Boolajoojoo; 10 months in....

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Boolajoojoo
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Boolajoojoo; 10 months in....

#1 Post by Boolajoojoo » Wed Jan 17, 2007 3:08 pm

Hello all, new here, though I've been lurking for some time and I have to say this is a very helpful community here so far, but I'm going to go ahead and make this post and officially commit to getting this done for myself..

Meet my teeth:

Image


Image

It's amazing how much worse they look to me in a photo vs. in the mirror. I get sooo sick of people saying things like "oh they're not that bad" or "you don't need braces" to me. It makes me even more self conscious, because I feel like I am being lied to by the people with the *good* teeth.

I have been contemplating braces for a good long while. I know I'm not the oldest here, but I'll probably be 25 years old by the time I do get braces. As a child my mom did not want to pay for the expense, she did not think it was important and actually told me that my teeth would straighten as I got older.... and I try to not resent the fact that she did do braces for my little brother 10 years later... he didn't wear his retainer and his teeth are almost as bad now as they were before. Maybe I'll appreciate it more by doing it for myself.

I have some crowding Issues and , an overbite, and issues with my jaw popping and locking up on me.

I went to my first consultation today.... I've decided to finally do this for myself instead of feeling bad about it forever.

The orthodontist I met seemed really nice and he seemed to know what he was talking about. I was told that my problem is "class 2 division 2" whatever that means.... I guess my molars are a bit off when they come together on top of the obvious problems that I already knew about.

I was told there are 2 options he would consider for me (and secret option number 3, which would probably involve surgery). From my understanding the first option would probably involve 2 extractions of my top bicuspids and probably mostly solve the overbite problem. Or no extractions for the second option, which would probably result in straight teeth on top but leave me with an overbite, but it would be functional.

Neither of these solutions would address the TMJ issues I am having, but he didn't seem to think it was really that big of a deal. He may have a point, it's not that terrible and I've lived with it for 10 years already... as long as I'm careful about how I use my jaw.... It would be nice if I didn't have to carry that issue with me for the rest of my life, but it depends on what the tradeoff is for having it corrected.

Anyhow, this is all pretty much what my dentist told me I could expect from someone practicing traditional orthodontia. The orthodontist my dentist recommended me to is a colleague of his, who specializes in TMJ disorders. From what I've read about him, he very very rarely wants extractions, and would probably want to get my molars to erupt more, in order to achieve a more natural position for my jaw as well as straightening my teeth. I haven't seen him yet though. I actually called back in November, and my consultation is not until the middle of February. I have expectations that this guy might be out of my price range.... but my regular dentist hyped him up as being so incredibly awesome, I don't want to end up disappointed.

Anyways, I was wondering if anybody else had any thoughts.

I guess in the mean time I can try to schedule a couple more consultations, but if I don't go with the one my dentist recommended it'll probably be the first one I saw today just because the office is so close to my school.
Last edited by Boolajoojoo on Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:25 am, edited 7 times in total.

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platinum
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#2 Post by platinum » Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:19 pm

Welcome!

My situation quite same as yours, but do not have TJM problems.
My possibilities are jaw surgery (no thanks), remove 2 teeth (no thanks)
or compromise.

If TJM is your main problem, I think you should find an ortho who knows something about it.

empire11
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#3 Post by empire11 » Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:49 pm

Welcome to the board Boolajoojoo...

Thanks for making me laugh, not at your troubles but the comment about the people with the good teeth lying to you. That was totally relatable for me as everybody kept telling me the same thing. My teeth weren't all that bad either but they sure looked that way to me. I'm a relative newcomer too and wished I had joined a lot sooner. You'll find lots of great support here.

And from experience, definitely get a number of consults before you start treatment.

Good luck with everything!

Boolajoojoo
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#4 Post by Boolajoojoo » Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:30 pm

empire11 wrote:Welcome to the board Boolajoojoo...

Thanks for making me laugh, not at your troubles but the comment about the people with the good teeth lying to you. That was totally relatable for me as everybody kept telling me the same thing.
Hehe, thanks. It really does make me feel that way though, like they don't want me to be a part of their pretty teeth club or something. Probably it's just people trying to be nice, but the paranoid schizophrenic in me thinks differently. By the way, my name's Rachel, it'd be kinda weird if people kept calling me Boolajoojoo. So glad I found this board though. Just reading it has helped a lot, and I have a really good idea of what to expect now, so I can be prepared... sortof.

Good luck to you too.

Boolajoojoo
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#5 Post by Boolajoojoo » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:14 am

I'm so emotionally drained over this process. Realistically... I believe I've found the best orthodontist for my specific TMJ needs. The good news is that I have a better than 90% chance my TMJ dysfunction can be corrected without any surgery. The bad news... looks like, from all the information I was given, it's going to be a year long process to restore proper function in my joints... and without addressing the issues of actually straightening my teeth until after that is done. Itt's kind of heart-breaking for me... because I just want to hurry up and get my FUGLY teeth straight and pretty looking while I'm still young.... but going this route, it'll be a waiting game to get the TMJ stuff sorted out before taking on braces... not to mention WAY EXPENSIVE, but I went ahead and made the records appointment.

I've been in tears since this afternoon (so childish of me I know) and already I've considered canceling and going with the first orthodontist I saw because we could have started immediately with the straightening process, and then coming back for help from TMJ-Super-Doc in 2 years time, when braces come off. That's probably not really rational... it would be better to go with one orthodontist from start to finish, and TMJ-doc has some great orthopedic methodology for correcting the TMJ problem. I know everyone is going to say proper function is more important, but that's just not how I'm thinking right now, I'm so frustrated! I'm just so sick of feeling self conscious about my teeth LOOK, and I'm angry that I won't get to have the teeth I want for another 3 years or more, but I do know how important function is...

Gaaah... Help!

*cry*

Ok, I don't mean to be over emotional about this. Any thoughts on my situation? What would you guys do?

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#6 Post by platinum » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:16 pm

I know everyone is going to say proper function is more important, but that's just not how I'm thinking right now, I'm so frustrated! I'm just so sick of feeling self conscious about my teeth LOOK, and I'm angry that I won't get to have the teeth I want for another 3 years or more, but I do know how important function is...
Your teeth don't look bad!!!!
I know many people who have crooked, gappy what have you teeth. Nobody pays attention to them. Some of these people actually look very nice because their teeth are different. Best example is my sister: a large gap between front teeth, mini sized second laterals plus all second molars are congenitally missing. And there are some other teeth missing also congenitally. With this mixture you would not expect that my sister was a model :). Our looks are not only based on our teeth.

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Sweet L
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#7 Post by Sweet L » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:28 pm

Hi Rachel!

I don't know if I can be any help about this.... I guess you'll have to think what's your priority.... they way your teeth look, or the way you can use your jaw...

I wish you the best! Image


:thumbsup:
Image

Image

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Sweetie
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#8 Post by Sweetie » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:07 pm

Hi

I am 29 years old and I have the same problem you have.
I have some crowding Issues and , an overbite, and issues with my jaw popping and locking up on me.
The only difference is that I have permanent locking of my jaw since age 15 approx. I can only open my mouth the size of 2 of my fingers together, and I am really skinny. :shock:

Of course it will be your decision, but since you have the choice to do the right thing, why not do it? Time goes flying and in a blink of an eye you will be able to wear your braces with a good bite.

After reading your post, I notice I am NOT doing the right time and I hope not to regret. My dentist always told me that my TMJ could not be fix with surgery, that actually the only that could help me is a night guard to relief the symptoms, so when I went to my ortho he told me due to my deep bite and my concern of my TMJ he will put some cement in my molars to open my bite for a week. He told me that maybe I should have some kind of relive on my TMJ because maybe the way my bite is, could have some type of pressure in my jaw. He also mentioned that if that cement in my back teeth does not bother me I could go ahead with braces. That week has passed and tomorrow is my braces day. The cement in my molars didn’t bother but didn’t help me either. I was expecting maybe to open my mouth more, but it didn’t happen. I guess I will have to talk to the ortho tomorrow about this.

Sorry for the long post, but maybe my story will help you decide. Good luck and I think you should do what is right.

Boolajoojoo
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#9 Post by Boolajoojoo » Fri Feb 16, 2007 6:54 pm

Thanks KK, I will definitely talk to him about this, but I have read the articles he's written about this and the plan of attack makes logical sense, though I know treatment plans will vary between different orthos. I was just hoping that the TMJ correction could have been done in conjunction with orthodontic treatment. It would have made me happier to work on aesthetics and function at the same time, not to mention my dental insurance covers nothing for the TMJ treatment alone, but apparently would be covered if it were part of regular orthodontic treatment. Waiting to find out from my health insurance what they'll cover, but I expect them to point the finger and say my dental dental insurance is responsible for this.

My next appointment is in a few more weeks, which I suppose gives me time to check out a couple more orthodontists... just for fun, but I think I know how that will turn out. I've got the feeling I already know who's going to be most qualified, plus he's really nice, and I don't want to trick myself into doing something that doesn't make sense.

Thanks Bracedagain and Platinum for saying they don't look bad, but a million people could tell me this and I still wouldn't feel any better about how my teeth looked. I know they aren't the worst looking teeth in the world.. I've taken care of them to the best of my ability, but I had no control of how they grew in. I'm proud that they're fairly white, one pinhole filling ever, and I'm a horrible person for this, but I do feel slightly better about myself when I see people with horrible-rotting-out-of-their-head... drinking gallons of sugar in Mt. Dew and are just completely oblivious and don't even care. I guess I'm just vain like that though, wanting better teeth than what god gave me, I'm unhappy with what I have.

Sweet L, I am having a seriously difficult time figuring out what my priority actually is. I've lived with the problems I have with my jaw for so long... it's something I've unknowingly just accepted... pain pills are cheap and I didn't realize until a few months ago what may be causing my chronic headaches... I thought it was the weight of my hair, or possibly related to my eyesight. The jaw pain though... and the popping and locking up because I grind my teeth at night, I've noticed has gotten worse over time... I cried out from hitting my knee on a table the other day, and ended up in more pain over suddenly moving my jaw the wrong way, I don't know if I thought stuff like that was normal. I guess I unwittingly have been performing damage control for probably the past 5 years, I naturally rest my jaw forward unless I'm chewing which is the the best position for my joints, and I have an affinity toward foods that are easy to chew most of the time... or I don't chew much at all (One time I was sick and threw up, my husband asked me "Ew, don't you chew your food?" there were large chunks of food in my vomit... sorry, gross hahaha) My regular dentist opened my eyes to some of my "issues" when I finally asked for a referral for someone to simply straighten my teeth.... The actual appearance of my teeth is what I thought I've really been bothered by for years and years and years.... but my husband wants to know what happens to all the Ibuprofen, apparently I take the stuff like vitamins... shoot... I take it *with* vitamins.

Linda 21 everything you say is true! 2 options is more than enough, I don't even know if I should get any more opinions. I do not wish to live with a TMJ disorder that is going to get progressively worse. Things are kind of moderate right now, and I have no idea what the time frame is before something is liable to get "stuck" and then require real surgery. I think through my rambling I'm effectively talking myself into doing the right thing.....Maybe I could get some temporary bonding or something in front to make my top teeth look a little better... *sigh* .... or maybe not. ....

Sweetie, are you really skinny cuz you can't eat? Stupid joke.. sorry. I am so so sorry to hear though, 2 fingers is not much room to fit food in... I was stuck with that range of motion for a little while and it drove me nuts. I have a big mouth.... narrow palate but big mouth. I sometimes have trouble getting past the "one finger point" I guess... but after stuff pops into place I could probably fit my whole fist in my mouth. This is a good thing (being able to open wide), and hopefully I can prevent permanently locking up in the future. You might be interested in reading one of the articles I was given though... I tried to find it on the internet, but I couldn't. If you are interested maybe I could scan it and upload onto the internet to share.

So yeah... I admit it! Living without pain would be nice I suppose. And now I'm curious what chewing is supposed to be like.... apparently not *pop* *chew* *pop* *chew* *pop* *chew* *pop* *swallow* ??

I didn't *mean* to write a novel, but it's not like anyone in my day to day life understands or care. Y'all are a different breed of folk. Internet strangers can be so supportive.

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#10 Post by Sweetie » Fri Feb 16, 2007 7:14 pm

Hi

You made me laugh. I have always been skinny. Thank God TMJ has not stopped me eating. Thanks for offering me that information I am hoping not to need it in future, but you never know. If you are able to upload let me know I will look in to it. Today I got my braces. I told my ortho my concern and he still says that maybe correcting my bite will help my jaw, so I decide to get the braces. I post my pictures in “braces storiesâ€

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smallbutmighty
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#11 Post by smallbutmighty » Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:47 pm

Hi Rachel,
I certainly relate to your dilema about how to address your problems. I am 64 and am in lower braces now (almost 6 weeks). I don't recall you saying that you have had any xrays or arthrograms to determine the extent of your problem. Bear with me folks, as I relate this story. At first I was going to PM this to you, RTachel, but thought maybe it would be relevant to someone else who might read it. I had severe TMJ issues which started in 1986. Prior to that for over a year I noticed that my face was swollen on the left side and I couldn't lay on that side without discomfort, but nothing else hurt, and I just never asked about it. Then after having a crown put in, and lots of ear pain on that side and unable to chew on that side (for a month in the UK, no less!) it settled down and then one day @ 8 months later, the pain became excrutiating and I went to the dentist and started treatment with the splints for well over a year. The pain vanished within an hour or so of the splint in place, and the swelling went away. Anyhow, the story goes on with into the 2nd year the dentist said to me, "you will probably be one of those people who have to use this for life." And a few weeks later I basically said "no way." and never put it back in my mouth, because I was feeling okay. Through all of that I learned not to clench. Come to 1990, and I'm having facial pain and numbness and other weird sensations, head pain, jaw pain, neck and shoulder and wrist pain, so the dentist sent me to an oral surgeon, who sent me to a neurologist, who ordered MRI's for the BRAIN (tumor?) and jaws. Showed lots going on in both TM joints, so back to the OS, who sends me to a TMJ specilaist (who is the one in charge of this current braces episode). After more conservative treatment, the problem doesn't resolve and escalates, so it is back to the OS for bilateral arthrograms. Those showed that on the right the meniscus (disc that slides in the joint) was adhesed up out of the joint space, and there was severe adhesions and ligament damage to both joint spaces on both sides of the jaw. I was literally begging for the surgery by the time i had it. That was 9/20/91. I have been pretty all right since except for continued limited opening (3 fingers or slighty less) and continued neck and shoulder issues, and lately facial symptoms again. The latest xrays show the joints to be good, but there is a ligament on the right that is calcified. It looks like there is a long needle or toothpick stuck under my ear! So, what kind of studies have you had on your jaw to determine what is going on? Since I never had he slippage or locking problem, i don't know how that is treated in comparison to what I had. You did mention splints, and that is a similar feeling to the braces I have now (which are for crowded and turned and a tooth that looked liek it wanted to just escape out the front).
Well, does anyone know where I was going with this? i think I have lost track! By the way, if you continue to take so much ibuprofen or other NSAIDS you can end up with a chronic gastritis (been there, one that too). So I hope tht i hve given you something else to look into regarding considering your treatment plan, and hope that this won't confuse you further.
Best wishes for your treatment plan, however you choose to go.
ruth :heart:
It's all in how you see yourself!

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smallbutmighty
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#12 Post by smallbutmighty » Sun Feb 18, 2007 9:00 pm

Hi Rachel,
I certainly relate to your dilema about how to address your problems. I am 64 and am in lower braces now (almost 6 weeks). I don't recall you saying that you have had any xrays or arthrograms to determine the extent of your problem. Bear with me folks, as I relate this story. At first I was going to PM this to you, Rachel, but thought maybe it would be relevant to someone else who might read it. I had severe TMJ issues which started in 1986. Prior to that for over a year I noticed that my face was swollen on the left side and I couldn't lay on that side without discomfort, but nothing else hurt, and I just never asked about it. Then after having a crown put in, and lots of ear pain on that side and unable to chew on that side (for a month in the UK, no less!) it settled down and then one day @ 8 months later, the pain became excrutiating and I went to the dentist and started treatment with the splints for well over a year. The pain vanished within an hour or so of the splint in place, and the swelling went away. Anyhow, the story goes on into the 2nd year and the dentist said to me, "you will probably be one of those people who have to use this for life." And a few weeks later I basically said "no way." and never put it back in my mouth, because I was feeling okay. Through all of that I learned not to clench. Come to 1990, and I'm having facial pain and numbness and other weird sensations, head pain, jaw pain, neck and shoulder and wrist pain, so the dentist sent me to an oral surgeon, who sent me to a neurologist, who ordered MRI's for the BRAIN (tumor?) and jaws. Showed lots going on in both TM joints, so back to the OS, who sends me to a TMJ specilaist (who is the one in charge of this current braces episode). After more conservative treatment, the problem doesn't resolve and escalates, so it is back to the OS for bilateral arthrograms. Those showed that on the right the meniscus (disc that slides in the joint) was adhesed up out of the joint space, and there was severe adhesions and ligament damage to both joint spaces on both sides of the jaw. I was literally begging for the surgery by the time i had it. That was 9/20/91. I have been pretty all right since except for continued limited opening (3 fingers or slighty less, and I do have a very small mouth) and continued neck and shoulder issues, and lately left sided facial symptoms again. (I am diagnosising it as myofascial pain disorder.) The latest x-rays show the joints to be good, but there is a ligament on the right that is calcified. It looks like there is a long needle or toothpick stuck under my ear! So, what kind of studies have you had on your jaw to determine what is going on? Since I never had he slippage or locking problem, i don't know how that is treated in comparison to what I had. You did mention splints, and that is a similar feeling to the braces I have now (which are for crowded and turned teeth and a tooth that looked like it wants to just escape out the front. That is already looking better!).
Well, does anyone know where I was going with this? i think I have lost track! By the way, if you continue to take so much ibuprofen or other NSAIDS you can end up with a chronic gastritis (been there, done that too). So I hope that I have given you something else to look into regarding considering your treatment plan, and hope that this won't confuse you further.
Best wishes for your treatment plan, however you choose to go.
ruth :heart:
It's all in how you see yourself!

Boolajoojoo
Posts: 71
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:04 pm

#13 Post by Boolajoojoo » Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:21 pm

I had a third consultation today, thanks to the user Dmourning I think it was, who was kind enough to give me his orthodontist's info. I would be comfortable going with this office, sounds like treatment would correct my bite as well as help with the TMJ issues. I'm told about 20 - 24 months, no extractions necessary, and this wouldn't be compromised results (which the first ortho said results would be compromised if no extractions were done). This is really more what I had in mind. If it does not help with the TMJ, then we would want a TMJ specialist involved... so that is kind of the only wild card, but he isn't trying to shrug off the TMJ issues like the first ortho.

To make a short story long... it hit me hard when they told me my insurance wasn't going to cover me past the age of 25 (My 25th birthday is in like 5 weeks) and that the cost was going to be ALL on me. My thoughts being: "Insurance is such a scam, I guess they don't care if you live with a problem this long, then you must not need help. Screw you!" I thought I had made my decision.... but my anticipated cost had almost doubled, so I left and told them I'd have to call them back. Turns out, they made a mistake, because I am a *spouse* not a dependent, so my insurance is gonna cover a little less than half.

Being that for the TMJ specialist I saw previously, treatment for TMJ alone is not covered on my insurance and he was projecting a year to fix the TMJ, and then address straightening my teeth... probably another 2 years, it is more economical to go with the ortho I saw today..

So... after hearing the good news about my insurance, I have officially made a records appointment for March 19th, and an April 2nd appointment for braces on top and a bite splint on the bottom... woo..

I just feel kinda bad cause I am going to end up canceling my date with the TMJ specialist, I don't doubt his abilities in any way (supposedly he's one of the best in the country) but he wanted to do things backwards from how I wanted, is way more expensive, and not covered on my insurance period... I'm pretty comfortable with my decision though, it seems theres more than one way to treat almost any problem. I think this will work out.

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smallbutmighty
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#14 Post by smallbutmighty » Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:43 pm

Hi Rachel,
I have been wondering what has been happening with you. I was worried that I might have scared you off. :oops: I am glad that you have resolved your treatment plan and have someone who will be watching the TMJ issues. So when do you get started? I quite agree with you about the insurance-- to it is ridiculous that they can totally disregard a whole part of the body and how much trauma and disfunction can be there.
Best of luck to you.
ruth
It's all in how you see yourself!

Boolajoojoo
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Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:04 pm

#15 Post by Boolajoojoo » Mon Mar 12, 2007 3:19 pm

Thanks so much for the support, Smallbutmighty. I must have completely missed your last replies (back in February). Sounds like you've been having having nasty TMJ issues for a while. I've had X-rays, I would have to assume that if there was something majorly out of order, it would have been mentioned to me. My understanding of this TMJ thing is that my discs are basically forced out of their proper positions when my jaw is fully closed because of how my bite comes together. When I open, the popping sound is the disks returning into correct positioning when my jaw comes forward. It's at the point where properly aligning my bite should fix the problem, and surgery hasn't been mentioned at this point. This is according to the TMJ specialist, and similar consensus of the orthodontist I've decided to go with (though the treatment plans are pretty different). Most of my pain seems to be from repetitive stress, and the locking up is very occasional, hopefully fixing my bite and bringing my lower jaw forward is enough to relieve that stress and allow the joints to position properly. I'm not the expert, just the patient... hopefully I didn't make the wrong choice of orthodontists...

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