Thursday, December 13, 2012

13/12/2012 Enamel stripping on top teeth

Another adjustment yesturday, this time just the top teeth.

Apparently I have (had) rather wedge-shaped front teeth and also some loss of interdental papilla (the triangle-shaped bits of gum that go up between your teeth; where mine had shrunk back a bit, there were areas of blackness) so my orthodontist decided to incorporate that into the treatment plan.

By trimming the top teeth along the sides (aka enamel stripping), he narrowed them and improved the shape (more rectangular, less triangular). This has created small gaps between the teeth. I have a new elastic chain tieing the top front teeth together. Torque has been introduced to the top wire to upright the top teeth. The theory is that once the gaps close, the teeth will contact better, reducing the areas where there was no gum, and also make the top arch smaller. This works in my favor since the whole point of braces at the moment are to bring my bottom teeth forward in relation to the top teeth.

I can really feel/see the difference. Whereas before, I remained somewhat oblivious to how ape-like I was becoming (mostly because I couldn't see my own profile; I only see my face from the front when I look in mirrors), now I can see a fullness of the mouth even front on. I took some new profile shots and nearly freaked out because I'm so hideous at the moment!! The worst part is that I have to endure this for another year or so. I would be ready for surgery early next year but because of my 3 month overseas trip, it will be delayed until the end of next year. One full year of having a barracuda jaw. Argh.

I've uploaded the new photos. I compared them to my pre-treatment photos and you 'may' not see a huge difference but what I should point out is that my face is tilted up more in my pre-treatment photos, which sort of accentuate the Class III skeletal pattern. In my recent photos, I was self-conscious and had my chin tucked in a bit. I've tried to correct that with photo-editing software to make the tilts more equal but I thought I'd still mention it.

Teeth shot

You can see the slight gaps between the top teeth and that my teeth are definitely in anterior crossbite now (bottom teeth in front of top teeth).

Closed mouth profile

Smiling profile

Friday, October 12, 2012

12/10/2012 Half way mark, perhaps

I haven't written anything in here for a while. There's been a number of adjustments, usually involving an upgrade in wire type. Earlier this week, I had my most recent adjustment where I not only progressed to a harder wire but also to a thicker elastic. It's a brutal combination!

There's been a noticeable difference to my bite. I have a definite anterior crossbite now i.e. my lower from teeth protrude beyond my upper front teeth by about 1mm. I expect that they are aiming for maybe 3-4mm so there's still a while to go. My profile is shocking (very obviously protruded bottom jaw). I knew that things would get worst before I could get the surgery to compensate... but to be honest it does affect my self esteem at times. Thank goodness I have tough skin and the full knowledge that I made this decision. In other words, I have no one to blame but myself!

At my previous appointment, my orthodontist gave me a rough estimate of "your surgery will be done in the first half of next year". I happen to be going overseas for 3 months next year between May and September so I predict I'll end up having the surgery done once I get back.

Anyway, that's the current situation. I'll tell him about my holiday plans next visit and let you know what the impact is. I will upload current photos if I get the time to take some.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6/06/2012 First Adjustment

A quick update:

I was VERY sore for a bout a week after my band-up. It wasn't an initial hit but by the end of that first day, I was reduced to soup. Anything chewy brought on tears.

This week was my first week of truly being able to chew ANYTHING.

So of course, it was time for a change of wires to throw off the balance again. I got upgraded to different wires and now have to use Cl II elastics which will bring my bottom teeth forward and upright my top teeth. Apparently there are different grades of elastics too and I'm on something called Pete, which is relatively soft and 'easy' on the teeth.

So far, that's proven true because I anticipated being in a world of pain by the end of today. Instead, I've been able to munch on just about anything I put into my mouth.

I hope it doesn't get much worst.

The elastics stay in all the time bar eating and cleaning. They get changed about 3 times a day.

They're not too visible or annoying/uncomfortable but I'm sure they'll be a social hindrance.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

9/05/2012 Orthodontic Band-up

Today was the day I had been dreading yet mentally hurrying. On one hand, the sooner I get braces on, the sooner I can get the surgery over with and the sooner the whole treatment is completed. On the other hand, I couldn't have timed it worst... there are a million and one important social events coming up and now I can face them as a cyborg.

The actual band-up was very fast. My orthodontist used an 'indirect' technique where he set the brackets up on my stone models beforehand and created a clear putty key over the top. This key (with the brackets inside) was then placed over my teeth (which had been cleaned and etched) and a curing light was set over each one to keep them in place. Nice and quick.

After that, a excess glue was removed and a wire was put through. I'm supposed to wear elastics too but he said he was going to be nice and start the elastics next appointment so that I could get used to the braces first.

I was so apprehensive about the appearance that I didn't even look in the mirror at the surgery.

It wasn't until I got home that I braced (haha pun) myself for the moment of truth.

I think my mouth looks huge... my lips are sort of pushed out. It's hard to talk (though I know that will go away). I'm really very grateful for the 5 clear brackets in the front.

On the whole, I suppose I have to keep my mind on the final outcome. That and learn to smile with my mouth shut.

 I can hide them slightly if I smile in a specific way. Time to practice! 

Full effect

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

3/05/2012 Impressions!

Yesturday, the wheels went into motion.

I popped into the orthodontic clinic nice and early for the first appointment of actual treatment.

As I've mentioned earlier, I've had braces before and a fixed lower retainer was put in. My orthodontist had to remove this first. It was mostly done with composite burs (that grind away the 'glue' but leave the teeth alone) and was surprisingly sensitive!

I then had upper and lower alginate impressions taken. My understanding is that the brackets will be designed onto these models before being fixed onto my teeth next week.

That's right guys, the band-up is next Wednesday. I have one more week of being metal-free. I'll update then; possibly with some pictures.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

14/3/2012 Another chat with my orthodontist

I've been a bit slack here. Well, that and the fact that not much has happened. But that's about to change. I had a final talk with my orthodontist last week and we're good to go. Because I have an overseas trip planned for 1 month (departing in 2 weeks), we're post-poning the band-up appointment until after that.

One week after I get back, I'll be having impressions taken and the week following that, the brackets put on.

I'll pop some photos up once that gets under way. Can't say I'm too keen on getting braces again but at least it means the balls rolling. The predicted treatment duration is 12 months but they suggest it might be less time because I don't need too much movement in my teeth. The surgeon has recommended a 7mm setback so my orthodontist will be aiming to move my lower incisors forward to decompensate that amount.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

5/02/2012 Second Surgical Opinion

It's been a while since I wrote on here. Since the previous post, I've been to a second oral surgeon to ask for their opinion. Again, it was recommended that I only have a mandibular set-back that the maxilla be left alone. Funnily enough, I found out that this was the same guy who had done my wisdom teeth when I was in highschool.

I'll be seeing the orthodontist again next month and possibly kick things into gear.