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Removed my splints and a Few FAQ (Surgery +12w1d)

The splints in my mouth are out!!! Good riddance.

Sorry for the blood, a bit gross I know, but I was too excited to take a picture.

The tissue (gums, palate) that were covered by the splints are a bit tender. I’m supposed to brush with a baby soft tooth brush and told to avoid toothpaste for 2-3 days due to the acidity. I’m good with that.

My teeth feel more solid than ever. I’ve been told to lay off of anything too hard. I’ve previously tried to cheat and bite into a macadamia nut for fun, or a harder tortilla chip. That has resulted in some soreness when tried it. However, the key thing that I was told is that if I break off a brace it could set me back months if they have to go backwards on the brace wire stiffnesses that they’re going forward with. At a minimum I’m looking at braces for six months, but it could be more with bad behavior :). I’m going to try my best not to be too rough.

I’m also told I will be still doing the same rubber bands for another few months until my bones completely completely heal. It’s OK. I’m completely used to wearing two bands at all times at this point.

Swelling is way down compared to the beginning. I’m feeling almost normal in the face. With continued acupuncture, my numbness is fairly low: I’d say I’m 90% recovered on numbness, with some light tingling when I run my finger gently on my chin. Acupuncture is amazing.

It hurts when they put the needles in now, but it’s worth it.

Aside from various small colds and viruses causing some limitations in my total lung capacity (last 10%), my breathing is very good nasal and thru mouth.

I did my first Myofunctional visit in same day as removing the splints. I was able to open my jaw to have a gap of 32mm. Virginia notes that the target is 50mm though even a 42mm would be a good place to be (my opening pre-surgery). There’s a lot of tightness in my cheek muscles and lips and I need to work out all those sore points before my mouth opening can increase more.

I ran into someone at work I don’t work with all the time. They seriously treated me like a random person they never met. It was great. I had a good laugh explaining that it was me and he knew about my surgery, but didn’t realize how intense it was going to be.

I had some people reach out about the surgery and I think there are a few common questions to address:

  • Get the full diagnosis. How much it costs depends on what you need done.
  • Read your insurance policies for coverage. They may have specific requirements to pay for mma or for jaw joint replacement etc.
  • Yes, in the end I totally think it’s worth it. In my case, every breath in the daytime is simpler and more relaxed and that has been totally worth it on top of the apnea improvements. But it needs proper diagnosis to fit your anatomy issues.

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  1. Hi I met your wife in Dr Hockel’s office yesterday, she was very sweet and very helpful. Thank you for blogging your experience, I have a much better grasp of what I’ll be experiencing November 13 when I go in for mine. Thank you to both of you. Happy healing. Can’t wait to read your next update.


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