My initial follow up appointment was two weeks post surgery. They undid the rubber bands for the first time since most of the healing inside my mouth had run its course. That is still one of the most euphoric moments of my life. Being unable to clean my mouth during the rotting and the disgusting healing process and then at last having the freedom to do so.
It was bliss.
After that I was permitted to change the rubber bands myself, which meant I could brush my teeth at least once a day. I didn’t take them off for any other reason, since it was an absolute pain to get the rubber bands back on. I think it took me half an hour to get them back on the first time I took them off at home and I didn’t even try to do it the correct way.
The proper way to put the bands on is to hook the band on one of the bottom brackets on my braces, then loop it over the top bracket before bringing it back down to the tooth next to the starting point. This creates an inverted V shape. Since it was meant to hold my jaw closed you then place them all the way around, alternating inverted V and regular V, instead of just near the molars as is standard for V orthodontic elastics. All of that using elastic bands no wider in diameter than the head of a Q-tip.
Yes, the red is blood.
The rest of the swelling had for the most part receded from my face, as had most of the numbness. I have, to this day, partial numbness in my lower jaw. My estimate is somewhere around a 30% loss of sensation in my lower lip and chin. I still feel things just fine but not to the full extent someone with full sensation would.
The numbness feels most bizarre when I eat or drink something cold. Some days the numbness is more noticeable, today for example I can feel it when most of the time I can’t unless I provide some sort of stimuli. I also noticed since the surgery if I drink from something with a wide brim, say a soup or cereal bowl, without paying extra attention, I now dribble a bit down my chin when I didn’t before. Nor do I notice because I can’t really feel it.
I lost the ability to whistle after my surgery. Two years of practice and I can at last whistle again.