Monday, December 24, 2007

teeth moving :(

So, the pain from my teeth being extracted is starting to pass (thankfully). My jaw is feeling better. But, my teeth are moving like crazy!!! I'm so frustrated - my second to rear molars are tipping on their sides even worse than before, and my front bottom teeth are moving in what seems to be the wrong direction.

I'm going to call the orthodontist as soon as the new year is over, but it seems like a step backwards. When I get braces in a month, the first few weeks are going to be spent moving the teeth back into their original positions.


Saturday, December 22, 2007

teeth pictures, post extraction

Finally, I get my camera out of Nick's car, where it's been held hostage for the past month or so. First, the obligatory pre-everything-except-for-extraction photo of my nice big gummy smile (sometime I'll post one of a BIG smile - this one is pretty conservative).

Next, my amazing bite! The orthodontist, oral surgeon, and dentist kept talking about my open bite. Truthfully, I never really thought about it being really open until I took these pictures - and now I notice that the only teeth that touch in my mouth are on my right side, my back three (oops, now two) teeth. Odd.

I look a little tired (okay, a lot tired and slightly dramatic), but this is my biggest problem with my stupid mouth/jaw/bite/everything combined: My lips don't cover my teeth. So, if I'm not paying attention and I space out during the day, I get a slack-jawed, stupid look that's completely unattractive. Such as the picture to the left.

My lower jaw sans two teeth. The hope is that the Damon braces system will widen the lower arches enough that the extra step in my jaw surgery won't be necessary... Hence I said goodbye to two teeth, as the crowding is pretty insane. Also, my teeth lean too far inwards, which will be fixed first off.

My upper palate. Please ignore the multitude of cavities, as I'm pretty embarrassed of them. My teeth aren't too crowded, but my arch is very narrow. They'll widen this as much as they can with the damon braces like my lower jaw, but then they'll widen it during the main surgery as well. (Though, if it doesn't look like they will be able to get enough widening with the damon system, I'll have to do the SARPE thing - I'm crossing my fingers to avoid it!) My teeth on the top side really lean towards the inside of my mouth, as well, which should be fixed straight away.

Side profile with my lips relaxed (it's a bit weird from the shadows, but you can see how my lips don't even come close to touching, and how long my profile is from my nose to my chin.
Anyway, in closing, it all starts here! My jaw is still pretty sore, but I'm able to open it today. The weirdest thing is, is my lower teeth really hurt today - and in looking at them in the mirror, they're already becoming less crowded, and edging into the recently vacated space.

Friday, December 21, 2007

teeth extraction

Ugh, what a day yesterday. I went to my teeth cleaning on Wednesday, and they found the beginning of cavities between two different sets of teeth. He said that because my teeth are so crowded, and because they've been moving so much, the enamel is rubbing down and forming cavities. (No wonder I've had so many cavities as an adult, even though I take really good care of my teeth). They had an appointment open for the next day, though, so I was glad I could get it over with right away.

Zoom to following day [yesterday]. My ortho appointment went well, he confirmed everything the oral surgeon said, and said I was fine to get braces on January 21st, unless I didn't have my two teeth pulled by then. I flipped out a little bit (my dentist is really busy and I have a difficult schedule), so my receptionist called to see if I could get in over break. They said that if I could show up at 10am instead of 11:30 (my cavity appointment), I could have it all done at once.

Luckily, Heidi is amazing and gave up our day of Christmas shopping and cookie making and holiday movie watching to take me to the dentist, where we spent 3 and a half hours. Seriously. I was in the chair for most of that time. After one of the most horrific local anesthesia experiences ever (the needles were four inches long, just let me say), they drilled the cavities first, then pulled the two teeth, then filled the cavities. My teeth are so crammed together that it was almost impossible to fill the cavities, and the wedges to hold my teeth apart kept breaking off. Remember, also, that I have TMJ, and by the end of the appointment the pain from my jaw was shooting into my neck and back and right arm. I was numb until around 9pm last night (11 hours!!).

Today, other than speaking ("s" sounds are painful because they send my tongue into my open sockets), my teeth aren't really painful - it's my jaw that's out of control. I can't open my mouth more than about an inch, and that's a stretch. The joints are throbbing, I have a massive headache, ugh. Note to self: know what I'm getting into before I agree to anything like that again. Yikes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I'm getting my first teeth cleaning in almost three years tomorrow (I love having insurance again!), and I get to meet the dentist that's going to pull my bottom two teeth. He seems nice - he called me personally to confirm my appointment tomorrow - perhaps he realizes how much money he's going to make off me?

And Thursday's the appointment - the final consulatation with my orthodontist before braces!

I keep meaning to get the camera out of Nick's car so I can take my official "before" pictures. I'll make sure to do that this week sometime.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

final verdict

The final verdict is in.... (drumroll, please?)
  • Bilateral Saggital Osteotomy (lower jaw)
  • Horizontal Maxillary Osteotomy (upper jaw)
  • Segmental Maxillary Osteotomy (upper jaw)
  • Genioplasty Osteotomy (chin)

The surgeon tells me that I had a difficult jaw/face/teeth to work out. There were many options, but the best seems to be they are going to do all of the surgery at once, instead of doing the SARPE. They will try to widen my palate as much as possible with the Damon Braces, and then finish up the job when I go into my jaw surgery. They are pulling two teeth out of my lower jaw for expansion and crowding, and will try to expand that as well with the Damon system.

Worst case scenario? I end up having to have separate surgeries and do the SARPE thing, and they have to also widen my lower jaw during the "main" surgery. She said she was 99.99% sure this wasn't happen.

I should be in braces about a year and a half (which works out perfectly, as I should be getting braces next month and I'll be able to get it during the summer), and then the surgery will happen. Altogether, somewhere around June of 2010 I should be all finished??

I have my final braces "sign-the-paperwork" appointment on Thursday morning.... I'm so excited!

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Can I just say that I'm a bit nervous for my intake appointment with the oral surgeon on Tuesday? I am more nervous that she will say I need to wait until I have different insurance than about the jaw surgery - while I know this will all be painful and horrible, it will be worth it in the end and I've waited so long for this... I don't want to wait any more!

My insurance isn't right for the oral surgery part of all of this - it turns out that if I had picked plan 1 instead of plan 5 (exactly the same, it seemed, except plan 5 had less coverage for mental health [I wasn't worried at all], and a much smaller deductible and a smaller co-pay [both large benefits], so I picked plan 5). It turns out that plan 5 considers this surgery cosmetic and doesn't cover it, while plan 1 covers 95%. Damn - but hindsight is 20/20.

Now, everything rides on the SARPE (Surgically Assisted Rapid Palate Expansion).... in my research online, this is usually done early on - first thing, even. Will my insurance cover this? If not, can we afford to do it without my insurance covering it? If I need it and my insurance does not cover it, and we can't afford it, it looks like my braces are put off by a long while - until next October 1st, at least. Gah!

I just wish it was Tuesday already.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The beginning!

I had braces when I was younger.... elementary school and middle school I did spacers, braces, headgear, bands, the whole bit. I didn't wear my first retainer after my braces came off, so I was stuck in them again for a few more months to refine. The orthodontist didn't trust me after the first round, so he put in a 'permanent' retainer, only to have it fall out a year and a half later, and we didn't have it put back in because my teeth were staying. Four wisdom teeth coming in later, and I have crooked teeth (more crooked than before?) once again.

I've been wanting to get back into braces for a few years now, but haven't had the insurance or the money. Finally, I'm out of school, my husband and I are both working great jobs, and I have insurance! So, I do research online, decide on the Damon Braces system, and make my appointment.

It was last Friday. At the appointment, I was informed that I needed orthognathic surgery on my upper jaw, possibly my lower jaw, and that my upper palate needed to be widened, as it's just barely half of the width it should be.

I am frankly scared of all this, though am gung-ho. I want my teeth to stop getting in the way of my clarinet playing. I want to stop being a mouth-breather. I am ready for straight teeth (and a straight jaw, apparantly).

My appt. with the oral surgeon is on the 11th of this month. I have a final "sign-the-paperwork-here's-your-treatment-plan-pay-us-now" meeting with the orthodontist on the 20th, and then I get braces on January 21st.

I'm scared, but excited.