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Catfish's Journey - updated with pics 11-7-08 (page 5)

Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 7:32 pm
by catfish
I’ve been participating in AW for a while now, and decided it’s time to start my own braces story. I’ll start my story about 5 or 6 years back, when I learned that I had advanced periodontal disease. My lower front teeth were visibly wiggling because my disease was so advanced. I didn’t see it coming because I’d been going to the dentist faithfully for many, many years, and I thought they would have told me if something like this was looming. I brushed at least twice per day, usually more, and I flossed every day. Faithfully! For years! It wasn’t until I moved and got a new dentist that I learned what was really going on.

So I went to a periodontist, had osseous surgery, and began quarterly cleanings. (Osseous surgery is where they remove some of your gums to reduce deep pockets, and they remove damaged or diseased bone surrounding your roots.) My surgery was divided into two sessions, one for upper and one for lower teeth. During my second osseous surgery, I lost a molar. It had a troubled past, and during the surgery he saw that the root was fractured, so it had to go. So now I eventually will need an implant.

I am SO lucky. I have an awesome dentist, who referred me to an awesome periodontist and an awesome orthodontist. The three of them met to develop a treatment plan for me. The idea is that if I straighten out my teeth, the blood flow to the roots will improve, and I will likely keep them for much longer than if I left them the way they were.

It took me a while to be convinced that braces were the way to go. The benefits described above were far from a sure thing, and I didn’t have any desire to have braces for cosmetic reasons. I actually waited for a full year after my first ortho consult before I had the nerve to go for it!

So I took the plunge in August 2007, at the age of 47. I had Damon braces put on my upper teeth, followed by putting them on my bottom teeth in January 2008. My teeth weren’t too bad off. My ortho says I’m Class I (still not entirely sure what that means) with crowding on the bottom. I will likely have to have a lower incisor removed.

I went into this with the exclusive focus on saving my teeth. As time goes by, and my teeth start lining up, I’m starting to get excited about the cosmetic benefits after all! I hadn’t noticed some of the subtle, but visible problems I had. For example, my midline was off but I didn’t realize it. Now that it’s lining up, it’s exciting to notice that progress!

That’s probably enough info for now. I still need to get some pics together so I can post them.

Thanks for reading my story!

:-* 6-30-08 update :-*

Yay! I finally got my pics on! Here's my smile "pre-braces". I didn't think my top teeth were too bad, but the bottom teeth needed some help.

Here's the top before braces. Not too bad, but in need of some straightening.

And the bottoms... definitely can use some help.

And my bite. Notice my crooked midline.

These pics are from May 14, 2008. By then I had braces on my top teeth for 9 months, and on my bottom teeth for 4 1/2 months.

Here's the side view showing my most crooked lower teeth.

Here's the bottoms. Note the missing molar. I had my osseous surgery and lost that tooth since my "pre-braces" pics. You can also see that my archwire doesn't go through my bands. I'd just gotten my bands on when I took this pic. The wires go all the way through now. Can you believe the difference in my lower teeth already?!! :D

And here's my bite. Notice my midline is better already.

So I'm a pretty happy camper these days. My teeth are making noticeable progress, and I'm pretty darned excited about it!


Posted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:06 pm
by BracedVeryLate
Hi Catfish, wow, interesting story. It's amazing what can be done isn't it?

Well, if you get that lower incisor removed, you can complain to me, because mine is gone now too and I have a lovely jack-o-lantern gap in the bottom row! My ortho said the gap will be closed in 6 months. I chose that extraction over getting the premolars pulled.

take care and good luck!!

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:01 am
by Miss Smiley
If you only need one incisor removed, could you ask and see if they could create that amount of space with IPR? Maybe spare you another extraction? Can't wait for your next update!

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:55 am
by Memran
Interesting and quite scary really. How could your old dentist either not know, or not tell you? We're supposed to trust these people! :shock:

Congrats on your progress though. Can't wait for the pics :D

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:47 pm
by angel84
Wow what an ordeal to have to go through. Congrats on taking the plunge and getting them fixed, though. Hopefully everything will go with the rest of your treatment and you will have the out come you are hoping for- and more. Best of luck!!!

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:57 pm
by jenny101101
Hi catfish,

Congrats on taking the plunge! Glad to hear everything is going well so far! :D I look forward to pics....

jt2lang: Thank you for clearing up the difference between Class I, II, and III. I always wondered what they were and what I was...I guess I have a Class II relationship! :?

Posted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 10:55 pm
by catfish
Thanks for all the replies everyone! It's nice to be able to share this experience with all of you, and to hear about your experiences.

jt2lang, thanks for explaining the different classes. I knew Class I wasn't too bad, but didn't really know what it meant. Now I understand it.

BracedVeryLate, if I get the lower incisor removed, it's nice to know there is someone to commiserate with! One of my lower incisors has a chip in it, and is sensitive. I really hope it will be the one to go!

Miss Smiley, they originally told me I needed the lower incisor removed to reduce the crowding around my roots and increase the blood supply. I don't think IPR would accomplish that(?). But now my ortho is saying I may not need a tooth removed, and I'm not quite sure why. I will be following up on that one.

I'm working on getting pics up. I got them uploaded to imageshack, but I still need to learn how to navigate that site. I know the pics are in there, but I have a hard time finding them when I log in. I need to spend a little time learning how to use that site. LOL

Posted: Sat Jun 28, 2008 7:45 am
by catfish
Memran wrote:How could your old dentist either not know, or not tell you?
Actually, there were clues. But he didn't take them very seriously. He knew I had deep pockets, and they were getting deeper. And he scheduled a root planing because of it at one point. But he kept saying that my home care was excellent, and there's no bleeding when they probe the pockets, so I was fine. He kinda shrugged it off.

Apparently I have a rather uncommon situation, because I have perio in spite of a long history of good oral hygiene. My new dentist and periodontist are telling me I'm one of the unlucky people with a genetic predisposition to this problem. I've tried researching this on the web, but most of the perio info points to poor oral hygiene as the cause, and they talk about improving your brushing and flossing habits to help. I'm not finding a lot out there...

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:14 pm
by AngelRuse
Hey, just thought I'd look in on your story. Wow, shame what genetics can do despite efforts to keep healthy. Genetics gave me mom's crooked teeth and my dad's allergies. :wink: Didn't give me my grandpa's tendency to remain skinny or my other grandpa's tendency not to go gray until he's 70. :P Stupid genes.

Anyway, congrats on taking the plunge. Here's hoping you don't need that tooth extracted...whatever makes the road easier, yeah? Assuming it stays healthy in there. Good docs make all the difference in the world. :D

Posted: Tue Jul 01, 2008 9:50 pm
by catfish
Thanks for checking in, AngelRuse. Yeah, I seemed to get the bad gene package, too. I can't see worth beans, but my sister has never needed glasses. I also have the worst teeth out of all my siblings. And I've been the most meticulous about caring for them. Go figure.

I did get the "tall" gene, so at least I can reach the top shelves in my kitchen! LOL

Posted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 8:39 pm
by catfish
Thanks Ken. It just goes to show how sneaky periodontal disease can be. You'd never know by looking at my teeth that I have so much bone loss, or that my teeth wiggle! I'm actually grateful for that fact, so my problem does not draw attention.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2008 2:21 pm
by sparkles
wow! catfish what a difference the braces have made already!
I have similar crowing in the bottom to you...I have a wayward canine just opposite side to yours and to see that only 9 months in braces can make such a difference!

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 10:10 am
by kibblesnbrit

wow the changes in your bottom teeth are crazy already! I think my bottoms have changed the most and its only been a month. You're on the path to progess eh..doesn't it feel good to finally be informed and people taking care of you? As much as I hate people being suprised/shocked that I got braces I'd never take them off now!


new pictures after my first adjustment July 10 coming soon

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:12 pm
by catfish
sparkles - it's actually only been 4 1/2 months since my bottom teeth were braced. There was a 4 1/2 month delay between getting my top braces and my bottom ones. I still can't get over the change in that short amount of time!

Brittany - I just read your braces story and saw your pics. I'm happy to hear that you're seeing movement already, too! Isn't that exciting? I hope to see more pics as you progress.

Catfish's Journey - pics from today's adjustment

Posted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 9:33 pm
by catfish
So I had an adjustment today. My ortho says things are progressing very well and he is really happy with my results so far. Music to my ears! I got a new wire on the bottom, nothing new on the top. I haven't had a new wire on top since last November. He says next visit I will get a new top wire.

So here's a pic of how he's dealing with my missing molar. I had to have a band on the last tooth because the bracket wouldn't stick to the crown. He put a gray "bumper" on the wire to make it more comfortable to my cheek.

I have "stops" on my wires to keep them from moving too much. There are two on the top wire and one on the bottom. Something is wrong with the one on the bottom. You can tell it looks different, plus it was rubbing my lip like crazy! OWIE!!

Here is a close up of the bottom stop. Sorry it's a little fuzzy, but it shows the rough edge that rubs on my lip.

Since I took this picture about an hour ago, things have changed and that lower stop is gone. So I will have to go back to the ortho to get it fixed.
How did I lose it, you may ask? The rubbing was so painful, I decided to take a needle-nosed plier to it to try to press it down. It didn't press down, it came off! So when I go back to my ortho, I will have some 'splainin to do! (A reference to my favorite sitcom ever - I Love Lucy!)