Friday, January 26, 2007

Phone call #1

Nearly three weeks have passed since Cheri called in to Dr T's office to tell them I'd be ready in the summer. I figured there was no point in following up too soon but today I finally gave in and rang them up. The news is that it's still just too early to give a forecast. I was informed that Dr T hasn't been given his summer hospital time yet, which is usually booked in 2-3 month blocks, but that I would definitely be getting a call once they begin scheduling who needs what and when. So if I'm ready to go in May or June, maybe I won't have a date until sometime in March? I guess I'll trying calling back in a few more weeks.

In the meantime I thought I'd post this photo showing how the shape of the big space between my upper and lowers is changing. My lowers have really decompressed a lot and I can definitely feel my bite changing again. The only drawback is that now that my occlusion is getting flatter it means my mandible has to move farther forward to completely close. The side effect of that is that I'm having more tension in my TMJ which feels like stretching an elastic. It's not painful right now but is still uncomfortable and annoying. I think I will mention this to Dr W at my next visit. I really ought to go back for another Cranial Sacral session to help loosen me up.

compare smile adj 2 wk 4 and adj 3 wk 0

My lower incisors are still nowhere near level yet. I've been wondering when that might start to happen. I still have two more wires to go on the bottom so I guess there is still time for that. It's just that I've noticed a couple of other people on the subway with braces and the lowers were insanely level and straight...I want that!

I also referred one of my co-workers to Dr W recently. She has a daughter who needs some work. Today was her first appointment and she was very pleased. Yay Dr W!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Adjustment #3: Braces off! ...And then back on!

Yes, my time without braces was very short lived. Gee, I hope the next time I get to keep them off for good. ;o) Anyway, all kidding aside, today was adjustment #3. The challenge was to reposition some of my lower brackets. It turned out that I needed almost all of them done! Just goes to show how crooked things were to begin with. I had been dreading this appointment because I knew that getting the glue off with that drill (or whatever it is, sure sounds like one!) wouldn't be pleasant. I flinch very easily so it was a test of my endurance. I have to raise my hat to Nina, my technician today, who was very patient with me and helped me through it with some psychological support and gave me little breaks as she moved from one tooth to the next. There were a few sore spots but overall the process seemed to be done quickly. Popping the brackets off beforehand was also a mixed basket. Two or three of them hurt but the rest came off pretty easily with a small pop. Then Maria sang along to the radio as she helped Nina place the new brackets. She even sang on key - musical nut that I am, I was impressed. :o) My new brackets have the little coloured dots on them, which will wear off, but I had forgotten about that. It was an "oh yeah" moment for me.

Nina commented on how good my gums look - that definitely took me by surprise and was good to hear. My little rubber tip tool must be doing its job then. She then put a new wire in, which turns out is one gage lighter than the previous one because of the brackets being repositioned. I didn't know technicians did that part since only Dr W has done it for me previously. Nicely done Nina. And finally, she put a new power chain on my top teeth and it looks whiter now, which is nice.

After finishing up with another patient, Dr W came over and I asked him about my night appliance. The trouble seems to be that I have to force my lips closed (gently) when I have it in my mouth. I haven't been able to sleep like that. He tried shaving the appliance down in a couple of spots and also used a grinder on one of my lower incisors. He suggested wearing it in the evening before bed in the hopes that it would help me get used to it before actually falling asleep. Aside from that he said he didn't have any more tricks up his sleeve but that I wasn't putting myself in major jeopardy if I still can't do it. He said the appliance will make the overall treatment better, hopefully stopping any night time sucking habits I might have causing my teeth to go back out of alignment. So, I'll give it another chance and see where I end up. I didn't think to ask about a Hawley retainer. I know I'll have one when I get my braces off, so I wonder how that differs. …He also had a general look around my mouth and was very happy with my progress. I found that reassuring because from my perspective there didn't seem to be much happening in the last 9 weeks. The movements are more subtle now that my teeth are so much straighter.

As Nina was working away on me, I overheard Dr W talking with another patient in the next chair about her surgery with Dr T! I was excited to be sitting beside a post-oper! I couldn't see her though, and she was gone quickly and I didn't catch what kind of surgery she had. I wanted to jump up and join the conversation but I was confined to my chair with a lip retractor, gauze, and the blue light tool in my mouth. Oh well. ...As for me, Dr W said that I would be ready for surgery "in the summer" and had Cheri call in to have them schedule it. Sounds like Cathy (Dr T's wife, who does the scheduling) was on vacation or something so Cheri left the message with whoever else answered the phone. Here's where it gets interesting: I have a "guaranteed" date of October 2007 but since Cheri notified them that I would be ready "in the summer" I could still get in earlier, but that they would only give me about a month's advance notice since that's all they know. I don't remember how it worked for my first surgery so I'll have to see if I noted that anywhere. …So yeah, what does "in the summer" mean exactly? June 1st? August 31st? Arg! So I'm going to give it a week or so and then call Cathy since she's the lady with the power! Maybe if I bring her some chocolate and flowers? Diamonds? Real estate? Anything to give me a surgery date in the not too distant future! :o)

On my way out Cheri commented that she thought I looked different, and I guess she hasn't seen me for a while so I probaby do to her. She said I look a little more filled in, "maybe from eating over the holidays", which is likely true! I've regained the little bit of weight that I lost from SARPE and I could still do well to gain a few more pounds for the big surgery. Gotta get me a bag of
two-bite brownies! Mmm! Anyway, I have to agree. I have allowed a few more pictures of me to be taken and I do really notice how my face is different. I'm still not exactly photogenic but better than I was. So far so good!

Ok Advil, show me whatcha got!