and so it continues...UPDATED 10/31/07 - SOOO close to done!

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gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

and so it continues...UPDATED 10/31/07 - SOOO close to done!

#1 Post by gunter8888 »

Somehow I thought such a momentous event in my life would begin with more fanfare. Instead, I calmly sat down in the chair as the Dr brought out my shiney, new palate expander. He showed it to me briefly then had me "open wide" as he clicked it into place. He asked me to bite down and open a couple times then he removed it. He brought out the "key" and showed me the two screws I will have to turn every 3 days. Then he turned the one that runs down the middle of my palate and had me "open wide" yet again. Again he clicked it into place. This time the fit was very snug and I knew I was in for an interesting ride.

He explained that we would not begin turning the other screw, which will push my front teeth forward, until my next visit in 4 weeks. Then explained that I should keep it in at all time except to brush & floss. He said they recomend eating with it in, but that he knows that is a "tall order" and not to fret about it. He answered a couple of questions, handed me the case for my new friend and a pamphlet and I was on my way. The whole event was less than 15 minutes.

Fast forward 18 hours and 4 Ibuprofens. Within 30 minutes of arriving home I was pretty sure my skull was being split in two from the inside. A little encouragement from my wife and an Ibuprofen and the pain settled to a mild throb. Between the discomfort caused by my new friend and a rough night with our 2-week old son I didn't get much sleep last night. Now I am at work, before most of my coworkers, wondering what kinds of reactions I will get and how well I will be able to talk on the phone (about 50% of my job). And while the pain is no longer skull-splitting, it is rather uncomfortable.

After years of researching and wanting this it has finally happened. Frankly I am thrilled that my journey has finally begun - pain and all. It will SO be worth it.

BTW - I am a married father of 3 (7, 5 & 2 weeks) who will be 34 next week.
Last edited by gunter8888 on Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:21 pm, edited 14 times in total.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#2 Post by gunter8888 »

I thought I would throw in a little update now that I have had my expander for almost a week.

The first two days were really tough. Even though ibuprofen kept the pain to a low roar, the feeling of the metal and plastic in my mouth was a major distraction and the pain was still an issue.

For the first time since leaving the ortho's office I turned the key on Saturday morning. The first couple hours were somewhat painful, but that evening it wasn't bad at all. Right now (Monday afternoon) its not bad at all.

Learning to speak clearly continues to be challenging. I am normally a fairly rapid speaker, but I am learning to slow down and ennunciate my words better.

The reactions from coworkers, friends and family have been interesting. Those really close to me weren't shy about asking about my new hardware and all were very positive. My coworkers have been most interesting. Most seem to notice fairly quickly, but the vast majority are either too shy or too polite to say anything. In a couple of instances I have mentioned it to them. In those cases all have been totally posititve. I have been amazed at how many have said, "I would really like to do that, myself."

So far so good!
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#3 Post by gunter8888 »

Update: First Check Up

My first expander check up was pretty anticlimactic. As expected, the ortho told me to begin turning the other screw in my expander. This one pushes forward and I am to turn it every 3 days. Because I am eager to see progress (read: impatient) I asked if we could step up the frequency of turning the first screw (pushes sideways). He said I could increase from every 3 days to every-other day.

I wanted to ask about beginning work on my lower arch because to me, they seem worse than the tops. But, he and I got chatting about our kids and what we did for Labor Day Weekend and I completely forgot to ask. I have got to start making a list of questions for each visit!

BTW - thanks to everyone who responded to my "butterflies" viewtopic.php?t=13390 post. Nice to know I am not the only one who gets a little worked up for appointments.

Random thought: If all goes according to plan, I should graduate from the expander to braces in December or January. Even though I am really eager to get into braces I think I would prefer to start them in January so I can enjoy the Christmas goodies one last time. Am I terrible or what?
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#4 Post by gunter8888 »

I am so not good at keeping this thing up-to-date!

As my signature says, I had my bottom braces applied on 11/30/2006. The process was so quick and simple. I actually marvelled at the efficiency and precision of my ortho and his assistant. It was a pretty thin wire (.014, I think) and there wasn't much pain. My lips took 3-4 days to adjust to the hardware, but wax was a major help there.

Fast forward to last Wednesday evening when I decided to take a second stab at returning to playing basketball after about 3 years away (due mostly to knee surgery). My first attempt was about 3 weeks ago and it resulted in a sprained ankle (seeing a trend, yet?). Well, I was having a great night, having a good time and playing fairly well for being so rusty. Then I looked away for a second and took a pass right in the mouth. I'll spare you the bloody details, but suffice it to say that I won't be playing again without a mouthguard! I have also gone through a lot of wax in the past 6 days.

The following day I had my first adjustment. I mentioned the injury and the doc merely said, "I'll bet that hurt." I had planned to ask about mouthguards and any tips to help it heal quicker, but he seemed rushed. He quickly checked over my teeth and bite and told the assistant to replace the wire and ligs. The new wire appears to be bigger and is definitely exerting more force than the last one. I had hoped to get my upper braces, but the doc wants to make sure my expansion "settles" properly. So, I will be fully braced on Feb. 1st. Something to look forward to, I suppose.

I have been taking pics monthly, but I need to take the time to post a few. The results from my expansion have been pretty impressive; or at least I think so.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

Sumendoza
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:36 pm
Location: Pensacola, FL
Contact:

#5 Post by Sumendoza »

Sounds like you are having great progress!!

Sorry about the knee and the mouth... i'm sure that wasn't fun at all! Well, try to keep your story up to date I would love to see some pictures! :D

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#6 Post by gunter8888 »

A quick update -

I went in yesterday afternoon to have my upper braces applied. The good news? I am done with the expander - woohoo!!! The bad news? I am so sore! I am sure it will subside in a day or two, but right now I am staying close to the bottle of ibuprofen. Overall, I am happy to finally be fully braced.

The expander did its job very well, but it was a hassle and speaking with it was always a challenge. It was nice to have a removable expander for brushing and eating, but the downside to having a removable expander is that you can take it out. It was always a temptation to take it out or leave it out when I shouldn't.

I can't wait to see movement and progress. I keep telling myself that the pain I feel will translate to progress. My wife says I look younger and yes, a little geeky - in a cute way. Not sure what that means, but it was followed with a kiss so it can't be bad.

On a fun note, I asked my ortho if he and his assistant would take some pics during the application process. He called in another assistant and had her take 7-8 pics during the process. They turned out really great. Someday soon I will take the time to create my braces blog and post them.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

chicklets
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:44 am
Location: Maryland, USA

#7 Post by chicklets »

Congratulations, Gunter!!! I'm so envious!!!!! I went to my ortho appt today hoping for my bottoms to be braced. No such luck. The ortho says the expander has done it's magic and to rest for 2 months, with it still in my mouth of course -- argh!!!!! I go back at the end of March and get fully braced. I'll be counting the days. :roll:

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#8 Post by gunter8888 »

Thanks Chicklets! I love your posts. Even through disapointment you are still very positive.

Maybe the extra time in the expander will make brace day that much more special.

Just wait until its gone. I have spent the last 24 hours thinking, "I don't have my expander in! Where is it?"
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#9 Post by gunter8888 »

I am long overdue for an update and since I had an adjustment yesterday I figure today is a good day for an update on my braces adventure.

I love going to my ortho's office. Its a lot like the old TV series "Cheers". Everyone knows my name, we all joke and tease one another and its like hanging out with friends. Okay, friends that occasionally inflict oral pain, but friends nonetheless.

I had been in .020x.020 wires with Class III elastics. Dr. W stuck with the same size wire on the bottom, but went to a .019x.026 on top. The elastics stayed the same. I went with grey ligs on top and dark blue on bottom. He says we are making progress on the Class III, but that he is considering an "appliance" to help the top fronts flare out a bit (they are currently tipped inward a little). If the appliance doesn't work the last resort will be to pull one tooth on the bottom.

I am not totally opposed to pulling a tooth. Do I want to bid farewell to a good tooth? No thank you. But, if that's what it takes I am cool with it. The "appliance" is what has my brain churning this morning. I was stuck on the tooth pulling and failed to ask what kind of "appliance" he was talking about. I was not fond of my removable expander and my imagination is running wild on what the "appliance" might be. I know, I know... call the doc!

My next appointment is in 4 weeks. I usually go 6 weeks between adjustments. I wonder if the shorter time has anything to do with the "appliance"?

Anyway, my teeth are straightening out nicely. The tops are nearly perfectly level and outside of the tipping are looking very straight. The bottoms, which were by far the worst, are slowly straightening and even my one "snaggle tooth" (turned almost 45 degrees) is coming along. Despite the looming appliance mystery I am very pleased with my progress.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#10 Post by gunter8888 »

So, after 4 weeks of fretting over appliances, interproximal reduction and extractions none of them came to fruition. I noticed about a week ago that my bottom-front teeth were actually making contact with the top-fronts. I got very excited. This means my Class III is finally correcting. My excitement was validated yesterday when the ortho took a look and smiled at the progress.

He switched me from a rectangular, NiTi wire to a round stainless steel wire on top and went to a slightly larger (.019 x .025) NiTi wire on bottom. No change to my elastics which seem to be doing thier job nicely.

Speaking of wearing elastics, as the assistant was placing the new ligs she asked, "Do you wear your elastics all the time?" and I said, "Yup, I take them out to brush and for most meals, but otherwise they are ALWAYS in." Her response was, "We can tell. Good job." It made me feel good. Moral of the story? Wear your elastics, kiddies!

I had been getting kind of bored with my braces. I haven't taken any progress pictures in heaven knows how long. The progress just seemed rather slow and almost unnoticeable. But, now that I see my Class III getting corrected I am excited about my progress again. Next adjustment in 4 weeks.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

lilc290
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 6:37 pm
Location: Alton,IL
Contact:

#11 Post by lilc290 »

congrats! looking forward to that moment with my class III as well!

:D

chicklets
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:44 am
Location: Maryland, USA

#12 Post by chicklets »

Hi Gunter.
I've been MIA for quite a while, but I just wanted to say congratulations on your progress. Since you and I started out about the same time and with the same annoying palate expander, it's nice to keep up with your progress. Have any progress pics yet?
Palate expander: 10/10/2006 through 03/27/2007
Spacers and brackets: 03/27/2007
Archwire: 04/05/2007
First adjustment: 06/05/2007

Image

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#13 Post by gunter8888 »

Chicklets! Thanks for checking in. The similarities in our cases do make it fun to compare. How is your progress going?

I was taking progress pix monthly for the first few months, but I confess that I have become a serious slacker. I still have all the pix on my home PC and I will take some new ones. Then I just have to post them somewhere. I had grand plans of building my own braces story/progress website, but with the warmer, nicer weather and a new home I prefer to be outdoors rather than in the basement working on the computer.

I can say that I am really seeing some great progress in my Class III lately. My bottoms used to be slightly in front of my tops. Now, most of them are in line with the tops. My bite feels strange. No doubt because things are moving and the teeth don't come together like the used to. Very exciting.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

chicklets
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 5:44 am
Location: Maryland, USA

#14 Post by chicklets »

I can relate to your grand plans. I had planned to take pics monthly too and have already missed a month. If I can manage to take them with every adjusment that will be an accomplishment.

I'm very happy with my progress. Hard to believe, but I actually find myself smiling more and bigger with my braces. I think I've become proud of myself and my decision to go through with this, and I sort of feel younger (than my almost 43 years), if that's possible.

I'm going to my 25th high school reunion (eeek!) this Saturday. My best friend from school (the only person I have really kept in touch with all this time) just got braced too, so we will definitely be haging out together. I'm sure we'll get some interesting reactions.
Palate expander: 10/10/2006 through 03/27/2007
Spacers and brackets: 03/27/2007
Archwire: 04/05/2007
First adjustment: 06/05/2007

Image

gunter8888
Posts: 315
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 12:34 pm
Location: Utah, USA

#15 Post by gunter8888 »

25th reunion? Wow! How cool will that be to go with your friend and both be in braces. Strength in numbers, eh?

Isn't it great when our friends/coworkers jump on the braces bandwagon? My wife and I have a couple that we spend a lot of time with and a few weeks ago, out of nowhere, they started talking about the husband having gone for a consultation and now looking for a second opinion. He later told me that he has been thinking about it for years, but wasn't sure about having braces as an adult until he met me. Made me feel really good.

Happy to hear you are doing so well.
Expander in 8/9/06
Lowers on 11/30/06
Uppers on / Expander gone on 1/31/2007
Class III elastics added 3/14/2007
Expander #2 - 6/27/2007
20-24 months w/ fixed metal braces

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