Today was my first physical therapy appointment. It felt like the first step down a very long road.
Dr. T had given the PT all of my details (I wonder if he mentioned my deviated septum). According to his notes, the day I had the archbars removed, I could open my mouth 24 mm awake and 37(!) mm while I was under. I don’t want to think too much about the fact that someone forced my mouth open an additional centimeter while I was asleep.
The deal is this: if I can progress well with physical therapy (mouth exercises), I can spare myself the embarrassment, cost and time suck of having to get fitted for and use a special device. There are two kinds of devices, neither of which sound pleasant. Dr. T recommends the “Thera Bite!” which is basically a wedge you put in your mouth that forces your mouth open.
Not only does this look silly and painful, it is not covered by most medical insurers. Very funny, Dr. T!
Not to be outdone, the PT prefers the type of jaw stretching device that comes with its own headgear! Yeah, I’ll be trying to skip those both, thanks.
So I have a lot of work to do before my next PT appointment to ensure that I do not need to purchase one of these torture devices. I’m sure I’ll get enough torture at the dentist on Monday! The PT gave me a list of exercises that I need to perform several times a day. The worst one is having to pull my own jaw open with my fingers and stretch as far as I can and hold it for 30 seconds. Ouch! Wasn’t that in a horror movie somewhere? And Freddy came out of someone’s mouth?? She also recommended that I make it a fun activity to share with the kids. Apparently, making Papua New Guinea noises with your tongue is therapeutic. And kids love it! Who knew?
Unexpected benefit of today’s appointment? A free massage!! I now understand why people spend good money getting massages. She noted that my shoulders, neck and back are particularly tense and I reminded her about my kids. The one move I did not love was when she squished the sides of my face and pulled her hands up so that my mouth curved up, Joker-style. Still, the shoulder massage was enough to put me to sleep, and almost did (to my embarrassment).
My dentist adventure awaits for me on Monday…the squeamish may want to skip the recap. Let’s hope they are called “Gentle Dental” for a reason!