Teeth/Jaw Issues

It was on a routine visit to the dentist when I was 13 that they finally picked up the fact that my teeth were not normal and were going to need treatment beyond braces. I was referred on to an orthodontist who saw me once a year until I was 16/17, basically until I finished growing. At this point it was established that I would have to get the treatment done through the public system because a) I didn't have medical insurance and b) I couldn't afford to get the treatment done privately. So I was referred on to the team at Middlemore Hospital, where I have been on a waiting list ever since.

But what is the situation exactly? Well, I have a class III malocclusion (an underbite) and an anterior open bite (my teeth touch at the back but are open at the front). I also have a lot of crowding, especially in the upper jaw.

The treatment proposed included: extraction of upper second premolars, 18 months of braces and elastic bands, bimaxillary osteotomy surgery (consisting of a LeFort I Osteotomy and a Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy), 6 more months of braces to stabilise, and then retainers. Oh, and I also have to fit a wisdom teeth extraction in there somewhere.

I underwent my orthognathic surgery on February 10 2014. I was in surgery for 11 hours, during which both jaws were operated on and I had a bone graft taken from my hip.

My top jaw was cut from my skull using the LeFort 1 Osteotomy, and then cut into four pieces. Cuts were made between my canine teeth and first premolars, and a cut was also made down the middle between my two front incisors. The whole jaw was moved forward and the front two sections were moved down to close my open bite. My whole jaw was then also widened by 6mm and the bone graft from my hip was used to fill the gap.

My bottom jaw underwent a Bilateral Sagittal Split Osteotomy, where it was cut down each side at the back so the whole jaw was in three pieces. A small chunk of bone was taken out of each side and the jaw slid back.

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