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


 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
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

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

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)

  • 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.