Monday, September 17, 2007

No Hardware!

This is it! The day I've been waiting for.

My ortho debraced me today, right on schedule.

Wires cut. Brackets removed. Glue scratched off. Scrub scrub scrub. Buff buff buff. Holding my breath. Big sigh of relief - NO stains on the teeth. Phew! No need to rush to Brite Smile anytime soon. Thank goodness!

Ribs and corn on the cob for dinner, washed down with the congratulatory bottle of Martinelli's Sparkling Apple-Cranberry, compliments of my orthodontist. Isn't she nice?

It's far from over, though. For starters, I gotta wear a removable metal retainer across my upper teeth for eight months, 24/7. The bottom retainer has been built in.

I also will ask my ortho to tip in my upper teeth a little bit. Right now there's simply too much space where my upper overlaps my lower. My ortho said it's because they had to compensate for my missing tooth on the bottom (it just never came out in the first place), but they can adjust it with the retainer if I prefer closer contact.

My upper and lower gums both feel numb. But other than that, everything feels the way it should. :) Posted by Picasa

OK I'm a complainer....

I'm sitting in a chair at my ortho's office with mixed feelings. The assistant is coming back soon to make a mold of my upper for the retainer, which I'll come back for in two weeks.

Speaking of which - I had no idea the upper retainer will be sitting in FRONT of my upper teeth, which means it'll be VISIBLE. And I'll have to wear it 24/7 for eight MONTHS. Aaarrggh!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The "Mug" Shot

My friend Isabelle (she's the one that told me about the jaw surgery in the first place) calls these "mug shots". They're my "before" photos taken on November 22, 2005, when I first went in for consultation.

The braces didn't come on until February 14, 2006 - and they're coming off tomorrow! More updates then. :)
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Friday, September 14, 2007

Fun Survey

Which do you find more stressful - an ortho appointment, or a dentist appointment? Take the fun survey in the upper left corner of my blog (look to the left, at the top of the column). :)

Personally, I like my ortho better. She always tells me it's looking good, improving, and I'll be just fine.

All the dentists I've had always tell me to brush brush brush, floss floss floss, and stay off sweets (as if!). Besides, that buzzzzzzzz of their torture devices - it petrifies me to no end.

My $0.02. :)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Braces Removed

As my de-bracing date approaches, I was curious how that'd feel like - so I did a Google search on "braces removed".  Guess what turned up?  How to remove braces - in PhotoShop.  LOL.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aching Arches

I hate these rubber bands that zigzag across my whole mouth. Thank God they don't cause any severe headaches or reduce me to the state of near-tears like they did a couple weeks ago, when they first snapped on, but they're still a royal pain in the..... teeth?

I can't yawn. I can't sneeze. I can't lick my lips. And, I obviously can't talk, except through clenched teeth.

And there's this dull pain throughout both arches. Urgh.

Counting down, counting down.

I just didn't expect the end to be so difficult.

Monday, September 10, 2007

7, 6, 5....

One week till debracing!!

My ortho agreed that my molars require more rubber band magic to help eliminate the gap. She told me to wear the elastics every night until my next appointment, a week from today - then she will remove the braces.

I chowed down dinner from Whole Foods' salad bar and snapped the rubber bands back on. No late night snack for me! Sigh.

I can't believe I'm almost done! :)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I said I'd do it, didn't I?

I was serious when I said I'd start taking flying lessons. Signed up for my first lesson, and here I am, in a 4-seater Cessna, flying out of a hangar next to Oakland International Airport. My instructor let me do some turns, get a feel of the rudders, and find the right trim to stay level. It was exhilarating. Mark - my ex(roommate) and soon-to-be future roommate - took this photo from the backseat after we landed, and I'd just removed my headset (hair flying everywhere!).

There's so much to learn - aerodynamics, flight maps, all the lingo you hear on the radio - and I just can't wait to chip away at it, and eventually get my private pilot license.

The thrill comes, I think, from doing something I know I want to do, and expanding my comfort zone.

That's when I truly feel alive.
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Closing the Gap

Have an appointment with my ortho tomorrow to see if the elastics have done their magic, and that my bite is "perfect". If everything goes according to plan, then she'll remove the braces in a week, on Sept. 17th.

But I fear the elastics haven't done a perfect job. There still seems to be a slight gap between the top and bottom molars on the right side. They touch, but only barely, and when I bite down, I don't feel a solid contact surface there as I do on the left side.

She just might have to prolong the treatment until this is fixed. Grrrr. So close (to being done), yet so far away!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I'll find out in about 24 hours.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Just Do It!

I'm turning 31 in just a couple days. In a moment of self-reflection/soul-searching, I found the running to-do list I wrote on the back of a journal. Some items have been checked off, while the others stare back at me as a loud tick-tock echoes in my head.

Here's the legend:

Grey - Mission Accomplished
Green - New on the List
Underlined - To Do This Year

  1. Visit NYC (well, yes, I have, many many times)

  2. Learn to speak French somewhat fluently

  3. Get a JD (we're talking three years of my life here!)

  4. Adopt a puppy

  5. Own a house that has a swimming pool

  6. Live in New York

  7. Visit Europe (three times now, all over the map)

  8. Own a piano

  9. Watercolor paint something I like (Yep, done)

  10. Weigh 130 lbs

  11. Live in California (check)

  12. Visit Paris (check, check, check. 3 times)

  13. Visit Italy (Loved Venice!)

  14. Earn a college degree (Isn't that a given these days?)

  15. Marry a good man

  16. Get a diamond ring (I've bought my own diamond rings, thank you very much)

  17. Fly 1st class (if flying in a private jet counts, then consider it done)

  18. Make a scholarship donation to my university

  19. Become a US citizen

  20. Read the Bible once, from cover to cover

  21. Take bartender classes

  22. Take drum lessons

  23. Take flying lessons

  24. Visit Norway
Hmm. The drum and bartender lessons can wait. Shaving off 10 lbs to be 130? Nah. I feel comfortable as is. Marrying a good man? The timing isn't entirely up to me. The puppy would have to wait until I get a house with a swimming pool and buy a piano to plant in the living room. Getting a JD and moving to New York - the timing isn't right. I know, I've been saying that for at least three years now. But do I really want to spend three years in law school when it's extremely difficult to eventually make partner?

First things first. This year, starting immediately, I gotta learn to speak French, read the Bible, and take flying lessons. Chop chop!

By the way, can help you keep track of your to-do list AND find others with the same interest. I find that inspiring!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Winery Memberships?

Completely off topic.

Does anyone have a winery membership? Do you recommend it? I'm also thinking about joining a wine club online. Thumbs up? Down?

I'm not a wine connoisseur - yet. But I do enjoy reds, and I'd love to learn and expand my small collection. Any tips would be much appreciated! :)

It's all swell

At 2 and 7 months post op. Notice how the chipmunk cheeks have deflated. Before and after photos are fun, because you really get to see the difference!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

7 Months!!

The elastics finally stopped hurting about three days ago. Thanks Mylene, Bill, Graham, and Brandy, for your encouragements.

I can't believe it's September already. New Year feels like only yesterday. Where did the time go? Seep through my fingers again?

Seven months post op - I'm ready to get the braces off and move on. Part of my lower lip and right chin still feel numb, but the feelings have been returning gradually. The photo on the left was taken on the morning of my braces "installation", in February 2006. The photo on the right was how I looked today.

Now that I've been through this, I tend to notice abnormal jaw alignments a lot more than before. Saw this girl at a Napa wine tasting today, who has the exact same problem I did: long face, protruding lower jaw (not quite an underbite yet), pointy chin. We chatted for a few minutes, small talk. Looking at her reminded me of my old self, and how I was always horrified by my own profile and avoided the issue. I was just dying, DYING to tell her about the jaw surgery! But even I wasn't that bold. After all, this is quite personal, and wine tasting isn't exactly the right forum for jaw surgery advocacy. :)

But for all of you out there who're considering the option, if it's medically necessary, and your insurance covers a reasonable percentage, then why not? My $0.02.