Choosing to undergo jaw surgery and subject myself to months of recovery is not a small or easy decision. Here are the reasons that compel me to go for it:
1. Eating Difficulties
Having a 14mm underbite (it may still worsen since my braces treatment isn’t complete) makes eating frustratingly difficult. My front teeth have practically no function – they cannot bite or tear through food efficiently, if at all. It drives me insane when I’m eating something like noodles. When eating tougher meat, I resort to using a pair of scissors to snip everything up. I’m also an incredibly slow eater because only a few of my molars actually meet. Eating can also get pretty messy when you have a large hole between your teeth that cannot be closed.
All in all, this makes eating in public a pretty distressing ordeal. It makes eating anything that isn’t already bite-sized and requires tearing of any kind exasperating and very challenging.
If you have a normal bite and face absolutely no issues with eating (i.e. if you don’t have to consciously think, ‘OK, how am I gonna tackle this piece of meat/vegetable/bowl of noodles/etc.?’ every time you eat), then you probably don’t empathise. But most of you reading this blog probably have/had problems with your bite, so I believe you know how uncomfortable/inconvenient/non-functional a bad bite can be.
Because of my heavy lower jaw, my mouth just hangs open most of the time. My lips don’t naturally meet unless I exert a conscious effort. As braces treatment progressed, it basically got worse and worse, so now I have developed a habit of mouth breathing as a result, which isn’t good. These may sound trivial, but the constant discomfort is something I don’t really want to live with for the rest of my life.
Having an underbite, or any hole between your teeth that persists when your mouth is supposed to be closed, really affects pronunciation. It makes it hard to achieve a crisp and clear articulation, which can be very disadvantageous in all aspects of life. Specifically, I have a slight lisp so it is difficult to pronounce sibilants (i.e. ‘s’ sounds), particularly at the end of words. Air kind of escapes through my underbite so it doesn’t sound like a proper hiss. Also I’ve gotten used to mumbling instead of enunciating properly with my mouth open, because my bottom lip always gets stuck below my braces bracket.
4. Future Complications
I’m still pretty young, so I haven’t developed a lot of the problems associated with an underbite that many people are afflicted with at older ages. TMJ pain or wearing down of teeth, for example. I don’t want to wait until I suffer from these problems to seek treatment, and besides, recovery is supposed to be easier when you’re still young.
5. Side Profile
I’m going to be honest. I do understand that stating aesthetics as a reason is pretty taboo. But I won’t deny that it is one of my reasons for seeking treatment. It’s not the most important reason; I wouldn’t go for surgery if aesthetics was the only reason compelling me to go for it. It’s such a serious surgery after all.
Nevertheless, it’s not an unimportant reason. Physical appearance has a great impact on confidence, and knowing that there is something anomalous about your appearance can affect you. I guess the aim here isn’t so much to enhance as it is to normalise.
I would also like to add that having ‘resting bitch face’ is possibly the most annoying thing ever. (“Why are you so angry?” people always ask. Well, I wasn’t angry until you asked that question.)