Orthodontics at USAFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by djms19, May 23, 2013.

  1. djms19

    djms19 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    It has been recommended by the orthodontists at the academy that my DD not only get braces, but upper and lower jaw surgery. Any parents/cadets out there have any experience with the orthodontic department? Advice/recommendations?? Current misalignment/jaw situation is not major, but was told could worsen in the future. Jaw surgery requires a number of screws/plates, and 6 weeks of liquid diet.
     
  2. Spud

    Spud BGO

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    460
    Your daughter's situation sounds like my son's past problem. I cannot comment on getting it done through the military as we had it done at our expense + insurance. I can tell you that it is major, major surgery and he was in pain and very uncomfortable for weeks. The fact it is trauma to the head and face bones seemed to make it doubly miserable. Knowing some of this going in, we left it totally up to him to make the decision, which he did and in spite of the long recovery, he was very glad he did. He says he would do it again if necessary as he was very sensitive about his looks. We thought he looked fine with kind of a handsome lopsided smile, but he did not.

    In his case, the braces were used to move his crooked jaw around front and were on for a year. This made his looks worse as his jaw jutted out so much he could put his finger between his lower front teeth and his upper lip. The surgery was to move his top jaw forward and his bottom jaw back such that they lined up. His face did change and it took us all a while to get used to the new kid in the house but, of course now, we cannot imagine him any other way. Perhaps your daughter is not this severe but I cannot imagine the actual surgery being less traumatic. The good thing is with her youth, she will recover a LOT quicker than parents would! Good luck to your daughter as it is a big decision.
     
  3. djms19

    djms19 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you spud for your insight. The procedure your son had sounds nearly identical to what has been recommended for our daughter. She's been told that the braces will make her look like a bulldog leading up to the surgery. We're scared about something going wrong medically that would cause disenrollment after she's made it this far (currently C3C) and also how the surgery, recovery period and diet will affect her academics.. Also curious about the quality of work of military orthodontists/orthognathic surgeons.
     
  4. djms19

    djms19 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2011
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    To the casual observer, DD's face, teeth, smile all look fine. A little bit of a pronounced chin. A closer look shows her teeth are not aligned real well and therefor causing some biting/chewing issues. No pain. And just with mouth closed, it is uncomfortable because of the way her top and bottom teeth rest on each other. She says she'd be able to live with it, but then again you don't know how much worse it will get down the road. Our underlying thought is it seems like kind of a radical or extensive procedure (approx 6 plates with probably 1 or 2 dozen screws permanently affixed under your skin to the face and jaw bones to fix a seemingly minor problem at the present.

    Just looking for thoughts of others.
     
  5. Blue Skies

    Blue Skies Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    DD had EXTENSIVE jaw surgery in HS, as well as Cranial-facial surgery as a baby. She's full of plates and screws.
    She is currently an Appointee for the Class of 2017. Not only did DoDERMB clear her, they didn't require a single remedial. We were shocked. We were expecting tons of remedials and a likely DQ.
    She looks great and feels great. (TMJ - a likely product of a misaligned jaw- can cause disqualification in some cases.)
    Not exactly your situation, but thought you might want to know how DoDMERB viewed it.
     
  6. Spud

    Spud BGO

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    460
    We, of course, had civilian doctors for our son and really did not do any research other than to take other physicians approval of the surgeons involved, plus the fact that they were employed by Kaiser. So our "competence check" was pretty sketchy.

    Having said that, after 20+ years dealing with Navy medicine here is my thoughts about military doctors. While you can have idiots in any field and I have heard the usual horror stories of wrong knees operated on and so forth, I have exactly the same level of confidence in military medicine as I do civilian. Here are some good reasons. The majority of operational military doctors are in the prime of their careers, young enough to be up on the newest procedures taught in med school but old enough to have a bunch of experience. There is also a lot of teaching going on but that means lots of supervision. The military hates failure and wants to keep its members active and functional so there is big pressure for successful outcomes. Facial surgery plays right into battle wounds and as a result, I would expect excellent bone surgeons using the newest and best procedures to be looking at your daughter.

    If you want to look at the most gloomy result, if there were problems (very, very unlikely) it most likely would have happened in a civilian setting just as well. Only in the AF, the government now has that problem to solve or remedy permanently. They cannot just say "Oops, have a nice life" and send a service member out the door. You won't get that lifetime accountability in a civilian operation.

    As far as academics, I would leave that as your daughter's problem and there is plenty of precedent for medical recovery and class work. She won't be the first cadet contending with surgery. If anything, she will be able to concentrate on academics MORE than she ever did before as all the military stuff is off the table. That challenge will solve itself.

    The big thing is: does she want the problem solved badly enough to go through the surgery. If she doesn't, I'd leave it alone until it becomes so bothersome she doesn't want to live with it anymore and let HER make the decision to initiate things. She can have this surgery at anytime during her AF career.

    (We are just noticing that our son's 6 year-old little boy has that same charming lopsided smile and misaligned front teeth. Looks like de ja vu all over again!)
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2013

Share This Page