Tuesday, September 11, 2012

To sleep, perchance to hurt less.

Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch.

The pain level of this braces installation vastly outpaces the cumulative pain of the entire previous braces experience. 

My mouth is not huge and my teeth are a tight fit, so there's little room for extra the orthodontic appliance. I have worn retainers at night religiously since I had my braces off in 2005 or so. The surgeon needs bands with rings on the next to last molar on the top and bottom on each side so that these may be used during surgery for repositioning the sections of my mandible to fit together properly.  The orthodontist had to create space for the bands to go around the teeth, but my teeth are so snug there I can barely fit the dental floss through.  A wire was inserted near the base between two teeth, wrapped up arund the top of the crevice between the two, twisted and tightened then snipped short to create tension to scooch the teeth on either side away from those molars.  The orthodontist said it would not be painful, but that I would feel some pressure and maybe discomfort for a few minutes and then it would ease up.  This has built gradually into a staggering amount of pain, perhaps the worst of my life. (yeah, I know-- I've had it fairly easy!)  Have you ever had something stuck between two teeth -- maybe a popcorn hull or somesuch-- that is unyielding and impossible to extract?  That is what this feels like, times 100.  I've never had a cavity and I clearly owe this to winning the oral enzyme lottery in part, but also because I can't stand to have crap between my teeth so I will floss thoroughly.  I hate to go to sleep with dirty teeth.  So the effect of teeth being prised apart with the wires coupled by the general sensation that my teeth are so dirty that I could grow potatoes on them has made for the sense that my mouth is having a bottom-of-the-birdcage atmosphere which to me is crazy-making.

I was so keyed up on Sunday night I barely slept, and I'm so exhausted.  I thought of drinking something to knock me out, but I feared it would not suffice to dull the pain, so *lightbulb!* I took a swig from the bottle of hydrocodone cough syrup and-- sweet relief-- I am finally drowsy (and numb) enough to hit the sack. 

This is as nothing compared to the horrors of the surgery I'll undergo, and I'll spare you most of the details.  Suffice to say it's grisly (and gristly) and not for the faint of heart.  I'm amazed at the sheer nerve of doctors who figured out to do this and what it would take.  My face will likely be bruised from around my eyes to the base of my neck.  I will be drinking mushy or liquid food for 3 weeks. My mouth won't be wired shut, but a resin bite guard thing will be affixed to the upper plate of my teeth to keep it stable as it mends.   I can't be around the pups for at least 3 weeks so that they don't jump into my face and dislodge the freshly mending bone. 

Surgery is set for December 13, two days after finals.
Crap!  I have a lot to get done, but in the mean time, I would not be broken-hearted if I have less of this pain in the meantime, and that without the aid of cough syrup.  Just the same, I'm mighty pleased to have the cough syrup.

Sorry if I'm a little loopy here, but it's because I'm loopy.  I'll try to get a picture of the spacer for you.  Sorry if the photos of my mouth are an over-share, but since the surgery is going to be a big topic for me for a while, I thought you could use the illustration of how my mandible is malformed. 


Anonymous said...

You have a tough few months; I am sorry you have to go through it. Hope it is all worth it when you complete it.


Jennifer said...

The pics are really very interesting. You'll so glad you documented it when it's all done too.