Monday, June 05, 2006

Brace Face Part I

Above: Lower braces day 1 (click for large size photo)

Here's me, day 1 with my spiffy new self-ligating lower braces. The wire is a #14 if I heard him correctly, which is a very light wire, but I can definitely feel some gentle tension. I took some Motrin before I went and I'll probably take more later. It's not super painful but it is irritating. I guess the consensus is that the discomfort will go away in a couple of days.

Notice how crooked everything is. My teeth are in somewhat of a jagged U shape all tilted inwards due to the former narrowness of my top jaw. Eventually I'll have a nice smooth curve.

Before Patricia, the technician, started installing the braces I had Dr W come over to look at my top teeth. He said everything looks very good. I told him about the "line" of tension that I feel across my face in the bone but he didn't really know what to say about it or what it could be. He didn't seem worried and said it might be a question for Dr T but didn't think it necessary that I go see him. So I guess I'll just chalk it up to the fact that my teeth aren't quite back to their proper spots yet, and hopefully by my next appointment (when my RPE comes out and I get my top braces) things will be better. It hasn't gotten any worse, it just doesn't feel normal, so we'll see what happens.

The actual install of the braces was smooth sailing. The worst part was when she had to first scrape some plaque off, which is never pleasant. Then I had a piece of plastic shaped to hold my lips away from my teeth inserted and some gauze to keep things dry. She painted some goo on my teeth and placed the brackets 3 or 4 at a time, followed by inspections by Dr W. Once that was done she put the wire on. There was some pushing, tugging, and clipping going on, but none of it was painful, just sort of blunt I suppose.

She only accidentally grazed my top teeth two or three times and thankfully the fear was worse than the pain in that sense. However, there is clearly no way I could endure the amount of pressure needed to install braces on my top teeth right now, they are still way too sensitive to touch. I told Dr W that I don't bite anything harder than a banana or jam sandwich. He thought I could probably get away with a turkey sandwich but I don't! Not yet. (I'm vegetarian anyway, but you get the idea.)

Once she was finished it was a very odd sensation all around my bottom lip with all those brackets there. I'm sure my lip will be shredded soon, but I have lots of wax for it. I'm actually surprised how little the brackets from my RPE have bothered me. I haven't even used a whole container of wax on them!

Then Maria, another assistant, gave me a mini education on how to brush properly and use the special floss and proxa-brush.

I wasn't expecting to get the self-ligating braces, and I forgot to ask why I have those instead of the regular kind. I'm actually a little bit sad that I won't get to have colourful ligators, boo. :)

My next appointment is July 25th at 9am. My RPE will come out, molds will be taken for my FFMP retainer, and my top braces will be placed. They said all of that will take about 2 1/2 hours. It will also be time to get my name on Dr T's surgery list with a date approximately a year from then.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Apparent evolution...

(click for large size photos)

Above: Before and after SARPE surgery (42 days post expansion). The area above my top lip seems more rounded. Nose is turned up slightly. Cheeks look fuller (I think I still have some residual swelling). Noted difference in upper lip rise. Things are still moving around but I think I look pretty good at this point. I've had a couple of comments from people saying they can see a difference, but when I ask them how they can't really describe it.

Houston, we have contact! 42 days post expansion. I can definitely still feel movement going on, still a ways to go but getting there. Still feels tight when I smile and still can't bite into anything harder than a banana or jam sandwich.