cold! However, my chin is still completely numb. More of my face feels normal, but a good portion (pretty much from my eyes right down the middle of my face) is still tingly...

Eating- It can still get pretty messy! Sometimes I do really well and just get a little bit of food on the washcloth, but other times 25-50% of the food ends up there...but it's getting better. Also, I'm drinking out of a cup all of the time now (which usually has the result of water dripping down my front, so I still use a washcloth), so no more syringes!

Swelling- I still feel (and think that I look) very are my Day 18 pictures:

Other than that, I'm doing pretty well! I'm getting out of the house more and no longer scare small children :p Things are getting better and I'm looking forward to the (still far off) day when I'll get this splint out of my mouth!

Best Wishes to everyone!

<3 Stefane