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Jaw Surgery & Vita Mix - Both live on

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

My new dentist recommended that I get braces and suggested getting jaw surgery to prevent TMJ later in life. At 32 years old, I thought it was an odd request because none of my previous dentist had ever brought up that concern to me before. My husband had a decent dental plan at the time and we figured that it was probably a good thing to address.

You've heard that expression about wisdom coming with age? If only I had better advice and a dentist that actually cared about me and not increasing his revenue so he could renovate his office and buy a shiny new sports car.

Yes, my bottom teeth were a bit crooked, but they didn't impact my bite or really bother me. However, I went ahead with the procedure. First off, I had to have 4 teeth removed by the Orthopedic Surgeon and then have metal braces put on. After enough time had passed, my jaw surgery was scheduled at a hospital 5 hours away. My husband drove me to the hospital and I underwent my procedure.

I awoke with "Mr. Thirsty" in my mouth and two ice packs on either side of my face. Unfortunately, I get extremely nauseous with anesthesia and basically feel like crap. They wanted me to drink liquids but all I wanted to do was vomit. It was scary because I couldn't open my mouth and I was scared I was going to choke. They kept me in overnight and released me to go home the next day despite my inability to keep any liquid down.

The drive home was long and uncomfortable and I was dreading how I was going to manage to look after myself little lone my three young sons. Within a few days I started to feel a bit better and was able to supplement my diet with Boost drinks.

My next complication arose when I discovered I was clenching and grinding my teeth. Easy solution was to prescribe me some Valium. Oh, I was so excited because I figured that would make me so relaxed and I could have a good night's sleep. I remember taking one pill and sitting in bed for 1 hour waiting for the good time, but it never came. Phoned my surgeon and he prescribed taking more at one time and if that didn't stop the clenching and grinding he would wire my jaw shut. Oh gosh, I didn't want that to happen, but in the end I had to make the 10 hour round trip to get my jaw wired shut. A 5 minute appointment and a couple of wires.

Now, the panic really did set in for me. Realizing how incredibly vulnerable I was. If we go out to a restaurant, what can I have? Strawberry milkshake? Nope, the little bits of strawberries plugged the gaps in my teeth and I couldn't get any in my mouth. Creamed soup? Nope, little bits of veggies. And it went on and on like this. I carried a can of Boost in my purse in the event I was hungry when we were away from the house.

My best friend during this time was my Vita Mix Blender. I made whole fruit and whole veggie shakes. I tried blending spaghetti and meatballs once. Yuk. I tried Caesar salad. Double Yuk. So many meals taste awful when blended up.

During this time I realized that I had to eat to live and forced myself to consume calories. I probably dropped about 20 pounds.

I learned to talk like a ventriloquist because I couldn't move my mouth or my lips. People would say, "why don't you drink through a straw"? Ummm, because I can't put the straw between my lips to suck. It was awkward and a very long six weeks until the wires came off.

Once the wires were removed I could open my mouth wide enough to put a baby toothbrush between my teeth. My goal was to increase the width of my mouth opening.

What I discovered was if anything could go wrong, it went wrong for me. I have permanent paralysis/numbing on one side of my mouth. I developed a tori which "According to the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, tori (or torus if it is a single bump) are harmless growths of bone within the mouth. They are simply defined as hills of bone covered by normal gum tissue and are considered to be ordinary and completely healthy".

Fast forward 25 years to 2020 and I'm reminded of how the past affects my mindset as I work to shed some pounds. I'm really hoping that my arthritic hips will benefit from less weight to pack around. My vita mix is close to 30 years old and still with me. I've incorporated a lot of whole fruit and veggie shakes into my daily routine and am enjoying the taste as well as the multitude of benefits.

Oh, and I got rid of that dentist and found someone who was a much better fit for my family. The kicker is my bottom teeth are crooked again. Seriously, what was the point?

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