Sunday, July 29, 2012

They say patience is a vertue.

My next appointment with my oral surgeon is in three weeks and time just feels like it is dragging along! During this next appointment I will get to find out what exactly they will be doing during my surgery, but most importantly they are going to be sending off my insurance pre-authorizations. My surgery can't get scheduled until the authorizations are approved, even though my surgery was already approved for the surgeon in Seattle, the process has to start all over with my new surgeon. I'm starting to get really antsy about the whole thing; I just want more answers! It could also be because all I think about now is my surgery or because it seems like a lot of people have had a lot of hang-ups due to their insurance, probably both.

In the mean time I have just did my first video for my YouTube channel. I need to occupy myself somehow, even if it is still surgery related. Tell me what you think. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Who wants to break my jaw?!

Just a warning, this is going to be a long post!

Where I live there is only one oral surgeon and he doesn't do these types of procedures on a regular basis my orthodontist referred me to an oral surgeon in Seattle, Washington that he works with a lot. Seattle is about 12 hours north from me. I had a consultation with the oral surgeon last July, only a couple months after I got my braces, since I was going to be in the area anyways visiting family. The consultation with him was pretty straight forward, but not very informative.

I don't know if it was because I didn't really know a lot about the surgery which caused me not to have a lot of questions or he didn't really offer much information, but as I started to do more of my own research I felt less comfortable with the idea of going all the way to Seattle to have such a major surgery. I asked him about how many total visits I would need to make to see him and he said it was either 2 or 3 depending on if I was going to have just my lower jaw done or both.

That isn't very many visits and that was including the visit to have the surgery! I have seen people's videos on YouTube and they go to their surgeon at least once a week for the first few weeks after their surgery. That, on top of the distance, changed my mind about having him do my surgery. Luckily, I did receive the letter he had sent to the insurance company to request authorization and a letter he had sent to my orthodontist about my consultation, those two letters were very informative and I'm going to share a couple parts with you.

The letter that was sent to my insurance company stated the diagnosis of maxillary vertical excess with mandibular retrognathia. It also said that the surgical plan included maxillary LeFort I osteotomy with mandibular bilateral sagittal osteotomy, with oral surgical splints.The letter that was sent to my orthodontist contained the much wanted measurements I was curious about and also raised a couple questions. As of July 27, 2011 I had a Class II with an anterior overjet of 7.0 mm and an overbite of 8.0 mm. While preparing for my blog I re-read the letter and found a couple statements that I have no idea what they mean, for example, she does have a moderate to significant amount of lip incompetence with a resting lip to incisal edge distance of 7.0 mm. What does that mean? Is that good or bad? The other one was, there is a mild mandibular curve of Spee. Umm, ok...what's that? I'm planning on asking my orthodontist at my next adjustment.

Since then I have found a new surgeon, one that is in state and is covered by my insurance! The surgeon is in San Francisco, which is five hours south from me. Definitely not as far away as Seattle, but still a pretty far. My surgeon is at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and I had my first appointment with them last month on June 8th. The appointment consisted of lots of measurements, lots of pictures, lots of questions, getting a mold of both my jaws and I had to have x-rays taken, but there machine was down, so when I got back home I made an appointment with my orthodontist and had them take the x-rays and send them to UCSF. I was so surprised at how much detail they were wanting because the previous surgeon didn't spend much time looking at my mouth, a very good thing and it helped me feel more at ease with the new surgeon. I guess they considered it more of a work-up appointment than a consultation. Anyways, the plan now is that they are going to present my case at some monthly conference they have called Orthodontic Treatment Planning (OTP), I think, which is actually this Friday, July 27th.

My next appointment at UCSF is on Friday, August 17th and that's when they will present me with the treatment plan. Luckily since I have already met with a surgeon I have a good idea of what they are going to want to do. The step after that is to submit the per-authorization to my insurance and once I have the ok, I get to schedule my surgery! With the surgeon from Seattle I did have the surgery already per-authorized, so I'm hoping that there won't be a problem with the new authorization. I'm hoping that I am able to have my surgery sometime in October because I want to be able to chew by Christmas, I was some tamales! I can't miss out on that. Thankfully my work is very flexible and have told me that I can have time off, just to tell them the dates when I know them.

I guess that's it for now. My next orthodontist appointment is on Friday, August 10th and then a week after that I have my appointment at UCSF. I will keep you guys posted once I get more information.   

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hello there!

My name is Esmeralda and I will be going through corrective jaw surgery later this year (date is still to be determined) to fix my overbite/over jet. Originally I was planning on just documenting my journey on YouTube, but once I started to read the blogs that people have written on their experience with the surgery, I realized that you get more day-to-day details and personal experiences then one do on YouTube, so here I am!

My story:
Before I even went in for the consultation for my braces I was blissfully unaware of the true status of my mouth. I knew I didn't like the way my teeth looked and that I was missing a couple teeth, but I had come to accept it for what it was and didn't think much of it. I guess it was because I didn't really know many people that had gotten braces, let alone have jaw surgery to fix their bad bite, it also never occurred to me that my parents would pay for braces, not because they won't want to , but because I come from a family with seven children, so I just adapted and started smiling with my mouth close and forgot all about it. That is until I saw the picture below where my mom caught me laughing and showing my teeth. Prior to braces I smiled with my mouth closed, picture below. 

22nd birthday, October 2010

Halloween 2010

I still remember the day I had my consultation for my braces, my orthodontist looked at my mouth for what seemed like forever and then asked if it was okay if he had another patient (who was a dentist) take a look at my mouth. I kept wondering what he was seeing because I didn't really see anything wrong other than missing my upper laterals and having my K-9's drifted into their place, which is why I decided to look into getting braces. He asked me what my chief compliant was and I told him that my gaps where what bother me. He told me that he could fix that with braces, but that wasn't going to fix my problem and that I would need jaw surgery to fix everything. I had never noticed that my lower jaw didn't grow all the way and I later I found out that my two front teeth tilted back so that my teeth could meet and be able bite into things.

So there I was, 22 years old, being told that I am going to need to have surgery if I wanted to fix my bite/mouth when I've never even broken a bone! I thought about it for a moment and decided why not! I'm not going to spend money on braces and not have my teeth look perfect! That's how my journey got started. The following money I went in to have my records taken.
Pictures taken before braces.

Mold before braces

Pano before braces
Lateral ceph before braces

 I got my braces put on in May 2011. Below is a picture of my teeth the day I got my braces put on. A side effect, I guess, of getting my braces was that I could no longer smile with my mouth closed like I used to, it didn't feel natural anymore. As time went on I adjust and now after a year of braces when I try and smile with my mouth closed I feel like it is fake. Also, as part of my treatment, my K-9's were going to be moved to where they should be which meant that I had gaps on either side of my front teeth.

First day with braces
February 2012
Current photos/xrays below:

Resting side profile. When I close my lips my teeth don't touch.
Side profile while biting down.

Pano from 6/14/12

Lateral ceph from 6/14/12
I'm going to do a separate post to talk about the surgery and the oral surgeons.