Karencoutts' Story with Carriere Distalizers and Damons

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Karencoutts' Story with Carriere Distalizers and Damons

#1 Post by karencoutts »

Welcome to my ridiculously detailed blog. With my advancing age (I'm in my 40s), I note that my memory is pretty dicey. This blog has two purposes: 1) so that I can remember details and 2) sort of a public service thing for those people interested in Carriere distalizers and Damon braces.

I am one of those people who needs to know everything in detail before making a decision, so this blog is for obsessive researchers like me.

Back in 1997, my dentist first suggested that I have orthodontic work done. I went to her clinic at the university and was told that I would have to remove two teeth.

I have crowding in the uppers and lowers, as well as 90% coverage of my lower teeth by my uppers. I have a Class I on my left side, and a Class II on my right.

Recently, two of my friends have worn braces. Considering my options again, my dentist invited me back to her clinic and her instructor informed me that I would not need to extract any teeth. Whew. I scheduled my first appointment, but decided to do some research about braces. Enter Archwired!

After reading AW, I decided to get the opinion of three more orthodontists. Each had such different treatment plans that I became confused. I finally chose the one who not only offered the least painful option, but also the quickest, and who seemed the most qualified. Of course, he was the most expensive... I felt pretty crappy about not choosing my own dentist, who is also my friend. Another one of my dentist friends who is heavily into the latest technology had recommended self-ligating braces, and my dentist could not offer SL as an option.

It took me two weeks to get my initial consultation with him, then he was on vacation for the entire month of August.

Finally, today I went in for preliminary work. The assistant took my impressions. The mix was cold and tasted slightly sweet. I asked her what it was made of and she said "algae." It only took a few seconds to take my lower arch. The upper arch she held in place for longer, while pressing the trays against my teeth pretty firmly. After the trays were removed, the chalky rubbery residue stuck to the areas between my teeth. I opted to floss but not to brush. This was a mistake!

Next, she had me bite down on a chewy plastic-y substance, probably to take my bite marks to see the relation between the upper and lower jaws. I was concerned about the Carriere distalizer, that it was fairly new and I wasn't sure if it was used in adults, so I spoke to the ortho, who reassured me. He said they were originally designed for use in adults. We scheduled the next three appointments, to be held at one week intervals over the next month.

I left the building to have my x-rays and photos done. Pulling my lips into various contortions with a plastic implement, and a hot mirror inserted into my mouth at various angles, I had a whopping good time during the photo session. Two x-rays were taken, a 180 of my teeth, and a scan of my profile. I noted the presence of a slight double chin from the profile, and vowed to cut down on my forbidden food intake.

From what I've been reading on AW, the pain of the spacers that are to be placed next should prevent enjoyment of forbidden foods for at least a few days.
Last edited by karencoutts on Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#2 Post by platinum »


Your bite sounds exactly like mine!
What kind of treatment plan do you have?

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#3 Post by karencoutts »

platinum wrote:Welcome!!!

Your bite sounds exactly like mine!
What kind of treatment plan do you have?
Thanks for the welcome.

The plan is to put spacers on before inserting a lingual arch (for the lowers). I think the arch will be anchored by two of my molars. Next, the CD will be applied to my canines and molars in my uppers. This phase will take six months. I will wear elastics between the canines and lingual arch/molars.

Phase 2 is the application of Damon braces to my uppers and lowers. This will be worn for 12 months.

The idea behind CDs is that you fix the Class II to a Class I then finish the treatment any way the orthodontist chooses. My ortho said that once my Class II is fixed, the brace portion will be very easy.

Here is the link to information on the CD: http://www.classoneorthodontics.com/distalizer.php

Gosh, I must sound like an advertisement for CDs. They better work for me!

Platinum, what was your plan?

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#4 Post by karencoutts »

Platinum, I did a search on your name and realize that you already told me what your plan was: bite plate, elastics, and regular braces. Sorry. I remember you writing to me before but I was too lazy to look up what you had written.

Now I'm going to have to look through your postings when I have time to figure out how your plan is working for you. You even have a Braces story going as well. Maybe that will give me an idea of how mine is going to go. I notice that you've already been in treatment for 19 months. That is supposedly how long my total treatment is estimated to take.

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Spacers, otherwise known as Orthodontic Separators

#5 Post by karencoutts »

Today was spacer day. I had four spacers wedged in.

After reading posts on spacers, I was filled with apprehension as I arrived for my appointment. I spoke first with the ortho, who discussed my x-rays, cephalometric measurements and the treatment plan. I have a smaller lower jaw than normal and I also have receding gums on the top front teeth. Apprently, there’s not much I can do about the receding gums except floss, which I’ve already been doing.

Next, I headed over to the dreaded procedure. First, the dental assistant flossed my teeth and noted that they were really tight. Then, using floss, the dental assistant threaded on a blue separator (spacer) and tried to floss it into the spaces on both sides of my molars. The separators are being used to create room for the molar band that will be fitted next. The d.a. was having so much trouble getting the spacers in that she advised me that she would be calling the ortho to “diskâ€
Last edited by karencoutts on Wed Sep 17, 2008 10:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Day 2 of Separators

#6 Post by karencoutts »

Woke up this morning, felt no pain. Smugly congratulated myself on being one of the lucky ones who feel no pain from spacers. Then... at breakfast, my teeth hurt when I chewed using my molars. Not terrible pain, but definitely they were sore, and they were sore enough that I couldn't enjoy my breakfast. So, the spacers do not hurt unless I am using my molars to bite down.

Didn't notice the pain as much at dinner, but it was still there, only diminished.

I forgot to describe the spacers/separators themselves. They look like little blue rings, slightly wider than a molar. Before the ortho dispenses them, they are stored and attached to the outside of a big ring. When you bite down on them, they feel like rubber in consistency. There is no taste, but I swore they tasted a bit like bubble gum at first.

I was able to floss normally. One of the warnings on my list of things not to do was to avoid flossing my spacer-adorned teeth, so I flossed in front of the mirror, which is not normal procedure for me. Doh, I started daydreaming and accidentally flossed one of the spacers. Thank goodness it didn't come out. SO, they're not that tight after all, if I can slide floss in.

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One week is a long time, when you're wearing SPACERS!!!

#7 Post by karencoutts »

Two more days to go before they take these darn blue spacers out of my teeth...

Only I think they said that after they fit the molar bands in, they will take an impression and then... PUT THE SPACERS BACK IN!!! Sorry, was I shouting just then?

I still have pain when I bite down on my lowers, except now I also have pain in my lower front incisors as well. Guess the teeth are now so tight that they are sore. I'm getting used to the pain, but I think it has not diminished. It's always present, but I don't notice it as much.

Accidentally flossed one of the spacers out again. It was half out, so I used floss to push it back again, aided by a fingernail frantically stuffing it in as well. I do NOT want to go back to the office to have it put in again. Note to self: do not floss when you're reading on the computer.

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Spacer pain diminishes

#8 Post by karencoutts »

I was wrong. The pain is not the same. The pain has diminished.

Today, the pain in my lower teeth when I bite has definitely diminished to maybe a 1/10, whereas previously they were maybe at most a 4/10. Hope this is not due to the fact that I dislodged one of the spacers yesterday (and hastily stuffed it back in with a fingernail and some floss!).

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#9 Post by Lisa65 »

If you were able to stuff it back in with your fingernail, then it's done its work well, hence the reduction in pain.

So do you get your bands and lingual arch on tomorrow? When do you get the carriere rods put on? I'm interested in seeing those.

Good luck!

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More Impressions and the separators go back in *&%@

#10 Post by karencoutts »

Hi, Lisa65. Today I was fitted for molar bands. Unfortunately, I will not get the lingual arch and distalizers mounted until next Tuesday. I will try to take pictures of them when they are on.

Now for a description of what happened today.

First the orthodontic assistant (OA) asked me how I found the spacers. I remained silent for a long time, then I said that they were painful. She then removed the separators. They didn't come easy, no sir. She had to yank on them with considerable force. She also noted that even after she removed the separator they struggled with inserting last time, the teeth were still contacting!

Next, she flossed in the spaces. She tried on different sizes of molar bands, going up a size twice, then going back down a size. She had trouble pushing the bands on as they were, surprise surprise, getting stuck because the space was so tight. I had to assist by biting down on a plastic instrument she used to hold down the molar bands, pushing the molar bands down in turn. The molar band she finally selected for the right was a size up from the one on the left.

On to the "impressions" room. I "tried on" an upper and lower tray for size, then she filled them with the impression putty. It was pale orange and... mango scented. These trays did not extend as far back into the mouth as the previous trays. She explained that the previous impressions were used to make a model that is fancy and plastic coated. The second set of impressions, with molar bands in place, are used to make measurements to fashion the lingual arch, and also to be used as a "working model." When the trays were removed, my mouth was much dirtier than for the previous impressions, with many small bits all over my tongue and teeth and the molar braces. Also, the molar brace on the right molar partially lifted out with the impression so was uncomfortable. The OA said it didn't matter.

After I flossed and brushed (learned my lesson from last time), she removed the molar bands with some difficulty using a metal instrument. At one point the side of the left molar band was cutting into my gums as she wrenched on it.

Finally, she put the 4 spacers back in using floss. The "difficult" area was still problematic, and she had to use some force to put the spacer back in. She noted that it "snapped" back into place, which is pretty darn unusual, in her experience. She also said that the spacers they use now are much stronger than the old spacers, which used to snap more easily. So, the fact that they broke a few spacers when putting them in the first time was "really something." Apparently she knew about the commotion from last week when they wrestled the previous spacers in.

Next appointment is the BIG DAY. The distalizers and lingual arch are going to be installed. A little disheartening was listening to the conversation between the two OAs about what exactly is a Carriere distalizer?!!! And how does it work, exactly?!!! I sure hope things go smoothly, since they have only done one other CD in the past, and it was a transfer patient.

And, for the record, the spacers definitely have made my lower teeth more crowded. I looked in the mirror today, and to my horror, I see that my lower teeth are quite crooked now, whereas before they weren't noticeably crowded.

Wow, I can't wait to enjoy my second week with spacers! Yahoo!!! Yippee!

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It's D-Day

#11 Post by karencoutts »

It's not quite a B-Day. It's a D-Day, a distalizer day. I've got three pieces of metal in my mouth now.

While I was in the waiting room, I chatted with the other patients. I noted that I've never seen any children at this ortho's office. One of the patients was de-bracing, another was having Invisalign. We were a happy bunch.

The first step was the fitting of the molar bands. The molar bands were sitting on a sad looking sand/yellow/sepia coloured model with its molars shaved down. I was invited to lift them up and look at them. Not much to say about them, but I took a good look at the rough spots that will likely give me trouble once it is mounted. The molar bands look like, well, metal bands, as if you took a strip of flat metal and bent it around your molar. These bands are attached to a round wire, the arch, that follows the gumline on the inside of the teeth. One piece.

Next, the OA removed the worn spacers. Man, they stunk :oops: and I complained about how they made my mouth smell. I had bad breath for two weeks while the spacers were in.

Flossing. The OA pushed the molar bands/lingual arch on, asking my assistance several times to bite down to push it into place. The ortho came by to check on the fit. The bands/arch was removed. Polishing of the molars. Lots of rinsing. Small rolled up cottons were then wedged underneath my tongue (to absorb the saliva and keep the teeth dry) and between my molars and my cheeks. It felt like they were in forever since I wanted to retch and the OA went off to work on preparing her materials.

The OA applied glue to the bands and pushed them on, with my assistance. She warned me that the overspilling glue would taste terrible. I was actually afraid to have to taste the "terrible" glue. It was sour but not something to be frightened about! She then removed the excess glue using instruments, and finally cured the glue with that blue light handheld wand suspiciously shaped like a phallus! :shock: I could feel a little warmth from it as it cured.

And now for the distalizers...

First, teeth were cleaned off, then I had one of those plastic instruments inserted in my mouth to pull back my cheeks in place. I always feel so attractive when I'm wearing those.

The blue etchant is held in a vessel looking like a syringe with a thin needle like end. The OA assured me that it is not a needle but would be used to apply the etchant more precisely. She applied the etchant to my canines and one molar on each side, smearing the etchant over the surface. She also warned me that the etchant tastes terrible, and it did.

The ortho applied glue to the ends of the distalizer and put it in place on my left. He was fiddling around a bit, and said that the distalizers are designed so that the anchor point should be on a mesially rotated tooth, whereas mine is distally rotated, so he was having more trouble fitting it than anticipated. The right distalizer went on quickly. The phallic curer was brought in again, after the ortho left. This time, I could actually sense the distalizer tightening as the glue cured, along with some heat. By the way, the glue stank much like the glue used on plastic models when I was a child. I did wonder whether everything used in my mouth was truly safe.

I received instruction on how to put on the elastics (6 mm USA), which they called "trainers." The hook on the molar band sticks out quite a bit, but the one on the distalizer is fairly flat in profile. I also received my ortho's version of THE KIT, with all the goodies like the Christmas tree brush, wax, dental mirror, disclosing tablets (?) that show where you've missed brushing by dye, floss threaders, a travel toothbrush. The OA explained how to use everything in the kit. I was shown the elastics and distalizers in a mirror. Very strange. The ortho pointed out that you won't be able to see the distalizers unless I smile very widely. He applied them high, next to the gumline, to make them less obvious. The examples I'd seen on the Carriere Distalizer website were all placed about mid-way on the teeth, so I was quite surprised by the placement.

It's now 6 hours since my appointment, and no pain yet. I did have a one hour nap and applied wax in anticipation over the hooks. I noticed when I woke up from my nap that my cheeks felt uncomfortable where the lower hook digs into my cheek. I'm going to have a big surprise tomorrow morning, probably!

Very excited to finally have the distalizers in. :D

The ortho showed me my teeth models with red pencil marking where the distalizers are to be applied. My left side only needs to be moved distally 1 mm, and the right side 3 mm.
Last edited by karencoutts on Wed Oct 01, 2008 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Day 2 of CD/Molar Bands/Lingual Arch

#12 Post by karencoutts »

Followed the advice of the CDA (this is the correct term, apparently!) and gobbed wax on my molar hooks before going to bed. So, no problems there. The real problem is...

My lower lingual arch. The designer of the arch deemed it necessary to attach the wire behind the teeth via a sharp, flat ridge. The sharp edge is making my tongue sore. Every time I move my tongue, it gets a little shave by the sharp edge of the arch. The pain feels the same as the injury from when you bite your tongue. Wax won't stay on the damn ridge. I should probably try a monster size ball, but maybe if I just stop moving my tongue...

Eating causes pain to my canines, which are becoming sore. When I flossed proximal to the upper canines, the gum started bleeding. They don't usually bleed.

Eating has become pretty unpleasant. Food gets stuck under my upper lip against my gums because the CDs stretch my upper lip taut. Food also loves to grip and hang out on my molar band hooks, and under the lingual arch!!! ARGH. Vigorous water swishing can get most of this out, but it takes at least three rinses. The sticking food plus the pain really makes eating a chore and not a pleasure any more. I've been eating fairly normally. Maybe I should stick to soft foods, but these are not braces! You'd think I'd be able to eat normally.

When I bite down, I contact metal on my molars, so when I chew, I feel a bit like a metal Frankenstein.

My first teeth cleaning was annoying because I couldn't figure out how to use the floss threader through my CDs (distalizers. I would thread one end up and it would get caught under my upper lip. Finally figured out that I should thread the end down behind the CDs, but was still awkward to do. Same problem with flossing under my lingual arch. The arch is fairly tight against my teeth, so lifting the floss up to move to the next tooth is a little challenging. I didn't need my Christmas Tree brush since vigorous swishing of water in the mouth and the Sonicare toothbrush took away most debris.

Wearing elastics. Not as unpleasant as I imagined it. I change the elastics after every meal (as instructed) and also before going to bed (makes sense, since I'm changing during the day basically once every 4-6 hours, and since I need to remove the elastics to brush my teeth). What is interesting is that when I first put on the elastics, I feel good pressure on my canines, but by the time I need to change the elastics, I don't really feel much pressure, except when I open my mouth widely. I can move my teeth apart about 1.5 inches fairly comfortably, so they're not very tight. Perhaps the elastics lose effectiveness after 4-6 hours, and that's why the change is necessary. I find it very easy to hook up the elastics with my fingers.

So far, the CDs haven't been noticed by anyone.
Last edited by karencoutts on Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#13 Post by Clo »


this is a very interesting blog you have there. When I first heard about your
Carrière Distalizers, I typed it in in Google and also found this very clean and
neat video you probably know :


It even looks quite futuristic. Orthodontics of the 22th century.
I am sure that while doing some experiments, you'll get used to it very quickly.
Too bad though you also experienced there is always something that is made
just a lil wrong to be able to make things less easy. Like your lingual arch. I do
have one too, mine is round but could be a bit thicker. Mine feels sharp too.
But I am sure you'll even adapt to that. I am always astonished too see how
well the mouth adapts to all this hardware. I have a lot of it in my mouth too.
When it was placed, I had a very very bad lisp. Now, only weeks later and it all
feels like it is a part of me. I am sure you'll be fine. Best of luck !

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Smiling hurts

#14 Post by karencoutts »

Hi Clo,

Thanks for sending the link to the video. I couldn't open it, probably because my software is really old (this computer dates from 1995...). I did look at the Carriere materials and thought it was pretty futuristic as well.

And also... thanks for writing! It's pretty weird when I write so many entries and I see at least a hundred people following my blog, but then nobody writes anything. But, that's the nature of blogs, eh? I am happy that you find it very interesting because I thought maybe it was as interesting as watching someone gaze at their navel for hours.

And now for my latest update. It's Day 3, post D-Day.

Headaches. I suspect they are related to the pressure on my teeth. It's the same type of headache I get when I chew something very hard for a long time. I don't normally get headaches, so this is noteworthy. The headaches don't last, but they come and go.

I'm now getting a small sore spot under my top lip where it rubs the hook on my right distalizer, caused by the hook pulling at the tissue as it is raked taut across the hook. Annoying because this happens whenever I smile, which is, surprisingly, a lot!!! I'm trying not to wax it up so it can toughen enough so I can smile freely. Must be related to the angle of the canine (where the hook attaches), because it doesn't happen on the left side as much.

My tongue is still sore on the lower left from rubbing against the lingual arch's sharp edges, however, I'm getting used to it (!)

What is new, however, is that my tongue is getting abraded on the front! I seem to find myself scraping the tip of my tongue on the lingual arch wire all the time.

Lisping was a problem on the first day. I still lisp, but it's probably not noticeable. I hope. Singing and speaking with elastics is normal as well.

The weird thing is, I'm actually getting used to all the pain. The pain is fairly mild and constant. I've stopped waxing everything and I'm trying to let it go naturally. What bothers me is that when I eat my favourite foods, I taste them and enjoy them less. I mean, what is life without enjoying chocolate bars?

At night, I try to find a comfortable position to rest my tongue so I can fall asleep. It's best if I can withdraw my tongue away from the teeth as far as possible. I can normally fall asleep almost immediately, but with all the mouth hardware, I sometimes wake up in pain when the tongue is resting against something sharp and it is being pressed down on the sharp edge by my upper palate or sandwiched between my upper teeth and lower teeth!

I wonder whether any of my adaptations to the pains will cause permanent changes to my behaviour. Maybe I won't smile as much? Much like how I used to sleep on my back, but switched to my side after getting pregnant, and now I only sleep on my side!
Last edited by karencoutts on Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Disclosing Tablets

#15 Post by karencoutts »

For fun, after brushing and flossing thoroughly (so I thought) I tried the disclosing tablet tonight. I remember these from when I was a little kid in school and the dental hygiene unit came by to teach us how to brush in class. I broke it in half because I suspected half would be enough dye. Back then we each got a quarter tablet. Boy, was I right!

I ate the half tablet, then rinsed with water, as directed. There was pink dye mostly between my bottom teeth, but not near the gumline. Aha! From now on I will floss them twice: once under the lingual arch wire, and once as normal, from the front. That should do it.

Also, my canines were more pink. I think this may be from the etchant that was smeared all over my teeth for the application of the CD. It must catch food since it is no longer smooth. I hope my next dental cleaning polishes them out again.

My tongue was deep pink, despite brushing. The CDA had warned me to try the disclosing tablet before going to bed because of the pink tongue effect.

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