Jaw Surgery

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by TotallyTuba, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. TotallyTuba

    TotallyTuba New Member

    I've recently been told about the possibility of having orthognathic surgery to correct an open bite (only my back left teeth meet).

    It would involve breaking both the top and bottom jaws and repositioning them to correct my bite. It would be benificial if it worked properly, but there is also a small chance of permenant numbness or tingling on parts of the lips and mouth because of nerve damage.

    I play tuba and tenor horn, and am worried about the effects that the operation would have on my playing if I decided to go ahead with it. Would it be like learning to play again with a new mouth shape, and is it even possible to play if small parts of your lips are numb? Is it possible to adapt?

    Any advice or experiences would be appreciated.
  2. IJK

    IJK Member

    Had this done when I was 18. i couldnt start playing again for 6 - 10 weeks but it was a little hard to start but after the first couple of practises I got back to where I had been.

    Yes you have to learn to play differently but not like you are begining it alll depends on how hard you work at getting back to playing
  3. TotallyTuba

    TotallyTuba New Member

    Did you find that it was painful to start playing again?
  4. IJK

    IJK Member

    Yes of course it did but when it started to hurt I took time out and then went back to it after a bit when the pain had gone.

    but if your like me you you will push your self harder each time and then the pain goes quicker
  5. flash harry

    flash harry Member

    I have been unfortunate enough to suffer from two major set backs with playing.

    The first was having my two front teeth knocked out. As a result of that injury, I also suffered from scarring within my mouth which was difficult to overcome, but I managed it. I took 4 months off playing and had to come back slowly. I did it though and, in my opinion, became a better player.

    Some 11 years later I suffered from a broken jaw (no, I do not answer to the name 'Lucky'). This was far more serious than the previous injury and meant that I had to have 3 plates and 4 screws inserted in my face to put my jaw back together. Due to the surgery, it meant that I did lose some feeling in my chin and surrounding areas and, unfortunately, the majority of the numbness turned out to be permanent.

    I had no choice but to take time out of playing and joined the percussion section of the band (I learnt a hell of a lot in doing so and hold percussion players in high regard as a result). I then took the plunge and started playing again. It was strange, difficult, frustrating and uncomfortable; however, I stuck at it as I had a goal in mind - get to where I was before... maybe even to a better standard.

    I stuck at it and, sooner than expected, I was back to playing to a high standard (in my opinion). I would say that when I started playing again, it took me 2 - 3 months to get back to where I was.

    You may have to make adjustments, but you will deal with those changes. Don't be fazed by it, see it as a challenge and take it on head on. I wish you all the best with it.

    Sorry if I have bored people with my post, but it is an issue which I am proud to have overcome.
  6. T'Psych

    T'Psych New Member

    You might like to look at http://herkules.oulu.fi/isbn9514269934/html/x486.html, but in summary there are two relevent nerves to damage.
    1. One branch of the trigeminal nerve and this provides sensation to the lips, mouth and skin in the area. As you can see (in the above site) the rates of complications published are hugely variable (0-85%), and of course the actual definitions of "damage" range from very minimal to quite severe loss of sensation. Actually SENSORY damage will be less likely to effect your playing than any facial nerve damage (see below); it is possible that you could have a loss of sensation of the position of the jaw (so-called proprioception) whish is a very specialised sensation and I wonder if this could affect your pitching. {embrouchure specialist may comment}
    2.The faicial nerve can also be damaged and this is much more important as this carries the motor messages to the muscles of your lips, and surrounding muscles, and if significantly damaged would be likely to affect your embrouchure. The damage could range from minor to significant and temporary (up to 18months) or permenant. Luckily this is far less likely to be damged (the above link quotes 1%).

    Finally the changed shape of your bite will alter your embrouchure but you should be able to adapt to this; in fact you probabaly have learnt a way of coping with your current bite that is a compromise.

    The above is general information only and so it is important that your consultant is aware of the muscles you use in playing and he can give you specific advice on risks in his experience. If you are not due to see the consultant again many GPs will write on your behalf to get more speficic answers.

    I hope this is helpful
  7. Bones

    Bones Member

    And overcome it you did famously. Having the time to reflect upon your playing as a result of such an incident or affliction as described in previous posts can be quite cathartic. It also offers you the opportunity to look at things such as embouchure positions, top lip or bottom lip dominance, breath control, tongue position, especially as you are going to rebuild a lot of things that previoulsy came naturally.

Share This Page