Drake Bell is back at work after a car accident on New Year's Eve that fractured his neck, knocked out six teeth, and worried his fans who wondered if he'd ever be able to perform again.
"In the beginning, I was like, this is no big deal," says the 19-year-old actor said about his recover time. "My mouth is wired shut, but I can live with this. And then, dude, like three or four weeks into it, I was like, 'This is ridiculous. I still have five weeks to go. Oh, my God. How am I going to do this?'
"The day they unwired me was the hardest. I couldn't open my mouth at all. I opened it like half an inch, and I saw stars; I was dizzy. You're clenching your jaw for two and a half months straight."
Despite the pain and discomfort, the teen idol and star of Nickelodeon's "Drake & Josh" said he was more worried about his looks and his ability to sing again.
"I was so scared. I didn't know what I was going to look like. I didn't know if I was going to be able to sing again or talk normally. I have fake teeth and it affects my speech. I have to learn how to say my s's and my t's over again. It's tough."
"I'm singing again. My jaw pops and cracks and stuff. The doctor says that'll go away; you've just got to give it time."
Drake and co-star Josh Peck are back at work on their series, and filming of additional episodes has extended the schedule until July.