Wednesday, 18 February 2009

No regrets

Albert Steptoe wore braces as a child...

I shall be treating myself to a few glasses of champers this weekend, as today is the 3 month anniversary of my top brace fitting! I'm thrilled that i've reached this point with NO RE
GRETS about the whole thing, and if anything I'm now even more confident in my decision to go ahead with surgery and braces.

In many ways i'm also enjoying the insights that new experience is offering, as well as learning a few things about myself in the process. Chief amongst these is the reaction from others that an individual must have a lot of self confidence to wear a brace as an adult, even though a quick scan of any orthdontic blogs will tell you that this is usually not the case. It's good to know that none of us should have any fears about flashing the hardware in public, seems it can actually be good for your image :)

I also can't help noticing how much dental crime is going on out there. We brits do seem to have a reputation overseas of bad dental habits, but whilst I doubt that the american style of teeth will ever catch on over here, I have to admit that there is some serious neglect going on. Fortunately things do seem to be changing - as reactions to my own brace are testament - but I have been astonished by the number of these wonky-toothed individuals telling me that THEY wore a brace in their youth! Huh? Twice I felt compelled to know more, and asked as diplomatically as possible whether they were now in retainers. The answers I got both times were along the lines of 'I was given some, but..erm...forgot to wear them... then, er, lost them somewhere..and, y'know..' etc. What's the point in putting in all that time and effort when you're young only to end up with teeth like Albert Steptoe?! Makes me think that children should only be braced when they're older, when they'll appreciate it more and take care of the work that's been put into them. Paying for treatment yourself also makes a huge difference, as there's no way i'll be neglecting my lovely new gnashers once this is all over!

Speaking of gnashers it's about time I put down a few words on my own progress. Dr H. originally told me that both top and bottoms needed to be pulled upright first of all, and this indeed seems to be happening, as there is a subtle difference in the way my teeth look regarding their shape and prominance. This is great news for my deficient upper jaw, as the teeth now stand further forward and fill my mouth more, distracting attention somewhat from the fullness of my lower jaw. However what goes for the top also goes for the bottom, and my underbite has worsened - as Dr H said it would. Before my lower front teeth sat directly underneath the upper teeth (which wasn't a problem as they never met) but now there is definitely a widening gap between where the uppers end and lowers begin. I'm not too bothered by this though, as I was warned it would happen, however my trick of pulling back my lower jaw and lip when I smile is no longer doing its job of disguising my underbite so well. But like every underbiter in the world no doubt, I have a whole arsenal of tricks to disguise my underbite and turn my big square chin into a tiny delicate one, and i'll be relying on these more and more in the coming months.

So it's 12 days and counting until adjustment number 2. My ambition now is to get my gallery going and chart my dental progress accross the months, with my teeth moving already there's no time to loose. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The end of the beginning

Well i'm back from my snowboarding holiday in one piece, and so is my brace! It's more resilient than I expected, surviving a face-first dive into the piste that left my head spinning. But it did find other ways of tormenting me during my holiday - this new wire on the bottom has transformed previously harmless brackets into rubbing demons! Not as bad as the previous time, but thanks to some Gatwick airport bod confiscating my ulcer-busting clorhexidine mouthwash on the way out I didn't have anything to soothe them with. I also have a brand new pokey wire, and was seriously considering resorting to the DIY dentistry I was so opposed to in my last post, but have so far managed to resist, i'm going to make do with wax.

I've also got some great news regarding my mum - she actually asked after my brace!!! Back when I was first told her I was going through with surgery she got so upset that I havn't dared bring it up again, and ever since then it's been treated like some shameful family secret, not to be mentioned or spoken about. But the other day whilst chatting on the phone she comes out with " how are things going..with the brace?". I was stunned into silence for a few moments before stammering "fine, fine!". Then a little while later she was talking about her holiday plans for the end of the year and said "i'll make sure I don't book anything until we know your operation date". Wow! Is she finally coming round to the idea? I hope so! I'm not going to say anything further until she brings it up again, and i'm sure she's still prefer that i'd caught leprosy than chosen surgery. But at least it's a step in the right direction!

So the next big date on the calendar is 2nd March for my second adjustment. I guess i'm through the 'first phase' of this process now that all the initial fittings and first adjustment nerves are out of the way, I suppose adjustments will become more routine with less excitement all round. But i'll still be biting my lip at each appointment, resisting the urge to ask about my surgery date - 6 months sounds a respectable amount of time to wait before I can bring it up so i've got until June. But each time i'm in the chair between now and then making small talk about the weather all i'll be thinking is "How's my progress? Am I moving quicker than you expected? HOW LONG DO I HAVE LEFT?"