Saturday, February 28, 2009


I hate being such a worrier. I'm calling my surgeon's office on Monday to possibly schedule a date (AHHH!!) and to figure out how we continue with appealing the insurance stuff.

If it were a perfect world, I'll schedule the surgery for June 30. It would be perfect (a good few days after the half marathon, but still in June). It'll be around a week and a half after my last day of school (with kids, anyway... I'll have a few teacher meeting days and clean up my classroom days). But I'll be happy with that first week in July (although, it might mean not scheduling the date until April, argh!). I want a date. I want something to look forward to.

My gaps are closing pretty rapidly. My rear molar has stopped rotating the wrong way. My upper jaw continues to surprise me with how wide it is becoming - my smile is so much nicer already! My next orthodontist appointment isn't until the first week of April during my spring break, and I'm really hoping they take off some of this extra metal on my teeth - I am back to brushing 4 or 5 times a day because no matter what I eat, it sticks in the front teeth in those thin criss-crossed little metal wires - even though I've stopped biting into anything with my front teeth. I'll post pictures soon.

Well, thanks to everyone that voted for my friend Kristin's classroom (if you haven't, see the last entry - voting continues until March 8), and I'm thinking of everyone (especially those of you lucky enough to be getting dates!!).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I know this is a TOOTH blog, but I have to help a friend out.

If you're reading this, orthobloggers, a good friend of mine needs help. She's an elementary music teacher who teaches music in a converted SHOWER room. She's also a finalist in a contest for a $25,000 classroom makeover by Expo... so, if you would be so kind, vote for her here: - and vote for #6, Kristin Woodford from Springfield, OR.

Alright, back to our regularly scheduled program....

Sunday, February 22, 2009

first rejection is IN!

I got my first rejection letter today.

Dear Dr. Lee,

Thank you for the pre-authorization request for Stephanie R. Sheppard.

Your request has been reviewed, and it has been determined that the Lefort I, mandibular and maxillary osteotomy and related services cannot be approved. The member's health plan specifically excludes treatment for, or any appliances used in connection with, myofascial pain syndrome, malocclusions or other abnormalities of the jaw.

We regret that we are unable to provide you with a more favorable response, however, we are obligated to administer our health plans consistently and according to their terms.

If you disagree with our decision, you have the right to request a review either verbally or in writing. This is the first level of the appeal process. Enclosed is an overview of this process. A complete description of the member appeal process is available upon request, free of charge.

If you have any questions, please contact Provider Customer Service.

Correspondence Coordinator.

The overview for the regular process first level appeal is that I have 180 days from when the letter was written (January 26th, though I just got this in the mail today) to request a review. They will then send me a description of the entire member appeal process according to my specific plan. The first level review is done by a Grievance Coordinator and a decision will be made within 30 days. After that, there are "Subsequent Levels" where I can further disagree if they deny me again - and request further information about additional referrals.

I'm not exactly sure how my school district fits into this - I know that they can ultimately make a decision and override my insurance if I appeal through them, but I'm not sure how many official insurance appeals I have to go through first. We'll see.

Here we go!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

sunshine and straight teeth

It is sunny outside! I went for a nice long run in a t-shirt today with no overjacket, no scarf, no gloves (and didn't get soaked or frozen!)... It was beautiful and very relaxing. Up here in the pacific northwest we tend to lack sunshine, so it's always a great thing to run outside in the spring - tons of other runners are out, people waiting for buses are smiling, and it's a generally positive atmosphere.

My teeth are really moving! My clarinet still feels pretty crooked and just plain off when I play, but it's all worth it -my top braces have been on for almost a year now and my front teeth have continued to be pretty crooked. This is no longer! They are quite straight.

The other amazing braces tidbit this week: My tongue officially fits inside the roof of my mouth. I remember when I first got my initial exam at my orthodontists - he told me that the reason I breathe through my mouth (almost exclusively) is because my tongue has no where to sit up at the top of my mouth, where it's supposed to rest when you breathe through your nose. I have noticed breathing is much easier, and I have started to randomly breathe through my nose! Wahoo! I've spent my entire life trying to stop mouth-breathing - when I was 11, I had my tonsils and adenoids removed, hoping it would help. I got braces as an elementary schooler, a palate expander, headgear, and many sets of complicated rubber bands.

But now it's being fixed! I feel like my mouth has gone from our very first apartment (475 square feet) to our apartment now (950 square feet). I can't wait for after surgery and it moves into a house!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I am not an orthodontist

A few things on this fine freezing evening.

Fondue was AWESOME! I could eat almost everything (and did). What a nice anniversary (I still can't believe we've been married for 5 years...)

I got my nasty green bands changed for the conference this weekend... and then promptly had the opportunity to eat palak paneer again (the dastardly green spinich/cheese indian dish that did me in to begin with). Well, instead of getting the rubber bands green OR skipping one of my favorite dishes, I just took the rubber bands off. It hurt. I had my doubts that the rubber bands were actually doing something, as I don't have gaps up there... but within 10 minutes of having them out I was scrambling to put them back in. I have to remember, I am not an orthodontist.

I have a back tooth that is quickly tipping on it's side. I have been telling myself to not worry about it (after all, I'm not an orthodontist) and to stop being that patient... but who am I kidding? I AM that patient. I'm calling on Monday when I get back from conference. I'd rather be annoying and lame than have my surgery postponed because of one rotated molar.

All the new metal and rubber inside of my face is intensely annoying. My front teeth have somehow shifted, causing me to spend an entire rehearsal thinking my clarinet was crooked and possibly put together wrong. My gaps are closing with a quickness, but causing me to have the bite from HELL. I have migraines most days. I can no longer eat a meal without brushing directly afterwards (the little metal criss-crosses are A+ grade food traps.

I am ready for surgery, already...

Friday, February 6, 2009

rubber bands

I learned a new lesson. All of that yummy, soft indian food that Nick brought home to comfort me with the major metal mouth was great... but it turned my new rubber bands GREEN. Very bright green. And while normally I wouldn't mind (neither my kids at school nor my husband really cares), I have my annual music education conference in less than a week and just wearing braces is bad enough, let alone wearing braces and stuff that's all nasty looking.

My jaw is intensely sore. I really need to go back into the acupuncturist. It's cramping up like crazy, and sending spasms of pain into my neck. But since it's Friday, I came home early and am able to take my stronger muscle relaxant. Hopefully it'll help.

It's Nicks and my 5th anniversary this weekend, and we're going to a fondue restaurant. It will either be fantastic and easy to eat or terrible and I won't be able to eat anything. Hopefully the former, not the latter.