First Surgery Recovery Days 41 and 42: The splint is out

Tuesday and Wednesday, February 18 and 19, 2014

After six weeks of living behind my upper teeth, the splint is out. I arrived at my oral surgeon's office at 9:45am. He snipped a few wires and pulled it out of my mouth. The most unexpected part of this process was the awful stench that resulted. Removing the splint uncovered an area of my mouth that hadn't been adequately cleaned in weeks, and it tasted and smelled awful. I had been using mouth wash and brushing my teeth plenty every day, but it apparently didn't help. My surgeon said the smell/taste happens to most patients. He cleaned my mouth as best he could, though it wasn't until later in the night when I used Listerine that the taste completely went away.

The purpose of the splint was to hold my upper jaw in place following surgery. This allowed the bones to heal with the new plates and screws. It's usually only in for 4-6 weeks, so mine stayed in the maximum amount of time. The splint was never painful, but it did make it harder for me to talk. When I started chewing soft foods, it trapped pieces of food all around it and made things more difficult, so I'm glad it's finally out.

So what's different when the splint comes out? I didn't notice anything immediately. It was strange at first to touch my tongue to the braces on the back of my upper teeth, since they had been hidden since January 8th. I have braces behind the teeth, for those that haven't been reading all of my blog entries. Talking is easier, though it seems like it's going to take a bit more time before I can speak 100% properly. Over the last six weeks I've been so used to shaping my mouth to talk with the big splint installed that I need to learn how to form my mouth to talk with it now removed.

What's my pain level? Right now the only pain I'm having is a front bracket/hook on the left side of my upper jaw. It's poking my gums. Ouch. I put some wax on it that was given to me when I left the hospital 42 days ago. I haven't needed to use any wax until now. It seems to be doing the job. I'll have my surgeon look at it during my appointment next Thursday February 27th.

I had chicken, rice and vegetables tonight. It's easier to eat with the splint out. Rice is really easy with a fork, and vegetables (boiled/steamed) are soft and easy to chew. I also pulled pieces of chicken off bone and chewed on both sides of my mouth. This may all sound great but it's still a very frustrating process to eat, and it's not very enjoyable yet. Still though, I suppose it's better than more soup.

I have 3-4 rubber bands in my mouth since my lower jaw is barely still off to the side and not lined up with my upper jaw. Instead of having them on 12 hours a day as I've been doing for weeks, my surgeon said I can undo the rubber bands most of the day and to not wear them when sleeping, but to attach them a few hours a day when possible. I've decided that I'll put them on when I get to work at 9:30, taking them off sometime in the afternoon.

As for yesterday, nothing of note happened with my jaw. I had salmon again with some vegetables, and was just ready to get the splint out. My next big moment is when I visit the orthodontist. Or maybe when I am done with rubber bands. Whichever comes first. One of these will likely happen in 1-3 weeks.

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