…I seemed to have lost it for the past, year… is that right?! Yes, a year since I’ve posted an entry, how crazy.
When I started this journey two years ago, the goal was to be about finished by now. I was supposed to have had my second surgery this past summer, which obviously didn’t happen! My ortho forgot to have me get a tooth pulled on the bottom to get my “mid-line” lined up so I got that done in August I believe. Since then I have been waiting for the gaps to close on the bottom from that removal, and once my mid-line (the center of your bottom teeth lined up with the center of your top teeth) good to go I will be ready for surgery. The only thing that sucks is that now my husband is deployed and I really wanted him to be here for it. It requires several trips to the hospital to prep, and a night in the hospital after the procedure, then about a week of not being able to do much, and six weeks total healing time. That all is pretty hard to do with a nearly 4-year-old. So if I’m ready before July I have a big decision to make!
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on this whole process though. It’s funny, growing up I was never really ashamed of my crooked smile, and was never made fun of (to my face at least). I was a happy kid and actually really liked to smile. That continued throughout junior high and high school. I was obvious self-aware of the situation and always had the need to overcompensate for the fact but am glad for that because it shaped who I am today. The few things that were said definitely stuck with me. My senior year I was the yearbook editor and had to collect everyone’s votes for the character traits (most popular and so forth), I remember one boy voted me best smile. I think I tore up his paper and thought, “wow, what a jerk”, I never wanted anyone to see that because that would give them the chance to say or think something hurtful to me. It was when I went to college that I became very self-conscious because no one knew me, they were going to judge my looks. Again, no one really said anything. I remember one frat party some guy asked “who brought snaggletooth?”, I pretended not to hear him and saw my friend hit him in the arm out of the corner of my eye. I just went about my business but obviously never forgot. After college and moving around in the military I would be around friends who would see someone with messed up teeth and say things about their teeth being jacked up, to me…. I was always so confused as to why they would say that around me. I would never say a word, but trust me, it was those things that made me revert to all the closed mouth smiles.
When I finally got my braces, a day I had been waiting for as long as I can remember, I was again a little self-conscious but happy at the same time. It’s actually crazy how many compliments I get on my smile. From my ortho, waiters, the gate guards…. It’s definitely made the process much more positive. It also helps that I’m not even capable of a closed mouth smile anymore.. ha… Since I am again playing the waiting game, my blog may meander a bit off topic… that is, if I don’t lose my pen again….
Well, I finally got my expander out last week! I haven’t posted in forever because nothing was really changing. A new archwire here, a new bracket there, nothing too exciting. But last week definitely was, getting that darn thing out! It hurt like heck, they had to get the strongest assistant in the office to get the bracket off the one side. It was cemented pretty good apparently, but it felt like they were ripping a tooth out. It was so cool to feel the roof of my mouth though, it felt so different! After 6 months of not feeling it, it was liberating! It’s crazy to be able to utilize it while eating now too. And I can finally say my name without sounding like an idiot, which is always a plus. Now I have brackets on every tooth and all kinds of power chains added today. Nothing hurt while getting it done, but my teeth sure do hurt this evening. It really is crazy how much teeth can move in such a short time. The little gap I had on the bottom is gone now.
Now it’s just the waiting game until the next surgery occurs. I’ll be getting both upper and lower jaws rotated… yipes! Below is the picture of me last week after the expander was out, as well as what the expander actually looks like!
I took a break from blogging for awhile because progress seemed to be going slow…BUT, the last week was eventful. I had my ortho appointment last Monday. They put new wires on both the top and bottom, and a new power chain on the top. It hurt like heck when the assistant put it on. When I got home my teeth had already moved! By the end of the night the gap was completely closed, to the point that they were starting to overlap a little! So I called the ortho’s office to see what to do since my next appointment isn’t until November, and they were going to have me come in to get it off, but I just told them I would take it off myself. It was super easy to take off. I couldn’t believe in one day they moved so much, but I’m sure that’s why it hurt so bad getting it on, since it was sooo tight!
So now the power chain is off, and my gap is back, but I would rather have a gap then have my teeth move too close together. Other than that, things are pretty much the same. The insides of my cheeks are ripped up, as usual. I’ve been able to eat more and more normally, even though it’s still awkward to chew. Below are pictures of when I first got home from the ortho, a couple hours later, and then after the power chain was off…
Right after I got home from the Ortho
Later that night…
Before taking the power chain off…
I try to only really compare the changes in my mouth on Mondays, by looking at past pictures. In the mornings I feel like things have changed, but when I look at pictures, I feel like they haven’t! I don’t know if it’s because I do see myself everyday or what, but I feel like I’m at a stand still. My next ortho appointment isn’t until the 24th of this month and I can’t wait to get a new power chain to help close this gap!
My mouth and jaw are feeling back to normal as far as movement goes. I have full range of motion and have no problems biting my teeth together. However, my upper gums still have numbness and I still don’t feel totally comfortable chewing stuff. I don’t know if it’s paranoia or what. I also still have the numbness on the floor of my nose, I can’t imagine how a nose job would feel! Not much new to report!
Closed mouth smile (Still awkward but to help see the change in my face shape)
It’s actually 6 weeks and a couple of days, but my computer has been down…. The pictures are taken on the actual 6 week mark though!
Thank goodness I can finally chew! It is extremely weird though. My gums are still numb in places and my bite is really different than it used to be, so when I try to chew on something that requires force, I can’t tell if it hurts, if things are moving, or if it’s just my mouth adjusting to everything! Quite a weird feeling. I have had pizza twice since I’ve been able to chew though, I’ve missed it so much.. lol. I’m going to dinner for a mom’s night out this Friday and am pretty excited to order something besides mashed potatoes and corn! I’m also a little relieved that I no longer have an excuse to buy ice cream… I seriously was eating it everyday! I’m pretty much completely used to everything at this point. The only weird experience is that, the floor of my nose, and up under my top lip, it’s becoming less numb, so when I scrunch my nose or squint it feels super odd.
My face is no longer swollen and I feel it’s really changed! It’s definitely a bit fuller than it used to be. My gap is getting smaller but very slowly. I’m excited to go back to the Ortho at the end of the month, as I’m assuming they will put another power chain on. This one has worked well, but I’m sure I’ll need a new one that is stronger and smaller. I’m at my husband’s computer and am feeling really uninspired, so I think I will add my pictures and head to bed!
Only one more week of eating ice cream guilt free! It will be so nice to be able to start introducing chewing to my daily meals again. I wanna eat some pizza, and salad …yumm… I had some watermelon yesterday, and some of the crunchier parts I couldn’t chew, so I know I’m not 100% yet. Almost all the numbness is gone now, except for my upper gums on my right side. My face still seems swollen, but it’s probably because every night, when I sleep, the inside of my cheeks get ripped up from my braces. I also wish I didn’t clench my teeth so much when I sleep, I always worry that I’m messing things up! I can’t believe how different my bite is. I think that doesn’t help with my talking issues. I know the RPE (expander) is the main problem, but the fact that my mouth is shaped completely different is a lot to get used to as well!
My gap is really coming together. A little bit more and it will look like a normal gap that some people just have! Very stoked about that. My face has changed so much that I am actually pretty excited for my next surgery (next summer-ish). I can tell from my top jaw and up, it has changed, yet my bottom has not. So it will be nice to get my bottom jaw and chin rotated to where it needs to be! You may also notice from the pictures, I dyed my hair. I needed a change very badly! I always flip-flop between brown and red, so red it is!
The awkward closed mouth smile
Ugh, beginning to be in a slump… It’s been a month since my surgery and things are going great. The numbness is going away besides the right side of my upper lip and my upper gums in places. My gap is closing slowly, it seemed to go quick at first now it’s sloowww.. I have the occasional headache which is no big deal and I am attempting to eat more. I have mastered french fries for the most part. It takes me forever to eat, but I can get them down. Pancakes are one of my favorite things, as well as oatmeal still, and I am able to eat watermelon pretty well, except for the real crunchy parts. I have never gotten my taste for coffee back! It’s kind of sad, I used to enjoy about three cups a day! Now I live on hot chocolate and hot tea. I can drink mochas but my normal coffee is a no go.
I bought a Waterpik and I LOVE it! I don’t know why my Ortho didn’t pressure me into buying one when I first got my braces on. I had been reading other blogs and people loved them, so I bought it. It definitely helps with the brushing and flossing process and really helps to keep my PRE (expander) clean!
On a more personal note I am kind of getting tired of having this gap, mostly just having strangers see me! I can’t really smile with my mouth closed anymore, as you can see by the picture below, it looks like I’m trying to hide a mouth full of stuff, which is true! So I have to open mouth smile and it sucks. Let’s hope my teeth start moving a little faster!! My face is still looking full, not sure if it’s still swelled or if it’s just changed shape! My hair is a hot mess too, I’ve gotten so used to brushing my bangs to the side because they were bothering me when it was numb. Now that I’m not real numb I need to get them back but my goodness they’ve grown! A bang trim is definitely in need asap! Oh the little things!
My dorky attempt at a closed mouth smile : x