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View Full Version : How long before normal tooth brushing is possible after surgery?



mdtaffet
01-08-2012, 01:21 PM
I was just wondering how long it generally takes people to be able to brush teeth normally again after surgery. By "normally", I'm referring to leaning over the sink. I have to lean pretty far over my sink when brushing my teeth in order to catch the drippings. I have to lean over even farther to floss so that I can see the mirror.

I'm guessing that neither one of these activities will be easily doable for a while after fusion to the ilium. What do other people do in the meantime?

-- Thanks,
Mary

rohrer01
01-08-2012, 02:13 PM
I haven't had surgery, but I might suggest mounting a higher mirror. They have those expandable ones for people that can't see very well. Also, you might try using a bowl to spit in. It's just a suggestion to get you through. Maybe some other tall people will chime in with better advice. Best wishes for a successful surgery!

JDM555
01-08-2012, 04:25 PM
I just brush my teeth, lean over (not bend over), and spit in the sink. Then when I need to rinse I have a cup so I don't have to bend over to get water. If you can't do that on your sink, either spit in toilet and flush or get a bowl/cup for the meantime and rinse it after each use? For flossing, there's no other mirror in your whole house that can help you see up close to floss without you having to bend your back?

LindaRacine
01-08-2012, 06:12 PM
After my first surgeries, I could not bend forward because I wore a TLSO brace. I used an emesis basin (you'll probably get one in the hospital), for spitting, and a class for water to swish. After my surgeries last year (when my fusion was extended down to the sacrum), I was able to lean forward far enough so that it was not an issue.

--Linda

djkinkead
01-08-2012, 08:07 PM
The first five days after surgery, I didn't care about my teeth. :-)

For a while after that, I would use a cup for getting water to my mouth and swishing. I could bend from the hip over the sink, but I found I needed to put like a hand towel over the front of my body (held it up manually from bottom of neck so it covered my chest area) so if my spitting out didn't go as planned, it only landed on the towel and not my clothes.

I didn't receive any pans/dishes from the hospital for such occasions.

Kayde
01-09-2012, 07:32 AM
Teeth and washing my hands were some of the worst things that bugged me. It took me about 3 weeks to get where I could lean a little more and figure out how to develop an easy way to brush and wash my hands. Since I can't really do the slight shoulder to mid back roll anymore the style had to change. Almost 10 weeks post op now I have my new way down. I can wash both hands at the same time now and brushmy teeth over the sink and not get water etc all over the place including my hair and clothes.

bluestone
01-09-2012, 08:41 AM
When brushing my teeth I would bend right down through my thighs to spit out and I would splash the water up to my mouth using my hand-it sure strengthens the thighs up!

mdtaffet
01-14-2012, 05:48 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Yes, a basin would help if they provide one. And the toilet sounds promising too. I already use a cup for water as it is. The only other mirror in the house is a full-length mirror on the coat closet at the bottom of the stairs. [Bedroom and bathroom are both upstairs.]

I don't yet know whether I'll have a brace afterwards or not, so don't know if that will be a complicating factor.

Time will tell.

-- Mary

Mojo's Mom
01-22-2012, 08:13 PM
Somebody needs to explain what I am missing here. I never had trouble brushing my teeth when I wore a Milwaukee brace in my childhood and teen years. Don't you just bend at the hips, keeping your back straight? Can't you go fully to 90 degrees this way? I feel like there's something I am just not understanding. And we can all bend our necks, right, unless we are fused all the way up through the cervical spine?

Mojo's Mom
01-22-2012, 08:14 PM
Somebody needs to explain what I am missing here. I never had trouble brushing my teeth when I wore a Milwaukee brace in my childhood and teen years. Don't you just bend at the hips, keeping your back straight? Can't you go fully to 90 degrees this way? I feel like there's something I am just not understanding. And we can all bend our necks, right, unless we are fused all the way up through the cervical spine?

Also, why couldn't you just sit down in front of the sink to do this? Or kneel?

LSKOCH5
01-23-2012, 04:56 AM
Hi Stephanie, I'll give you an example. There was almost no movement in my son's neck at first after surgery. Couldn't move his neck side to side at first, although that has come back gradually. He gently shook his head "no" an hour ago, surprising me that he has that movement back now. As to the toothbrushing, the natural motion that we've done all our lives, bending the neck to put water in the mouth, bending the neck to spit it into the sink, is for the time impossible. Sure, he now uses a cup for the water, but he forgot and tried ( 14 years of habit) - craning his neck down to spit - and triggered horrific pain for quite a while. He now just squats & maneuvers. I'm sure that vertical motion will come back over time, but for now it's out of reach.

Pooka1
01-23-2012, 06:35 AM
There was almost no movement in my son's neck at first after surgery. Couldn't move his neck side to side at first, although that has come back gradually.

This is not usual in my opinion. Neither of my daughters (T4-L1) had trouble moving their neck post-op. And I have not read a single testimonial with this problem.

I agree with Linda that your should bring this up with your surgeon soon. The nerve issues in the arms sound like they might be related to this other neck issue.

Did you son have a high compensatory T curve that extended into the neck? Can you post when you get an answer from the surgeon?

LSKOCH5
01-23-2012, 01:38 PM
Hi Sharon, others above alluded to the neck/spitting issue. He gets more flexibility all over all he time. I did reach the surgeon thus morning about the arm numbness; he said it wouldn't be related to the surgery and to give it a couple of days. It hasn't happened today at all and Jacob is actually having a great day.Keeping an eye on him tho.

debbei
01-23-2012, 07:35 PM
Is that question with or without dribbling on myself? LOL

I seem to remember dribbling for at least a month.

djkinkead
01-27-2012, 07:57 PM
Like Debbei, I also had the dribbling problem, hence the suggestion to hold up a hand town in front of me as I brushed my teeth and rinsed (using a small cup) so at least my clothes stayed clean.

You can bend a bit from the hips when you first get done with the surgery, but it takes a bit of time where you can bend better from the hips to truly get over the sink.

The silliest things we need to adapt to....

titaniumed
01-28-2012, 12:46 AM
I’ve been brushing my teeth in the shower for decades now. It solves the dribbling problem and reduces the amount of times you have to clean your sink. lol

My surgeon wanted me to go see my dentist before my surgeries as he didn’t want me to have any “dental” surprises in my recovery.....Funny because my teeth are perfect and have my cleanings done every 3 months.

I thought it was a good idea anyway....disturb the old bacteria party.
Ed