Saturday, 1 January 2011

The end of the line....

What a week, what a week! Since the Great Unveiling i've been flashing my fantastic new smile at every opportunity, enjoying the sensation of normal teeth on food and staring at my reflection in astonishment every moment I can - it's only just sinking in that they're finally off!

So what's it's like I hear you ask? Well, as many other bloggers have already noted, the slimy plasticky feeling of real teeth takes some getting used to after so long in metal, and i've developed quite a habit of running my lips over them just to experience the weird sensation again and again (which gets a few odd stares when I absentmindedly start doing it on the tube. Better stop doing that pronto!) Eating, as expected, is a joy now that food no longer gets stuck in awkward places, and cleaning is now a matter of moments with no fiddly floss threading to detain me.

I have a fixed retainer on the botton 6 fronts which is no more than a thin sliver of metal. The upper arch still has some gaps which will close slowly over the next few months with my nightly retainer, before another fixed wire is attached there too. The retainer itself is nothing more than a thin plastic mould of my teeth - I had been expecting some sort of weird metal contraption (have obviously watched too many 1980s movies!). The retainer itself is pretty comfortable, and despite only having to wear it at night I often slip it in after cleaning in the morning and carry on with it until lunch - I'm not risking any tooth movement after all i've been through :)

So the long journey is finally over, and sitting here reflecting on all that's happened it's hard not to think back to those long months agonising over the decision of whether I should go through with it or not, not knowing how i'd cope with a brace, worrying about all that could go wrong with the surgery. It really was a momentous decision and it's great to have finally discovered that the choice I made was the right one, words cannot describe how delighted and happy I am with the outcome :)

I must say, this blogging lark has been a lifesaver many times over during over the many months as a place to vent, moan, laugh and connect with many fabulous people going through the same thing when no-one in my circle of family and friends really understood what I was going through. To all of you otho-adventurers who have been such support - THANK YOU!

So on that note, it's high time I cleared the stage! Will be leaving this blog in situ in the hope it might help others who are thinking of embarking on the same journey know what may be in store for them. But as I stood on the banks of the Thames last night toasting in the new year I felt the fireworks were my own personal celebration for a good job well done. Cheers!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It's off!


Its gone, kaput, finished, over, done, through. I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee:)

It's been off for 24 hours and i'm drifting around in a daze. A two year, one month, three day journey is over......

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Down to the wire!

The brace is due to come off in about 36 hours, but the drama continues to the end!

Last Tuesday, and with a week to go to debrace day, I attended my latest adjustment and pointed out the substantial gap on my top left which had not moved a milimeter, despite reassurances in my previous appointment that it would be gone in plenty of time

Dr H got to work lacing on wires and attaching powerchains, shaving down the canine tooth as he suspected the gap was being held open by the lower teeth. He then announced that the gap 'might' be gone in time. Might? Might?? I pointed out this pesky gap two weeks ago so i'm a bit miffed that they havn't done more about it by now.

So, with 36 hours to go how is it looking?

It's definitely narrowed, but as you can see, it's still there, what a frigging embuggerance!

TBH, its not all hugely noticable from afar, but after more than two years of dental work and lots of £££££ i'd expect my nashers to be pretty much perfect by now.

So on Tuesday the bottom brace will definitely be coming off, but short of some miraculous gap-closing divine intervention it looks like i'm stuck with the grill for christmas dinner number three. A. had a restaurant booked for our celebration of the end of the process but i've told him to cancel it - should have known that this journey would have one final trick up its sleeve :(

Saturday, 4 December 2010

T(eeth) minus 17!

That's how many days are left until debrace day, and I am dizzy with anticipation! I've completely forgotten what I look like without the wires and so cannot wait - Dec 21st cannot come soon enough!

But back to business for the moment, I promised to give a 7 month physical check-in so here it is: Swelling progress is hard to say, I'm not sure if the slighly raised area to the sides of my nose are final residual swelling or just my face shape. Dr T did say my 'final' face would be there in the spring so still a few months to go, i'm therefore assuming it is. Also after long gym sessions or hot baths my face does seem a little puffier...

Numbness: there are still numb areas, though numb as in reduced sensation rather than the totally dead block-of-wood type numbness I had for the first few months after surgery. It's most noticeable in the section of gum above my front teeth. When I run a toothbrush over that spot I definitely feel something, but not actual bristle sensation. The rest of my palete sensation seems mostly there, albeit in a not-quite-right way, but don't be alarmed all you would-be surgery patients, it's not something I ever notice unless I pay it particular attention. The numb spot on my chin is also there, but so much reduced it only feels slightly different to the completely normal side-I no longer get tingles in my lip when I run my finger over it (which is a shame as that was quite nice!)

Eating: no problems whatsoever. When crunching a particularly hard morsel I occasionally get a few twinges on one side, but they tend to vanish just as quickly. The occasional click also occurs, but again it's gone before I have a chance to worry about it.

The most unexpected thing i've encountered is when I look at old photos of myself. Before surgery I was worried that I wouldn't recognise myself in the mirror, or that i'd be troubled by how different I look. The reality has been that I recognise myself competely, to the point that I sometimes find it hard to detect much difference, believe it or not. However when I then look at pre-op photographs of myself i'm shocked, my underbite looks SOOOO much worse than I ever remember it looking that I can't help thinking 'that really can't have been me!', so it's the old image I do not recognise rather than the new one...

Anyway, that's recovery at 7 months. My next appointment is on the 9th when I have a new gap on the left hand side to point out to the team, hope they don't use it as an excuse to postpone my debrace or there'll be trouble!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Debracing date set!

Alarums and excursions! Finally beaten my ortho into submission and got a rock solid non-negotiable no-going-back debracing date. It is...(drum roll)... December 21st! However this is dependent on me going for TWO adjustments between now and then (since recovering from surgery i've started forgetting the odd appointment, something that would NEVER have happened pre-surg), and if I miss one it will certainly be Christmas dinner no 3 with braces. So I will be good.

So what is there left to do? Well, very little as far as I can tell, but according to Dr H my teeth are still a fraction away from his gold standard, so some 'detailing' is being carried out. Fair enough.

During tonight's appointment the assistant was having tremendous problems opening up some of the brackets, and came out with "oh these brackets really have had enough", to which I immediately responded "yes, like me!" (or as close as you can get to that with someone's fingers in your mouth") and jabbed wildly towards my chest. She didn't laugh...

Sorry for the shortness of the post, just about to go on holiday for a fortnight after a wildly busy few weeks, but look forward to catching up with my fellow ortho-bloggers in Dec :)

Saturday, 23 October 2010


My 6 month milestone is looming :) I'll post a full physical/sensation/swelling etc rundown once the day itself arrives for any detail-hungry fiends out there, but for the moment i'll content myself with saying that i'm 99% happy with how things are going.

The remaining 1% relates not to any surgery matters but to my ortho, as it seems i'm not NOT getting my braces off next month after all! In the last few appointment he's fussed over details, moved various brackets, and generally moaned about the position of one tooth after another. This has resulted in gaps opening all over the place, and at one point I had to endure 3 weeks of a huge gaping hole between my front teeth (looks good on Lara Stone but not on me!). Now he's announced that November removal might not be possible after all, and his assistant said she'd book me appointments through January "just in case". Friggin January???

To top it all he was poking around during my last appoint and, apropos of nothing, came out with "you should really have your wisdom teeth out". Errrr...what? "They're difficult to keep clean and don't connect with anything anymore so you might like to consider removing them" (I only have 2 on the bottom). Now i'm no dentist but i'm pretty sure that if they REALLY needed to come out he should have said something about 6 months ago when I had that little procedure thingy? Havn't I had enough dental torture or something? After he'd left I moaned to his assistant about all this and the time it was taking to complete treatment, and all she had to say was "Well, Dr H is quite a perfectionist". He may be but I clearly am not. My teeth look absolutely perfect now, even if one or two at the back are a fraction of a milimetre away from the holy grail of perfect tooth alignment then I really couldn't give a monkeys. It's been two years, i've had enough - I want out!

So, my next appt is at the end of the month and I plan to spell it out loud and clear! First, i'll be saying a big fat no to wisdom teeth removal. If these pose a problem in the future maybe, but I want to go back to life outside of dental work for a while. Second, I want my brace off by Christmas, no ifs no buts. I've had enough of him umming and aahing every time I remind him of the the november finish date so no more playing silly buggers with my teeth! Any backchat and i'll threaten to stop flossing his handywork in protest - playing dirty (quite literally!) may be the only language these orthos understand :D

Saturday, 18 September 2010

The final innings

4 and a half months-the finish line is looming :)

To pick up where I left off, I finally got to my ortho's office to show off the dirty great chasms that have opened up between my teeth. This lead to much furrowing of brows, scratching of heads and general "that wasn't supposed to happen" type statements, with the final diagnosis of cause being....sometimes teeth just move. Hmmm thanks for that technical summary!

Dr H. has now lashed a chain accross my uppers and told me the gaps would be gone in a jiffy, though it's been several weeks now and they're only moving very slowly (which is all the more suprising as the gaps appeared virtually overnight!). My next appointment is on Thursday when i'm due to get my finishing wires on, and will find out if i'm still on track for a November debracing. Hope the unexpected gaps won't cause this date to be revised..

The jaw-clicking I mentioned in my previous post has turned out to be a non-issue. I got in touch with my surgeon who assured me that recovering jaws often go through clicky periods, and not to worry. Since then i've only had the odd clicking moments but other than that, all seems fine! Upper palette sensation continues to return, albeit in a mashed up type of way, and I can still see a small amount of swelling either side of my nose in the mornings and after hot showers.

So all in all the long winding road that is jaw surgery is seems to be nearing its end, hope all of you out there still with some way to go are doing well, it WILL be worth it in the end!