Monday, December 29, 2008
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
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
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."
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
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).
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I know they're small (can't make them bigger), but look at the difference!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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
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 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
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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
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
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
No kidding, super sleuth.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
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. ;)
Sunday, September 7, 2008
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
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 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
- 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
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
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
Wahoo! No pain, no gain.
Friday, June 13, 2008
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
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
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
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
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
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
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 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.
See you on the flipside, with more bling!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
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
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
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
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
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
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
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
Friday, February 1, 2008
- Sprouts are a terrible thing. Terrible.
- 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.
- 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.
- People look at you funny when you play with a loose bracket while dancing with them.
- A tired, spaced out stare looks ten million times more stupid with braces.
- Sushi is difficult. Not impossible, but difficult. And embarassing to eat in large groups of people.
- Brushing your teeth in crowded bathrooms, especially in airports, brings a lot of attention.
- I miss gum. A lot.
- 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
Sunday, January 27, 2008
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
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
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
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
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.