Monday, December 29, 2008

ready for the next year

I have goals. Before my surgery, I am determined to do the following:

1) Keep healthy. I have been more susceptible to colds and flu's this year than ever before. I know it's probably due to all of the new germs at a new school, but I would like to be better about taking vitamins to do some preventative work.

2) Get healthier. I'd like to get back into running - I ran a 10k just two months ago, but then with my new job and all this illness and jaw pain and migraines I've let my training slack. I'm not terribly overweight, but I know that excess weight can hinder recovery and your reaction to anesthesia.

3) Stop complaining and focusing on pain. Now that I am in an upswing and have started to be able to control my migraines and extreme jaw pain, I need to stop focusing on it. It has [unfortunately] become a part of my life, and I need to get over it - it'll make me a happier person.

4) Find foods that are both sore jaw friendly and healthy OTHER than soup or anything that resembles soup. I am 6 or 7 months away from surgery and I already despise the stuff. I eat it every day for at least one meal, sometimes two. I need to figure out how to get more vegetables and fruits in without causing more pain. (And of course, soup is the best way. UGH!).

5) Become more familiar with the surgery I am about to undertake. I'd like to know exactly what's going to happen inside of my mouth so I can prepare myself as best I can. I especially want to research more about wind instrument playing after surgery.

Here's to a good next six or seven months.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

tired of braces

I've been really tired of my braces lately. I'm ticked off that I can't eat all of the yummy holiday candy (between the jaw and the braces, I seem to be out of luck for most of my favorites), I am beyond tired of brushing my teeth, I am sick of fishing out food for hours every time I decide to be brave and bite into something head on, and I am for some reason developing more and more little ulcers in my mouth.

For a while the braces didn't bother me - in fact, for a good six months I barely noticed they were there! But suddenly, in the past month they feel huge in my mouth - almost like when I first got them on. No real pain coming from my teeth, but my lips don't seem to fit around them as well as they used to. And combined with all these random sores inside of my mouth, it's really annoying!!

And I'll probably be in braces for the next Christmas season as well. Sucky.

Monday, December 15, 2008

'tis the season

It's the season of performances for musicians and music teachers, so I'll admit to being a blogging slacker - but I have a good reason. I performed or conducted seven times last week PLUS I'm dealing with the car wreck, continued jaw pain, and a huge cold. But now I'm only three and a half days away from winter vacation, so things are looking lovely.

I'm fine from the car wreck, I've just got nasty little whiplash in my neck. My jaw did not take to a car wreck lightly, but the stronger muscle relaxant for my neck has made it manageable.

Odd braces story (which we all love).... I was working at the 'bux last week, helping customers and putting away the order when a lady came up to me and asked for help. She was deaf, but could read lips: however, she could NOT read mine for some reason - after about three solid minutes of trying to explain that she needed a gift receipt for any returns with no luck I got my manager - it took Jen less than 30 seconds and all was well. I can't figure it out except for that I stretch my lips over my braces when I talk, and it must have muddled my "speech."

Weird, huh?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


After all of that "I'm not getting headaches!" and "Hurray for less pain" I go and get myself into a car accident. I have a stinkin' concussion and my neck and back are already stiffening up and I'm frankly pissed.

My fault, too. Ugh.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

doctor visit

I had an intake appointment yesterday and had a long conversation about my jaw pain and headaches with my new primary care physician. She has decided to prescribe me the same muscle relaxants for the next 7 months until my jaw surgery. She is worried about my body adjusting to the medication and addiction, but we both decided that those risks were smaller than dealing with the long, intense migraines of the past few months. I guess I'll deal with the addiction bit once I get past the surgery....

I have REALLY noticed a difference now that I'm on muscle relaxants and doing acupuncture... I have less jaw pain than before, especially while playing my clarinet. I have only had three migraines in the two weeks since getting started on them, and each of those migraines lasted less than a day. I am able to get through my 5th period class without being in considerable pain (it is my last period of the day, and usually the most painful).

Good news.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

thanksgiving time

I am thankful for many things.

  • I am thankful for the lack of migraines since my last one (still! hurray!)
  • I am thankful for my rapidly moving teeth, despite the discomfort it causes.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful husband that takes the brunt of all of this jaw pain and headache pain and everything else.
  • I am thankful for the means to get braces and jaw surgery. There are families at my school that have trouble putting food on the table, but I can afford 10k for braces and probably that much more for surgery.
  • I am thankful for heath insurance and dental insurance.
  • I am thankful for a steady job.
  • I am thankful for all of my friends and family.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I just found out my orthodontist puts our pictures in a database online. Look at the difference in my x-rays from the first initial appointment (prior to braces and extractions) versus the x-rays that he took last week.

I know they're small (can't make them bigger), but look at the difference!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I hate to get ahead of myself....

... but my jaw was not especially sore today, nor did I have a headache! Usually Tuesdays are my worst days for jaw pain and headaches due to my 2 hour rehearsals on my clarinet on Monday nights.

The funny thing now? I don't know what is actually giving me relief. I didn't play as much as usual last night (nightmares of migraines), I am trying acupuncture, I have those new muscle relaxers AND new day-time pain medications (sodium naproxen).

Still, I have a glimmer of hope [again]. Hopefully it's not a fluke this time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

more mirgaine fun!

I ended up in the Urgent Care on Thursday because the migraine had surpassed all migraines before it. It actually ran out of room to inflict pain on my [normal] left side, and began aching and pulling on the right. I couldn't hold food down, I couldn't see straight, I was sleeping for the entire day (we're talking, I'd wake up, moan, turn, cry a little bit, and finally fall asleep because the pain was so bad I couldn't see myself getting out of bed).

At the urgent care, they gave me an anti-nausea shot in the hip and a hardcore painkiller shot in the hip, along with some prescriptions to try for the jaw (a muscle relaxant for at night, a painkiller for the day, and a super-pain-killer for days like the last few). Hopefully something works!

I missed 3 days of school. Unheard of.

Acupuncture today with a crazy needle configuration on my left side (the ouchy migraine jaw pain side).... I again feel less tension already. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be pain free for a while!

He says that a week between visits is optimal. I'm seeing him again next Friday. Hopefully no record-breaking migraines before then.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

acupuncture and adjustment

Acupuncture was this past Friday. I had needles. In my FACE (and neck, shoulders, hands, and feet). It was a bit scary. The acupuncturist was very good - he made me feel very relaxed, asked me a lot of questions, told me he thought acupuncture would help (and he can also fix my I'm-suddenly-getting-old-or-something weird stuff going on like my hip being weird). The needles stung a little bit going in on my face, but nothing more than a pinch and a sting and it was over. He left Nick and I in a nice warm room to hang out for maybe 20-25 minutes with the needles in (good picture time). I didn't feel any immediate relief, which was a bummer because I was coming off of a doozy of a migraine, but the next day I woke up to no pain. Not even a little. In fact, I didn't really notice anything was different until I went to yawn and I winced and grabbed for my jaw joints like I usually do and realized it didn't hurt. It didn't last long, maybe an hour, but I now have confidence that it can work. He says that the relief will be more immediate and more long lasting as treatment progresses.

Then the next day I got the worst migraine I've had in a long time. Hopefully not connected... I still have it now and I'm contemplating missing school tomorrow it hurts so bad.

Adjustment was today. They x-rayed my teeth and took off a maybe 7-8 brackets on my lowers and 1 on my uppers for replacement. She put the same wire back in and I was originally disappointed (no pain no gain!) but immediately I felt the results.... and 8 hours later my teeth are singing Wagner. Whoo-eee! I was sad, he made a comment on my teeth getting a little discolored. I drink coffee. I LOVE coffee. I'm not sure how I'm going to give coffee up, but he's right. My teeth aren't as lovely as they once were. Any ideas?

Oh, and progress pictures. The gums keep swelling (the splints make it worse, I think), the overbite keeps growing, and the gaps keep closing. On and on.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

great news! (maybe)

Over the past few months Nick (the husband) has been getting lots of conflicting information about his school dates for the Natl Guard. At first it looked like he would leave in January and not really come back until both schools were finished (which would total a bit over a year).

NOW, we have a tentative date from early February to July 2nd! If I scheduled my surgery for the 5th or 6th, I could have Nick take care of me instead of my mom! I hate having to make my mom take time off of work - plus it's a hassle for my brother Jake at home, who'd have to take care of things while Mom is gone. (Did I mention how grateful I am to have people to take care of me?)

I'm REALLY crossing my fingers. The problem is, is it's the army. And the army is full of schedule changes and setbacks. Since I'm not scheduling my surgery until March, we'll know whether or not he is gone and when he'll be back.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Even though my district is now offering a "basic" plan, it will still be financially wise for me to chose the more expensive plan. This coming year, it is $267.00 a month for health and $20.00 a month for dental.

Now, it's looking like
Health Insurance Total: $3204
Hospital Co-pay: $300
Out-of-Pocket Max: $500-$2000 (depending on in-network status)
Surgery Downpayment: $1000
Genioplasty: $500.00

My husband and I just got out from under 4.5 years of major credit card debt. As of yesterday, we are debt free (well, except for my student loans)! But now, looking at all this money I'm going to spend in the next year, things are looking down. Because this doesn't include co-payments for visits ($20 each), co-payments for prescriptions ($10-$30 each), or the stuff I'll need to buy - blender, zip-n-squeeze bags, etc.

I know I need this surgery (after two more days of migraines while teaching band and orchestra, believe me I know), but at the same time I can't stand that it's so expensive. And I don't know that I'll even be covered when it comes down to it.

This is all so frustrating. I was really hoping the basic plan would help me out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

acupuncture, part two

I didn't realize that I had a mandatory district laptop training on Monday (my district is giving me a laptop to use though! Hurray!).... and the next appointment open is on Friday. So a week from today, I'll know about the acupuncture. While I'm scared out of my wits about it (I really don't like needles), it seems like a last resort - I mean, what else can I do? I don't see very many options.

The past few weeks I was wondering what was going on with my splints - it seemed as if they weren't working as well, and I was wondering if my jaw had perhaps adjusted somehow to them.

Well, I fell asleep during a movie last night and didn't put my splint in - and I would rate my jaw pain today at an 8. Edging higher and higher as the day progresses. Luckily it was an inservice day, not a teaching day - but I went out to lunch with my staff, ordered a bowl of tortilla soup and only was able to drink the broth. Thank God I didn't have to teach - I mean, I can't really talk.

Hey, but it's probably for the best - now I can't eat any of the yummy Halloween candy sitting in a bowl by my front door. Heh.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm biting the bullet (not really, it would probably hurt my jaw too much). I've been complaining about this stupid jaw pain for weeks now. Despite massive amounts of tylenol and ibuprofen, massages from my talented husband, eating only soup and very soft foods, AND my amazing splint, nothing is changing for the good.

I was talking to two friends a few weeks back, and they discouraged me from getting surgery, saying that acupuncture fixed all of Mishka's TMJ problems. They even recommended a clinic here in Tacoma. I've been putting off making an appointment, though, mostly due to fear of the unknown.

But today I had another puking migraine at school today and am being forced to skip my band rehearsal tonight. I have shooting pains that are making my eyes water through my left jaw joints. Enough is enough.

My appointment is Monday at 4:30.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

jaw pain

The pain from my jaw has been continuing to worsen over time. I'm keeping daily track of it in a notebook (hoping to build evidence for the appeal process). In the last 30 days, I have only had two days where the pain has been a 3 or less (on a scale of 1-10). I've had 18 days where the pain has been a 6 or more. We're talking, some days I can't chew food. I can't open my mouth (or close it once it's finally open). I've had 12 migraines.

At some point, if this continues, it won't bother me at all to be on a no-chew diet. I'm getting closer and closer every day.

This sucks.

Oh! But good news! In an update from my school district (insurance provider), they have decided to cut the UHC plan completely and to offer a less-expensive, more basic plan from the "good" insurance company that I have to go with to possibly cover my surgery/surgeon. I don't know how much it will cost yet (in fact, they're re-evaluating all costs before open enrollment starts next month), but it gives me a shimmer of hope. Hurray!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


My insurance has to be the insurance that costs 237.00 a month. To save me some money, I am able to use the "normal" 45.00 a month insurance until January - because I can change to the expensive insurance during open enrollment in November. But I'm stuck with that expensive insurance for an entire year.

Bummer, to say the least. But I called my oral surgeon and she said that I can schedule my surgery in March. Wahoo!

Does anyone know - is that enough time for the appeal process? Or should I start appealing come January?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

decisions, decisions

I have to make my insurance decision by Monday.... I think, though, that if things go terribly wrong I have the chance to change them when open enrollment comes in November. I called the other insurance choice, and they have a similar policy for orthognathic surgery - it is simply not covered except for in specific cases, but you can appeal.

Now that THAT is over (finding out that surgery could possibly be covered in two of my insurance choices), now I need to figure out which one covers the hospital and Dr. Lee. Hopefully in-network.

I left (another) message for Dr. Lee's patient coordinator, and I'm sure I'll talk to her tomorrow.

Keep your fingers crossed that the UHC insurance covers the hospital/ surgeon - because it's only 45 dollars a month, as opposed to 237 dollars a month. With everything else, coverage wise, being pretty much the same.

PS. Ran in to get some more splints today because mine are all wearing through - ended up getting a 20 minute appointment where my two orthodontists chatted with me about what's going on! I love my orthodontists. They are also trying to get me off of the splints and onto something different that isnt' so expensive OR so chewable. We'll see how it works, although it doesn't seem promising to me. I'll post pictures soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

short quip

True story: Dancing in San Francisco last weekend, I ran into someone I had met in the summer of 2005 dancing in California. The first thing she says to me when she realizes it's me? "Ohh, you didn't have braces then!" like they were a permanent fixture on my teeth.

No kidding, super sleuth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

blogger is a pain!

Blogger issues = I didn't post the picture of the splint itself yet can't put it in there now, after the fact. So here it is, in it's splint-y glory:

And for the heck of it, a picture of my friend Heidi and I after running our first 10k! :) (In all of our sweat-y glory, ah hah hah!)

splint and new progress

Progress pictures! My front teeth are finally starting to look straight! A few nights ago I looked in the mirror while I was brushing my teeth and I realized that my front tooth was no longer sticking out at such an angle. Hooray! My overbite doesn't seem to be getting much worse this time (thank goodness... it's awful).

As I get further into teaching, my jaw is getting less and less mobile. Today during my beginning band class, the last class of the day I teach, my jaw actually locked closed for a little bit. Luckily, the kids were working on note reading, so I didn't need to talk. OUCH! The headache of tonight is incredible.... today was also probably due to the fact that I played my clarinet last night for band rehearsal, the first one since the spring.

I wish you could see it in this picture of my bottom teeth, but my front teeth are starting to get slight gaps in between them. Crazy! The big gaps from my extractions are closing up with a quickness... which is good, but they are becoming quite good at trapping food. Ugh. No more rice cakes for me at lunch. ;)

Anyway, tomorrow during my lunch time I'm going to try to call my oral surgeon's office so they can help me make my decision about insurance. Hopefully they know what kind of a time frame I'm looking at for appeal processes, how likely or unlikely each company was to accept the appeals, etc. Two insurance choices cost me around 250 dollars a month (OUCH, especially when last year it was free), one insurance costs me overall around 50 dollars, and one 30. I'm voting for the lower cost ones, of course, but I'll do whatever it takes to get my surgery to happen. Money might get really tight, but that's okay. We'll manage.

And last but not least.... my beloved splint. It's got water in the pads that go between my back teeth at night, and it rests itself on my upper gums right above my braces - my braces kind of anchor it in place. It's impossible to talk while wearing it, so wearing it while teaching is out. It makes me sleep with my mouth wide open (well, just forces my mouth to be wide open, and if I try to force my lips over it for long periods of time I get worse headaches than I had before the splint). So I have to have water around while I'm wearing it, or I get sore throats. The last negative thing is it's irritating my gums something fierce - which my orthodontist warned me it might. I switch it from upper to lower jaws, but it works best when it's on my uppers. I LOVE it. When I'm wearing it, it feels like my jaw just settles into where it's supposed to be, and instantly I lose tension all the way from the top of my skull into my shoulders. It's amazing. I'm in heaven.

Apologies for the fairly disjointed post... My mind is swimming with an upcoming dancing trip to San Francisco (Friday), missing instruments, teaching stuff, staff stuff, teeth and insurance stuff.... I decided I'd come home tonight and go to bed at eight :) Yay.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

feeling better

We haven't gotten internet in our new apartment yet, hence the sudden lack of updating. I am appreciative about all of your lovely notes and comments.

Between you guys and one of my good friend's sister (who is a lawyer, and tells me she'll help me appeal once the time comes), I am feeling much better. While I don't technically qualify at this point, I feel that I can medically prove I need this surgery.

The splints at night really are improving my headaches, too - even during the day. Once we get internet again (end of the week or so), I'll post pictures of them. While I still have headaches almost every night, at least it's not during the day when I'm teaching middle school band and orchestra :)

And speaking of middle school band and orchestra, while I got quite a few questions about the braces from teachers and adults, not ONE student even really payed any attention to them. Gotta love middle schoolers :)

I'm breathing :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"extreme cases"

Here's the lowdown on extreme cases. I don't qualify, by the way.

"Orthognathic surgery involves the surgical manipulation of the facial skeleton, particularly the maxilla and mandible, to restore the proper anatomic and functional relationship in patients with dentofacial skeletal anomalies, which may be caused by congenital or developmental anomalies or by traumatic injury. (1)

Note: This policy does not address surgical treatment of temporomandibular joint dysfunction or the surgical management of sleep apnea; discussion of these conditions may be found in Medical Policies, Surgery Nos. 49, 122 and 142.

Orthognathic surgery for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea may be considered medically necessary when the criteria in Surgery, Policy No. 49 are met.

Orthognathic surgery may be considered medically necessary to correct jaw and craniofacial deformities in the absence of obstructive sleep apnea when all of the following criteria (1-3) are met: Significant functional impairment is documented as a result of illness, injury, congenital anomaly, or developmental anomaly.

Significant functional impairment must be directly attributable to jaw and craniofacial deformities and must include one or more of the following:

  • Chewing-induced trauma secondary to malocclusion
  • Significantly impaired swallowing and/or choking due to inadequate mastication secondary to malocclusion
  • Significant speech abnormalities (e.g., sibilant distortions or velopharyngeal distortion) which have not responded to speech therapy and are secondary to malocclusion
  • Loss of masticatory or incisive function due to malocclusion or skeletal abnormality
  • Airway restriction

Significant over- or underjet as documented by one of the following:

  • In mandibular excess or maxillary deficiency, a reverse overjet of 3mm or greater
  • In mandibular deficiency, an overjet of 5mm or greater
  • Open bite of 4mm or greater
  • Deep bite of 7mm or greater
  • Less than six posterior teeth in functional opposition to other teeth secondary to a developmental or congenital growth abnormality (as opposed to a consequence of the loss of teeth)
  • The functional impairment and over- or underjet are not correctable with non-surgical treatment modalities.

Orthognathic surgery in the absence of significant physical functional impairment is considered cosmetic, including but not limited to when used for altering or improving bite or for improvement of appearance.

The following documentation is required to determine medical necessity for orthognathic surgery:

  • Current study models with the appropriate bite registration and/or the back of the models trimmed such that they represent the patient's current pre-surgical centric occlusion and/or centric relation bite
  • Intra-oral and extra-oral photographs
  • Cephalometric x-rays
  • Diagnostic report
  • Panorex x-ray

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

okay, freak out now.

None of the available insurance plans cover orthognathic surgery except for in extreme cases. I can go through a lengthy appeal process with my school district, but even then I'm not sure what my chances are about getting it approved.

So.... a lot of random crying going on. I think I'll just have to have my orthodontist put me back together again, fix my bite as much as possible, and remove the braces - I can't afford this surgery without insurance, and I can't afford to have my bite get any worse. I have shooting pains in my jaws all the time now, and I'm getting migraines every other day or so.

And it's considered "cosmetic." What a bunch of shit.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

do. not. freak. out. (yet).

While I was initally pleased (understatement of the year, right there) about my new teaching job, now I am freaking out. I just got back from my new hire orientation, where I learned that my new school district has a really messed up version of insurance. And instead of getting a plan for free in my old school district that would pay for 95% of my jaw surgery, I don't know if it can get covered at all. Two of the five plans cost me 237.00 a month, one costs 25.00 a month, and one costs 45.00 a month (the final is group health, which isn't an option). Now, don't get me wrong, it'd be pretty darned good insurance... if I didn't already have a surgeon that I love and that is working with my orthodontist.

I don't know what to do with myself. I called the patient coordinator to HELP, but they were already out of the office. I'll call again tomorrow. And since my husband is doing the whole army thing come January, his current insurance can't help me even if it did cover more than my own does.

If that weren't bad enough, my new dental insurance doesn't have any coverage for braces. So I owe an additional 400 dollars at the end of my contract now. I asked the benefits coordinator why, and he explained that through their other dental plan (Willamette), braces only cost 400 dollars. Yeah, but they only offer traditional braces, and they have terrible service.

So, I'm panicked. In the next week I have to set up my classroom, get prepared for the first week of classes, pack up my entire apartment, move to a new apartment (possibly unpack?), get my insurance stuff worked out, and.... breathe.

(just breathe).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

adjustment today

As I said in my post yesterday, I had a lot of questions going into this appointment. But my orthodontist is so great - he read my mind before I could even ask them!

I will be surgery ready in.... are you ready???? APRIL! However, I can't take time off of school, so surgery will have to wait until June. But what a relief! He also explained what will happen in my next few appointments - the next appointment is a long one, repositioning brackets and getting my first set of stainless steel wires. After that, the focus will be on closing my lower gaps and achieving as much width in my lower arches as possible. He says that while they are working on my upper jaw, it's not as big a priority because it's going to be widened in surgery.

School gets out on June 16th with the 17th-20th being possible snow makeup days. I will probably shoot for the last week in June to give me time to prepare. My mom has a ton of vacaction time, luckily, so she'll be able to come up and take care of me the first week or two (my husband leaves for National Guard training in January, and will be gone for a year to two years in California... with no way to take time off). Thank goodness she'll be able to help - otherwise, things would be scary.

He also gave me a few splints, hoping to curb some of the severe migraines I've been getting lately from my jaw. They're pretty neat - I'll post pictures when I get a chance, and let you know how they work out.

Oh, and the gums? Looking fine. Whatever.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

the almost waterpik and why I hate my husband....

Big things are happening in life - in the last week, I got a new job teaching band and orchestra, with a continuing contract to boot so I don't have to interview for jobs next summer with my jaw banded shut and swollen like a cartoon. I think I found us a new apartment (we'll move in next weekend) and we are possibly buying a new car this weekend... Which of course, results in us needing to save our cash flow and not being able to buy a waterpik!!

The gums are still doing terribly... but I have an appointment tomorrow in the early AM so I'm going to talk with them about it. I also need to talk with them about making sure my surgery date is as soon as school gets out, and to talk with them about insurance stuff, since I've got the new job and I don't know how that'll work out.

My husband went into the orthodontist a few weeks ago. We've been noticing that his teeth have been moving quite rapidly, and I noticed his midlines being extremely off - he had braces for a very long time as a teenager, and he wanted to talk with an orthodontist. Just like I suspected, he has a severe cross-bite and needs braces and lower jaw surgery. He doesn't want braces, but the orthodontist is worried about his front teeth shortening because they are hitting together every time he closes his mouth. (P.S. If we ever decide to have kids, poor them. Or poor us, having to shell out all that money for orthodontics).

All things aside, he was able to skip the braces and jaw surgery for now, and got to get these:

I must say I'm jealous. Aren't they pretty? Can't wait to have my own some day.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

why I love braces

You know? Seven-ish months into this journey, I love my braces. Here's why.
  • They are always a conversation piece.
  • They are an excuse to not try a food or a drink I don't want to at a party or social gathering (oh... no thanks, you know, I'd have to go brush afterwards again. thanks anyway!
  • They are an excuse to eat frozen yogurt whenever my teeth hurt.
  • They are working so quickly and efficiently!
  • I have met a whole host of wonderful blogging friends.
  • At the end of all of this, I will have a beautiful smile and an even-more beautiful bite!

In other words, while I'm not seeing any changes, I know that they're working in there. My teeth have been hurting quite a bit (randomly) for the past week or two, now. My jaw is very tired all of the time, and it's been giving me vicious headaches. Stupid bite.

Just two weeks ago I had a PERFECT placement to chew food - it was beautiful! I wanted to eat all of the time because so many teeth met together! However, now we're back into a more normal placement - only the outside of my rear-most molars on my right side touch when I bite, and my incisiors on my left side touch at the same time. Well, that's the bite that I chew with, not the bite that has unsurfaced itself. I'm developing quite the overbite! It's really attractive with the large gummy smile and huge braces, let me tell you :) I'm workin it!

Progress picture time! (It's too bad that it's not easier to upload photos. I really have a tough time with it sometimes!)

Look at my overbite! I'll give you two shots of it (one sideways because my photo editor is being a pain in the rear end). It is large. Very, very large. And seeming to keep growing (great). In fact, when I position my jaw where it should be (versus where I'm posturing it to be) I can stick my tounge out at people. Fun times, huh? It doesn't seem like my open bite is getting any worse, though... In fact, it seems to be getting better!!

The arch on my lowers is continuing to widen. It's really a spacious home now for my tounge! My gaps from my extraction are still there - but the one on my right side seems to be closing up quickly lately - hopefully the left one follows suit!

Finally, the uppers. They seem to be doing NOTHING! I was a bit upset at the last wire's lack of teeth moving - especially in the area of my front teeth. I assumed that this wire would kick some butt, though - and it just hasn't. It's changed a little, my arch seems a bit wider, but what I really want to happen is for those front teeth to straighten out. And they're just not. Maybe the next wire will do it - my next appointment is in just a few weeks.

Until next time!

Monday, July 21, 2008


After over 6 months in braces, I am still unsure of how to react to dreaded "braces comments." For instance, I was working at the 'bux a few days ago and some guy came up and in a big voice said "SOOOOOO... How're the BRACES?" And I just laughed nervously and said "fine." (He went on to tell me he had them for a long time, but still).

Or when one of my beloved, amazing coworkers asked me when I'd "have my smile back." It wasn't meant to be rude in any way, but come on! I realize my smile is marred by a pound of pokey steel.

I need to have a list made up in my head of comebacks, I think. I know someone out there has a witty response for "how are the braces doing" or "how are the teeth coming along" etc? I seem to get asked this weekly, at least, and I am always awkward in response.

PS. No posts lately because nothing is going on in my mouth. Lame-0.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

first cleaning in braces

I had my first cleaning with braces today - not as pleasant as Katherines, let me tell you. I was nervous going in - my teeth are pretty sensitive, my gums are practically triple the size they're supposed to be, and I don't really like cleanings to begin with.

Well, the technician did as best as she could - which was really good, except for my lip kept getting caught between my braces and her hand or the applicance she was using. And MAN are those teeth sensitive when they are being picked at (and picked and picked at).

She said I was keeping my teeth "super clean." Which I'm glad for - I was really worried that the true reason for my gums being swollen was my lack of teeth-brushing skills. I'm doing everyhing right, except for the slight coffee stains and the weird discoloring between by bottom front two teeth. They gave me a really cool paste to put on before I go to sleep at night (yes, yes, yet another aspect for my nightly cleaning regimine) that should strengthen the enamel and add minerals back into my teeth.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

adjustment time

I had an adjustment this afternoon. I got my first set of square (rectangular?) wires, and I am hurting already. It seems like every tooth is throbbing, my head is full of pressure, and the roof of my mouth feels like it's going to crack open.

Wahoo! No pain, no gain.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I got a call for an interview today. It's Monday morning. Why do I let a little bit of metal on my teeth turn me into a nervous idiot? If they like me, they will look past the braces.

Sometimes I really hate braces. They are able to kill the little self-esteem I have. Every time I smile without thinking, I cringe. I have a big smile - I always have, and I've always loved it - crooked teeth and jaw and everything. Now that it's beneath five pounds of tin it's jarring and disgusting, and once you add in my swollen gums it's atrocious.


Monday, June 9, 2008


I can't believe it's spring outside. It is pouring down rain, it's freezing cold, and the wind is blowing so hard that our lights are flickering on and off. It's June! Come on!

It's been a while since I've updated - too busy, per usual. I've had a lot on my plate - played in a few concerts, conducted a few performances, ran a 5k, flew to Denver to swing dance, caught another terrible cold... The teeth progress has been minimal, but since it's been a while I thought I'd post some progress pictures.

The top teeth look almost exactly the same. My stubborn gums have only gotten worse, and I'm going to talk with my orthodontist again at my next appointment (next Thursday). My arches are continuing to round out, and I can feel the pressure almost every day. The back spaces in my lower arch continue to get smaller. My overbite gets bigger and bigger, however. It's really starting to look pretty funny! But the worse it gets now, the better my bite will be after surgery (right?! Right?!).

Does anyone else have problems with clenching at night? I am a mouth breather, or, was a mouth breather until braces. Now, I wake up with intense headaches because I've clenched the entire night. What brings this on? The ortho gave me a mouthguard, but it hasn't helped. It falls out or gags me at night, which I am especially prone to right now with this killer cold.

Okay, last question - have any of you out there had to change orthodontists? I love mine, but there's a small chance I'm moving to CA at the end of this year - my husband just got a new job. I'm not positive I'm moving with him yet, as I don't want to give up the school-district insurance that pays for my jaw surgeon that I have selected and not some army doctor. I'm not so trusting of the army doctors after my last experiences. Anyway, I was wondering how payment works - I'm paying on my braces now, but how would those payments transfer? Hmm....
Well, I'm off to nurse this cold in bed (I had a 102 degree fever a bit ago!).... it's the last week of school, so I don't have the option to take time off from work.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Sometimes, I forget I have braces. I'm in a dressing room, with a shirt that might not seem terrible on me (even though I've got a long way to go), and then I smile.

And there's metal. And it literally shocks me.

And that's sad.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

no kidding....

I had someone ask me how I expected my middle school students to take me seriously while I had braces on.

Oh, but when confronted that I found her comment to be rude, she said "she didn't mean any harm by it, she was just curious."

Am I a magnet to stupidity? Really?

Friday, May 9, 2008

on and on

It is the end of the school year. In the past week and a half, my choirs (or portions of my choirs) have performed 5 times. Those performances and extra rehearsals, plus a concert of my own on my clarinet, plus a field trip across the state, plus progress reports and may-fails being due, PLUS a cold from hell that continues and continues = Stephanie is unable to blog sometimes. (That's my 7th and 8th grade choirs performing in Leavenworth, WA). They're quite adorable, eh?

The gums are the same. In fact, the gums are worse but I'm ignoring it because that's what the orthodontist told me to do (if you look to the picture on the left, they are my teeth on the top, just to the left of the two front teeth). The gum actually touches metal, where the bracket is connected to my tooth. I have tried everything. Brushing softer, brushing harder, swishing with salt water, using the flouride rinse they gave me, brushing more often, brushing less often.... It seems that the gums want to be swollen, no matter what I try. I just do my best to keep food out of there (which is actually pretty difficult).

The bite, however, is worse than ever. There are days (like today) where only the outsides of a few teeth touch. My lips keep getting trapped in the great void of my overbite, and my braces chop them to bits. Check out this overbite!! While my bite has always been "open," I didn't really have an overbite until just a few weeks ago. It's coming out with a vengence! Lovely.

My arches are really starting to shape up, though, especially on the lower half. My gaps are still pretty wide where the teeth were originally extracted, but they are continually getting smaller as my palate gets wider. I can't believe how rounded and lovely those teeth look - especially those front teeth, which are now pretty much completly straight. Yipee!!

The top teeth and top arch aren't doing too much yet. I can tell the arch has started to grow, and my teeth are looking a little straighter. But really, it's only been 5 or 6 weeks since I got my top braces, so I can't complain too much - especially with the progress of the lowers, which were SO MUCH WORSE. (sorry for the blurry picture... I seem to be unable to take a decent picture of my uppers. I don't know why).

Finally, I have one more picture to show you. I want the world to know that this face does NOT look like a middle schooler. I took a choir to a MS/JH choral contest over the weekend before last, and I had a lady come up and ask me where my director was. I am an adult. And yes, I have braces. And yeah, I'm a young-ish teacher. But in no way, shape, or form do I look between the ages of 12 and 14. Thank you.
Hope you are all doing well!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

still swollen gums

I've been gone for a bit. I had a pretty nasty cold (I'm still recovering slowly) and I've been busy at school with state mandated testing stuff and choral contest coming up. Yikes.

So, the gums aren't really better. I called last week and asked what I should do, and they told me to wait it out and see if it gets worse. Of course, it got worse so I made an appointment for this afternoon. They were located at the office that's furthest away from my house, but I went anyway, ended up waiting for 45 minutes after my appointment time, and then the orthodontist barely looked at me before telling me I was worrying about nothing.

Now, this is unusual. I love my orthodontists. I had a rotten end to my day at school, so I was feeling a little sensitive, and I hit traffic on the way to the appointment and freaked out about being late (remember the first braces fiasco? now I'm paranoid about being late to an appointment).

The reason, he tells me, is that my swelling is due to my tooth pushing forward into line - and pushing all of that extra gum tissue with it. He says to clean my best, but that "I haven't seen swelling yet." What does that mean?

To put it lightly, argh, I am not satisfied.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

swollen gums

So I'm a bit of a compulsive teeth brusher. Many fellow bloggers have admitted to letting things slide a bit after having braces for a while, but I am not one of them yet. I brush in the morning. I brush in the afternoon after lunch. I usually brush after dinner, but always take a long, long brushing and flossing at night before bed with the fluoride paste and the million little brushes. Every time something enters my mouth I make sure to at least rinse, I often brush.

Another side note for the upcoming question: I have swollen gums. I am a mouth breather at night, and the orthodontist says that makes my gums worse. My gums on my lower teeth used to be incredibly swollen because there were parts of them I couldn't get to with a brush or floss, but after the three months or so of braces, they have become healthy and pretty much normal.

My top teeth, however (here comes the question!), seem to be doing terribly with my new braces. Despite the normal brushing/ flossing routine that whipped my lower gums into shape from the beginning, the top gums keep getting worse and worse. In fact, there is one spot where my gums are approaching the bracket on my tooth, and will probably encroach the tooth by tomorrow or Tuesday.

Should I call the orthodontist for this? I mean, I'm doing ALL OF THE RIGHT THINGS. I'm not some 12 year old who doesn't brush or floss. I'm not eating things I'm not supposed to eat (except corn chips, but I make sure to break them into really really small pieces). It should be getting better, at least in my non-professional-worried-about-everything opinion.

I'm worried that stuff is going to get trapped underneath the gums and over the bracket, or that I could develop an infection or something. I could brush more, or floss more, but that seems like it might make things worse....

What do you guys think? Should I call the orthodontist, or just keep on keepin' on?

PS. Thanks for all of the support with the new upper braces, by the way. They feel much more natural, they don't hurt very much, and my lips feel like they're starting to fit over them nicely. You guys are amazing :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The braces are terrible. So terrible, in fact, that despite taking pictures for later reference, I was not sure if I could bring myself to show the rest of the world. But this morning, I have better resolve, better tylenol, and a better sense of humor. So, here we go. Huge, terrible, so big-my-lips-don't-really-fit-over-them braces. Yikes.

And they hurt like... well, they hurt. Last night was worse than this morning, except for my jaw. My jaw is deciding to declare mutiny on the rest of my skull and teeth and is throwing HUGE fits for reasons unknown. My top teeth don't hurt TOO terribly yet (though I already miss being able to "bite" into things), but that new wire on the lowers is movin' and shakin', let me tell you. Can't wait to see all the progress.

But MAN, do they look awful! If only my lips fit over them in any way.... Hopefully that improves soon.

Friday, March 28, 2008


I am bummed that I have to get the rest of my braces on Monday.
  • I can hide my current braced state from the public, as long as I eat the right foods and don't smile very big.
  • Playing the clarinet is finally getting better! And now, it will get worse.
  • I enjoy that when my bottom teeth hurt, I can still eat because I can just push the food against my top teeth instead of really chewing.
  • Good grief, brushing my teeth already takes way too much time away from my life. I assume it will now double.
  • I do believe that stuff like apples and carrots (which I can now kind of chew as long as they are in small pieces and I use my back teeth) will be pretty impossible.
Okay, that's enough complaining for one day. Now, for the good stuff (otherwise known as progress pictures). My teeth continue to amaze me. My lower arch is giant, now, and my teeth are starting to line up in the front! They have a long way to go, but they are progressing faster than I even dreamed. I mean, look at the new pictures, when compared to the first day pictures.

See you on the flipside, with more bling!

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Oddly enough, the braces don't like to run. I was running with a friend this morning (we're doing a 5k in mid-May) and the wind was blowing, and all of a sudden my teeth started to ache. Burn, really.... and I realized it was because they were so cold from the wind blowing and my mouth hanging open like a doofus.

Ouch. Is this weird?

On a happier note, the musical I was playing for is now over, and my last concert for a while is next week, so my lips will have plenty of time to adjust to the new wire/ new top braces before I have many more gigs. And playing is getting easier and easier now that my teeth are so straight. Pictures soon.

Happy Easter, everyone who celebrates!

Friday, March 14, 2008

starbucks guy, I loathe you

Forgot to mention this in the blog yesterday due to the wire-clipping excitement. You guys will understand.

So I walked into the Starbucks by my school this past Monday, like I always do. I'm an addict, err, a regular, so they all know my name, my drink, etc. There was a new guy that I had seen only once the week before, and as I came up the register he said (loudly) "Hey, Stephanie!" and I was surprised he had remembered my name so fast - go new barista guy!

He should have stopped while he was ahead - because he continued by saying "Hey, Stephanie! Guess how I remembered your name?" I know that all of you see this coming, but in my befuddled, pre-coffee stupor I said crankily "I don't know, how?" and he said (loudly still) "The braces! You're the only adult I've ever seen in braces!"

Thanks, Captain Obvious. Because had you failed to point out the masses of metal sticking out of my face, I might have forgotten they were there.


Thursday, March 13, 2008


Last weekend while the braces were dancing in Portland, I broke down, brought out the nail clippers, and asked Nick to play orthodontist to my back wires (yes, I called my orthodontist first). But he couldn't get his big hands in my mouth, and I couldn't see with MY hands in my mouth, so I reluctantly gave up to call on Monday.

But Monday passed with a school-wide field trip to the skating rink and a rehearsal, Tuesday passed with an all-day music field trip and a 4.5 hour rehearsal, and by yesterday morning I was about ready to pluck the whole darned wire out of there. Luckily, they had a "comfort" appointment open Wednesday evening, and I got to go in and get it clipped.

Ahh, relief. My tongue is no longer getting cut every time I swallow, and I don't get spontaneous migraine headaches from the wire getting stuck between my two back teeth, or wedged in a weird way in back of the back tooth.

My teeth are continuing to get more and more straight, which makes EVERYTHING easier! I can talk for longer, I can play my clarinet for longer, it is easier to understand me.... Just as I'm getting used to everything, it's edging on time to get those top braces on - March 31st (and don't worry, I made an afternoon appointment this time).

PS. I tried the orajel discs... you know, the discs for mouth sores that you stick on and give you hours and hours of relief? To put it lightly, they are a waste of your 5 dollars. It was great for the first 30 seconds or so, but then it snagged on one of the brackets, and instead of coming off lightly, it pulled and pulled and made the sore worse than it started out. Good idea in theory, not so good in practice.

Just thought I'd save y'all some pain.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

look! look!

My teeth are so straight! All of the pain last week (that continues into this week) is worth it! Look at them! On last Friday, I was teaching my last period of choir, I was in the middle of warm-ups when all of a sudden a huge POP came from my lower teeth. It sent lightening bolts through my head, per usual, and I thought I had snapped another bracket off, so I excused myself from the class (my eyes watering from the pain), and grabbed my compact from my purse. Lo and behold, all of my brackets were firmly planted, but my teeth were considerably straighter. I have no idea what the pop would have been, other than pressure from some of the teeth finally given way.

And since then, they have been movin' and shakin' like crazy, which is painful in the short run, but much easier on my lip in the long run. Before our marathon rehearsal last night (almost 4 hours!), I took a bunch of tylenol and ibuprofin, and it kept the teeth themselves from hurting. And now that the teeth are in a straighter line, the wax works better and my lip is cut less.

So, things are looking up. Thanks, all of you, for your supportive comments. It lifted my spirits and got me thinking positive again.

One more time.... look at these teeth!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

pity-poo-party (beware)

Read the title. I warned you.

Okay, for the first time in braces history (the whole five weeks), I'm mad at my braces. I want to take them off now. They're done. I'm done.

I play the clarinet. I love the clarinet. It is an extension of myself, and I play well. The first time I played with braces, it was mildly annoying, but I was encouraged - my tone didn't sound too bad, it wasn't very painful, and I knew it would improve in time.

That's where I was wrong! It hasn't improved! In fact, if anything, it gets worse and worse every time I play. On Monday night, I only played at half of my rehearsal and I barely made it through THAT - no matter how much wax I put on, the one painful bracket poked through. Tuesday night, I was supposed to have an hour and a half of another rehearsal for a musical I've been hired to play in. The rehearsal went almost three hours - I wanted to stop because I felt like my lip was hamburger and I was bleeding, but I was sight reading, I'm getting paid quite a bit, and we only have two rehearsals total before we perform.

Today, I've been slathering on chapstick and I've got so much wax in my lip it looks like I'm using chewing tobacco, but it's still managing to be painful. My own fault, I know.

I just keep thinking back to when I could play for six hours at a time without being too sore. I hate that I sound bad, and it's not my fault. I hate that I have no stamina. I hate that it just doesn't feel right - my clarinet doesn't fit me anymore. I feel like it's a prosthetic limb or something (not to compare my clarinet playing to an amputee victim, but you get the drift).

And while I'm complaining about braces, I am SO TIRED of not being able to enunciate things correctly. My 7th and 8th grade choirs are singing a song with a really fast tongue twister in it, and I'm telling them to speak clearer, think about diction, but I can't do it myself. Or, if I do, I'm spraying my front row of altos with spit.

And I miss almonds. Okay, pity-poo-party over.

Friday, February 22, 2008

oh my GOSH

I have the most random story to tell. Hang on to your braces, gals.

So.... yesterday at school, I noticed my back tooth (well, the last tooth hooked into my archwire) was a bit tender. I thought this was odd, as my orthodontist told me that the other teeth were going to move back, instead of the back teeth moving forward. Okay, not such a big deal.

Right after school got out, I had to run to a teacher meeting. I noticed my tooth really starting to throb, worse pain than I've had with braces thus far. The meeting lasted two hours. By the end of the meeting, the tooth pain was starting to sear into my inner ear on that side, and tweak out my jaw. I'm thinking... "damn! this tooth is on a mission!" but didn't really worry about it.

Then, I get home, and my husband takes me out to dinner for my birthday (yes, it was my birthday yesterday)... by the time we were seated at the table, every time my tounge or cheek hit the tooth, I jumped up and yelped in pain, and the pain was shooting up into my skull and down into my neck. Now, I'm getting a little worried, because right before I left I downed a full dose of tylenol AND ibuprofin (and except for the first two days in braces, I haven't taken a single pill for any braces-related pain). I finish my dinner (ish, meaning I eat the mashed potatoes, try to gum some asparagus on my non-dominant side and eat cheesecake), and go home, on a mission to find out what in the heck is going on in my mouth.

All it was? The back of my archwire, which is slowly poking out more and more (as damon braces do), had caught itself on the INSIDE of the very back tooth, even though it usually sits on the OUTSIDE of the very back tooth.

I flicked it with my nail, and all shooting-type mind-numbing spot-seeing pain was over with. By this morning, my tooth has forgotten everything (though, I keep flinching every time I chew food on that side, just from 7 hours of pain).

Weird. Hey, now I know.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I can floss!

Now, I know that all of my orthodontic-type-fellow-bloggers are scoffing inside and saying to themselves "Stephanie doesn't floss? Gasp!". Hold your horses. Stephanie DOES floss, but between two teeth I have been unable to floss due to the bracket position and how far one of the teeth were set back. Every single night since I've gotten the braces, I've tried to floss between those teeth to no avail until two nights ago... when, suddenly, the floss slid through! (Angels sang, ballerinas danced, my friends I was sharing a hotel room with laughed at my excitement, I called my husband in the middle of the night).

The braces made their debut at my annual music education conference. I had tons of questions about them, and more disbelief that a clarinet player would WILLINGLY add a half inch of pokey metal to her teeth.

Also, I found it's really difficult to not eat on my normal schedule. Right now, I wake up, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, eat a snack if necessary during my planning period at school, brush my teeth, eat lunch, brush my teeth, eat dinner, brush my teeth. You get the drill.

But at conference, life tends to revolve around the sessions rather than meals, so everything is eaten on the go - I felt really OCD running into the restrooms four or five or six (or seven :-#) times a day with my travel toothbrush. My friends found it hilarious, at least.

Finally, the updated pictures - exactly a month since I've gotten the braces on.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I never thought I'd be so glad to have sore, touchy, sensitive teeth.
But pain = movement = progress!
Bring it on!

Friday, February 1, 2008

dancing braces

I took the braces dancing last weekend in Salt Lake City. I learned a few things, really quickly.
  1. Sprouts are a terrible thing. Terrible.
  2. No matter how much I love fishy crackers, I shouldn't eat them because they form a thick, gooey paste that is impossible to brush off.
  3. Watch out for tall leads while blues dancing. Minor trama to cheek that would have been ignored pre-braces suddenly becomes painful semi-large-feeling trauma with braces.
  4. People look at you funny when you play with a loose bracket while dancing with them.
  5. A tired, spaced out stare looks ten million times more stupid with braces.
  6. Sushi is difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. And embarassing to eat in large groups of people.
  7. Brushing your teeth in crowded bathrooms, especially in airports, brings a lot of attention.
  8. I miss gum. A lot.
  9. Wax is good. And should be brought on all trips.

There were other foods I encountered that were terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad, but they are escaping me now.

The sprouts, though. Ugh.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

put back together

I'm all put back together. We finally got to come in on Monday afternoon, and I went straight to the orthodontist. I thought they would do something special - I don't know, put a powerchain on to close the extraction gaps, put a different wire in, attach the teeth differently.... But, no. They just put it back on my teeth, wiggled the other tooth that's in a similar position, and sent me on my way.

On a happy note, I bit into a sandwich today! It didn't exactly feel good, and food was stuck EVERYWHERE, but I bit! My teeth feel surprisingly good today... in fact, too good. I keep wondering if my teeth are even moving, they feel so good.
Here's a picture of the bracket hanging off. And yes, I have a peice of some sort of orange food in there. Probably one of the orange pieces in the scones that were impossible to get out. Ah, well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Not a long post, as I'm stuck in a hotel and I imagine there is a line for the computer, but my bracket actually POPPED OFF my tooth yesterday afternoon (it actually made my head spin it hurt so bad, and my teeth have been so sensitive it's crazy ever since). That particular tooth has been pretty painful the past few days, and it looked like the bracket was coming off, but it's sure completely off now. It's hanging on the wire, bugging the crap out of my lip and pulling all my other teeth out of alignment - since now they are weirdly pulling in a different direction. Yay for big chunks of wax that look SO GROSS but work alright.

I was hoping to get into the orthodontist tomorrow morning, but we flew into Spokane for a layover, and the airport was shut down a few hours later for weather. So I'm missing an extra day of work, AND I'm in nasty dental pain. Booooo.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Now, the goal of this wire was to close some of the gap left by my extraction, and then rotate the teeth and remove some of the crowding. I think my wire's wire got crossed (haha, sorry), and while my gap isn't closing, my teeth are trying to remove crowding and line up like good little soldiers.... but there isn't room! I woke up this morning with some pretty sore front teeth, especially one that leans back into my mouth - it turns out my wire is trying to force that tooth through a space about half it's size... and the bracket is actually pulling itself off the tooth. If you look closely, you can kind of see it.

In another note, I think I'm glad to be teaching middle school through all of this. I will never be able to develop an embarrassing braces habit (like picking at them with my tongue in public, like I hear is common) because every time I do something slightly out of the ordinary, my kids call me on. Today: "Hey! Hey Mrs. S! Why do you keep poking your braces out of your bottom lip?" I paused, and realized I was doing it unconsciously. This morning during first period they caught me picking banana out of my braces.

It's too bad my orthodontist is out of town. I'm off to take the braces dancing in Salt Lake City this weekend.... It's their big swing dancing debut!

Thanks for all of your well-wishes and support! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

braces (halfway)

I have my bottom braces on! The past week, I've had nightmares about missing my appointment somehow, and then on Monday morning Nick woke up at 10am... my alarm hadn't gone off! And my appointment was a half hour away at.... 10am. I've never once been late to an appointment of any kind - not kidding. I'm a get-there-twenty-minutes-early-just-in-case kind of gal, not a shoot from the hip get there whenever kind of gal.

But, everything worked out fine - my bottom teeth are going to take 6-7 months longer than my uppers (half of the time!), and he said there isn't really a reason to have my uppers on yet, in fact, that I could wait a considerable amount of time before getting them on. (However, I want them on NOW so convinced him to let me get them on at my next appointment, March 31st).

Other than being more disappointed in myself than you can BELIEVE, I'm doing great! The teeth are tender, but my lip is holding up well (all those years of clarinet playing, I'm sure). Eating isn't a problem, as I'm STILL crazy sick and can't hold anything down, so I don't really eat. (No worries, I'm back to the doctor this afternoon).

I can't wait to watch all the progress. He said that with this archwire, they're trying to shrink the gap, un-rotate my teeth, and eliminate some of the crowding up front. Sheesh!

On a final note, does anyone out there gave the Damon Braces system? And if so, is it weird that my orthodontist is allowing me to cut my own archwire when it starts to poke out the back? It sounds weird to me, but I'm not complaining.

Friday, January 11, 2008

getting closer...

I'm ten days away from braces, and can I just say I'm scared? I've spent the past three days at home sick from the crazy side-effects from the antibiotics (but I just took my last dose, hurray!), and I've really been reading up on other people's experiences, on studies, on everything I can get my hands on....

And, is it completely vain that I'm getting my hair re-highlighted the weekend before my braces go on? It's been a few years since I was blonde, but I don't think I can face braces along with glasses and muddy brown hair.

Yah, I'm vain. So what? :)

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Well, my jaw is feeling completely better, but on New Year's eve my left socket started hurting pretty badly. The next morning I woke up spitting blood and it hurt even worse than on the day before. It's progressively gotten worse and worse until I finally called my dentist yesterday (I was hoping to make it until my appt. on next Tuesday since he's out of the office and I had to call him at home).

He says he's pretty sure it's dry socket or some kind of infection, prescribed me more pain meds (ugh, I don't like taking them) and some crazy antibiotics.

So, I'm up at 3:30 am because I have to take them every six hours on the dot, and am not allowed to lay down within a half hour of taking them.

At least they haven't made me sick yet.