A twenty-something's journey with braces

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meet Fred

I got more than I bargained for when I went in for an "emergency" appointment with my ortho today.

Last week I was starting to feel pressure on my bottom brackets when I bit down. I didn't want to pop one off, so I called them and they scheduled me this morning to have a look. What I thought would be a quick in-and-out appointment turned into more work than they did at my last adjustment.

The ortho (not my usual) who saw me decided to place a bite turbo on my front teeth to prop my bite open even more and then ground off my molar buildups - and caught my tongue in the drill in the process. Ouch!

So, yay for no more molar buildups, but the turbo is, I think, worse. I'd gotten to the point where I could chew just about anything but now I have to relearn because my molars are farther apart and I don't have the surface of the buildups to rely on either. Joy.

I also got a new archwire on the bottom. Same size as the last time, but THIS time it's centered properly.

Backstory: after my last adjustment and new archwire, I noticed the three grey lines that mark the center of the archwire - and had previously been aligned between my central incisors, top and bottom - were off by a tooth on the bottom.

I was worried it would pull my lower arch into an offset shape. So I called the office and explained the situation and the response I got was "It's not problem - those are just a guide. Don't worry about it."

Oooookay. Well, they're the experts. I grudingly dropped it, but I kept watching my teeth. And then my fears were confirmed and my teeth started shifting to the right. Hello - if the archwire returning to its shape is what moves the teeth, and that shape is offset, it only makes sense that my arch would start to align crooked. Thank goodness it was only in a couple of weeks.

I pointed this all out to the ortho today and all he said was "very observant!" but he DID tell the tech to replace my archwire. Better late than never. I shudder to think what my arch would have looked like if I'd waited the full 8 weeks to my next appointment.

But what about Fred, you ask? Fred is the name of my new elastics:

Apparently the different manufacturers use different designations for their elastics. Some use animal names (e.g. chipmunk, ram) and some use country names (e.g. China) but 3M uses proper names. And mine are named "Fred"...I find it somewhat amusing.

The purpose, I was told, was to pull my upper right canine back. My left canines are okay, but my right ones are directly above each other (a "Class II") and that's partly why the brackets were hitting. I'm supposed to wear it 24/7 except at meals and when I brush. Not so bad now, but I've only had it in for a couple hours. Guess we'll see how I feel in a few days/weeks.

I suspect that ALL of this is due to the way my lower archwire was placed last month. It's pretty annoying. *sigh*

Anyway, what's done is done and now it's fixed so on we go. I wasn't going to leave there today without a new lower archwire, and so I didn't. Next (regular) appointment is May 15th, or about 5 1/2 weeks from now. Cross your fingers I'll get the turbo off then - I think I was supposed to get the molar buildups off at that point anyway - and I can return to chewing as usual.

I have the sinking feeling that elastics (in some form or another) are here to stay, though.