A twenty-something's journey with braces

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fourth Adjustment - Victory!!!

Or: what joy (and pain) it is to chew again. *g*

So…I never made it back around to update on my 3rd adjustment in July. My internet access has been extremely restricted since the beginning of the summer, and my previously linked-in life was dropped off on the side of the information superhighway and left to forlornly thumb for rides from the few evening hours I get on my computer (after the toddler goes to bed) when I’m not writing the novel, and/or the odd wifi network I can patch into on my iPod Touch. But I digress.

There wasn’t much to report on in July. I did finally get a new wire on the bottom, to match the .018 on my top arch. But that was about it. Turbos stayed on; elastic hook stayed on (despite me not wearing elastics anymore). The only real interesting bit was that I had to go back the next week, because the ortho (Dr. D again) forgot to crimp my wire stops on the bottom and the whole archwire was sliding sideways to really jab the back of my cheeks. Fun times.

But! In the 2 months since then I’ve seen a lot of progress. My lower arch finally leveled and evened out. And my back molars were starting to touch. So I went into today’s appointment with high hopes.

Alas, even though I called yesterday and asked specifically to see him, Dr. F was nowhere to be found today. I saw Dr. D once more, but he’s still pretty cool and the adjustment went so well (even allowing for a few hiccups) I wasn’t much fussed about it.

I took the time yesterday to write up a list of what I wanted to happen:
1. Turbos off
2. New wires (top and bottom)
3. Hook off

Imagine my joy and surprise to get all three of my wishes granted! Dr. D took a look and said I’d definitely get new wires, then agreed to reduce my turbos bit by bit and see if I could get away with not having them. When I asked about the hook, he looked closely at my bite and told the tech to take it off as well.

I asked for and got the chance to floss wire-free and then 2 new archwires – more on that in a bit – and 1 removed hook later, Dr. D took the grinder to my turbos. (Which, I should add, have worn the points off my lower canines – see pic below.) He’d ask me to close every once in a while and at length he decided to take them off completely. Woohoo!

My new wires are the rectangular .014 x .025 listed as the “workhorse of Phase II” on the Damon archwire sequencing page. I’m glad to finally be out of Phase I and into the major mechanics.

The tech warned me that most people thought this jump was the hardest, and I’m starting to see why. My teeth have been sensitive all day, even with the pre-emptive ibuprofen I took right after the adjustment. I can FINALLY actually chew with my back teeth again, now the turbos are off, but they’re so tender I’m still not quite back to normal yet. Hopefully in a few days.

I spent several minutes checking my teeth and wires for anything amiss before I left, scheduled my next appointment for November 20th (the week before Thanksgiving here in the US) and got all the way back across town to my office before I realized something was snagging the inside of my lower lip. “It’s almost like one of my doors is still open…” I thought, and pulled the mirror out of my handy-dandy DentaKit.

Yeah. It was.

No amount of careful pushing and pinching on my part would close it, and I was terrified I would pop the bracket if I tried any harder, so BACK in my car and BACK across town to the ortho’s office and they took me right back to close it. It took 2 techs and quite a bit of pushing on my poor, loose, sensitive teeth before the darn thing finally closed. I thanked the ladies and decided to stop by the restroom on my way out.

While I was washing my hands, I decided to really look over everything again before I left the building. And guess what? I found not one but TWO other open doors. I really think that because of the new thick wire, they didn’t quite get all the way closed and then came open in the car between the ortho’s office and mine. So BACK into the office I went, and the poor tech apologized all over herself and got them both closed and I got back to work just in time to get a few things done before lunch.

Moral of the story(s): check for poky wires and open doors before you leave the ortho’s office! Every time!

Here are some more progress pics. I’ve come quite a ways in 9 months!

Upper arch - no turbos or elastics! Happy day!

Lower arch. Wow...just wow.

My current smile, with my own, actual, honest-to-God bite.

Compare to the pics in this post and see the difference!

So…8 more weeks until my next adjustment and (presumably) next set of wires. I need to find time to talk to one of the orthos about timing…I realized that I have both an oral board exam (big hairy deal in my profession) and my 10-year high school reunion in/around late May of next year. As much as I like the Damons and don’t mind them day-to-day, I’d really rather not be in braces for either of those events. So I want to explore the possibility of moving to Invisalign for the last few months if it looks like I won’t be out in time. Though Dr. D has said I was progressing really well and might get done early. *crossing fingers* I guess we’ll see.