Wednesday, November 23, 2011

23/11/2011 Diagnostic Imaging

I spent a good part of my day off today at the hospital getting diagnostic imaging done. I've never really had any experience in this department before so it was all new an facinating. I think I was the only person under 50 there the whole time I was in the waiting room.

My morning started at 8am. By that time, I had found a park at a basement level hospital carpark and got myself a coffee.

The first thing I was asked to do was the initial phase of the nuclear medicine imaging. What they did was inject a bit of 'something' into a vein in my right arm and take some preliminary images in their machine. The 'something' didn't hurt one bit. This part was rather quick.

I then returned to the waiting room before being called in to a separate area for the CT scan of my mandible. This was also quick.

In order for the radioactive material in my arm to get distributed around, I was asked to wander around for 3 hours (by the time the CT scan was done, it was only 2 hours to kill). I walked to the city and had brunch and bought a pair of shoes.

I returned to the hospital just in time for the actual nuclear medicine imaging. In total, this took about 40min lying down. I was so tired that I dozed off and would have moved involuntarily had I not been actually taped down to the machine (don't worry, it's quite comfortable!)

Overall, these images were time consuming (I racked up $36 worth of hospital parking fees) but not painful or uncomfortable. They were also bulk-billed, which is an extra bonus. At least I can now tick these off my pre-surgery to do list.

The images got sent directly to my oral surgeon so I am no longer concerned with them :).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

17/11/2011 Health Insurance

Today, I'm thinking about costs and health insurance. I live in QLD, Australia so some of what I'm about to say won't apply to everyone (besides, I'm clueless enough to be in no shape for giving advice).

I am with Medibank Private and when I took out a policy, I just wanted the cheapest one so I could avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Only now, with all this hospital work looming, I am starting to feel paranoid that my current cover doesn't actually 'cover' anything.

I've decided to ignore the 'Extras' component of the health cover because it's not really going to do much. Sure, top extras has some orthodontic benefits but the waiting period is too long and the amount they cover is capped so to me, it's not worth the extra premium and hassel if I were to upgrade JUST for orthodontics.

As for the surgery... now that's a different story. I'm really confused about all the different aspects that require fees (surgeon fees + anaethetist fees + hospital fees) and how much of each part is covered by Medicare vs private health insurance.

The surgery itself is far, far away but I just in case there'll be a 12 month waiting period for whatever I can claim on it, I decided to upgrade my 'Basic Hospital Cover' to 'Top Hospital Cover'. Call it peace of mind.

Apparently there's a 2 month waiting period for... somethings (don't ask me what) but I'm hoping that's just for new members, not existing members who upgraded, because I might need to make some claims just for the tests that I'm going to get done (CT, nuclear med, sleep study).

The sleep study in particular is making me nervous because I'm technically getting 'admitted' into the hospital.

Fingers crossed that the new cover applies by then and I won't be heavily out of pocket!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

16/11/2011 'Before' photos

Before treatment photos

Neutral profile

Smiley profile

Neutral frontal

Smiley frontal

I was playing around on Photoshop today and did an 'after treatment' profile predictor. NOTE: these are NOT actual 'after' shots. I haven't even started treatment yet. These are literally the 'neutral profile' shots from above (first 2 in this post) edited on Photoshop for fun.

Potential post-treatment result


Potential post-treatment result #2

16/11/2011 Assessment stages

Consultations

I had my orthodontic consult last week. So far, I've had an OPG and Lat Ceph taken (both are types of external oral radiographs) and some study models taken. My orthodontist is a friend of mine who I think is totally awesome and really knows what he's talking about. He put forward the idea that I need my bottom jaw (mandible) set back and that my top jaw (maxilla) probably doesn't need to be moved around.

As an overview, I'm looking to get just over a year's worth of fixed orthodontics (braces), followed by the jaw surgery, followed by about another 6 months of fixed orthodontics to line everything up.

It's going to be quite a commitment! The idea of having braces (again) for nearly another 2 years is freaking me out more than the idea of getting my jaw broken in 2 places and shaved back. Atually, they're both equally daunting :).

Today was my oral surgery consult. This was much quicker and basically, the oral surgeon went through the pros and cons and what to expect and at the end, asked me if he'd scared me out of it. Haha... I'm not that easily deterred. I know I might be terrified when it comes to the day of surgery (not just the idea of surgery but the idea of having a new face) but I have a 'cross that bridge when I get to it' attitude.

I knew about all the potential risks (partial permanent paraesthesia is a risk, as well as relapse, bleeding and damage to my teeth). What I didn't expect was all the testing that needed to be done!

I've literally just gotten off the phone to book a CT scan of my mandible, a nuclear medicine scan and a sleep study. The sleep study involves checking into a hospital for a night and getting wires hooked up. Woo... can't wait (sarcasm there).

I'll post pre-treatment photos soon.

Introduction

I'm an avid food blogger and generally love writing things down. Now that I'm starting the long journey of orthodontic/orthognathic treatment, it just feels right to document everything as it happens.

I'm a 23 year old female. I work full time as a dentist. I've always been unsatisfied with my facial profile, which to me appears rather 'flat' and my bottom jaw sticks out. The technical classification is: dolichofacial with a class III skeletal pattern.

The idea of orthognathic surgery (aka jaw surgery) used scare me but now that I'm actually involved in the industry and have access to specialists who I trust, I think it's time to give it a go rather than look back when I'm 50 and feel regret.

A bit more dental history: I had orthodontic treatment in my teens and all 4 wisdom teeth removed around that time. At the end of my 2-3 year treatment period, my face was flattish (always had been) but my teeth were OK. Since then, my bottom jaw has grown a bit more so my anterior teeth are basically 'edge-to-edge', which means I have little to no overjet in the front. In fact, I'm quite conscious of my bottom canines almost coming to crossbite. This is one of the factors that pushed me into going ahead with all this. I thought... "hey, it's only going to get worst".

I noticed that some of the orthognathic blogs around are inconsistent or stop after a while and the reader is left wondering "what happened to that girl/guy? What do they look like now?". I'm a very disciplined blogger and I hope I can share my experience so that anyone who is thinking of going through the same thing will be able to read this blog and get some insight/support.