Maxillofacial and Me | My Class III Malocclusion

I’ve got a truly, awkward, mandible.

Somewhere along the line during my growth stage, my jaws decided to rebel on me, and shift and move in all ways that they technically shouldn’t if i’m meant to be able to use them properly.

After years of feeling a large degree of discomfort, and I won’t lie, some level of insecurity, I decided to actually take my dentist’s advice and sign up to see a maxilofacial surgeon.

Definition: Maxillofacial is the area of surgery that deals with problems of the face, head, neck, jaw and sinuses. “Maxillo-” refers to the maxillae, the two maxillary bones that make up the upper palate (roof of the mouth) and the upper jaw.  “Facial” indicates the structures of the face. – Maxillofacial Surgery. What It Is and Who Does It?

After a really informative consultation with Professor Ilankovan in Bournemouth, I learned a tonne of stuff about my face, which no dentist was actually ever able to help me understand, because this issue certainly doesn’t lie with the position of teeth. It’s 100% cranial.

Diagnosis: Class 3 Malocclusion

A malocclusion is a misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth of the two dental arches when they approach each other as the jaws close.

  • Class III: Mesiocclusion (prognathism, negative overjet, underbite) In this case the upper molars are placed not in the mesiobuccal groove but posteriorly to it. The mesiobuccal cusp of the maxillary first molar lies posteriorly to the mesiobuccal groove of the mandibular first molar. Usually seen as when the lower front teeth are more prominent than the upper front teeth. In this case the patient very often has a large mandible or a short maxillary bone.

Crikey, I mean what is that even saying to us here? In simple terms, both of my upper and lower jaws are not in sync. My lower jaw is longer and more “out” than it should be, and my top jaw is wobbling about somewhere at the back, resting on a higher level due to the steeper slop of my lower. To fix this, we need to…well basically start over with this thing.

Double Jaw Surgery.

There’s no easy way around it, it’s time to take it all apart and put it back together again in the right order.

My jaws cannot close any more than this. My back teeth, here, are 100% connecting.

My jaws cannot close any more than this. My back teeth, here, are 100% connecting.

This picture to the left, I admit, is a little scary, but it’s the only real way that I can truly get my message across how wonky this face is. That’s me attempting to give you a huge, teeth closed, cheesy grin. The big gap that comes from the jaws simply not wanting to sit together through whatever bone weirdness has grown over the years, causes me to have huge difficulty with pretty simple things, like eating a big sandwich, or chomping down on an apple.

To be able to do such wonderful things, the following needs to happen:

  • The surgeon needs to beak my top jaw and position it forward.
  • Same thing with my bottom jaw, but bring it backward.
  • He needs to remove a piece of bone from of my bottom jaw and, depending on how my later Xrays come through, another section out of the top one if he feels necessary.

There’s no quick fix, however, and the build up to the surgery requires around 9-12 months of brace treatment to prepare the teeth into their new position which will compliment the new position of my jaws, eventually.

Moving the teeth prior to the surgery actually makes the bite position much worse before it gets better. At this point, I’ve had my braces on since February 2016, so 6 months, which means I’m about halfway toward my surgery date. I then need to continue to wear braces up to another 6-9 months post op.

 

Issue breakdown from all of this face nonsense?

  • My poor little mouth hangs open whenever I’m not concentrating on keeping the thing closed.
  • Food just falls out of my mouth if it’s anything like rice, or small enough to fit through the gap in my jaws, if I don’t keep my lips super tightly closed when eating.
  • I’ve always had such a hard time pronouncing “ch” sounds, and “sch”. I just lisp and spit everywhere if I’m not careful.
  • I can’t bite down on food properly unless it’s with my very back teeth. This has sometimes had some mega scary consequences of almost having food just want to escape immediately down the back of my throat before I’ve even squashed the blooming thing.
  • I look like a muppet from side on.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am feeling so much more confident now I can see how straight my teeth are with the braces now, and when I close them together I can imagine just how massive the improvement is going to be when I’m out of the other side of surgery. Speaking of which…

The “Appearance waiver”.

Before treatment could begin (and remember, it starts at braces), I had to sign an agreement that I understood that my facial appearance will change so dramatically, that my family and close relatives agree and understand that this will be the case. If you think about it, it’s true! Try and picture me above but with that extra inch shoved upward so my teeth close, right?

Just check out my UBER INSPO: Thunder and Threads

I can relate to her “before face” so very, very much!! I mean, she’s utterly beautiful regardless, but if my results are anything like her finals, then my lordy…I’ll be so hyped. Please check her out, shes a fabulous blogger too.

Another awesome lady is Emily Pontin (@PontinEmily). She has a fab account of her jaw surgery too, over at her website, here

All of this resource from ladies like this online just helps so much with all of the waves of sudden terror at the eventual realisation of the surgery part, and how quickly the time is actually going (I thought it’d drag!!).

I’d like to carry this mini diary on with me, over the course of the next 12 months. I hope you don’t mind me sharing!

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2 Comments

    • 24 June, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      Hi Lauren!! Thanks so much for reading. Oh my gosh, good luck to your friend too. Is she keeping a diary at all? Seriously, it means a lot for your well wishes. Eek!
      Lovely blog by the way.

      Best! xx

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