A twenty-something's journey with braces

Thursday, May 15, 2008

2 Outta 3 Ain't Bad: Second Adjustment

[Look! She posts on adjustment day! Hehe.]

So, yeah. 2 outta 3 ain't bad. Or, more accurately, 1.5 outta 3... Here's the breakdown of my hoped-for results vs. actuality:
  1. New wires. Make that "new wire" (singular) instead. My top arch is now on to the .018 gauge but the ortho who saw me - again, not my regular, more on that below - decided to leave the Phase I .013 in the bottom for one more round. *sigh*
  2. Lose the turbo. Nope! Still there. Ah, well. I've gotten used to it.
  3. Lose the elastic. Not quite. My upper canine has shifted (see pics below) and my lower midline is back where it needs to be, but he decided to keep me in the elastics. Fred will still be around, but...ONLY AT NIGHTTIME, baby! I'm totally okay with that.
Okay, okay, I know you guys (anyone out there? ... *crickets*) just wanna see the pics. It's been just about 4 months since B-day:

My bite, as of today. Really opened up a bit, eh? And it's not just because of the turbo.

Upper and...

...lower arches. Compared to B-day pics it's a lot of improvement! My top arch is finally rounding out. But see how off-kilter my lower arch is, all pulled to the (my) right? That seems to be getting worse instead of better. I'm almost to the point of asking them to put the archwire in off-center to the other side, and see if that balances things, since they aren't going back on their own after 7 weeks of correct (centered) archwire placement.

This photo shows a little better how my lower midline is back where it ought to be, but all my lower incisors are kinda tipped toward my right. Also some MAJOR leveling to be done in the future.

And last but not least, you can see how my upper right canine has pulled back so it isn't directly over the bracket on the tooth below (compare to this pic, a little hard to see). Also notice the nifty little wire tie they wrapped around my bracket for the elastic. I got a new one today because the first one was getting wiggly.

My thoughts at this point?

The ortho who saw me today (and at my last "emergency" appointment) is nice, and very experienced, and I'm sure he's great at what he does. But I really prefer MY ortho - Dr. F - and his approach. Dr. F was the one who told me he was going to try to keep my arches on the same track gauge-wise at my first adjustment. The other guy (I think Dr. D) put me in different gauges again today. Which, hey, IS progress. But I'm going to confirm ahead of time that I will see Dr. F at my next adjustment, I think.

Speaking of my next adjustment (coming up in 9 weeks, mid-July) that will be a real double-whammy, because it will also be my first cleaning in braces. Current schedule is 9:40 to ortho for wires out, 10:00 to dentist for cleaning - the offices are literally down the hall from each other - and back to ortho at 11:30 for adjustment. Fun. I'm actually kind of looking forward to the cleaning, because all sorts of places are way more accessible now than they have been and my teeth will probably get cleaner than they have been most of my life.

BUT now the extended times between Damon appointments is becoming an issue. I really appreciate not having to miss as much work for ortho appointments. BUT when I was hoping for more progress today, the prospect of waiting ANOTHER 8-9 weeks before the next step (new wire on bottom, maybe turbo off) when it might have happened in just 4 is kind of annoying. Maybe I'll come up with some other "emergency" to get seen sooner...

Oh, and I'm still a little miffed about the 2 weeks I spent with an off-center lower archwire. I just feel like it threw everything off and now I'm treading water trying to "fix" that, which is costing me time and progress. But things are still moving, and I guess that's what matters. Dr. D even threw out the possibility of me being ahead of schedule, though I think he was just trying to mollify my disappointment at not getting new lower wire.

Funny side-effect of going to nights-only on the elastic: I've spent almost all day feeling slightly guilty about not wearing it. Like the *cough* few times I forgot to put it in after a meal, and then went a few hours without it in, enjoying the freedom but knowing I was cheating by not wearing it, hehe. I'm sure I'll get over that quickly, though.

Forgive me Doctor, for I have sinned... I realized last week that I had really slacked off on my hygiene. Oh, I brushed twice a day still, and occasionally flossed, but the days of my brush-floss-flouride or brush-floss-mouthwash-interdental every morning and evening were long since. And I never got in the habit of brushing after lunch at work. BUT my gums started bleeding when I did get around to flossing - my old foe gingivitis back again - and that plus my upcoming appointment motivated me to get back in the habit.

Now I try to floss more frequently (back up to 4-5 times/week) and rinse with Crest Pro-Health morning and evening to help with the gingivitis. That's tough because even the relatively mild CPH burns my constantly-raw-from-running-over-brackets tongue. But I'm getting used to it. The CPH also deposits little blue stringy things (pre-plaque?) on my brackets that necessitate an interdental brush. Ah, well.

Look for a future review post on my favorite Oral-B products, and if I get really excited I might post some progress pics next month instead of waiting till July. Or I might be lazy and not. *g*


Deniz Bevan said...

Every time I read these posts I come away thinking, you know my lower set are really starting to get crooked, maybe I should... then I remember what it actually *felt* like to have braces and head gear and retainers, and I shudder. I can't believe how dedicated you are! Still, you've got me brushing more than I ever did before :-)

Anonymous said...

Enjoy reading the blog about your experience - I can relate as I'm going through the same thing.

How are you liking the turbo stop behind your top teeth? was it hard getting use to? I currently have molar buildups just like you and they get grounded down alot through chewing. My ortho said he wanted to put turbo stops on and I am really afraid because I've heard that they rip your tongue to shreds and give you a lisp. I work in sales so I am not sure how I can talk with that. I am hoping they will tell me why I need that instead of just molar buildups (maybe because they are tired of building them up again after I ground them down over time)