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!

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, 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!


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
 Left Side 
(Jan. 2011)
 Right Side
(Jan. 2011)
(Jan. 2011)
(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.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Braces are ON!

I really meant to blog last night, my last night of a metal free mouth, but it was Valentine's day and my attention belonged to my lover! So, instead I am blogging to you today as newly loaded metal mouth!

I was told to block off a good 2 hours to take care of everything at my appointment, but I was pleasantly surprised when we wrapped everything up and I was on my way out in just a little over an hour! The procedure itself was painless and damn close to discomfort-less (I know, not a real word) too! The first thing they did was remove those pesky spacers that I've had in my mouth since last week. Even though I was getting used to them, they were still very annoying and kept my teeth consistently sore. It felt so good to have them removed! Next they placed a band on one of my back teeth.

Dr. S then decided that I didn't need traditional bands and instead used a new model of smaller bands that are glued to the sides of my back teeth. So after days of being sore from the spacers, turns out i didn't need them anyway since traditional bands were not used. Ha! Fine by me though, I was tired of having things stuck between my teeth. Next the assistant applied "conditioner" to my teeth and let it dry. Finally it was time for Dr. S to apply my brackets!

 I ended up with all metal brackets, except for my 4 upper front teeth. Dr. S being the great ortho that he is, provides clear (I guess ceramic?) braces on the front teeth for his adult patients (shh: free of charge). After all my brackets were in place, the assistant took over, inserting the archwire in my brackets. The appointment came to an end with a brief lesson on how to care for my braces (i.e - brushing techniques, how to floss with wire in the way etc.).
Now I'm a real life brace face! and I couldn't be happier about it! 
So without further ado, I present to you my new tin grin!

Day #1
of life with braces

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spacers Repaired!

Yesterday, I stopped by my orthodontist's office to get the spacer that popped out replaced and to get the others checked b/c I am kind of a spazz like that. The visit was extremely fast. I think I spent more time finding parking than I did at the actual visit. I walked in and was the only non staff member there, they immediately had me sit in the patients chair and sent the same assistant woman that initially  put the spacers in over to me. I showed her the spacer that had popped out and she popped a rubber spacer in it's place (it was metal the first time around). Just like that! No elbow grease, no struggle, just popped it right in - no problem! Then I showed her another spacer that seemed loose to me and she quickly pulled it out (no pain or discomfort at all) and popped a new rubber spacer right in.

I honestly couldn't believe how easy the visit was. I thought it would hurt since my teeth had become sore, but it didn't hurt at all. The assistant definitely redeemed herself in my eyes and so I now lean on the good side of the fence.

Today (day 3 of having spacers in) my teeth are still sore. I haven't really been eating much. See my menu below;

- Gyro for lunch - VERY unsuccessful! I took a few small painful bites that took me like 20 minutes just to chew and get down. I ended up throwing more than 75% of the gyro away.
- Mashed Potatoes & Mac n' Cheese for dinner - Mashed potatoes were a great choice! Mac n/ cheese was soft enough but it still took some effort to chew. Not as easy as it sound for uber sore teeth.

- Coffee for breakfast
- Clam Chowder soup for lunch - or maybe I should say clam chowder broth and the potatoes found within. There was no way in hell I could masticate those chewy clams in the soup. At the end of the bowl I had  a pile of all the non liquids found within the soup.
- Dinner - Giant baked potato from BJ's. I basically ate the softest parts and left the skin. Didn't eat the whole thing b/c I got tired of the effort it took to eat it.

- Little appetite
- Lasagna for dinner and very soft brownie a la mode for dessert

Sometimes I feel "used' to the discomfort, while sometimes it feel like torture! All in all it's nothing I can't handle. . . just VERY annoying. I mean imagine how annoying it is when you get a tiny seed stuck in your tooth when you eat strawberries or sesame seeds or something! Now imagine liked 10 seeds stuck in 8 crevices! Not fun, right? I actually read that spacers are as thick as pennies so that would be a more accurate thing to imagine ; 4 pennies stuck between your back teeth. Blah!

All will be worth it though and I keep reminding myself of that.

I have wanted straight teeth for such a long time now! My crooked smile has seriously affected my self esteem to an extent and has maybe even held me back in some ways. It's time to quite letting it dictate my life. Time for me to get that crooked smile fixed and be the me that I've always been meant to be!

No pain, no gain!

and . . . if you want more info. on spacers here are some helpful links that I found that can explain spacers a whole lot better than I could...enjoy!

First: Here's what rubber spacers look like (NOT my teeth - two of mine are actually metal bars)

Helpful Links:



Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here we go . . .

So after several visits to various orthodontists, I finally settled on one. I'm pretty comfortable with him. He has a Doctorate in dentistry from Harvard University and also studied at UCLA. His yelp reviews are stellar and my friend's kids are patients of his and she loves him! He also has great hours for someone who works full time 9-5 hours like me and his prices are incredible compared to the only other orthodontist I considered seeing. I do admit that I think his staff is not as good as the staff of the other orthodontist that I met with, so I guess I am going to have to see how that all plays out. So far I am on the fence and I'll tell you why;

Yesterday, I completed what I guess you can call step 1 of getting braces. I had spacers put in between my back teeth to make room for the brackets they'll glue on when they put my braces on next week. The orthodontist was great at explaining everything, then he turned me over to the assistant. I'm sure there is a more technical name for her; dental assistant? ortho assistant? Anyway, she shoved some rubber spacers between my upper teeth with a smidge of difficulty. Then she started on my lower teeth and was using some serious elbow grease but couldn't get them in.
"Do you have trouble flossing?"
"Your teeth are very tight"
Ok? Then she decided to switch to metal spacers instead. With the same amount of oomph that she used to get the first set in, she began to try to shove the metal bars between my teeth. At one point her hand slipped a little and she poked me. I think she got more scared than I did and that in itself made me think twice. After a few more minutes, she finally said we were done. I felt one of the metal ones popping up already and asked her about it. She said if it pops up to just push it back down. Ok? The entire appointment from waiting in the waiting room, asking a million questions, taking pictures and getting spacers only took 30 minutes. My teeth didn't hurt, it only felt annoying b/c things were stuck in my teeth but the ortho warned me that I'd hate him by tomorrow when they got sore. By the time I got home from my appointment, one of my metal spacers had already popped off. Yes, the same one I inquired about before I left the office. I'm not sure if this is normal or if my teeth really are tight or what! It's not  huge deal, just enough to put me on alert. I called the office today and the orthodontist (let's call him Dr. S) told me to come in when I can (tomorrow) and he'll personally replace the spacer that popped off, as well as replace the metal ones with more comfortable rubber ones. So, I have been pacified for now and hope that this is a one time glitch in the soon to be year(s) long plan!

And for the record, I don't hate him today as he warned me that I would . . . but boy do i understand why other patients might! For such tiny little pieces of metal/rubber, they sure do produce a lot of discomfort and soreness! I better get used to it! Next week is braces & within 2 months I'll be getting EIGHT teeth extracted! Eight, man! Four wisdom teeth, two of which are impacted & the teeth next to my canine teeth on both top and bottom (4). So, not looking forward to that...but it will all be worth it when I get that megawatt smile!