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.
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