Friday, August 3, 2012

Braces Off Pictures!

Hi there! Hope everyone is having a great summer. I want to thank Pixie Pops and some others who've reminded me that I'm long past due in posting my debraced face. Below is my picture the day my braces came off on 12/27/11:



After I got my braces off I was still not satisfied with the way my teeth looked. My teeth had brown spots which were more prominent now that my smiler was wider. The discoloration on my teeth was a direct result of too much fluoride as a kid or "fluorosis" which doesn't respond to traditional whitening techniques. I also had a large black triangle between my front teeth and the gum line since my orthodontist couldn't get my teeth to move completely straight together.

I had known for a while I wanted to get veneers to fix the discoloration, but I also wanted to get rid of the black triangle in between my front teeth. After five months of having my braces off and being diligent about wearing my retainers, my dentist felt my teeth were stable enough (i.e. not moving) to update my smile with veneers. I ended up getting eight veneers. My dentist was able to close the space between the front two teeth and completely whiten my smile. Below are the results from 5/30/12:




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Double jaw surgery update - braces almost off!!

Hello there! I have some very exciting news in jaw land. On Monday, my orthodontist told me that he will take off my braces in six weeks - December 27th. I couldn't be more excited!!

At my last appointment on Monday (11/14), my orthodontist did something called "disking" which is shaving some of the tooth enamel in between the bottom teeth. This is considered a finishing touch and the idea is to bring my bottom teeth back a bit. That way my teeth will fit together better overall.

I think all the space is finally closed - only took 16 months! In four weeks, I'll get my finishing wires and then two weeks later the braces will be gone.

I'll post pics for sure once the new smile is complete!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Three month post jaw surgery update!



Today is my three month anniversary of my second jaw surgery. The last few months have flown by and now I am close to getting my braces off. If all goes well, my braces should be off by November. Yay! Can't believe how far I have come!

When I was researching jaw surgery online, I read a number of blogs of people who years later still had numbness in their chin / lips following jaw surgery. I've been fortunate that my numbness is gone after only three months and even though I feel a bit of stiffness in my chin, it's nothing that concerns me.

I think the one thing that I did not expect going through this process is how long it has taken for the space to close in my upper jaw following SARPE. I had my SARPE in June '10 and my orthodontist is STILL working on closing space. So crazy! I had visions of that gap and space being gone in a matter of weeks - oh, how wrong I was.

video

To spice things up, I've put together a video using my 7 mega pixel camera. Enjoy! ;)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Updated pics!

Below are some of the initial before and after pictures. The before pics are about three weeks before my SARPE. The after pics are one year post-SARPE and 3 weeks post lower jaw surgery & genioplasty. Seriously, who is that person in those pictures from 5/30/10?

5/30/10 - Pre-SARPE & Lower jaw surgery

7/12/11 - 3 weeks post lower jaw surgery
 

5/30/10 - Pre-surgery



7/12/11



7/12/11




Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Tale of Two Office Visits and Back to Work

On Tuesday, I went to see my orthodontist so he could check my progress. He told me that things looked good and that he would start moving my teeth again at my next appointment on August 15th. From there, I should be in braces another 3-6 months. That's means that my braces could be off as early as November 15th. :) There is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

On Wednesday, I went to see the oral surgeon for my second post-op. According to my orthodonist, my oral surgeon is in charge of things right now in order to make sure that my bite stays aligned. At the oral surgeon's office, he pointed out that my midline was off since the muscles in my lower jaw were trying to move it back to it's old position. He put three rubberbands in my mouth to adjust my midline in the right spot and I will see him again this Wednesday. Asides from brushing my teeth at night and the occassional meal, I keep my rubberbands in 24-7.

I started back at work this week and I felt that I had enough energy to get through my workday. I think my energy levels were good going back to work since I took two weeks off to recover and rested a lot over the holiday weekend.

The toughest part about being back at work this week was the diet. There is only so much you can have when you're on a non-chew diet and the lack of variety makes it tough. When I tell people that, the only thing they can say is, "At least you get the benefit of losing weight." I suppose that is a benefit, but when you're not trying to lose weight, it's not that much comfort.

Despite some challenges, I've discovered that a lot of food can be eaten when you're on a non-chew diet. The best bet being Mexican since there are plenty of options between the cheese enchiladas, tamales, refried beans and guacamole. Other food I've had success with are blintzes, pasta stars (bite size pasta) and meatloaf.

This week, I tried to get back into my workout routine. I went to the rock climbing gym on Wednesday and went outdoor rock climbing on Saturday. Climbing outdoors on Saturday was a bit tough. It wasn't the climbing per se that exhausted me, but the hike uphill to the climbing spot. I drank a lot of water while I was up there and drank two Ensure so that definitely helped.

The swelling has gone down a ton and most people don't even think it looks like I had surgery. My smile is a lot better now although there is still a bit of swelling in the chin. Promise I'll upload some pictures tomorrow evening. :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Extreme Makeover Jaw Edition - Results Show

As promised, below are some of my initial result pictures. These were taken yesterday, 6/29, eight days following lower jaw surgery. 






Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Post-op visit & suggestions for swelling reduction!

I went and saw my oral surgeon yesterday for my follow-up visit. Good results:
  • Ugly neck bandaids came off and my stitches were removed
  • X-rays looked great - my jaw and chin are both now straight
I came into my surgeon's office with no make-up, glasses and my hair pulled back. He suggested that I wear a floppy hat, my hair down and collered shirts to cover the bruising. For now, I don't care too much, but if I still have bruising next week when I return to work, I will take his advice except for the floppy hat. I don't think one of those would fly in my office even in Southern California.

During the visit, my doctor told me that he ended up moving my chin forward 5 mm and that it should look smaller after the swelling goes down. My chin is currently the one area on my face that is numb although it is starting to tingle a bit as feeling comes back.

Following my last blog post, I had some questions on how to reduce swelling following surgery. Below is what I did:

1) Sleep upright: I have a wedge pillow that I sleep on that keeps my head elevated for the night
2) Ice:  I kept ice on my face continually during the first 24 hours
3) Ibuprofen: I take 600 milligrams two times per day
4) Arnica creme & tablets: I use this 4-5 times per day at the recommendation of my doctor
5) Walk: I get out for walks every day
6) Hydration: Drink plenty - water helps the lymphatic system

I will post pictures tomorrow including some profile shots.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Surgery recap!

It's been four days since surgery and I am feeling a TON better than I did on the 21st!

Surgery Day - 6/21

Tuesday following surgery is a bit of a haze due to the anesthesia. Prior to surgery, the anesthesiologist loaded me up with liquids to make sure I stayed hydrated and provided a nice "cocktail" to make sure I was asleep and pain free during the surgery. When I woke up, I recall being asked if I wanted some pain relievers. I replied, "Yes" and then spent another hour or so sleeping. At 5:30 PM, the nurse came in and told me I should start getting ready to go. I couldn't believe it was so late! Surgery started at 12:30 so I expected to be on my way closer to 4:00 / 4:30 PM.  Once I got dressed, I made it home fine with assistance from my mom (I seriously felt woozy) and then passed out in my bed.

Day 1 - 6/22



6-22 Yes, this picture is scary. I am bruised under my chin and also have bandages on either side.

When I woke up on Wednesday, I wasn't in pain, but my face was super swollen, my neck felt stiff and it was difficult to talk. My checks, chin and lower lip were also numb. I did notice immediately that for the first time in my life, my teeth were actually in the right place. So many times I've woken up as my teeth tried to align themselves (and failed miserably). I found that my surgeon placed one rubber band in my mouth on my right side. I assume it's on that side to retrain my jaw to maintain it's new position since that's where my crossbite was.

On the day following surgery, I tried to talk, but the swelling made it really difficult so I just wrote notes out to my mom. We took a few short walks around the neighborhood since I had read that walking really helps with the swelling.

Day 2 - 6/23

On Thursday, I could talk a little more, but I was still feeling very swollen. I didn't make it out of the house that day and noticed my back felt really stiff.

Day 3 - 6/24



6-24 At the botanical garden. Slightly less scary.  I can open my mouth. This is my attempt at a smile.

On Friday, I woke up feeling tons better. I actually got a decent night's sleep, the swelling was down significantly and I could talk pretty comfortably. My lip and cheeks began tingling indicating that some of the feeling was returning. I went to the park with my mom for a longer walk and we ran some errands. I realized that I needed more liquid foods (soup, smoothies, etc.) since I can't eat semi-solid foods (purees, apple sauce, etc) with the rubber band in my mouth. Though I can make it work with lots of slurping. ;)

Day 4 - 6/25

6-25 Taking a walk at the zoo. Yes, that is a panda on my shoulder. ;)
 
The swelling is continuing to go down and the bruising is starting to move away from my face - my neck is now pretty yellow. Following my doctor's advice, I've been using Arnica (creme and tablets) 4-5 times per day and that seems to be helping with the bruising and swelling. My chin still has no feeling, but I do have more feeling in my lower lip. I seem to have full feeling back in my cheeks.



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Two days until surgery!


6/17/11

6/17/11 - Check out my surgical hooks!

It's getting pretty close to game time now. My jaw surgery is coming up in just two days!

On Monday, I visited my orthodontist and got the rest of my surgical hooks put on. The surgical hooks on the bottom are the worst because they really cut into my lower lip. The tops ones don't irritate my lips as much, but I found that one hook was bothering me a bit at first, but after a few days, it no longer hurts. If you're in a similar situation as me and about to get your surgical hooks put on, I suggest buying some OrthoSil wax from dentakit.com. This stuff doesn't get stuck in your hooks or disintegrate like the traditional wax does. I have a whole strand on my lower teeth right now.

During Monday's ortho visit, my orthodontist's office gave me a lunch tote bag filled with foods I can eat during the next few months - Boost, mashed potatoes, soup, pudding, applesauce and Gerber's baby food. Apparently, baby food will become a big part of my diet.

My mom arrived yesterday and we've continued the tour of gluttony. Last night, we went for dinner at my favorite restaurant, Bice. I indulged in cheese and beef tenderloin. This morning we went for Sunday brunch and gorged for two hours on sashimi, blintzes, oysters, omelets, bread pudding and tiramisu. Not to worry, the eating doesn't stop there! The tour of gluttony basically continues until Monday night. ;)

I'll be sure to update the blog again once I'm lucid after surgery. Surgery got moved up to 12 PM (thankfully) from 2 PM so I don't have to worry about being hungry all day. I will be able to sleep in until 9 AM or so. I need to be at the hospital by 10 AM for the outpatient procedure.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Second pre-op & tour of gluttony

It's 10 days until jaw surgery # 2. It's hard to believe it's coming up so soon! My second (and last pre-op) appointment was on Thursday, June 9th. We reviewed the surgery plan and everything is still on schedule for the jaw surgery & genioplasty on the 21st. My surgeon's office is checking to see if my surgery can be moved up from 2 PM to 12 PM. I am hoping for that as it might be a bit torturous to wait around all day on the day of my surgery without being able to eat or drink.

Since I won't be able to chew for two months, I've been trying to get in as much good eating as I can. I am indulging my cravings for sweet crepes (nutella & banana) and plan to go to some of my favorite restaurants before I have surgery. On my list of must-haves are brick-oven pizza and sushi.

Monday is my last orthodontist appointment before surgery. The rest of my surgical hooks will be put on my braces. As usual, I'll plan for Indian food on Sunday night since I'll be getting my rubber bands changed on Monday. The turmeric in Indian food dyes all rubber bands a delightful yellow so I usually avoid Indian food unless I'm due to see the orthodontist.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

1st Jaw Surgery Pre-op appointment

Hello and happy June! I had my first pre-op appointment with my oral surgeon on the 1st. They took some models of my mouth to make sure my teeth fit together and gave me a run down of my upcoming surgery. Game plan is still the lower jaw surgery and genioplasty with the goals to bring the lower jaw back to remove the underbite & crossbite. Genioplasty will put my chin back in the right place.

So, here's what I found out:

1) I won't be able to chew for two months.
2) I will be banded for two months (rubber bands on my braces keeping my jaw in place), but will be able to open my mouth about 1.5 inchs so I can talk normally.
3) I can still workout, but just need to make sure I get plenty of calories (2200+). Very happy about this news - I love to rock climb & hike so sitting out for two months would not be fun.
4) I won't be wired shut at any point - yay for that!

After having my pre-op the reality of my surgery is starting to set in. I received a pamplet from my oral sugeon titled "reshaping your face". It's so crazy to think that I will have a completely new profile. I am excited, but also a bit nervous.

I am very grateful for my support network though!! Makes everything a lot easier. :)

Below are some recent pictures taken on 5/29/11.

Mooney Falls - Havasupai - Grand Canyon - Memorial Day Weekend

Backpacking in Grand Canyon - pre-surgery fun!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lower surgery date approaching!

Headshot - 5/13/11

Right size - small gap still evident


Front view - first surgical hooks on top & bottom


Left size - two mm gap

Full-on underbite
Hello there and happy May! It's been a while since I posted, but I wanted to give an update on what's happening in jaw / bracesland. I had my surgical wires put on May 1st. The wires are a lot thicker and also have a bunch of pokey hooks. The worse of them being on my lower teeth - they love to snag on my lip while I talk. With a small amount of wax though - they are pretty maneagable.

I'm getting closer to my surgery date - 5 1/2 weeks to go. It's hard to believe that soon I will have a functioning bite and be done with my underbite and crossbite. :) I'm excited to get this process over with and don't feel too nervous overall about the surgery. Since having my SARPE last year, I feel that I know what to expect post-op.

There are a few things that I curious about though. First is how long will I really need to recover? For me, that means being able to manage my normal routine. It seems like you heal faster / move more quickly back to solid foods if you only have one jaw done, but I'm not sure if that'll apply to me too. The second thing I'm curious about is what am I going to look like after it's all said and done? I expect it will be an improvement, but wish I could have a better indication of how the surgery will change my looks.

Next up in my process are my two pre-op appointments in June and one more appointment with the orthodontist where he'll put on the rest of my surgical hooks. Fun times! 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lower surgery date set!!

Last week I heard back from my oral surgeon's office. Not only do I have approval from my insurance company for the surgery (yay!), I also have a scheduled surgery date. My surgery will take place on June 21st -  exactly one year after I had my SARPE. It's amazing how quickly the time has gone. I'm now halfway done with this process and very soon I will have a functioning bite. :)

In prep for my surgery, I have two pre-op appointments - one on June 1st and another on June 8th. For my appointment on June 8th, I'm going to need to have surgical hooks put on my braces in prep for surgery. I won't be wired shut following surgery, but will have a series of rubber bands to keep my jaw in place. The first few weeks the rubber bands will be really tight and then each week or so, I'll get looser bands. I've been assured that I'll be able to talk (how well is still to be determined) and that I should only need two weeks off from work. My ideal plan would be to take some sick days the first week and then work from home the second week. Knowing myself, I won't want to sit idly by plus I have an intern starting on June 13th and I want to be available if she has questions.

Fortunately, my mom is flying out to help through this process. The plan is for her to buy a one way ticket from Florida to San Diego and then buy a one way ticket home as soon as I'm able to manage on my own. I feel very fortunate to have mom coming out to help me! My mom is going to fly out the weekend before and we're going to do some fun stuff like go to Balboa Park, eat out (very important to carbo load!), etc.

This past weekend I was in Florida for my sister's wedding. While there, I spoke with my mom's friend who is a retired oral surgeon. After conversations with my parents about my oral surgery adventures, he was eager to check out my mouth. He noticed that my gums are receding and suggested that I go see a periodontist before I have surgery. My dad suggested I get a recommendation from someone on my oral care dream team.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Lower jaw surgery - consult with the oral surgeon!

3/23/11 - Thought it was time for a head shot!

I met with the oral surgeon for a consultation for the second surgery. He said that our current plan is still in tact and that he'll do surgery on just the lower jaw as well as a genioplasty. Since I'm only having one jaw done, I don't have to stay overnight in the hospital. The jaw surgery will take a total of two hours and can be done on an outpatient basis - similar to my SARPE. So I'm hopeful that this means less of a recovery, but I think even surgery on one jaw is still major. After all, only the lower jaw moves.

The thing that helps keep me in check is that I've already been though one surgery so I feel like I know what to expect as far as the recovery. When I do go in for the pre-op, I do need to find out about the rubber band situation though. Apparently instead of getting wired shut, most oral surgeons keep your jaw closed with a bunch of rubber bands that you use all the time except when you're eating. Should be interesting!!

Next up in my jaw adventure is an adjustment with the orthodontist on May 2nd and probably another meeting with the oral surgeon. Stay tuned. :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lower surgery update!


Right side - 3/19/11



Left side - 3/19/11



Front (duh) - 3/19/11


Hi there! I can't believe I've neglected this blog for almost six weeks now! I do have an update on what's happening with my jaws. On Thursday, I went to see my OD for an adjustment. At the appointment, my OD said that I needed only one more adjustment on May 2nd and then I'd get "rectangulars" in prep for jaw surgery. Most of the space has closed on top and all space is closed on the bottom. I still have powerchains on top, but I got silver this time so my braces will be less visible in my sister's wedding photos (coming up in two weeks)! The ortho assistant also made the top wire a lot shorter so it won't start poking me immediately as the space continues to close.

Once the OD looked at my mouth he said we didn't need to increase the molar pads (thank goodness!), jaw surgery on the lower will take place in either June or July and braces will be off by the end of the year. Following the appointment, I chatted with my folks and they're free to come out after June 19th, so I'll schedule surgery some time after then. I'm tempted to schedule it after July 4th though so I don't to spend my second 4th in a row recovering from jaw surgery. Last year I spent it watching a marathon of Jersey Shore—partly because I didn't feel well and partly because I hadn't figured out how to cover up my gap properly.

So after I left my OD's office with my new silver powerchains, I had a message from my oral surgeon's office. The admin said that if I hadn't already had my primary care physician put in a referral for me she could take care of it. Sweet! I'm glad I won't have to deal with that. After the referral is all taken care of, I'll go in for my surgery consulation which should be next week some time.

Can't believe that I'm already halfway through this process! Like I suspected the underbite doesn't look so bad because of the crossbite. If my teeth were aligned correctly the underbite would be a lot more visible.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Second surgery update & gap update



Front view - 2/3/11



Left side - 2/3/11



Right side - 2/3/11

**Surgery Update**

On Wednesday, I had a big teeth day. I went to the orthodontist twice—once to get my wires off and then back again for my adjustment—and to my dentist for a cleaning.

When I saw my orthodontist in the morning, I showed him the x-rays from the oral surgeon. He assured me that my roots would line up again and we also discussed my options for the second surgery. Basically, I could try and use orthodontics to move my teeth so that they fit together, however, the teeth would not be aligned. My feeling on this—as I mentioned in my last post—is that I didn't go through all this to STILL have misaligned jaws when it's all said and done. I left it with the orthodontist that he would chat with the oral surgeon about my concerns and get back to me.

Next, I headed over to my dentist's office. My hygienist was excited to see the progress on my teeth and couldn't believe how much my smile has come together. I mentioned my conversation with the orthodontist and she agreed with me that I might as well get the second surgery. My dentist didn't want to comment one way or the other, but said I was in good hands with my oral surgeon and orthodontist (both doctors he's known for years).

So, after my cleaning I headed back to the orthodontist for my adjustment. My orthodontist told me that he chatted with the oral surgeon and that they felt the best plan is to just do surgery on the lower jaw. The surgeon would bring the lower jaw back, align it with the upper jaw and then do a genioplasty (chin job). The genioplasty is necessary since I would basically have no chin once the surgeon brought the lower jaw back and straightened it up. With my SARPE completed, I was told that the upper jaw is done. My only disappointment is that I was excited about the possibility of a turned-up / less prominent nose from having the front jaw brought forward. I suppose when the jaws are aligned and my chin is in the right place, it will make everything looked balanced so maybe a one jaw surgery is for the best. I think I'll just have to chat with the oral surgeon about it when I get closer to game time.

At that point, the orthodontist said, "OK, sorry to do this to you, but we're going to make you look worse for a while. Before you have surgery, we have to give you an underbite." I have already noticed an underbite forming, but it's really only apparent when I move my lower jaw over and attempt to line up my midlines. Although an underbite is nothing to get excited about I figure 1) I won't have it that long and 2) it's better than an 11mm gap. I have about 4mm of space left and at this rate I should be ready for surgery in June.

The ortho assistant put powerchains on the top and bottom teeth and also put these super-high molar pads on the bottom teeth that cause me to slur my speech a bit (though not as bad as the expander). My understanding is that the purpose of the molar pads is to prevent my teeth from hitting each other while the front teeth back are moving back. With the groundhog just having seen his shadow, I decided that lavender powerchains were appropriate for Spring.

**Gap Closing Update**

The pressing issue on a SARPE patient's mind is, how long until that dreaded gap closes? Well, my gap has sort of shifted all over the place so basically total space closes at 1mm per month. At this point, my gaps are not very noticeable so I would say that at about 2 1/2 months after braces I felt more comfortable and by 5 months of braces the gaps are barely noticeable. Of course, some people have much smaller gaps and their teeth close much more quickly. I saw one blog where the front gap closed in 6-8 weeks. So, my advice is not to get too hung up on how fast the gap closes. For the most part, no one even notices. My friends didn't realize I had the gap since I covered it up with wax. Plus people are generally more concerned with their own appearance. So, my advice is go out and have fun and don't let a gap get you down.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Check in with the oral surgeon!

On Wednesday, I went in and saw my oral surgeon for my six+ month check-in. His office took a few x-rays and some good news came out of the visit. He said that my bone was healing nicely (yay), that I look good (not feeling that yet - too focused on my gappy teeth) and that I may not need a second surgery (really??). When he looked at my mouth, he felt that the teeth were aligning and that it "wasn't as bad" as when he saw me back in May. He left me with the x-rays (which I've posted below) and told me to chat with my orthodontist about possibility changing up our plan.

So, although I should be THRILLED that I could possibly avoid a second surgery, I must say that I don't see how that could be possible. Since I had my SARPE, there have been some improvements - I can breathe through my nose (so wonderful!), my jaw clenching / migraines are gone (so nice to wake out without feeling like someone kicked me in the head during the night) and my smile is wider. I've also been told that I overall look better - more prominent cheekbones, less pointy chin, less prominent nose. So, that's all well and good, but the fact is I still have a crossbite and issues chewing and I'd hate to go through all this, forgo the second surgery and then find out in 10 years that "oops orthodontics didn't fix the problem". I don't think I want to put myself through round three of braces in my 40s.

I will chat with my orthodontist about it, but my thought is let's just get 'er done.

Below are my latest - hot off the presses - photos. The front gap is almost gone, but there is a gap at the top since the right teeth are coming in at an angle. You can see in the x-rays that the roots from the right teeth need still need to move over and straighten up. Also, my gums haven't formed a papilla (i.e. the triangle of gum tissue) to go in between my front teeth yet. Supposedly that happens on its own as the bone heals. If not, there may be some gum work in my future when this is all said and done.




Front 1/23/11



Left side - 1/23/11




Right side - 1/23/11




1/19/11




1/19/11 (the wire at the top of my mouth is my TPA)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

4 months of braces!


1/1/2011 - New Year's Day in Utah


1/3/2011


1/3/2011



1/3/2011


9/2----------------10/4-------------11/2-------------12/2--------------1/3


Happy New Year! As you can see, my teeth have made lots of progress over the past three weeks. I had my last adjustment on 12/29 and they put small powerchains on the front four teeth so they are moving together fast and furious. The front two teeth are almost touching and the gaps are now gone between the incisors and my front teeth. Of course, I now have some bigger gaps next to my incisors, but I think they look better already with the front four coming in. The plan is to straighten and bring the front four together and then work on the remaining space in the next adjustment.

During my adjustment, I chatted with the ortho assistant about band colors. She suggested blue, but after sticking blue powerchains on the front I decided to go back to the more inconspicuous silver. I know I need to avoid curry like the plague since yellow bands aren't particularly attractive. :)

Today, I got a reminder that it's time to see my oral surgeon. Hard to believe that it's been just over 6 months since my surgery! I'm eagerly anticipating my next surgery since the sooner I have the surgery, the sooner this process will be behind me. If all goes well, by New Year's 2012 I will be flashing my brand-new debraced grin.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Weeks 14 and 15 - The curry incident




10/17---------------------------11/17-----------------------12/17


Hello and happy holidays! The weeks are going by super fast and I realize that this probably the longest I've gone between blog posts! I didn't think my teeth were straightening up, but when I look at the progression, I can see that they've straightened up a ton in the past month. It even looks like the gap up top has closed in a bit so yay for that!

I've read that curry can cause your powerchains / rubberbands to change colors and I can confirm this is absolutely true. Online, I read that silver was a safe choice, but some chicken vindaloo later, my pretty silver powerchains are now a shiny gold. I've actually had curry twice in the past two weeks so clearly I am a glutton for punishment. I can report that the gold color does fade with brushing so over time it's not as bright as say the night you have curry. When this happened originally, I was going to get my elastics changed, but then I figured it blended well enough with my teeth, so I decided to skip it. My next adjustment is the 29th so I'll have to see about getting a different color up top.

For those that haven't entered the braces stage yet, I've decided that in retrospect, the metal brackets are way better than the "clear" brackets. First the brackets aren't really clear, hence the quotation marks and second, they're a lot bigger than the metal brackets. Plus the dark gray elastics blend well with metal and don't stain.

Also, I've tried to cheap out on the threader floss by buying Oral B's brand and I've got to say nothing beats Crest's threader floss. The Oral B floss took twice as long to thread—not worth it when my brushing routine is already such a process.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weeks 12 & 13


30 days-----------------------60 days-------------------------90 days
Braces timeline



Left side



Right side


It's been almost a month since I posted pictures so I wanted to get a whole bunch up today. As you can see, the gaps between my front teeth and the lateral incisors are almost closed. Yay! I have gotten over any self-consciousness I had over my teeth and now no longer use wax to hide the gaps. I officially went wax free around 11/20. It just got to the point where I didn't want to deal with it anymore and the gaps to me seem not that bad. Plus, I've had about three incidents already where I swallowed the wax. Yuk, right? So far now, the baby gaps still need to close and then maybe this front one will start closing again. In other positive developments this week I started eating sandwiches again. It seems like the front teeth are a lot more sturdy now and it's easier to bite through things.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Week 10 & 11 - adjustment

Right after SARPE, there was a ton going on in my mouth. Every week there was progress on the gap, new foods that I could chew, etc. Now things are a lot calmer. Speaking has returned to normal. I can eat pretty much anything – as long as there is a fork and knife involved. I can pucker my lips and drink through a straw. Yes, the little things. Plus the gap(s) are significantly smaller. My teeth are moving, but not at a super rapid pace so it’s harder to see the progress on a week-by-week basis. So not as much too post – that’s why I’ve been quieter.

On Wednesday, I went to the ortho for an adjustment. They added a heavier wire and new brackets to my very back molars to help them sit down lower in my mouth. I also had these “break pads” put on the teeth next to them so it would prevent me from biting down on the brackets in the back. On the top, they added a heavier wire with powerchains which should help reduce the gaps overall and allow the front teeth to straighten out. Initially it will reduce the gaps between the front and the lateral incisors as the front teeth straighten out. Then the front teeth will start coming together again, but they’ll come in straighter. Currently the teeth are flying in towards one another – making a V shape. The ortho assistant said that the gaps typically close at a rate of 2 mm every six weeks. She said I had 8 mm of space overall. Based on my calculations, it’s looks like I’ll be gap free in May?!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 9 - Powerchains progress





10/12/10----------------------------------------------11/2/10

Since I got my lovely silver powerchains three weeks ago, there has been some progress in closing the gaps, but it's been a lot slower than it was with the wire powerchains. If I look at the pic from 10/12 and then the one from 11/2, then click to enlarge and look back and forth again, I do see SOME progress. It seems like the gap between the front teeth has closed slightly and the gaps between the front teeth and the lateral incisors have definitely closed up a bit, but where's the drama? When I look back on my old blog posts, I predicted teeth closed by September, then end of October and now? I'm hoping for Janaury. :) My birthday is coming up in three weeks, but I don't think it'll be no more gaps as a present. Perhaps I'll kick off 2011 gap free??