Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Look Ma, No Braces!

Hey, remember that time I got braces? Well, fast forward sixteen months, and now I have straight teeth!

Teeth With No BracesIt’s true. I got my braces off on Monday, two months earlier than the original estimate of 18 months. And Monday night I flossed my teeth and it didn’t take me 15 minutes! Hell, it didn’t even take me 5 minutes!

I never did get quick at flossing my teeth with braces. You have to tie the floss to a threading device and then thread the floss through the braces wire for each individual tooth. And it took FOREVER! But now, with no braces – flossing is a breeze! So. Freaking. Excited!

After they took my braces off, they made impressions of my teeth, which they then used to make retainers. The retainers are just these tiny little pieces of clear plastic in the shape of my teeth that I snap on. I have to wear them 24 hours a day for 7 days, but after that, I only have to wear them at night. So far, they are actually making my teeth a little achy, but a coworker of mine who got her braces off a bit before I got mine off said that’s normal and it will go away in a few days once I get used to them. And honestly, it’s worth it to be able to smile without worrying that everyone is going to see my snaggly teeth.

Now I just need to save up to get some restorative dentistry done to cover up the discolouration, cracks, and wear on my root canaled front teeth and I’ll have the prettiest smile in town!

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Two Weeks Today…

… I’m getting my braces off!

I had an orthodontist appointment last week and after the past few visits where my ortho kept saying things like “We are *so* close!” and “We’ll be talking about getting your braces off really soon!”, she finally said, “I’m done! If only we had enough time, I’d say let’s take them off today!” This, my friends, was music to my ears!

braces

As (bad) luck would have it, the ortho office is closed this week and I’m in Ontario all next week, so the next available appointment was Monday, March 12, first thing in the a.m. and at that appointment, they’ll take these train tracks off my teeth and take some molds to make some retainers.

braces 2

Then I go back the next day after work to install the retainers and then I’m good to go!

I’m planning to get some restorative dentistry done to pretty up my teeth – especially the three at the front that were root canaled a million years ago and are now a bit discoloured and cracked. I mean, I’ve already done all this work to straighten them, I may as well go all the way. That, however, will have to wait a bit as I need to save up the cash. I’d originally thought that I’d have the braces on until July, which meant I would have had more time for saving and that, combined with some unexpected expenses1 means that I don’t have the cash on hand for fancy pants teeth right at the moment. But for now, I’ll just be happy to smile without a mouth of of metal and floss my teeth in less than half an hour!

  1. i.e., school-related costs like textbooks that aren’t covered by my scholarship, unexpected trip to Ontario for my Dad’s surgery, and something else that I’ll tell you about in an upcoming blog posting []

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The End Is Nigh!

Tooth

I had an orthodontist appointment yesterday and it was good news and bad news. The bad news is I have to wear the stupid elastics again. But that pales in comparison to the good news: my orthodontist started talking about how we can soon start talking about “taking the braces off.” Squee!!  I mean, it’s not like I’ll be getting them off tomorrow or anything – I have to wear the stupid elastics until my next appointment, which is 7 weeks from now – but my orthodontist said that her work is nearly done and so has sent a request to my dentist for her to see me to discuss my post-braces treatment plan. I need to get some restorative dentistry done once the braces come off because my three root canalled teeth, which are discoloured and cracked, need to be prettified. So my ortho wants my dentist to check out what my teeth look like now so that she can tell the ortho if she wants any last little tweaks done with the braces to facilitate the restorative dentistry. So, sometime in the next 7 weeks I’ll be chatting with my dentist about what “restorative dentistry” will entail and how many of my limbs I’ll need to sell to be able to afford it.

Good times.

Image Credit: Posted by Luke Siemens on Flickr.

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One Less Thing In My Mouth

Unlike my last visit to the orthodontist, my visit yesterday actually resulted in fewer things in my mouth instead of more1. Specifically, I now only need to wear an elastic on the left side of my mouth, not the right.

Day 345

Notice how delightfully devoid of elastic the right side of my mouth is.

This is, in fact, what the orthodontist told me would happen when I first started wearing the elastics – she said that the left side needed more work than the right, and lo and behold, she was right. Apparently my right side is now all lined up perfectly, but my left side still has a little ways to go. After that, apparently, it’s apparently smooth sailing!

Also, she did an x-ray of my teeth, just to see how my root canalled teeth were holding up. She said that there was a bit of root shortening, but that’s to be expected when you’ve had dead teeth in your face for 25 years and that they actually looked pretty good, considering.

So, yeah. Go me!

  1. So, I realize that my title is grammatically incorrect, as I should be saying “fewer” rather than “less.” But “One Fewer Things In My Mouth” sounded awkward and weird, so I’m going with the incorrect title! []

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They Just Keep Putting More Things In My Mouth!

Had yet another orthodontist appointment this past week. The last time I had an appointment, they added elastics to my ortho repetorie. This time, in addition to having me continue to wear elastics, they have added “chains.” When the orthodontist’s assistant1 said, “We’re going to put chains on this time,” I had visions of my teeth being required to drive up a snowy mountain. “Um, what are chains?” I asked. A chain, as it turns out, is a little chain of elastic-y material that they loop over the brackets of your braces to add yet more tension to move you teeth. I was given the option of clear or silver, but was warned that the clear one stains to a yellow colour really easily and since I will have these chains on at least until my next appointment two months from now, I opted for silver.

You can see my chains in this photo:

Day 297

You can also see the new gap in between my bottom two centre teeth2. As the braces have moved my teeth that were all cramped into together, we could now see that some of my teeth were sort of triangle-shaped, so my orthodontist shaved off a bit of the sides of a couple of my teeth to make them have parallel sides. Now the braces will be able to move those teeth so that they can be aligned properly side-by-side.

My ortho also mentioned that my front teeth were pretty worn down and I reminded her that they were the ones that had been root canaled when I was a kid and then she got this concerned look on her face, wiggled them a bit, mumbled “hmm, they *are* a bit mobile” and asked the assistant to take an X-ray of them next time. Got me a bit worried, but I’m hoping the fact that she didn’t ask for an immediate X-ray is a good sign?

  1. What is the correct name for that person? She’s the one who installs the braces and replaces wires and basically does 99% of the work when I go to the orthodontist, but I don’t actually know what her proper job title is. []
  2. The gap below my tooth on the upper right side of the photo isn’t new. That’s just part of the worn-downness of my root canaled tooth. It will have to be fixed with restorative dentistry once this whole braces thing is done. []

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Is My Face Shape Changing?

Last night I went out for dinner with a couple of girlfriends that I haven’t seen in ages. When I first got to the pub, my friend Svetlana was there and one of the first things she said was, “I think your braces are changing the shape of your face.” And then when Ziba showed up, she said the same thing! And they weren’t the first people to say this to me – I went for dinner with my friend Bryn a few weeks ago and she made a similar comment. Interestingly, these are all people who haven’t seen me since before I got my braces on. People that I see on a regular basis haven’t really mentioned anything about it1.

Since I’ve been taking a photo a day for the past 259 days and counting, I decided to search through my photos to see if I could find a before braces shot and an after braces shot that show my jawline from the same angle to see if it looks like my face shape is changing. So here’s a photo from before I got my braces on (on the left, taken in July) and after my braces were installed (on the right, taken in February):

Day 16Day 239

It’s subtle, but I think I can see a difference. What do you think?

  1. presumably because the change happens somewhat slowly and thus is less noticeable if you see me regularly []

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Braces Update

So I went in on Wednesday to get my braces adjusted. Specifically, they took out the existing wire and put in a thicker one. As well, this thicker wire was longer so that the brackets on my lower back molars could be including in the tooth moving fun, as they were not attached to the rest for the first few weeks.

I was glad that I had this appointment scheduled, as over the Christmas holidays I managed to dislodge my lower wire on one side and to knock a doohickey1 loose. By flossing. Oh yeah, not by doing all the things I’m not supposed to do, like eating caramel corn2 or nuts or breads with hard crusts. No, it was when I was trying to be good and floss my teeth around these godforsaken braces that I managed to do all the damage. But whatevs, it’s all fixed now.

Now, when I first got my braces on, I was told that my teeth/jaw would ache for a couple of days at first, but they totally didn’t. I had a few achy moments over the weeks, but nothing all that bad. This time, however, it was achy city long time. My teeth ached as the new wire was installed and continued to ache for all of Wednesday, Thursday, and today. I have followed the advice of my hockey linemate – self-medicating the pain away with wine – and that seems to work like a charm!

But all this achy-ness is total worth it, because I can already see that my teeth are moving! In fact, the tooth that I most hated3 because it was pushed way far back is almost totally in line with my other teeth. Seriously. I had no idea that I’d be able to see results like that so quickly! Now, I realize that this doesn’t mean I get to get my braces off tomorrow or anything – the bone formation to keep the teeth in their new place without braces will take some time. But just think how awesome my smile will be at the end of all this!

  1. I’m relatively certain that that is the technical term for it []
  2. my brother-in-law’s mom makes the most delicious caramel corn in the world! []
  3. the one just to the left of my front left tooth []

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Yeah, I’m Still Talking About My Braces

So I ask for suggestions of what to blog about and this is what you readers come up with:

skribit idea

Dirty, dirty! Well, first of all, we’ve already established that I’m not supposed to chew on bones, nuts (and pencils). The instructions don’t, however, prohibit sucking on things. I’m just sayin’. You know, sucking on things like popsicles, lollipops, and, you know, um, stuff. Ahem.

Oh yeah, I can’t cut hockey tape with my teeth or bite my nails anymore. Those are probably good things though.

And speaking of braces, do you know how braces actually work? I realized the other day that I didn’t actually know. I mean, I knew that the braces put pressure on your teeth to move them, but when I thought about I thought, “how does that work, exactly?” So I consulted Dr. Google, DDS and it turns out that as the braces put pressure on your teeth, they press on bone into which the teeth are implanted and the prolonged pressure causes the bone to resorb. So then your teeth are loose – freaky! But then bone formation occurs on the opposite side to where the resorption occurred to tighten your tooth socket back up1. And then you have straight teeth. w00t!

  1. as a former bone scientist, I feel like I really should have known all of this []

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More About Braces

So I got a bunch of instructions of stuff I must and must not do now that I have braces. I must brush with funny looking toothbrushes after I eat. I must floss and oh dear FSM, I used to think flossing sucked before braces, but flossing with braces involves threading the floss through the wire for each individual tooth! It took me about 27 hours to floss my teeth last night. Gah!

I also have to wear a mouthguard when I play hockey, because really the last thing I need is to get hit and end up with a piece of metal through my lip. I wore said mouthguard during my hockey game last night and discovered that I can’t (a) talk or (b) drink water with it in1. And those are two important things that you need to do during hockey! The instructions on the package say you can cut it down smaller, so I think I’ll try that and see if it’s better next game.

And speaking of the instructions on the package, am I the only one that thinks this is weird?

mouthguard

Wash the mouthguard with warm water and then rinse it? Because I have to rinse the water off? Wha????

The other written instruction that I got that I found amusing was in this list of things I’m not allowed to eat:

foods not to eat

So I’m not allowed to chew on bone or nuts? That’s not going to do much for my dating life, now is it?

  1. I can, however, score amazing goals from on one knee (with an assist from my lovely, talented, and amazing over 45 year old linemate – who didn’t get credited with said assist… which is highway robbery!) while wearing said mouthguard, so that’s something []

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I am a cyborg again!

:-{#}

In anticipation of today’s installation of my braces, I took a (very rare) photo of my fugly, fugly teeth.  I figured I’d want a “before” photo of how awful they are now to remind myself what they looked like when they are all pretty at the end of this.

Day 134

Notice how the canine tooth on the right side of the photo is way too high.  The one next to it, though you can’t really tell from this photo, is way too far back.  As well, my two front teeth are cracked – they are ones that were root canalled when I was a kid, so they are dead and cracked and ugly.  After the braces – assuming they don’t fall out – I’ll get some restorative dentistry done to make them pretty. If they do fall out, then it’s implants, making me even more cyborg-ish than I already am!

Anyway, I got said braces installed this morning and here’s what they look like:

Day 135

Let the teasing commence!