10 September 2009

2 weeks in braces

So its been 2 weeks and things have settled down alot. The first 2 to 3 days were pretty painful but after that they just seemed to settle in and I got used to them. I only had to use wax for the first 4 days but now I dont need any which is great because its a real pain getting it on there in the right spot then not aciidently eating it like I have done on a few occasions :)

My top teeth have moved a fair bit but my bottom ones havent budged. I think because my top teeth have been manipulated so much since surgery they are alot easier to move. Eating is almost back to normal (by normal I mean before the braces but with the expander). Nuts, biting into apples, lollies, crusty bread etc are all no nos and pretty much impossible to eat anyway but it was like that before the braces so no big deal. I do miss biting into things though... right now it gives me goosebumps just thinking about it! Its hard to explain how my teeth feel right now, especially my front ones but its almost like they are half falling out and have cavities in them so they are sensitive and unstable... not a good combo if you were to bite into something. I mean they arent falling out or have cavities but you get the point.

I see my surgeon tomorrow for my 3 month check up. She hasnt seen me in braces yet so I'm looking forward to her reaction. Alot of people I know find it strange that both my ortho and surgeon are females but I've always had female dentists so to me its not so strange. I never planned it that way it just worked out that my surgeon worked in the same building as my orhto so it seemed silly not to use her. I've been very happy with my choices so far which is really lucky I think. My orhto is the kind of person who just dives in and does what she needs to do then says ok see you next time and doesnt tell you whats going on. I have to actually say ok so what are you doing? I trust her though so I'm not really worried. I am one to research things to death though so when she does give me some info I'm right on it then by my next visit I'm an expert (not really, I just think I am) on the subject :)

31 August 2009

Braces on!

OMG - braces suck. I got them on last Friday and about 2 hours later I started to feel the pain. The bottom ones hurt the most. In fact the top ones dont bother me at all but oh the pain in the bottom ones. They were throbbing so bad all afternoon and into Saturday as well. I have already got some lovely sore spots from where the brackets are rubbing on my cheeks and lips. I feel alot better today but I'm still no where near comfortable. And just when I got used to the expander, I now have to get used to something else. Plus I cant chew again which is really frustrating. I think I miss that the most. Being able to bite into something and chew something without placing it in the right spot and avoiding pain. I'll get there though. I know that the end result is going to be great and well worth all of this.

The type of braces I got are a new design called In-Ovation C. The wire clicks into the brackets and are self ligating so apparently this means less adjustments and they work faster so less time in braces! I also got my veneer taken off 2 days before the braces went on so that was a bit of a shock to see that crooked tooth again after 6 years. They hadnt ground it down very much at all which was really surprising - so it doesnt look too bad. You cant even tell with the braces on now actually. My gap has opened up a little again but I dont really care. Its no where near as bad as it was and just looks normal at the moment. Here are some before pics and now with braces. You cant really see them and I havent got a close up of them yet but i'll get one up soon. My mouth is massive now and my lips are fuller which isnt all bad :)

13 August 2009

Gap pics

Not much going on... except I think my gap is a tad smaller :) Most of the time I dont even remember the expander is in there so I'm grateful I'm not having a hard time with it. I'm starting to get a small gap between my front and second teeth because my front ones are moving back together. The one thing I miss the most is being able to bite into something - like a sandwich, or apple, or anything! I still have to chew everything and bite everything on the side.

10 August 2009

Sitting in limbo

The closing of the gap has started to slow down now. It's still coming together though which is great. Less than 3 weeks til braces... yikes. I only just got used to the expander (well as much as anyone could get used to this thing!) and now I have to tackle a whole new set of problems... at least I'm getting closer to getting the expander out. I cant wait to talk normally and eat without getting half your dinner stuck in there and having to somehow get it out without sticking your whole hand in there! Pfft. Anyway...

Here's more comparison pics to show the gap getting smaller.

05 August 2009

Still getting smaller!

I cant believe how much my gap has closed up! Its down to just under 4mm now - it was 6.75 so thats a big difference. Heres some comparison pics from when I stopped turning and now...

You can see that my teeth are coming in faster from the bottom which my ortho tells me is normal. She was happy to hear that they are coming together because it means that my teeth will move easily when she puts the braces on. 3 weeks this Friday until they go on! I have to get a veneer removed the Wednesday before which sits over my tooth beside my front tooth. I know this is going to look horrible but it has to be done. I found out from my old dentist who fitted the veneer if she ground down my tooth much before the veneer was put on and she said no, it was very minimal so I was over the moon to hear that. I was thinking oh no, my tooth is going to be like half the size because I know some dentists really grind the tooth down alot before a veneer is put on. She mentioned why she didnt do it and it was because she thought I would get braces down the trach cos I was so young when I got it fitted (17). Very smart :)
So not much else is going on with my teeth really. I still cant chew some foods like steak, nuts, apple with skin on and stuff like that but I am definitely more used to the expander now. I still dont speak normally but I'm kinda used to that too.
I will post again if my teeth close up more (and I'm hoping they are touching by the time my braces go on!) Woohoo!

27 July 2009

P.s. my gap is closing up! Well a little

First pic is from last Monday and the 2nd pic is from today... keep it coming!

Feeling better

So last week was a hard week. But I'm doing alot better now. I have committed to working out 5 times this week so I know that will make me feel so much better. I always do when I'm exercising, and the fact that I've committed to it and said to myseld 'ok I'm back into it as of Monday' I know that I will do it. Also, my bf exercises with me so it makes a big difference when you have someone else pushing you.
So onto my teeth now - my front 2 teeth feel kinda weird at the moment. Like they are loose or something and they are also a bit tender as well. My ortho and OS told me that this was normal so I'm not panicking - I just dont like the feeling that my teeth are gonna fall out!
I think my gap has closed up about half a mm in the last week which is encouraging. I'm hoping it closes up a little more each week :) I'm an optimist. Other than the front teeth situation, I'm feeling good and I was chewing alot better on the weekend which was nice. I'm pretty sure I'm grinding my teeth in my sleep too which is not a nice feeling to be woken up to! Lots of pops and scraping noises - gross. I am however breathing through my nose when I sleep for some of the night which is a whole new experience for me. Even though I cant quite hold my lips together comfortably yet I'm still managing to breathe through my nose. Amazing!

23 July 2009

Sick of looking like this

I hate the gap this week. I feel so ugly and weird looking and I hate not being able to talk properly. I had a killer toothache yesterday which really bothered me and its still hanging around today. Its the tooth that the expander it cemented onto... It doesnt feel like a cavity - I think its just had enough of being moved around and chewed on funny. I just want to feel normal again :( I havent felt motivated to exercise lately either because I cant bring myself to go to the gym and face everyone there. I know I shouldnt care but its hard not to feel self concious when you have a gap big enough to fit another tooth in! And also when I have exercised the spit seems to gather up and I cant swallow it properly (gross, sorry) so I end up choking on it! Its bad enough looking strange but now I feel guilty about not exercising. Sorry for whinging... I know I'll feel better soon enough. I think another reason I'm feeling down is because tomorrow its been 5 years since my dad passed away and I always get a little nuts around this time. Things can build up then you are overcome with all these emotions and I think thats what I'm feeling. I know my dad would think the gap looked 'cute' and was endearing and wouldnt want me to feel self concious about it... so I will try my hardest not to.

21 July 2009

Owww my cheek!

I cut my cheek about a week ago on the expander (the bit that pokes out on the side for the braces to be attached to) and its still bothering me. I cant eat without aggravating it and I cant eat with wax on it because I end up eating that too :) so eating is pretty much more painful now that it was before... lovely.
I think its amazing though how fast our body adapts to new things - like chewing with only 4 teeth, and swallowing with a big metal thing in the roof of your mouth, and smiling without revealing too much of your humungous gap to strangers. When I first got the RPE put in I couldnt swallow at all and was worried I would be drooling for the next 6 months, but it only took a matter of hours before I worked around it. Something that I find really strange is not being able to bite food with my front teeth. I tried to bite off a prawn last night but couldnt and had to shove it in whole! You really need to cut up everything in bite sized peices otherwise you end up putting too much in your mouth or just giving up and not eating it. Sometimes I look at my bf when he's eating and say 'you know how lucky you are you can chew that!' I dont think you can appreciate chewing and eating all foods until you cant chew and eat all foods. I cannot wait until I can eat a steak again, or nuts, or crusty bread, or bite into a pizza... how I miss you :(

20 July 2009

Finished at last

Hooray! I finally finished turning the expander on Saturday. So another step in the journey is now over and I am onto the next one which is waiting for my braces to go on. The last 5 weeks have gone really fast - and I cant believe July is almost over now! Christmas will be here before we know it - and you know what that means?! That's right...EXPANDER OFF! I am seriously over it and want it out now. I hate not being able to talk properly and eating is such a pain in the butt. My BF and I went out for lunch yesterday and I had poached eggs on toast with wilted spinach (eggs florentine) and holy moly, I couldnt believe how much spinach I had caught in my RPE! It was bad.

I saw my OS on Friday and she was really pleased with my progress. She was amazed at how quickly I'm healing and also said that my expansion is very symmetrical which was great to hear. I'm glad everything has gone smoothly so far and I'm hoping it stays that way! Here are comparison pics of my mouth before and after expansion. Wow, it looks massive now. Sorry about the spit and poor quality :)

16 July 2009

Spoke too soon

So I went to the ortho on Tuesday and she was really happy with everything and was poking around in my mouth for a long time - then she said 'Ok so 5 more turns then you're done' :

I let out a great big uggghhhh and she laughed... I didnt. That means I have made 34 turns totalling 8.5mm + 1mm in surgery so 9.5mm all up! After surgery my surgeon said very clearly that my ortho wanted 21 turns and that would be plenty. Pfft not even close! I was just really hoping to have this gap closed up a bit before my cousins wedding on Sept 26th. I just hope once I stop turning it closes up a little on its own (I've read this can happen).

So anyway, I at least got to make the appointment to get my braces on which will be the 28th August, which is exactly 6 weeks from the day I stop turning! I wasnt going to waste anymore time to get those suckers on! I will be getting clear on the top and normal ones on the bottom which seems to be the norm. I already feel like my mouth is full of metal so I have no idea how I'm going to go with braces on plus the expander? Lucky I get the braces on a Friday so I have the weekend to practice not drooling and speaking without looking like a complete weirdo.
On a positive note - my swelling has come down a bit more in the last 2 days so I feel more like myself now. Here is a comparison from before surgery to now. My nose looks wider and my cheeks are still a tad swollen but all in all I think my smile is going to be nice a big! Please excuse the tongue in the right picture, I have no idea where to put it when I smile.
And yes I do style my hair differntly, this is just a coincidence :)

13 July 2009

One turn left!

That's right - I only have one turn left out of 29! That's a total of 7.25mm not including the 1mm done in surgery. I see my ortho tomorrow and I'm hoping that she says its enough. I measured my gap just before and its at 6mm. I have no idea if thats huge or average for this surgery? I think its plenty big enough though!
I put a heat pack on my cheeks and upper lip last night to try and get the last of this swelling down. I dont know if it worked - if it did then its only a tiny bit. It felt nice though and at least it promoted some blood flow in the areas.
My bite is completely stuffed at the moment too. I think only my back two molars are touching on both sides and thats it. I also have a lovely overbite going on. I did have a very small one before but now its full on. Apparently this is all part of the process so I guess I just have to trust my ortho. I was told in the beginning that there might be a very small chance I will need a 2nd surgery to correct my overbite, but after more review my ortho said it wouldnt be worth it for 2 or 3mm. I couldnt agree more! I am not keen on a 2nd surgery AT ALL!
Chewing is a real chore at the moment because everything either falls to the front of my mouth and I cant pull it back in without using my finger or its just too hard. I struggled with a chicken caesar salad on the weekend because the lettuce wouldnt stay in the back and would hang out of my mouth... nice huh? I have to laugh about it because I know in a few months it will be a distant memory.
Onto the positives now... I am really liking my new smile. I feel like my mouth is a little wider too because my teeth are alot closer to my cheeks. Before my smile was empty but now there are teeth from ear to ear! I have to focus on what is really going on rather than the gap and eating. Although its hard because I love food and eating... now I'm hungry.

08 July 2009

Swelling has flared up??!

For the last 2 days I have noticed that my swelling around my upper lip area has gotten a little worse... and I'm not really sure why. I started exercising again last week and had no swelling come back so I dont think it can be that? Unless what I did this week flared it up. I have no idea - I just wish it would go away because I'm really keen to see what I look like without swelling! I hate the chipmunk look I have going on :( no one can really tell except me but its still annoying.
6 more turns of the expander then hopefully thats it. But in saying that my arch is so much wider its incredible so I dont really mind doing the extra expansion if it means gaining a great smile. Someone said to me today that going through all of this is 'character building'. I think thats just something people say to make you feel better about looking ugly :) I just have to keep reminding myself that this isnt permanent!

06 July 2009

More turns!

Ughhh. Saw the ortho this morning and she wants me to do another 8 turns (2mm) so I'm kind of bummed. I was hoping I was done with it so I could start the stabilisation period - in other words get this gap closed up! Oh well, I guess I just have to accept it. If its going to get me the best results then bring it on. The gap is big enough now that another 2mm wont make much difference. The good news is that she said I looked great (better than before surgery) and pointed out my new cheekbones! My face seems more rounded and shapely now whereas before it was longer and had little shape. I'm just looking forward to seeing my new smile without a big black hole in the middle of it. Here's a pic as of today.

I am starting to get some funny looks when I'm out and about now. My BF and I went out for dinner on Saturday night and the waitress took my order and did a double take of my mouth. It was really obvious she was staring at me and her attitude even changed, like she stopped being polite towards me or something? Weird. I didnt care really, I was more concerned about cutting up my lamb into micro sized peices so I could eat it! I still cant chew meat properly among other delicious things. But I managed this time. The huge slice of toblerone cheesecake I had for dessert was alot easier to eat though :) yum.

Here's a pic of me pre-op. If you can look closely my upper jaw is really narrow. My front 6 teeth are straight and normal then my teeth just sort of vanish and I have an empty smile. Sorry this is the only pic I can find at the moment that shows it up. I never take a front on photo because it looks so much worse. But I wont have to worry about that now!

03 July 2009

3 more turns left

Well its hard to believe I only have 3 turns left out of 21! I see my ortho on Monday so she will let me know whether I have enough expansion or I need more (NOOO!) The gap is just big (well small) enough so people think its just a gap rather than a missing tooth. Anymore though and people will be thinking 'what the h*ll happened to her?'. But I am prepared for more expansion if necessary because I dont want to do this half arsed. I didnt go through surgery for nothing.
I get braces on 6 weeks after I stop expanding so its not that long to wait. Once they are on the gap will start to close and also they will take notice away from the gap as well. I never though I'd look forward to braces :) but I am.
As for the freakin' expander, I hate it...with a passion. Just sitting watching TV or working is fine, but when I have to talk or eat its a real pain. I sound sort of drunk and anything with an 'eee' sound is pretty much impossible to say. My tongue doesnt play with it alot so I dont have a sore spot or anything which is one good thing. I am counting down the days until it comes off. It should be about a week before xmas - if the only present I get is the expander taken out then I will be very happy!
Swelling continues to go down a little more each day. I notice it the most on my upper lip area under my nose. I still have numb areas on my cheeks, gums, nose, and under my eyes as well but sensation is coming back slowly. All the stitches have fallen out so it feels alot more comfortable up there. It is still quite tender but thats to be expected. I'm so glad the surgery is over because that was the biggest part of all this for me. Now its just about healing and creating my new smile which is really exciting.

29 June 2009

I'm back

Well I have been really slack with posting :( It has been 17 days since surgery and I'm back at as of today. Surgery went really well and I went home the same day which was great because I hate sleeping in hospital (well staying in hospital because you dont really sleep.) The first few days were uncomfortable but not too bad. I had alot of swelling for the first 8 - 10 days but after that it started to go down alot. I still have some around my upper lip and nostrils but people at work are telling me I look 'normal'. I know I dont look normal yet but it wont be long now. The OS said allow at least another month before the swelling is 95% gone then allow another 3 - 6 months for the last little bit to disappear.
Eating is annoying because I cant really chew properly. One reason is that it hurts a bit and my jaw is unstable. Another is that alot of my teeth arent touching because my palate is changing! With my old bite my back upper molars would sit inside my lower molars but now they are sitting almost on top of them. I still have another 7 days of expansion yet so my bite will continue to change until thats finished.
I have a lovely gap now which is about 4mm big - its not too bad but its still a GAP! Its very strange to look in the mirror and see it. Only another 7 weeks until the braces go on and the gap can close up so its not too far away.
I see my ortho next Monday and she will tell me if I need more expansion or not (I'm hoping not!) I will make sure I update here alot more often, promise :)

10 June 2009

RPE goes in today

I'm getting the RPE put in today. I'm trying to enjoy my last few hours with an empty mouth because I know I will have this thing in for around 6 months. I told a few people at work that they cant laugh at my new speech impediment!
I also bought some supplies for post surgery...

Baby toothbrush
Baby spoons
Ice cream
Protein powder
Vitamin C (meant to help with cell regeneration)
Arnica (helps minimise bruising)
Hirudoid cream (good for bruising as well as promoting blood flow to damaged tissue)

Thats it for now. Anything else I need my very caring partner will go out and get it for me :)

Ill be back to update later on the scrap metal cemented in my mouth and how super it feels...

01 June 2009

Stay calm

I cannot stop thinking about my surgery! I am excited but scared at the same time. I know that what I'm doing is the right thing to do, because I know in the coming years its only going to get worse and worse. But as the saying goes, short term pain...

27 May 2009

Spacers in - phase one complete

So I got my spacers put in this morning. It took a whole 2 minutes so that 45 minute drive in morning traffic was so worth it! Not. They felt kinda weird at first but I'm used to them already. One side is more sensitive than the other so when I ate my lunch it hurt a little, but I pushed though it because I was so hungry :) I'm a bit of an eating machine sometimes... Still, I know this is nothing compared to what's coming.
Next Wednesday I'm having impressions done, then the following Wednesday I'll have the RPE fitted... ugh. Then only 2 days later I have surgery so everything is happening really fast. I am fairly certain that I am covered for surgery by my private health cover and Medicare so thats a good thing. The braces though are going to cost more than I thought...$6950... wow. Also, another cost which I didnt think about (or was told about) was the RPE device. This little sucker (the word I want to use rhymes with sucker) is worth $1600! They are giving me 20% off which takes it down to $1280. Better than nothing I suppose. It must be a pity discount because they realise I'm going to be going through all this pain and discomfort and paying so much money. I dont mind though, bring on the pity discounts!
I'm starting to get more and more anxious about it all. I guess I'm just trying to think of the big picture and the end result.
Just put me to sleep now and wake me up when its all pretty.

25 May 2009

Its on

So, I'm having the surgery :( The surgeon was great and explained everything really well so I feel a bit better now knowing everything. The surgery is booked for the 12th of June - less than 3 weeks away! But the sooner the better...
Here's the answers she gave me to my questions:

How much will it cost? Surgery is $2500 and the anaesthetist will be approx $500 so $3000 all up before my refund from my insurance (which I am unsure of yet). Its cheaper than I thought, but still not cheap!
How long would I be in hospital? Maximum of 1 night and I could possibly go home in the afternoon if all looks good! I wont get my hopes up though.
How long would I need off work? 2 weeks but some people go back after 1... I am going to take the 2 :)
Will incisions be made in my cheeks? No!
Will it affect the shape of my face and nose? If so how? A little, my nostrils will be flared very slightly either side - but only a tough which is fine because I have a faily narrow nose anyway, and my cheekbones may become more defined... but other than that only my smile will be affected.
Will I need a 2nd surgery? 99% sure I wont (for my small over bite)
Am I a good candidate for surgery? Very good, I dont smoke, I am fit and healthy, good oral hygiene and I'm only 24
What is the success rate of the surgery? 100% from her personal experience. Only side affect is possibly numbness around the gums.
Anything else I should know? The gap. She said think of Madonna x 2 so that isnt as bad as I thought. She even said it may not be as big as that because I will only need approx 8mm of expansion. Who knows though, a gaps a gap to me whether its 1 Madonna's or 2.

I have just contacted my ortho to organise the fitting of the torture device... that part is what I dread most. I also have a veneer I might need removed before the surgery but I'm not sure yet. Its all happening so fast - but its better than sitting around for another month or 2 waiting and getting more and more anxious. My surgeon also said I will lose between 3 and 6kg from being on the liquid diet for 2 weeks, so time to gorge!

19 May 2009

Seeing the OS this Friday

Well its time to find out whether I will go for the surgery and braces, or just the braces. This Friday I'm metting my surgeon (for the first time) and I have my list of questions for her:

How much will it cost?

How long would I be in hospital?

How long would I need off work?

Will incisions be made in my cheeks?

Will it affect the shape of my face and nose? If so how?

Will I need a 2nd surgery?

Am I a good candidate for surgery?

What is the success rate of the surgery?

Anything else I should know?

Then a few questions about my private health fund (and I'm hoping the answers to those ones are positive!)

I had sort of forgotten about the possibiltiy of surgery because its been so long since I saw my ortho - now I'm facing it again! Its scary but when I think about the end result I get excited and try and remember that in 2 years if I didnt get it done, they could have been on and off by now (if that makes sense?!) Let's see what the OS has to say before I start visualising myself with a huge gap, drool on my chin, and playing the banjo.

23 April 2009


Welcome to my crazy blog. I say crazy because I am in the process of getting braces and having upper jaw surgery which is VOLUNTARY. Here's a little background on me and my stoopid head.
My teeth are pretty straight. Very minor crowding in the bottom and even less in the top (except for one tooth which I had hidden with a veneer when I was 18). The problem is that my upper palate is very narrow and I have a bit of an overbite. When I smile I have 4 great teeth in the front then I have this empty space and it looks like I have no more teeth back there! So I have known this for ages but talked myself into believing that braces and an expander could fix it... well I was wrong. I need upper jaw surgery along with braces to fix this thing, which I wasn't too happy to hear. So, I am scheduled to meet with a surgeon and discuss the surgery and if I am willing to go through with it... stay tuned.
P.s. I have read through some great blogs which have really helped with my understanding of surgery and braces so thanks all!