Wednesday, November 08, 2006

8:00 AM Conversation with Blue Shield

Luckily, the representative that I talked to on the phone seemed knowledgeable. 
Even more luckily, Stanford Hospital is in network, which means for my hospital stay my co-pay is only 10%, and there's no daily maximum.  If it were out of network, it'd be 30%, with the daily allowable amount of total charges capping out at $600.
Not so lucky?  These numbers:
Procedure                          Surgeon's Quote          Blue Shield's Allowable Amount (they pay 70% of these)
Maxillary Osteotomy           $16,800                       $1,636 (not even 10%!)
Mandibular Osteotomy         $16,800                      $1,784
Blue Shield says I'm responsible for the difference, because my surgeon is out of network.  Whoa.
Why don't they just go by their initials - BS.


Oh no.  Received a letter from my surgeon's office that said my insurance would only cover 15% to 30% of what's considered usual and customary charges.  Considering my doctor is out of network, that would be a HEFTY bill.  I have to call Blue Shield tomorrow to see if my copay maximum applies in this case.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Plak Smacker

A friend of mine (who had braces last year) gave me some disposable toothbrushes yesterday. They're pre-pasted and individually wrapped, so I can just stuff it in my purse and viola, I'm ready to go. No more hauling around a heavy battery-operated toothbrush and a whole tube of toothpaste. What a great idea! Thanks Cindy!

Just bought a whole pack of them at


Spoke with my surgeon's office this morning. They've just sent the paperwork for pre-authorization to my insurance company yesterday. So it'll take another three to four weeks to find out whether or not the surgery will be covered. I checked my benefits online last night, and on the website it said - " You are covered for orthognathic surgery (surgery to reposition the upper and/or lower jaw) when it is medically necessary to correct skeletal deformity. Certain services, such as implants and orthodontia are not covered. " Sounds hopeful!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Fingers Crossed!

Had an x-ray at my surgeon's office about a month ago, in preparation for the surgery. Today I received a letter from my insurance company, Blue Shield of California, declining payment for the x-ray, citing that it is "specifically excluded" from my coverage. Uh oh. Does this mean they'll refuse to cover my jaw surgery as well??

Calling my surgeon's office first thing in the morning to find out if they have received pre-authorization. I know they've been working on it this month.

Wish me good luck!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Surgery Date!

At my last ortho appointment, they said I could call my surgeon and schedule a surgery date.  Yay!  It's been set for January 9th (so I can still enjoy the holidays). 

Thursday, June 15, 2006


At my last appointment about 10 days ago, my ortho told me that instead of wearing braces for another year post surgery, I might be able to get away with only 6 months. Coolio!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Three Month Mark!

.... In a blink of an eye. : )

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


So yesterday I went in for new wires and also for brackets on my molars.  Let's just say I fell asleep AND woke up with pain.  It HURTS!!  I can tell my teeth are moving because the gaps between the upper and lower look different now.  But other than that, it's been pretty subtle.

Saturday, April 01, 2006


I haven't posted anything in a month because it's been uneventful. Thank goodness for that! :) Occasionally a tooth or two would hurt, for a day, or two, or three. But nothing major. I've gotten used to the braces by now, and I no longer feel horribly self-conscious about them. Hey I've gotta live with them for two years, so I might as well get comfortable!

My bite has become a little crooked, though. They're aligning the bite so it'll be in optimal position immediately post-surgery. But I'll check/confirm with them at my next appointment on Monday.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

individual tooth

This one tooth really started hurting yesterday.  I guess the braces are working after all!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Bite Before the Braces

Right before I went to my orthodontist, before the braces came on. February 7, 2006. Posted by Picasa

Close Up of My Natural Bite

Typical edge-on-edge, with an open bite tendency (meaning my teeth don't touch). This was my natural alignment when I bit down. Nothing natural about it! February 7, 2006. Posted by Picasa

Initial Contact

Believe it or not, my front teeth (the upper and lower incisors) never touched even when I'd bite down. Hence the terms "edge-on-edge" and "open bite". Then yesterday, Valentine's Day 2006, I had the lower half of my braces put on in the morning, and in the afternoon - what is THIS? The incisors on the left started making contact with each other. I can FEEL them now. Success (in small steps)!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Kiss n' Tell

.... I will not. ; ) All I will say is that I got a HUGE ego booster at 330 Ritch tonight. ; ) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Headache Central

The other shoe finally dropped.  Now I have such a splitting headache it feels as though my HEAD was wearing braces... not my teeth.  ARGH!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Clam Chowder

First meal since the braces - clam chowder.  Turns out I could only mash a few chunks of potatos and drink the creamy soup.  Everything had to be left in the cup.  I realized, to my dismay, that I really couldn't apply pressure using my teeth, and therefore couldn't chew.  Bummer!  On the brighter side, teeth aren't hurting as much as they warned me they would.  Haven't taken any pain killers yet, today.

Closing Gap

10 am. No pain... just this dull tightness around my upper teeth (I don't have braces on the bottom yet). But I can't bite down without causing pain, so chewing is out of the question. Milk (and diamonds) are a girl's best friends!

By the way, my orthodontist said yesterday that the tiny gap between my two upper front teeth would be closed by this weekend. Guess again - the gap's already gone! : ) Perhaps my teeth are more mobile than average. Hmm.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Good Night, and Good Luck

No, I'm not referring to George Clooney's movie here. ; )

Day 1. And... WHAT a day! Aside from all this braces business -
  • A girlfriend of mine got a promotion, AND a raise, after only six months at her new job
  • Another girlfriend of mine got engaged!

Meanwhile, Miss Dorky Teen USA (Yours Truly) is battling braces... or rather, as George Carlin would say - battling a bite problem WITH braces. Tiny tear in my eye.... : )

Two glasses of organic whole milk (Write me if you drink whole milk and are older than 16. It seems all adults have opted for fat-free or 2%.) and a fat Motrin pill later, I'm ready to call it a day. So good night, and good luck.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop....

So, due to scheduling confusions, they only had time to put on the top braces for me. I'll go back next Tuesday for the bottom half. Bummer!

They warned me it would hurt tonight and the pain would peak tomorrow. Now it's just sore and tired from all the pressure. It's 5 now but I still haven't eaten anything... and I'm not even hungry!

In My Office

Posted by Picasa
Practicing smiling (as) naturally (as possible). The funny thing I noticed right away is that while it's perfectly OK to smile wide, as I always do, it is a little tricky to relax my lips when I'm done laughing and close my mouth. The braces ARE a bit abrasive, so instinctively I'm careful about not getting my lips scratched!

Getting used to it....

Oh my God I have braces. Posted by Picasa


Posted by Picasa
Here I proudly display equal parts of gum, teeth, and braces. : )

Ta da!

Wearing the matching t-shirt I bought two years ago. : ) Posted by Picasa

The Morning Of

Heading out to the appointment! Posted by Picasa

Visits to My Dentist

To ensure I'm completely ready for the braces, I went for my regular cleaning at my dentist's last week.  They said my gums were bleeding more than usual so they gave me the deep scaling treatment.  Well, it definitely wasn't a "treat".  They numbed me on both sides of my cheeks - but at times it STILL felt like hell.  The entire process took four hours, split into two two-hour sessions.  Yipee!  NOT.  Afterwards, I bought the Sonicare Elite 7300 electronic toothbrush.  Very happy with the results.  Now I feel ready.  Bring it on!

Don't Laugh

OK, laugh all you want.  But since this was my last day before the braces go on, I decided to eat whatever the hell I wanted.  (By the way, I should mention that I ate a TON of desserts in the past two weeks and a HUGE tablespoon of chunky peanut butter last night.)  So for lunch, I had a giant burger.  Dinner was a rib eye steak, a slice of thick, sinfully rich chocolate cake and a scoop of Creme BrulĂ©e gelato.  YUM.  Hey, the weight can come off later - I hope.  ; )

Monday, February 06, 2006

My Smile on Sunday, 02/05/2006

Hmm. This could serve as one of the "before" pictures. Posted by Picasa

Questions For Dr. Stacey Quo

This is it! I'm going in tomorrow to get my spankin' new braces on. So of course, I've been fretting over the whole ordeal.... and I have composed a list of TWENTY-FOUR questions for my orthodontist to hopefully cover all my bases.
  1. Will my upper teeth be tipped in as in slanting inward?
  2. How much would my upper teeth be OVER my lower teeth?
  3. How much "shorter" would my face be?
  4. Is there a possibility I would be ready for surgery before the full 12-months?
  5. Can we set a surgery date now?
  6. Will I need to wear rubber bands?
  7. What did you mean when you said my teeth/bite would look worse right before surgery?
  8. Will I need headgear?
  9. Will any teeth need to be removed?
  10. Will the gaps between my lower teeth disappear?
  11. Will the treatment change my facial profile in any way besides a smaller jaw?
  12. Will the braces straighten my teeth besides improving my bite? Will the two teeth on the bottom that are turned sideways get straightened as a result?
  13. How often will I need to come to your office for adjustments? Once a month?
  14. What is the total cost? How is the cost broken down? What's the payment plan?
  15. How much pain and discomfort will I be in?
  16. Before we begin, would you review my treatment plan with me?
  17. I have very sensitive gums right now. What precautions should I take? Any suggestions?
  18. How will the braces affect my speech?
  19. How frequently and when will Dr. Li get involved?
  20. Will the popping/clicking of my jaw joints go away?
  21. Is there anyway to preview my new profile?
  22. Will red wine stain my braces?
  23. Will I have extra skin hanging off my jaw??
  24. How long will I need to wear the retainer for?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Getting Ready for It....

A colleague of mine who had an open bite and fixed it through braces and jaw surgery introduced me to her orthodontist and surgeon. I've met with both of them. The verdict is that I'll need to wear braces for a year pre surgery, and nine months post.

February 7th, 2006, is when the braces will go on.

So I'll be Miss Metal Mouth at the "tender" age of 29. *Grin*