Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rubberbands Rubberbands Rubberbands

What is my deal with these rubber bands? The first 2 days with them were kind of torturous! My teeth and jaw were so damn sore. I even had a bad dream that I couldn't open my mouth! Yikes! After the first days, the pain definitely subsided and it became more of a slight discomfort than pain. Now it's really not a big deal at all, BUT I woke up again this morning to find that I didn't have the rubber bands in my mouth! What the heck?? I KNOW I put them in my mouth before bed and I have NO recollection of taking them out at all! So where were they? Like deja vu, I checked my nightstand and lo and behold there were two little rubber bands placed nicely next to each other . . . AGAIN. I must be taking them out in my sleep. what other explanation is there? Ahh! now I need to figure out how to stop this bad habit. But how do I do that when I don't even remember taking them out in the first place? Eek! I wonder if doubling up on the rubber bands might help to make up for the time I haven't worn them (sleeping hours). I met someone recently who told me that she used to double her bands up to make it more effective. I wonder if that actually works? Hmmm . . .

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Confess . . .

  • That I totally snapped one of my rubber bands on my cheek, so hard that I made myself bleed. nerd!
  • That when I, now, look at photos of myself pre-braces I'm not nearly as bothered by my formerly crooked smile as I used to be. In fact I have found myself thinking that my teeth were bad, but not THAT bad. Maybe it's just the sore gums speaking, hoping the torture ends soon.
  • That I'm not usually self conscious about having braces anymore, but every once in a while someone will make an "off" comment and I suddenly turn into an embarrassed 12 year old.
  • -That I am REALLY REALLY hoping that I make some phenomenal progress and I get my braces removed before my 24 months are up! This guy at work just got some and his teeth looked far worse than mine and he only has to wear his for 18 months!
  • That deep down I kinda know that above confession is not going to happen.
  • That my orthodontist is Ok, but I won't refer friends/family to him. I somewhat feel that he won me over to get my business b/c he knew I was shopping around but now that he's got me he's not what he promised to be.
  • - That my gums are soooooo damn sore since my last adjustment, but mainly b/c of these rubber bands. It is taking a tremendous amount of will power and the far fetched hope of decreasing my sentence (aka time in braces)to keep these rubber bands on and not just take them off b/c they're killing my mouth.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Rubber Bands

So these new rubber band things that I'm supposed to wear are kind of a pain in the ass. They made my teeth beyond sore by the end of the day yesterday. I ended up taking advil throughout the evening/night.

This morning when I woke up and went to brush my teeth, I remembered that I needed to remove my rubber bands first but to my surprise they weren't in my mouth! My first thought was 'OMG did I swallow them in my sleep??', 'Did they fall out?'. I checked around my bed and found them placed nicely on my nightstand and suddenly I remembered pulling them out in the middle of the night in a twilight state. I remember my mouth killing me and just yanking them out so I could sleep. Oops! I wore them all day though! Only took them out to eat and brush my teeth and I'll wear them while I sleep tonight also.

My mouth is still pretty sore and as luck would have it I am completely out of advil! Ugh! But, it's still not as sore as yesterday so hopefully it gets more and more tolerable as the days progress. In the mean time, I'll be sure to pick up advil tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

7 Month Update

Can you believe it's already been seven months since I got braces? Eight since I started the whole process! Some days it feels like 24 months will never arrive and I'll be a brace face forever but some days I just can't believe how much progress has already been made and it makes these past 7 months worth it!

I had a routine appointment scheduled for this morning. I figured my ortho would just tighten everything up, like usual, and he did ... but I also got some COOL new gear! He put a power chain on my entire lower set of teeth & rubber bands (removable) connecting my top and bottom teeth. I know some people hate power chains because, well they're tight and I assume they make some people sore but they really don't bother me at all. In fact, when my teeth were still all haywire and spaced out in weird places, it almost felt good to have them held tightly in place. Like a bra for your teeth. LOL! The rubber bands connecting my upper and lower teeth, I'm not so crazy about. I have to admit that with all the dorky braces gear that I signed up for when I got these suckers, these rubber bands ranked in at #2 on the nerd scale for me . . . just after a head/neck gear (#1!). I remember talking to kids in high school who had those rubber bands connecting their teeth and it always looked like they had slobber strings dripping from their mouths when they spoke. Or like ooey gooey cheese hanging off their teeth. Ew! That's me now! Ha ha! Pretty nerdy! But you know, after all I've gone through with this process and all the time, money and energy invested, I can deal with rubber bands. Plus they're removable! I remove them when I eat and brush my teeth, but I am supposed to wear them as much as possible, especially when talking b/c the tension of the bands pulling while I talk will speed the process up! I like the way that sounds! The bands will help to pull my lower back molars forward and my upper front teeth, back. Makes sense and if it helps to speed things up then SIGN ME UP! I have to say that I am already sore though and I got a slight claustrophobic sensation when i realized I had to make an effort to open my mouth. I'm sure I'll get used to it though. I wonder if I need to wear them for the remainder of my treatment? I always think of things to ask AFTER my appointments. Ha!

In addition to my new gear, my ortho surprised me and filed some of my teeth down! We had talked about it before and he always said he'd do it when the braces came off but he decided to do a few today. My 2-3 lower bottom teeth, to be exact. I used to grind my teeth but b/c my teeth were crooked I couldn't grind my whole lower middle tooth so I ended up with a lopsided tooth that looked chipped. Since my teeth have moved into different positions, that lopsided tooth had begun hitting (more like tapping) my upper teeth. It was kind of annoying. But that's not an issue anymore since my teeth are nice and even now! It didn't hurt at all to have them filed, although my ortho kept asking if I was ok so maybe thats not the norm?

Anyway, a post wouldn't be complete without progress pictures so here we go!








Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Famous Brace Face of the Month

Ok, I know I kinda suck with being consistent about posting my famous brace faces but nonetheless I like seeing them so here ya go! Inspiration!!!

This month's famous brace face is English R&B singer/songwriter Estelle



Estelle got braces in November 2008 when she was 28 years old. She has been quoted saying "'I've been wanting braces since I was 20. I've just now got the courage to get them. I don't like pain... I'm such a wuss." Heaven knows I can relate! Like most brace faces Estelle admitted that she couldn't wait to get her braces removed as she was tired of getting food stuck in them! I am right there with her at this point! I've had my braces for 6 months now and I'm thrilled at the progress but cannot wait to get them off! Estelle had her braces removed after about of year and is now able to show off her beautiful pearly white straight teeth!







and here she is now with her beautiful new grill . . .

Looking good, honey!!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New Bands & Progress

A few weeks ago I went to brush my teeth and as I began, I automatically realized that yet ANOTHER one of my back bands were loose! As I took a closer look I realized that it wasn't just loose, it was completely knocked off my tooth! The only thing keeping it somewhat in place was a power chain. Since it was the THIRD time that this had happened (separate teeth) I knew that I should cut the power chain to release the broken band and thats just what I did. I admit that I was pretty frustrated since this was the 3rd of 4 bands to break off. I emailed my orthodontist right away b/c I had this long ass piece of wire poking the back of my mouth and I didn't want to wait weeks again as I had to do the previous time that my band broke off my tooth. I was very polite in my email, but I couldn't hide the tone of my frustration. My ortho has two locations and told me he wouldn't be in the office that I go to until the next week, but he made a special trip just to cut my wires 2 days after the band broke off. I really appreciated that, but at the same time I have to note that this is totally different than what I had been told upon selecting him as my orthodontist. I had narrowed my choices down between 2 orthodontists and I went with my current guy b/c he told me he offered Saturday, lunchtime and late evening appointments - not to mention he was significantly less expensive. But in the 5 months that I have been going to him I have only been able to get one Saturday appointment and usually get appointments just before or after lunchtime. Either way I was still happy he made a special trip for me. I was the only patient in the whole office and his staff who usually wears matching polos were dressed in their normal clothes so I could tell he made them come in too. Eek! I felt kind of bad about that.
He ended up replacing the band that had broken off (no spacers required this time) and removed and replaced the final band (the only one that hadn't broken off yet) to prevent it from doing the same thing all the rest did (break). Then he tightened my braces etc. And so far so good!

My progress is really becoming apparent now! I know I've got a long way to go b/c I still have huge gaps and I have a slight overbite that needs to be corrected, but my upper teeth are pretty straight and my lower ones are really getting there!

(IDK why my cell phone cam always makes my rubber bands look dingy, swear they don't look stained in person!)
 (lower teeth, see that straggler really coming up and blending with the rest? :) )

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The straggler is finally on board!

I had my appointment today and my teeth finally separated enough to allow my ortho to archwire that straggling back tooth that I hate so much! Finally! That tooth has bothered me for years! When I first got braces I was a little bummed that that tooth couldn't be wired yet, although I completely understood why. My teeth were so crowded that it was impossible to wire that tooth with the rest. But alas it is finally on board and if my lower teeth move anything like my upper teeth did then I think I'll be seeing results pretty soon! I'm excited! I couldn't imagine going my whole life never knowing what I'd look like with straight teeth and a proud smile. My crooked teeth have caused me so much grief- getting teased, shy smiles, hiding laughs! Now my crooked smile is slowly fading away.
Back to my appointment . . .
Highs
  • Now ALL of my front teeth have brackets and are archwired, even the straggler.
  • Orthodontist said the spaces where I had teeth extracted from are closing and healing nicely and better than a lot of other patients he's seen.
  • Said my bite looks good
Lows
  • The assistant kinda sucked and had to stop a few times in the middle of changing my wire to ask the orthodontist questions. She even asked me a question & I had to answer "I dont know" b/c hello she's supposed to be the one who knows what to do! I'm so close to requesting that I work only with the actual orthodontist.
  • The bracket they glued to my back tooth to replace the one that broke off earlier this month, broke immediately after they set it. It woudln't stay put so they put spacers in and I have to go back next week to get a band.
  • My teeth are soooooooorrrrrrreeeeee!!! I figure the more I feel, the more it's working - no pain no gain, but MAN! Sore!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

M I A but back in Action

Hello! I've been M.I.A for a while now, haven't I? I guess sometimes life happens, right? I hope everyone has been doing well! I've been good. I'm sure I've got tons of updates for you but I'll try to condense them to the more important ones. :)

Updates
  • I don't think I mentioned that I got power chains. Doesn't that sound like some kind of monster truck lingo? POW-ER CHAINSSS!!! LOL They're basically just honeycomb shaped rubber bands that connect your teeth. I started getting gaps/spaces in my teeth as my braces moved them and the power chains prevent gaps while my teeth continue to move. Power chains are strong so they're also being used to close the gaps where I had my teeth extracted. Supposedly they provide great/fast results, but I guess we shall see. They don't hurt at all or make my teeth ache. The one bad thing is that they stain though. I've had mine for about 3 weeks and I need to brush them GOOD to get the sparkly and clean. the only photo I have of them was taken right after I drank coffee (yes I should have drank through a straw - lesson learned) and they look dingy and gross. But my electric tooth brush gets them pretty clean! I have an appointment next week and I can't wait to get them changed. Now I know to avoid staining foods or to brush my teeth immediately after i eat/drink.
 Picture Above: Blue Power chains (mine are clear)
Picture above: Photo of my teeth as they are now. See how stained my power chains are? Embarrassing, but i still wanted to show you. 
  • You may have already noticed my update #2 in the photo above! My ortho put a spring on the lower right side (screen left) of my teeth, see it in the picture above? The spring is pushing two teeth apart to make room to finally bring that back one that I hate up front! I actually had a spring put on in May, but my teeth didn't move far enough apart to attach the archwire to that straggling back tooth so he put another spring in earlier this month. I admit that I was pretty bummed that my teeth didn't move as fast my ortho expected. I hope he can put the archwire on at my next appointment next week!
  • This is more of a bitching type update . . . one of my brackets broke off...AGAIN. It's not the same one as last time, it's the upper left one. It's not the typical ring shaped bracket that goes around your tooth. My ortho was "trying" new ones out on me that he glued to the side of my teeth. this is the 2nd one that has broken off so I don't think they're working all that well. I was unimpressed with my ortho's office when I called to tell them too. I had a good 1 1/2 cm of wire sticking out in the back of my mouth when the bracket broke and it was poking and scarping me. I called to see if i could go in and the lady told me to clip the wire myself with NAIL CLIPPERS! Is that normal? Has anyone else ever been advised to do that? Luckily I found wire cutters and used that instead, but i have to wonder WTF am I paying for if I am treating myself? not cool & I plan to talk to my ortho about it when I go in next week. 
  • I also experienced a yucky little issue when I was at my appointment. The ortho opened one of the brackets on my tooth to change my archwire. The bracket on that tooth opens like a door on hinges. When he snapped it closed on the archwire he also snapped  it on my lip and CAUGHT a part of my lip IN the bracket. It hurt and I couldn't talk. First he tried to pull it, but i could that that would cut me so I put my hand up and uttered "whatever you just did, undo it!" and he did and released my tooth noting "that's never happened before'. Needless to say, he isn't my favorite person right now. . . 
The part circled in yellow is where he caught my lip;
So those are my updates. I am hoping to have a much better appointment next week and hopefully get that back tooth on board with the rest of  my teeth!

XOXO

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attack fo the Dental Floss!

So, I had my first issue with dental floss last night! I was going through my usual nightly routine brushing and flossing my teeth when somehow the floss tore and got all stringy in my mouth. I could see that if I just pulled the floss it would get tangled all over the place so I tried to gently slide it out to make sure I didn't get it caught, but sadly I was unsuccessful and ended up with floss twisted and tied around one of my brackets. The one with the hook thingy on it, of course! I was such a funny pathetic sight with string and slobber hanging out of my mouth as i tried to work it out. I ended up cutting some of it off, then brushing the hell out of my teeth with my electric toothbrush, using the small brush to get into the nooks. Finally it came out. So, moral of the story? Be wary of your dental floss or it will attack ya!

Here's a visual for you of which bracket it was stuck on (floss already removed in this photo)

Monday, April 25, 2011

A few updates

Hi! Sorry I've been M.i.A for a few weeks - I guess I was busier than I realized!
Anyway
I had an ortho appointment last week so of course I've got to share it with you! I went in all smiles b/c I had gotten used to my braces since the last tightening session. In fact, I think I can even say that my braces were "loose" or at least the wire was. I had become very content with the way my braces were feeling, but I definitely knew it was time to tighten them back up!
I sat in the chair as directed and my Orthodontist (I think we were calling him Dr. X in past posts? well let's call him that again!) and he came over to take a look. He commented on how pleased he was with the movement of my upper teeth. They are not 100% straight yet but they are very close! Then he looked at the bottom train wreck of teeth and started touching them and rambling numbers and other ortho things. He told me that once he can get a thicker/stronger wire in there that I'm going to be amazed at how fast they move and reassured me that they'll be perfect. Then he called for an assistant to come over and he basically just gave her instructions on what to do with me and moved on to the next patient.
The assistant began removing my wires, as usual, then she popped a new top wire in and put clear rubber bands to hold them in place. Next she moved on to my lower teeth, removing the old wire. When she went to put the new wire in O M G! IDK what she did, but it felt like she was trying to rotate one of my bottom front teeth upside down! Holy Shit, it hurt like Hell! I literally thought she was going to pull my tooth right out. I made a noise and she could see the pain on my face so she stopped and asked if I was ok, to which I replied "no, that hurts really bad". She gave me a break, then started again and AGAIN it hurt like hell! She commented that my mouth must be sore and asked how long that tooth has been sore. But my mouth WASN'T sore and that tooth had not been sore at all prior to my appointment! Dr. X even called out to her to just wait and he'd put my new wire in b/c he could see that she was hurting me, but she popped it in before he could get to me and thankfully the pain was gone as soon as she got her hands out of my mouth! Oh yeah, she also knocked a band off one of my back teeth! Ugh! It was glued to the side of my tooth, not the kinda that go all the way around like a ring. But now Dr. X says we'll put a traditional band (like a ring) on that tooth since the other one came off so I left with spacers in the back tooth too. And I do have to say that while spacers made my mouth VERY sore the first time around. i barely even notice the 2 in there now.

So that was my appointment! I go back next week to get the band put on, spacers removed etc.


And for your viewing pleasure, here ar some pics :)



I have to confess that I'm not happy and a little discouraged with my lower teeth right now. While they seem to be moving and you can SEE the spaces between my teeth now (they were totally overlapping before), they're still really crooked and with the new spaces in between they just look like a mess! More of mess than even before! I sure hope they start lining up soon!




PS: Sorry if this post has a negative undertone, it's not meant to be negative. swear! :)

and...just b/c I personally really like to see any progress made, here's a quick collage to document it!





Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Modern Family & Adult Braces Laurie



I was watching Modern Family tonight and there was a scene between Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) & Cam (Eric Stonestreet) where Mitchell referred to "Laurie". . .

Cam: Boobs Laurie or Adult braces Laurie?
Mitchell: Great Shoes Laurie. 
Cam: Ohh...I love her!

It kind of makes me wonder... am I adult braces "Sally"?
 (*Disclaimer: Nope, my name's not really Sally)

When someone is trying to distinguish me from another "Sally" do they automatically use my adult braces as a reference?
What ?happens when I eventually get my braces off? Will I still be adult braces "Sally"? Forever bound to my brace face persona


I think it's pretty funny!


I bet people DO use my braces as a reference! Ha ha! I never even thought about it until now. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More Teeth Pics

I realized that most of my brace face pics don't really show my bottom teeth, so I've decided to muster up some courage and show you all the mess that makes up my lower teeth. I've also highlighted a few things just to show progress made so far;
  • "Ew!"- Just indicates the most crooked area of my teeth. My upper teeth have bothered me way more than my lower teeth for some reason, I guess b/c my upper teeth are much more visible in pictures when I smile & that upper right (screen left) tooth provided plenty of ammo for others to make fun of me in the past (snaggle tooth). But now look! The upper teeth are progressing nicely, the snaggle tooth barely even sticks out anymore! Now I realize that it's always been that lower mess that I should be more concerned with.
  • O : Do you see that thin black line inside the yellow circle? I never had it there before. In fact, those two teeth were overlapping so I've never even seen them side by side the way they are now. I hear the black line can also appear as a triangle and it's not uncommon for people with braces to get them. Anyone know what it's called? I think there is an actual term for it. Mine doesn't seem bad right now so it doesn't bother me. 
  • > < : See that gap? I definitely never had that gap there before. My teeth were so damn crowded that dentists used to have a hard time even flossing mg my grill! Yay for progress!


Now I just can't wait for that whole "EW" section to start straightening out! Hopefully soon!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Famous Brace Face of the Month (x 2 b/c I forgot to do it last month)

I forgot to add a famous brace face for the month of March so we'll do two for the month of April, beginning with the absolutely stunning

Cindy Crawford
That's right, the gorgeous supermodel once had braces! She even posed for a pepsi ad with her beautiful brace face!

and here she is with her perfect smile (below)




Our next brace face of the month is . . . 
 Tom Cruise
I have to say that Tom holds a special place in this little brace face's heart b/c he is the only celebrity that I was able to find who PROUDLY sported his metal mouth smile with complete confidence. He got his braces at age 39 for a cross bite/midline issue.





And here he is with that mega whatt smile...

 




Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Funny Side of Braces

Although braces come with a laundry list of discomfort, they also come with some funny (OK maybe even embarrassing) issues too. I've had braces for a little over 6 weeks now and so far here are some things i've noticed and learned;

You randomly  make weird noises when you wear braces.
Sometimes, I'll just be sitting at work when I move my mouth or tongue a certain way just to swallow or something and I end up making loud ass weird noises! I even surprise myself! Sometimes it's a squeaky noise, sometimes a sucking or lip smacking noise. Either way it's so effing dorky that I kind of HAVE to laugh at myself. LOL

Waterpiks are NOT as easy to use as one might think.
At least not for those who tend not to read the directions, like me. My first experience with a waterpik was a few days ago and I ended up soaked! I had water all over my shirt, all the over the bathroom mirror, the sink, everywhere! I might as well have used a garden hose with the mess I made! Or maybe I should have just read the instructions. Must have been a funny sight seeing me walk out with water dripping down my chin and water spots all over my shirt.

Whistles & Lisps!
speech and pronunciation adjustments are unavoidable, but even then, whistles and lisps are going to slip out! Thuper! (Super) :D

Say it, Don't Spray it!
You might want to keep your distance when talking to people, especially at work b/c you never know when a wad of spit will come flying out of your mouth now!

Trying to look cute when you eat is no longer an option
Between food getting stuck in my extraction sockets, brackets, wires etc. I think I spend more time trying to make sure I don't have a 5 course meal stuck in my teeth than i do actually eating!


So those are just a few of my new dorky little quirks. I don't dwell on it, it's pretty funny if you think about it! Cheers !





Monday, March 28, 2011

6 Week Pics!

I can't believe it's already been 6 weeks since I got my braces! Other than the teeth extraction/dry socket fiasco time seriously flew right by! I can see changes already! I got my wires extended and tightened 3 days ago and my Ortho said that if i thought I saw fast progress before, just wait until I see what happens now that I've made space (4 pre molars removed) & got my wires extended. I'm excited!

Can you see the difference just 6 little weeks have made already?


 February 15, 2011

March 28, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Dry Socket Relief

I feel good! For the most part, anyway. :) I can confidently say that I only have mild discomfort now. Yay! I thought I'd post the things that worked to relieve my dry socket pain, in case any of you (God Forbid) have to go through it too . . .

Dry Socket Relief Essentials


Chlorhexidine Gluconate Mouthwash

Chlorhexidine gluconate is a germicidal mouthwash that reduces bacteria in the mouth.
Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is used to treat gingivitis (swelling, redness, bleeding gums). Chlorhexidine gluconate is usually prescribed by a dentist.
* I used this in place of amoxcillan since the amoxicllian was making me sick. It tastes like your typical minty mouthwash and feels good on your gums. I use it in the morning and before bed.


Advil, ibuprofen
 Advil Tablets temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to: headache, toothache, backache, menstrual cramps, common cold. 
* I have a very very hard time swallowing pills and I'm usually unsuccessful in my attempts to swallow the,, but advil is candy coated so there's a sweet coating instead of that chemical medicine taste when you put it on your tongue and the pills are about as big as m&m's. I started taking just one pill every few hours, but graduated to taking 2-3 pills every few hours - haven't gotten to 4 yet (doc recommended 4) and don't think I will, but definitely would have if i had them last week at the peak of pain.

Monoject Syringe
My OS gave me this needle-less syringe to use to clean out my extraction sites. At first it hurt a little to irrigate the dry sockets, but you can control the water pressure yourself and figure out how to make it work. It's a fantastic tool to use after meals! Use room temperature or warm water, cold water can be very uncomfortable. Alternatively, you can use a waterpik.


Boost High Protein Drink
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Because your body doesn’t store protein, it’s essential to have an adequate daily protein intake — especially if you lead an active, energetic lifestyle. By giving you nearly a third of the daily recommended value, BOOST High Protein Drink and now in Powder form, are great sources of the protein needed to enjoy and keep paced with your busy life. 
*A nutritious diet with plenty of protein and calcium will help healing.
 
Oil of Clove(s)/ Clove Oil
 
The health benefits of clove oil can be attributed to its antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral, aphrodisiac and stimulating properties. The oil is used for treating a variety of health disorders including toothaches, indigestion, cough, asthma, headache, stress and blood impurities.The most prominent use of clove oil is in dental care. The germicidal properties of the oil make it very effective for relieving dental pain, tooth ache, sore gums and mouth ulcers. Clove oil contains the compound eugenol, which has been used in dentistry since numerous years.
* Your OS can pack your extraction sites with gauze soaked  in oil of cloves or with a oil of clove putty. I had both and believe that the gauze worked much better than the putty b/c the putty disintegrates and falls apart in your mouth making you swallow glue like junk and doesn't last as long as the gauze, but gauze needs to be replaced every 1-2 days. I also bought a bottle, myself to use. I soaked a q-tip in water then dripped a few drops of the oil on the q-tip and held it against (not in) my extraction sites for some relief! Careful, it can burn so make sure to dilute.

Vitamin Water
 
I'm a big fan of vitamin water. Stay hydrated!




I hope you never have to experience the pain of dry sockets, but if you do now you have an idea of where you can get relief.




Friday, March 18, 2011

Will this EVER end?

Woke up this morning with a bunch of junk on my tongue. Super gross! I wasn't sure if a blood clot had fallen out or what so I went to the bathroom mirror to check it out. It was basially all the packing that the OS had placed in my lower left socket. The stuff that's supposed to dissolve slowly. It all seemed to come out at once and as the morning progressed so did the pain. It went from uncomfortable to hurting a little to hurting a little more to full blown pain by 1:00PM. I really didn't want to go back to the OS' office. Yesterday he commented that it would be my last appointment with him and he mentioned that three times! I didn't want to be a pain in the ass, but the pain was getting worse and I couldn't bear the thought of going what I went through earlier this week again so I called the doc. He was really nice on the phone, but was kind of discouraging me from coming in. In the end I got him to agree that it would be better to be safe and go in before the weekend starts than to be in excruciating pain again. My OS is a new partner at a clinic where the other OS has been for YEARS (25+). My husband thinks he just doesn't want to look bad in front of that other OS b/c I keep coming in. Who knows! Either way, I had to go.

He irrigated both of the sockets with water first. It hurt both sockets a little and now the right side was beginning to hurt too. He went on to repack the left side, but not the right. When I asked him about it he said that since the right side had not been hurting me it didn't need to be packed again. When I told him it did hurt, he said it was only because of the irrigation and that the pain would wear off soon. I should have just insisted that he pack both sides because here I am 3 hours later and the left side is feeling fine but the right side is getting more and more painful. Ugh!

I stopped at the mall on the way home from the office and bought some oil of clove to take home. That's the stuff they were putting on the guaze and putty to pack my sockets. I figure if he can't manage my pain, then maybe I can? I looked it up and people do this, so I think it's safe.

I'm so praying that this seemingly neverending torture ends soon!



Thursday, March 17, 2011

Post Extraction Pics & Follow Up Appointment Deets

7 of the 8 teeth teeth pulled. They had to crack two teeth (one lower impacted & not sure what the other one is) a bunch of little pieces (not all are pictured). I tried to fit them together to show the complete 8 teeth but they are literally like cracked in all sorts of weird places and I wouldn't even know where to begin. I think some of the tiny cracked pieces of tooth (not pictured) might be the roots of one of the wisdom teeth too.
Lower left side pre molar extraction site. Healing well. 

I couldn't get pics of my wisdom teeth extraction sites b/c they're so far back and my mouth is still sore and has stitches. 
I had a follow up appointment with my OS today.  He said he can see that the extraction sites are healing now, but there is still some nerve exposure so we packed the sockets just to make sure that horrendous pain didn't return! He removed the old gauze and replaced it with a paste packing that will absorb into my mouth so that I don't have to come back and get the dressing changed again. He also said that I don't have any signs of an infection, but since I didn't finish my antibiotics (because I was puking!) he prescribed an antibiotic mouth wash for me to use twice a day. He also gave me a little syringe like water pik thingy. Nice description, right? LOL He tol s me to squirt it in the sockets after I eat to get the food out. I used it twice already and now I know why some of you love your water pis so much! I seen one at target for only $35.00 so I think I am going to go and pick it up this weekend.

Can't wait to get back to 100%! I'm super relieved that I am finally making some progress! Yay! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Teeth Are Gone!

I meant to update a lot sooner, but today is the first day that I've felt well enough! Why? Because this pretty little brace face got not one, but TWO DRY SOCKETS! My worst fear came true, times two. I cannot even begin to tell you how excruciatingly PAINFUL it has been for me. But I can tell you my wisdom teeth (+ 4) extraction story, so here we go . . .

Wednesday 3/09
Night before surgery, stayed up as late as I could b/c I knew the sooner I went to sleep the sooner it would be time for me to get my teeth extracted. I think I ended up going to sleep at about 11:30.

Thursday 3/10
Extraction Day: I woke up early in anticipation of my appointment. I took a shower and got ready, deciding not to wear any eye makeup in case my eyes watered but slapped on plenty of chap stick because I read that my lips would get really dry during the procedure. Then we were off. I was super nervous the whole ride there, but also a little excited. Getting my wisdom teeth out has been something that I've needed to do for years, but I've been too afraid to do. I was finally getting it done! Getting over my fears! And getting my 4 pre molars removed makes way for my braces to do their job! The braces that are going to get me that gorgeous smile I so long for! So as nervous and afraid as I was, the excitement of what the extractions will result in was making it worth it.

I arrived at the doctor's office 20 minutes early! Handed over $1,200.00+ (thank God for insurance or I would have been out almost 5 Grand!), filled out a few papers and was ushered right in. The assistant walked me to a small room that honestly just looked like a typical dental office. For some reason I was expecting the room to be bigger and look more like an operating room. She seated me at the big dental chair in the middle of the room and kept the conversation going as she prepared everything for the doctor. She asked me to remove my sweatshirt, I had worn a short sleeved T-shirt underneath because I knew they'd need easy access to my veins so they could knock me out. Then she placed a face mask on me and told me it was oxygen. Just as she did this the doctor and 2 other assistants entered the room. An assistant wiped my arm down and inserted the IV. I was OUT in a flash! I remember opening my eyes twice during the procedure and hearing my doctor's gentle voice telling me to close them. I didn't feel a thing though and I only remember seeing a blurry white light and the doctor's hand. As soon as the doc told me to close my eyes, I did and the next thing I knew the room was empty and I was being woken up by the first assistant.

She helped to walk me to the recovery area and had me lay down while she gave my prescription to my husband so he could go down the hall and pick it up while I "recovered". She was going over the wisdom teeth instructions with me, but I was too out of it to understand. Soon both my husband and doctor came back and the doctor went over the instructions with my husband and we were on our way. I was numb and out of it the whole way home. Not a funny out of it like those YouTube videos of people saying funny things, more sleepy out of it. My feet felt like bricks and my legs felt like I was walking through jell-o, but my knight in shining armor got me home and situated in bed. I slept for hours until I awoke in pain. My husband quickly gave me my pain medication (codeine) followed by ice cream. Yum! I was dizzy for the rest of the night, but mostly slept.

Friday 3/11
I had a chocolate ice cream smoothie for breakfast, blended with chocolate ensure to give me some nutrients. I continued to take my pain medicine every 4 hours as directed. I knew I needed to because I could feel the pain begin as the medicine wore off. I was also taking amoxicillan 3 times a day.

Saturday 3/12
I was tired of the codeine knocking me out and making me a zombie, so I switched to Motrin to handle my pain. My swelling was at its worst on Sat. Not nearly as bad as I had expected though.

Sunday 3/13
I thought I would start feeling at least a little better by Sunday, but to my sad surprise I was still sore and in pain. I could tell that other than the swelling, I had made NO progress. I had to take codeine a few times because the Motrin wasn't helping as much as it had before.

Monday 3/14
My pain was at it's highest on Monday. I was able to confidently say that it was definitely MORE than just the discomfort my doctor said I'd be in. Still, I thought I was just being a wimp. I kept thinking to myself that I really thought I had a much higher tolerance for pain & was sort of disappointed in myself for being such a big baby. I had stayed in bed the whole time since my surgery and somehow that didn't seem right to me. Especially after 4 days! I am not exaggerating when I say that Monday night was just plain TORTURE! I was asking for codeine every 2 hours (hubby wouldn't give it to me of course) and was in TEARS. I spent the entire night in EXCRUCIATING pain. Horrible.

Tuesday 3/15
I awoke in a codeine induce fog and began crying as soon as I opened my eyes. I hadn't really slept the night before b/c the pain kept me awake. Although the codeine knocked my body out, which was really weird. I was lying still in bed with my eyes closed, but my mind was still wide awake and in pain. My husband, being the amazing man that he is had already called the doctor and made an appointment for me to come in. I basically just got up, washed my face, brushed my hair and brushed my teeth as best I could. I could barely even speak when we got to the office. My doctor was not in the office so another (more senior) doctor seen me. I had heard of this doctor from some people that I knew who had their wisdom teeth extracted by him. They all said he was good, but not friendly or warm and fuzzy. Maybe the tears in my eyes and pathetic looking face made him feel bad for  or something because he was definitely friendly and sympathetic towards me. As soon as he seen me he knew there must be a complication because wisdom teeth removal should not hurt as bad as it was hurting me. He laid me back in the chair and I immediately felt nauseous and announced that I thought I was going to get sic. He sat the chair right back up and called for an assistant (the same super nice one from Thursday) to bring him a pan. She came quickly, but not quick enough. I puked all over myself and the floor. So embarrassing! The doctor just walked out and asked the assistant to help me. I was really embarrassed and just kept apologizing, but the assistant was so understanding and told me not to worry and that it happens all the time. After I cleaned myself up and rinsed my mouth out, the doctor returned. He looked in my mouth and told me I had not one but two dry sockets.(dry socket: exposed nerves when blood clot does not form over extraction site or is dislodged) He said it's not too common, but that it does happen in about 10% of patients (1 dry socket anyway). He soaked small pieces of gauze in oil of cloves and basically shoved them in the sockets where my wisdom teeth once were. The two lower previously impacted sites were the culprits. It hurt when he put the gauze in the socket, as you can imagine, but compared to the pain that I was in before it wasn't that bad. The oil of cloves also tasted really bitter and gross, but again it was nothing compared to the pain I had been in. By the time I left the office I was already starting to feel a little bit better and within the hour I realized that the pain was definitely decreasing and dulling. Unfortunately, I had a new issue to deal with. The nausea just wouldn't quit and I continued to throw up for the rest of the day until it eventually (TMI) turned to dry heaving. Later that evening, my original doctor called to check in on me. He apologized for not being able to see me earlier but explained that the front desk person didn't even tell him I was coming in - she just put me with the first available doctor. He reminded me that I have his cell phone number and encouraged me to call if I have any further concerns. He also went above and beyond by canceling m y previously scheduled ortho appointment for me. I'm scheduled to see him tomorrow for a follow up appointment and to change my guaze. I snacked on soggy saltine crackers through the rest of the night to try to ease the nausea and by nightfall I seemed to be doing a lot better. Still nauseous and sore, but that extreme pain was finally gone and I actually slept through the night.

Wednesday 3/16
I finally feel OK! Slight headache lasted through most of the afternoon. Mouth is sore, but not in pain. All in all, I finally feel like I am recovering!



I really didn't expect this whole process to go this way! I thought I'd have the surgery, be knocked out for a few days then start recovering. Who knew it would take 6 days for me to feel even somewhat ok. Man! I am so paranoid that that horrible pain will come back. The doctor said most likely my blood clots never formed so I was basically dealing with exposed nerves for about 5 days! Can you believe that! Here I was thinking that I was just being a big wimp, when I was dealing with the most painful extraction complication out there - times two!

The doctor is supposed to change my oil of cloves soaked gauze to a dissolvable dressing tomorrow so that by the time it dissolves I should be healed. I seriously can't wait to be healed! This has been such a trying experience for me. I don't wish it on anyone!

But...on the bright side, this should be the hardest part of my orthodontic treatment. I don't anticipate anything being harder than this! I'm sure it will hurt a little when I get my braces tightened etc. but nothing can possibly compare to pain I was in. So yay for the hardest part being just about over!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fear

 Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death.


D-Day is approaching quickly ! In just 2 days I'll be getting E I G H T teeth extracted;
  • 4 premolars (two upper, two lower)
  • 2 impacted wisdom teeth (lower)
  • 2 wisdom teeth (upper)

I get mixed reactions when I tell people. Most people automatically get this look of horror on their face.
It's like a reflex, they can't help it. Then they either follow up immediately with words of encouragement or continue to tell you their wisdom teeth removal horror stories. More people want to share their horror stories. It's hard not to get freaked out. I've found some comfort in researching it & through words of encouragement from others & as wimpy as I'm acting- at my core I know I'm damn strong!

I KNOW I want a beautiful straight smile
I KNOW I want to avoid future issues due to the impacted wisdom teeth
I KNOW all the work that has already gone into working towards this goal
I KNOW how much money I've already invested in my teeth and this process
I KNOW how happy I'll be when my teeth are straight and the braces are off
I KNOW how long I've wanted this
so . . .
I KNOW that I need to get 4 premolars & 4 wisdom teeth extracted in 2 days
Time to "man up", quit the belly aching and deal with it. period.

So, that's what I'm doing. I'm dealing with it. My way of dealing with it is researching it to death in an attempt to resolve each of my fears. Having an idea of what I'm in for helps & knowing what to do about the pain, swelling, bleeding makes me feel much more confident. I've also realized that this is about so much more than just getting some teeth pulled. I can't recall the last time I was afraid like this. Like I said before, I'm  a strong person and pretty tough too. I'm actually surprised at myself for being such a scaredy cat. It's definitely a real life case of "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway". Have you read that book? Susan Jeffers wrote it. I got through 75%+ of it when I read it several years ago. It's pretty good, if the self help type stuff suits you. In the end it got repetitive like most self help books do - hence my only getting through about 75% of it. Anyway, Susan Jeffers tells readers the...

Five Truths about Fear
Truth 1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.

Truth 2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.

Truth 3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it.


Truth 4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.

Truth 5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.
~ Susan Jeffers from Feel The Fear... And Do it Anyway 

  
Truth numbers 2 & 3 ring particularly true for me right now, but they've been here all along. I've been so insecure and ashamed of my teeth for such a long time! I've been teased about my "snaggle tooth", told that I'd be so pretty IF I'd just fix my teeth. I've learned which angles to pose in & deleted dozens of photos where my crooked teeth were just too obvious. I've monitored my enjoyment as not to smile TOO big and show my unattractive teeth. To make a long story short, my crooked teeth have been an issue for me. I used a mask as a defense system. A lot of people never even realized that the appearance of my teeth bothered me. That's because my mask of choice was confidence. I'd act confident and smile, but that's all it was - an act. Inside, I was hoping I had my angles right, wondering if people were staring at my teeth, hoping they weren't as put off by my smile as I was. So, you see getting orthodontic treatment & FINALLY "fixing" my teeth is quite a goal for me to achieve! And right now I need to conquer my fears and keep my eye on the prize! :)

Wow, did I ramble! I can't leave you without sharing some of the info. I found in my hours of research. Here are just a few of the better resources that I found;



Archwired - Getting Teeth Extracted for Braces
http://www.archwired.com/Extractions_for_Braces.htm
Of Note:
  • "Fast forward 10 years. Here I am, at age 43 in braces, with a near-perfect smile, which was only achieved by -- you guessed it -- extracting 4 second bicuspids. Boy, do I wish I'd had this done 10 years ago. Now I feel really silly for being so scared and waiting so long." 
Oral Surgery Info. & Animations 
Of Note:
  • "When orthodontic treatment is performed for a patient the dentist is trying to perfect the alignment of the patient's teeth but they can only do so within the confines of the size of the person's jaws. Especially in those cases where a large discrepancy exists between the size of the patient's jaws and the needed space required for the improved alignment of their teeth, some strategically located teeth may need to be extracted."
How to Prepare for Oral Surgery 
http://dentistry.about.com/od/issuesandemergencies/tp/BeforeOralSurgery.htm

Of Note:
  • "bite on a moist black tea bag. The tannic acid in the tea has been shown to reduce bleeding and assist with clotting."
Really Good Animation of Wisdom tooth extraction 
http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/w/wisdom-teeth-removal#textBlock204369

How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed? (Disclaimer: I am the type of person who likes to understand what procedures involve, if you do not then this may be too graphic for you)
http://dentistry.about.com/od/preventionandtreatment/f/wisdomteethhow.htm


TIPS:
  • Swelling 
    • Any swelling that does occur can be kept to a minimum by placing ice on your face in the area where the extraction has taken place. Position the ice on your face for 10 minutes, and then leave it off for the next 20 minutes. Repeat this cycle as you feel is necessary for up to 24 hours after the extraction.  
    • The principle associated with the above  technique is as follows. The cold environment created by the ice pack causes the blood vessels in the region to constrict (become narrower). Due to this constricted state, the blood vessels won't be able to transport in as great a quantity of swelling-causing fluids. As a result, during that time frame when your body creates swelling (the first 24 hours after your tooth extraction), a lesser amount of swelling will form. 
  •  DO NOT USE sipping STRAWS for about a week. The pressure change in your mouth can cause clots to become loose or dislodged. Clots are important in the healing process. A dislodged clot can often lead to a "dry socket" (exposed bone and nerve endings) which can be extremely painful.
  • Don't use aspirin, as this may cause excessive bleeding at the extraction site.

People always make the wolf more formidable than he is. 





Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Freaking Myself Out Pre- Oral Surgery Consultation

I will be heading to my consultation with the oral surgeon in about 40 minutes and I really should wait to see what he says, but instead I am googling information on teeth extractions & freaking myself out about it. If you haven't read about my teeth extraction recommendations, click here: Extractions

I KNOW that in order to move forward with my treatment, I NEED to have these teeth removed but I am afraid of so many things associated with it;
  • What if the pain is more than I can handle?
  • What if I get sick from the medicine?
  • What if they can't stop my bleeding? (I've had issues with this twice 1- tonsils 2- baby stuff)
  • What if I swell really bad and my brackets cut into my lips/cheeks?
  • What if I throw up and choke on it b/c my mouth will be too sore to open?
  • What if I choke, in general since my mouth will be sore -swollen?
  • What if (God forbid) I get a dry socket?
Waah!!! Is it too late to change my mind?

Guess we'll see what the oral surgeon says and go from there . . . I'll keep you posted!


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Okay, I went to my consultation. Got there, filled out a few forms then went into an office where a cheesy but fairly informative video about wisdom teeth extraction was played for me. After the video, the doctor came in to see me. I don't know if you remember, but in my Extraction talk post I mentioned that I didn't know which oral surgeon to go with. I ended up requesting the one who had less degrees, but lots of great reviews.You might also remember that both oral surgeons were within the same office/practice. So although I noted that I'd like to see the great review doc, I ended up with the other one. Ha! I basically stressed off making that decision over nothing b/c they stuck me with whoever was available when I arrived anyway! Oh well. My oral surgeon, Dr. T, is young - only 36. He went over the surgery with me and was honest but not brutal. the appointment should take between 45-60 minutes to remove all 8 teeth. I'll have IV sedation and won't remember a thing! He'll be prescribing liquid codeine for the pain afterward because I have trouble swallowing pills as it is so I KNOW I won't be able to swallow the horse pills (vicodin) he was going to prescribe. I really hope the codeine works as well as the vicodin. He's also prescribing an antibiotic as a precaution. And because I was concerned that I might get sick and throw up after having meds pumped through my veins for an hour, he is going to add something to my IV to help prevent that from occurring. He told me that I'll be sore after the surgery, but I shouldn't feel pain as long as I keep taking my meds on time and don't let them wear off - so that's the plan.My appointment is scheduled for march 10th. Ahhh!



Monday, February 21, 2011

Famous Brace Face of the Month

Regular Jane's like us aren't the only ones who were born with crooked teeth! Some of our favorite celebrities have been known to rock the brace face look themselves! I've only had my braces for one week and there have been a few occasions when I have had to muster up my confidence to flash my pearly whites metal mouth at others. Maybe you can relate? And maybe seeing a famous brace face each month will help to boost confidence? If nothing else, it's fun to see celebs with braces. Enjoy our first Famous Brace Face of the month:

GWEN STEFANI
 Gwen Stefani, lead singer of No Doubt and solo artist, got her braces when she was 30 also! 







*And she still nabbed 'garbage' front man, Gavin Rossdale - braces and all!

Want more inspiration? Check out her gorgeous grill now!



WORTH IT! 


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pictures & Extraction talk (yikes!)

I thought it might be helpful to post some of my 'BEFORE' pictures for you. I kind of love that I can say "BEFORE" pictures now. :) In 24-30 months my smile won't look anything like the train wreck you see below!Yay!

Front of my Crooked Smile 
January 2011
(Front)
 Left Side 
(Jan. 2011)
 Right Side
(Jan. 2011)
 Upper
(Jan. 2011)
 Lower
(Jan. 2011)
What a mess, right? My left side is actually OK, pretty straight. my right side is a whole other story though! Just a mess! I'll be thrilled when that one snaggle tooth on the upper right side blends in with the rest of my teeth and doesn't stick out anymore! Same goes for that rogue tooth in the photo just above this paragraph. Clearly, it has no place else to go so it sits in the back row behind the rest of my teeth. Yuck! It actually bothers me the most, physically too. While that upper set of teeth make my crooked smile super obvious and just NOT cute, that rogue lower one affects the way I eat, pronounce certain words, KISS! I have even inquired about just yanking it out, but then I get the symmetry speech so instead I'll be getting 8 other teeth removed. Yes, you read that correctly, E I G H T! Ugh!

I knew I'd have to get my 4 wisdom teeth removed. They started erupting when I was about 23. By the time I was 26 they definitely started bothering me. I'd have random days of soreness from inflamed wisdom teeth. They haven't really bothered me in about a year now, but they still provided constant pressure to the rest of my teeth. And while my smile was by no means straight prior to my wisdom teeth erupting, I KNOW they got a lot worse afterward. Every dentist that I've seen since they popped out has strongly encouraged their removal. My two lower ones are impacted. One is "textbook" impacted and should be only slightly more challenging to remove than the non impacted ones. The other is very impacted (there's a medical term, but I'll have to edit this later with that info.) and may be attached slightly to my jaw (xrays don't show 100%) and different dental professionals have given me various opinions of it. One dentist told me he'd just chisel my jaw bone a little to get it out, one told me he didn't think he could get it out so he may just leave it alone and one told me it's no different than the others(?). None of those dentists will be performing my oral surgery though so I'll have to wait and see what my oral surgeon says. Now i wish I had gotten them out years ago when my dentist(s) started telling me to. Then I'd only have to deal with the 4 other teeth my ortho wants removed. here's a diagram to show you all the teeth they plan to pull...

 Upper Extractions (circled)
 Lower Extractions (circled) See the back impacted wisdom teeth?
 I guess it makes sense. What's the point of getting braces if my teeth don't have anyplace to move to? Extracting the ones mentioned above will create the space needed to straighten out my smile. No pain no gain! I guess.

Now I just need to decide on which oral surgeon to see. My dentist and orthodontist referred me to two different surgeons who both practice at the same exact facility. Surgeon A has tons of great yelp reviews, a website etc. I can't find ANY info. on Surgeon B! No yelp reviews, no complaints, no website, nothing! i can't even find him when I google his name. I just find this very odd. NO info.? He does however have both his DMD (dental degree) AND MD (medical degree), while Surgeon A only has his DMD. Of course surgeon B is the one my ortho is highly encouraging me to see. I need to make my decision like NOW. i'll let ya know who I decide to go with.