Patients' Experiences w/AOO Surgery

how it really feels, and how they feel about it

Jennifer, age 29

I have a cross bite, severe crowding, an un-erupted upper canine with the baby tooth still intact, and in layman's terms it just seems like there isn't a tooth in my head that is in the right place. I had my wisdom teeth out a couple years ago and I have very minimal decay overall and healthy albeit crooked teeth.

I embarked on the Wilckodontic experience after meeting with 2 orthodontists (decided on one who was AOO certified over one who was practicing without the certification), and one certified Periodontist who had performed about 10 of the surgeries. I also spoke to one of their patients by phone as a reference/testimonial. I also researched the procedure extensively on the internet. Before the procedure I had a number of consults, x-rays, molds, and had to have a regular dental cleaning. I also had to have a bulb on a root of my bottom back tooth looked at. It was a harmless bone growth from my teeth hitting at odd angles for all these years but could become painful or grow later so I was glad I was taking this measure to fix my bite.

The day of, for the surgical pain, I took a tranquilizer and a Percocet and basically had shots of Novocain to prepare and then every time it started to hurt. It seemed barbaric that they would shoot me with more once I started to wince in pain- but I don't think there is a more scientific way to do this for the almost 5 hour surgery. During the surgery they don't tell you that you experience terrible smells, sounds, and sensations, but thankfully the tranquilizer makes you kind of forget about how terrible it was by the next day. I had tremors from the Novocain and felt freezing and my body and legs shook the entire time. I had the Wilcko procedure in all 4 sections of my mouth and the baby canine removed. When the surgery was done I took another Perc and had ice packs. Clearly you need a driver! I fainted flat on the ground twice getting into my house- too much drugs and not enough food in my stomach- so I would recommend eating a hearty breakfast. The next day I had the wires put on the brackets that had been glued on the week before. I took a Tranc and a Perc that morning so it was bearable.

I was incredibly diligent with ice for the first 5 days and so I avoided bruising except a faint yellow spot on my jaw line. Regardless, the swelling was incredible. Everything below my eyes swelled so large that my normally straight nose was completely turned up with nostrils flared wide open- stretched from the fluid. I was in terrible pain and was totally miserable for at least 4-5 days, with pain subsiding slowly and I stayed indoors for 10 days total.

I took Percocet every 4 hours for the first 8 days. Once I returned to work at my executive-type office job I could only stay until 2-3pm. I have to talk a lot for my job and that wasn't helping. I took a combination of Percocet, Advil, and Tylenol, which I take up to this day because I still have pain (in widely varying doses). I have never taken pain medication or tried legal or illegal drugs of any kind before this so I have not enjoyed the high feeling and sometimes just deal with the pain. Until the stitches were out (at 2 and 4 weeks) the pain was its worst. The stitches caught on everything and yanked my very tender gums. The gums looked like a Frankenstein experiment- pink, red, white- all cut and stitched up with black thread hanging down. For the first two weeks until I could brush I had to use a mouthwash that stained my teeth weird bluish-grey. The stain has diminished and I don't notice it now at the 2 month mark.

I saw movement in my teeth as soon as the next day. In fact, the incredible movement has been what keeps me going. I had rubber bands in for three weeks and they already corrected half my cross bite! But still, I wondered why everyone else said this surgery wasn't bad. I was in constant pain for at least the first month even though my doctors said I was normal. I think that the testimonials I read and saw did not prepare me for my experience. Maybe I am worse than average but I am not a baby with pain. For example, I have 55 hours worth of tattoo work over my torso (can't let the office see it!) and I have sat for up to 6.5 hours at a time without any pain medication (and no flinching!) and endured the 2-week healing for each part of the work. I hope that offers some perspective and shows I am not just a whiner.

Finally I am not in constant pain but do have a regular piercing, shooting, nerve pain every few hours (worst with cold stuff). They determined that is from an exposed root from the surgery. I cant eat or drink anything cool or cold. It is weird to have a bottle of warm water after my workouts! Adjustments are very painful- probably from my tender, healing gums and once I cried and had to make them stop. Soreness after adjustments lasts less than 24 hours though. Now I found out my bottoms are not moving fast enough so they are going to remove two lower bicuspids. I asked them to expose the canine at the same time in the interest of time off from work, and they are able to. I am set to do that in 3 weeks. More surgery I wasn't expecting- I'll be shelling out $$, time, and more pain.

They estimate I will be in braces for 1.5 years. If I went traditional, it would have been in braces at least 4.5 years and would have had 3 surgeries under general anesthesia (between teeth pulling, palate expanding, etc.). I couldn't imagine that at my age and in my career (29). There are a lot of hidden costs with extra cleanings, consultations, and extra appointments for issues (like the appointment with the Endodontist to check the shooting pain). It is costing me $10,000+ out of pocket.

Right now the only reason I think I made the right decision is that my teeth are moving so rapidly. It was so incredible to see a difference in just a week and my teeth shift enough to notice week after week. I would recommend Wilcko to someone with a less severe case who might have an easier time with it, or someone who has a severe case and can't commit the time to traditional braces.

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