Wednesday, January 30, 2008


So I've had my Essix retainers for 2 weeks now. They haven't been too bad, after the first day that is. I was told that I had to wear the bottom one only at night (12 hours a day, do any of you get anywhere near 12 hours a sleep a day? I sure know I don't) and the top one all the time for 10 days, then just at night. Not too bad. I still wear the top one most of the time, but I went 8 hours once, and that HURT.

The first day was absolutely AWFUL. I go to the ortho and they have me put them in. The top one was a little hard to get in, but I eventually got it. The bottom one was made to only go over my teeth up to where the wire is (where the implant will go). Well, they had to use SO much glue to get it to stay, that they had to trim the retainer. So it only goes up to my K-9 tooth on that side.

I leave the ortho and go back to work. They weren't too bad, didn't really hurt, I could still talk pretty well with them in. I thought I was all fine... that is until I had to take them out. I go to the restroom to wash my hands and try to take these suckers out. The bottom was was a little tricky, but not too bad. I wish I could say the same for the top one. I am use to the older retainers that have the metal and there's a little "hook" that you can grab on to. Not so easy with these ones. I had asked the assistant at the ortho how to get them out. She said to use your nails to "pry" them off. Well, she must have never looked at my nail, or lack there of. I have to have some of the thinnest, softest, most brittle nails there are. I have psoriasis, and it effects my nails, so they are pretty bad. So there I am in the bathroom trying to get this top retainer out. I got some weird looks from some people who came in and saw me with my hands in my mouth.

Anyway, I spent about 10 minutes in there trying to get this thing out of my mouth. I even drew blood twice! Once on my gum and once when my nail pulled away from my skin (that's how soft they are, and it HURT!!!). I finally gave up and went back to my desk to calm down. I ended up having to take a paper clip, and after cleaning it, use it to pry this thing out of my mouth. Yeah, over 15 minutes and two places that I was bleeding, I FINALLY got it out.

I had to use the paper clip at dinner that night. I have since gotten the hang of it, but it is still tough to get out. I can only get one side lose and then I have to "wiggle" it out.

Other then that, they have been great. They don't hurt at all, and I can talk just fine with them in. Brandy asked if the bottom one made my teeth sore, like it did for her. But so far I have been fine. I will need a new bottom one when I get the implant put it.

I think the weirdest part so far is not being allowed to use toothpaste to brush them with. They seem to be pretty high maintenance, as far as retainers go. You can only drink water with them in because the stain easily, you can't use toothpaste because it will scratch them, and you can't use hot water because they will lose there shape. So I got some denture cleaner and soak them in that every morning, then just use my tooth brush without any toothpaste.

I don't go back to the ortho for another 8 weeks! On February 12 I go to my regular dentist for a checkup and to talk about my implant. Then on the 19th I go back to the surgeon so he can see how they look without the braces.

Monday, January 14, 2008

THEY ARE OFF!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, can you tell I'm excited??? Pictures first, since that's what I always look for, then the story!

In my car right after leaving the ortho!

Front view of the "NAKED" teeth!!!

Profile. It's hard NOT to smile today!

Close up of the bite

If you look closely, you can see a wire cemented to my teeth so that the gap doesn't fill in before I have a change to get the post and implant put in.

Ok, now for the story! I had a few concerns going into today. I was TRYING not to let myself get too excited about getting the braces off, but I knew that if they stayed on I would have been SOOO disappointed. But they weren't coming off until they were as close to perfect as they can get.

So I get to the ortho and managed to not tell anyone that they were coming off today except my husband. Boy, that was HARD. The hardest was probably my friend Rachel. If you watch Grey's Anatomy, well, Rachel's my "person". One of our friend's husband described Rachel and me as Meridith and Christina, and her as Izzy. Not our personalities, but you can't separate Rach and I! If you remember the post about my best friend and her absolutely adorable get well gift (one gift a day for 14 days)... well, that's my Rach!!!

Ok, so anyway... My ortho has a new ortho that just joined his practice. I bet as soon as the weather gets nice, he will be gone! I can't say I blame him. So I tell him that I want to ask him a few questions before we get to taking these braces off. I asked him about the "black triangle" between the two front teeth. He looked at it and explained that it's just the way my teeth are shaped. The only way to fix it would be to shave off the two front teeth where they meet to make them flat and then move them together. He would do it if I wanted him to. But it's not that bad, and I REALLY don't want to have my teeth shaved unless it's really necessary. I had to point it out to my husband, and he's known me for over 6 years and never noticed it, so I decided to leave it. My back teeth ARE meeting properly. I'm just not use to them actually touching, so I wanted to make sure. And as far as my right eye tooth coming out a little more, it's perfectly lined up with the rest. It's just in my head. And when he showed it to me, they are lined up. It might just be that my midlines aren't PERFECT, pretty close, just not dead on.

So now that fun starts! Time to get these suckers off. I really don't remember ANY pain or discomfort from the first time my braces were taken off. I think that the lower teeth were just amplified since I'm still getting feeling back and where I do have feeling it's SUPER sensitive. The part that hurt the worst were the bands... but that's to be expected. The one that REALLY hurt was the one I was afraid of. When I had braces the first time, they were on for over 4 years and under one of the bands was a HUGE cavity. Food got between the tooth and the band and there was NO way to know it was in there until it came off. So that tooth has a rather large filling and is REALLY sensitive. But the other bands didn't hurt nearly as bad.

So off to the sink to rinse. I was scared to look. I was SOOOO afraid of my teeth being stained and having these big white spots in the middle of each tooth where the bracket was. I'm a big coffee and tea drinker. I do try to use a straw when possible, but who knows if that actually helps. Well, to my surprise, there weren't BIG white spots! YEAH. Now came the FUN part (can you hear my sarcasm?). The scraping off of the cermet. I have very porous teeth, which is good for keeping the brackets on... not so good for getting the glue off. After about 10 minutes of scraping, and scraping, and scraping (which on the lower teeth felt like they were going to pop right out of my head), they decided to have the new ortho take the "drill" like tool to get it off. Man, that was SOOO much faster. Within 10 more minutes, it was ALL gone. The only part that wasn't good was the SMELL. YUCK. And I had dust all over my face. But then it was done.

So off to the sink yet once again to rinse. Next the new ortho says that he's going to FILE my teeth. The look on my face must have been priceless because he instantly said "Don't worry, it won't hurt." I tell him that I'm not worried about it hurting, I just don't want him to file my teeth and then my teeth be more likely to get cavities. He assured me that what he was doing was just what nature never did for me. You know how when teeth cut though they are jagged? Well, since I didn't use mine properly, some of those "jaggs" were still there. So he was just going to take them off, especially since the two upper eye teeth are slightly shorter, they will never get warn down on there own. So after that I decided to let him "file" my teeth. I still don't like that word, but he did offer to do my nails when he was done!!! (ok, so it was the assistant that said it, but it made me laugh, so that's all good!)

Off to the sink to rinse again! Now's time for the impressions for my retainers that I get on Wednesday. Since I'm only 3 months post op, I still can't open that wide. I can get about 2 fingers width, but that's REALLY stretching it. So she finds the smallest molds that will fit my teeth. The top one is first. Not too bad, other then not being able to breath. I'm a mouth breather because I have a deviated septum, so I HATE impressions. But the top one was pretty uneventful. Not so for the bottom. She had a hard time getting the mold in there without any "goop" in it. Yeah, that was a stretch to get that in once the "goop" was in place. So she holds it in place, and she kept pushing on the front of my lower lip to make sure the "goop" was all in place. Now that area is still SENSITIVE, so that hurt like HE-L. But if I thought that hurt, it was NOTHING compared to trying to get it OUT of my mouth. I literal had to use my hands to try to open my jaw further to get that thing out. I really don't know how the impression came out, but I'm sure it was awful since she had to do it at the weirdest angle since I just COULDN'T open any more. But it was done, so I was happy. So off to rinse and brush YET again!

Now that all of the glue is off and my teeth are all smooth, what do they do next? That's right, put MORE glue and MORE metal in my mouth. Man, just when I think it's all out, they put some more in. One of my lower right molars was pulled before the braces went on because of a root canal that was still bothering me. This new wire will insure that the teeth don't try to move closer to each other. This wire will stay in there when I get the stud and until the implant goes in. I already have some bone loss there, so they want to make sure that the space stays. For some reason the wire just didn't want to stick to my tooth. Probably from too much brushing in the last 60 minutes. The glue would stick, just not the wire. But they FINALLY got it to stay. Then... you guessed it... off to rinse again!

So that was my day at the ortho! I get to go back on Wednesday for my Essex retainers. The lower one will have to be cut because of the missing tooth, and they will give me a new one once I have the implant in place. The ortho did give me a little goodie "cup". I say cup because it's a travel coffee mug with lots of GOODIES in it! There is some candy, a Blow Pop and some laughy taffy! All stuff that I couldn't eat when the braces were on. Ok, I should say all stuff that I wasn't SUPPOSE to eat when the braces were on. But gum, man I haven't had that in over 10 years. I may have to give it a try. But not today. My jaw is KILLING me. It is actually giving me a headache from all of the stretching today.

I'll post again on Wednesday to let you know how the retainers go. (ok, maybe Thursday since Wednesday is volleyball night. No, I am not playing :( I have to wait until I am 6 months post-op, so I just go cheer them on and have bar food and beer before the game. Yeah, we drink BEFORE our games. It makes it more fun. We are told a lot that we are a fun team to play against. But that may just be because we usually loss) They told me today that I only have to wear them 24/7 for 10 days, then just at night. But I think that I will probably wear them longer then 10 days because I will be sacred that they will move back.

Until then...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Debracing Tomorrow!!!!

OMG, I can't believe that my braces are actually coming off tomorrow!!! I actually forget that in 24 hours from now I will be in the ortho's chair getting these things yanked off. I think that is because I don't actually believe it. There are a few things that I want to ask him before he takes them off, and if he can fix them, then they won't be coming off tomorrow :( So I am trying not to let myself get TOO excited just yet.

The first thing is that I have a small, as Amy described it, "black triangle" between the tops of my two front teeth. It has always been there, so there may be nothing that can be done about that, so I will just have to live with it (or get veneers or something, but I don't think it's THAT noticeable). Also, I want to make sure that my back teeth are touching properly. Before the braces, my back teeth didn't touch AT ALL, so I have no idea how they are suppose to touch. If they are touching as they should, then that's cool with me. The third, and final thing, is I want to make sure that they moved the "eye" teeth out far enough. When I bite down, my right side top and bottom eye teeth touch, but my left side don't. So I'm not sure if my upper right eye tooth should be moved out just a little further. As badly as I want these braces off, I have learned to live with them, and most of the time forget they are even there. I just want to make sure that EVERYTHING is PERFECT before they come off. I have not worn braces for a total of over 6 years, and gone though surgery for my teeth to be anything less then perfect. I'm sure you ALL know what I mean.

The OS said that he wouldn't start thinking about putting my stud in for my fake tooth until the braces came off (the position that it's in, he just wouldn't be able to get it in there, plus it's close to where the lower jaw was cut, so he wants to make sure it's completely healed). However, my ortho wants it put in ASAP since I have already had a lot of bone loss there. So I almost feel that he is rushing the braces just to get the implant in. But will a few more months REALLY make that big of a difference when I had the tooth pulled more then 2 years ago?

The worrying about teeth will NEVER end. So anyway, those are my thoughts about getting my braces off tomorrow. So I'm trying not to get too excited because I may convince the ortho to leave them on a little longer. Either way, I will be updating you all tomorrow with what happened!