Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Expander out!!

Above (click for large size): Expander removed and upper braces placed. Notice how crooked the wire is!

After 5 months of torture my expander is history!! I forgot to ask to keep it though, oh well, not like it will be worth millions in the ortho hall of fame museum or anything. The actual removal was way easier than I thought it would be. Nina, the new technician I had today, used a tool to pull each corner down a bit at a time. I could hear the glue crack. There were some weird forces happening as it came off but before I knew it it was over. A bit of tugging and coaxing was all it took. My gums were bleeding pretty good afterwards though but it stopped quickly after rinsing. My mouth feels HUGE now! Like a cathedral ceiling! :o) I think it will take me a day or two to get used to how it feels while talking now. It feels way better now but like I have to unlearn the strange movements my tongue got used to doing with the RPE in the way. I'll have to put on a good sing-a-long cd and see how I do! Oh, and I can definitely notice that I no longer have that awful up-and-out feeling caused by my tongue pressing up on the RPE, such a relief!

Next we moved into a different room to take impressions. One for a model and another for a non-protrusive FFMP retainer/appliance. I will wear it at night and it is meant to stop my cheeks from pressing in causing my teeth to stay crooked. I won't actually have it until my next appointment since they have to make it now.

After the molds I moved back to the first chair and it was time to get my upper braces placed. I was feeling pretty nervous because my upper 6 front teeth are still sensitive. I have to say that they are far less sensitive than 7 weeks ago but still enough to make me cringe. Getting the rear brackets placed was a bitch, trying to get them to stay without getting any saliva on them but after much canoodling it was complete. She did the front 6 last since they are ceramic while the rest are metal. Once they were placed and solidified with the plasma beam gun it was time to put the wire on. This hurt a fair bit and it took her and Dr W a couple of tries to get it right. All the pushing, tugging, and wire twisting was marginally bearable but I toughed it out. The worst part was getting the bracket and tie wire on the right peg lateral tooth. Since it has such an odd shape it made things tricky. I felt like I was in the chair for a super long time and finally everything was complete. I sat up and felt pretty woozy so I just sat on the edge of the chair for a few minutes to let my circulation recover from being tilted back for so long.

The ceramic brackets do look pretty huge, and they are whiter than my teeth. They also have elastic ligatures on them so I have to try not to eat foods which will stain them (coffee, tea, curry, grape juice, etc) Dr W will give me new ones if they do stain though.

My six front teeth feel sensitive now, like a burning kind of feeling. It also feels like the wire ends at the back are poking me. I'm not sure if they actually forgot to trim the wire off or whether I'm just feeling the brackets. The wire itself is wound so it seems a little thick. It's actually only a 16 gauge super-wire, so it is really very flexible and light. Anything stiffer would be too painful to start with. Oh, and they decided not to change my lower wire yet. Nina said I wasn't ready for it. So even though it feels somewhat like my lower braces aren't doing much, they really actually are!

I ate a banana, jam sandwich, nutrigrain bar, and some apple sauce for lunch. No big problems there. And actually my left side bite is back to touching again, so chewing today is easier than yesterday. I also feel like I can chew with my front teeth a little bit more now that they are more stabilized with the braces.

Ok, time for some Motrin.


At 2:47 AM, Blogger Mrs. Shanton said...

You're coming quite along! (But after reading about your last meal, I can't help but think you need some protein!) Glad your RPE is gone. Ugh!

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can go to the ortho office and get them to trim the wire if it is poking your cheeks or use the wax.


At 7:53 PM, Blogger Graham said...

Steph - yeah, everything is still sore from having the RPE out but you're right, I can always use more protein for sure.
I have some soy mix left over that I might as well finish up.

Katie - I did just that. It was bugging me big time today. Details in the post above. :)

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Amy said...

Hooray! The expander is out - woo hoo! Isn't it amazing how roomy (and good) it feels in your mouth now. So you wear a device at night instead of having in a TPA? I had to wear a TPA after my expander came out, but it was a dream compared to the expander. Since both have been gone, I now worry about the after surgery splinting...what will that be like???

It's interesting how we all have similar surgeries, but each have slightly different approaches. Brandy had braces on with her RPE, I had no braces. You had no TPA, but both Brandy and I had one. I am glad to see new links on some of the blogs and find out other experiences. We are becoming quite the community :)

Glad you've made it this far and yes Wow! looking good. I still look back at my old jaw width and shake my head... how did I live with that narrowness for so long. Now as your teeth move, you will see even more change - yay!


At 8:47 AM, Blogger Graham said...

Amy - thanks for your comments! Yeah, I asked about a TPA the same day expansion finished but he said he didn't think I needed one. I should have asked why not, or in what case would he give me one. So hopefully my FFMP nighttime appliance will guard against relapse. He said it would be spring-loaded. I think any relapse would be on the order of no more than 1mm but let's hope it is much less than that! And come to think of it, relapse refers to the teeth tipping inwards right? Or does it mean the palate actually collapses a bit? Hopefully just the former given my age. I'd put money on my surgeon making things wider in my next surgery anyway. My left side seems to need to move over a bit more. We shall see.

Indeed it is interesting to see the similarities and differences between us all. On one hand I guess it is a little bit worrisome since you'd think the treatment should be the same especially for something like whether braces are on for SARPE and whether a TPA is needed, but on the other hand I guess it could just be an indication of just how different we all are and the pay-as-you-go nature of orthodontics.


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