Sunday, February 6, 2011

splint: final take

I love my splint. It took months to be comfortable in it, and it still has problems, but it has changed my life dramatically. I have almost no jaw pain now. My range of motion is completely normal (no, not what it used to be, but completely normal).

I've been jealous for a year that so many people "forget" they had jaw surgery and move on with their lives - my painful jaw, small range of motion, constantly shifting bite, slight headaches and sore teeth were a constant reminder of the surgery I had in July of '09.

Now, there are days and days that I don't even think about the fact that I had jaw surgery. I can yawn without any pain (in fact, it feels good!), I can bite into anything I want to (though I still don't bite into anything hard, just force of habit), I wake up and my jaw is in the right place and stays there - little to no shifting. I can move my lower jaw side to side and forward/back (not as much as before, but enough to shift food around in my mouth and I don't notice the difference). I can play the clarinet for a good amount of time before I feel pressure in my joints (although, that's always been there). My flute playing is improving. I've had a total of around 5 migraines in 19 months.

I've been struggling on and off with a cold the past week or so, which makes wearing the splint difficult (since my splint is my retainer connected together, I usually need to breathe through my nose - it's difficult to breathe through my mouth) - at one point last week I spit it out in my sleep for the first time in a long time. I woke up with a dull headache and achy jaw! I even wear it when I take naps, not because I have to but because it makes it so much more comfortable.

I love my splint. It's a wee bit smelly and hard to take care of, but it's amazing. Love it, love it, LOVE it.

So finally... 19 months post surgery, I consider myself back to normal in range of motion, pain, and jaw mobility. My chin and face are still a bit numb, but it doesn't bother me in the least. I'm very pleased with my results - and very glad I went through all of that awful-ness that was jaw surgery and recovery.