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.


Anonymous said...

How long do you have to wear the splint? I thought the splint was something you just wore a few weeks post-surgery?? Why are you in a splint 1.5 years post-op?

Jackie said...

YEAH!!! Congratulations Stephanie! How very exciting for you!! I'm so glad that you aren't having pain or those horrible migraines and that your range of motion is normal. Great to hear that you can play your instruments and just enjoying life without jaw pain.

I know I always felt bad that you had so many problems and I was one of the ones that was able to move on and forget as I have had very little issues. I still have numbness in my chin but it doesn't bother me either. And I just recently had to get a night guard from grinding my teeth which was causing sensitivity.

Congrats again! And thanks for keeping us posted!

Matt said...

Hi Stephanie,

I haven't checked in for a while but I am glad hear of your improvement. I am so thankful to be one of the ones that got back to normal quickly. It's been 25 months for me and my bite is as good as it can be, though not perfect. Definitely as good as it gets for me. It's amazing how much daily stress disappears when your bite is not an issue every minute of the day.

Good luck!

stephanie said...

So, the splint could also be called a nightguard by some orthodontists. It's a Damon Splint - so, it's now my retainer and it also pulls my lower jaw far forward at night and seperates the jaws apart to relieve pressure off of my jaw joints. I'll wear it for the rest of my life - just like you would a retainer.

Melissa M. said...


p.s. i am sad we are no longer facebook friends, i really liked reading about your running accomplishments... inspiring!

stephanie said...

Melissa - I would love to be your FB friend again. I had a life crisis and un-friended all but 50 friends, but I've been adding people back now. Add me and I'll add you back :)

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