Friday, October 15, 2010

Oh no, wire power chain again

Earlier this week I had my two bicuspids extracted. This gap has to be closed, since I opted for no surgery my ortho told me closing this gap would require at least 1.5 years more of braces! Naturally I was quite disappointed, disconcerted and unhappy about that. I was hoping to have them off by my next birthday in 6-7 months.

This also meant I would end up with a class-2 bite (mild overlap) as opposed to a perfect 1-on-1 bite from top to bottom. I was worried about it and started considering orthognathic surgery again. I was hoping to have it done in Colombia to lower my costs but there comes the issue about they pain, the months of rehabilitation and having my palate broken and put back together. I don’t think I want to go through more pain (back pain is already bad enough). I was given 1 month to decide, haven’t made up my mind because I have not been able to meet a surgeon that would do it.

In the meantime my gaping holes were healing properly without any infections, pain or other discomfort other than having to eat somewhat different to avoid hurting my healing gum.

My lower teeth/molars have been hurting for a few days due to the new archwire. I have barely eaten anything other than liquid. My ex-girlfriend’s family has been kind and aware of my extractions so they prepared some suitable food. Very nice, Colombian people are nice.

DSC05257 Today however, after having spent most of the past 8 days coming to the orthodontist, I was going to have my last appt. prior to my return. The orthodontist removed the 3 sections of archwire on the top jaw and installed a new continuous one as it was before. This one however, has a “T” on the place where I had the extractions, these act as mechanical springs to pull the molars forward and the teeth back, the two force vectors shown in green.

In that picture (I spare you from another one) you can also partly appreciate the metallic powerchain that is meshed in both directions from one end to the other (the whole jaw). This replaces the old rubber powerchain which IMHO was more comfortable. This helps keep the teeth together for what I know. One thing I don’t want is the gap opening between my front teeth again, I went through quite some pain and discomfort to have that closed down with some oral surgery!

Now and for the next week or so my upper teeth are going to be hurting too. So I will probably not be able to eat my meal in the airplane :( From now on and for the next 18 months (at least) I will need my upper wire adjusted (tightened) every 1.5 to 2 months! This will be done by my local orthodontist as I cannot afford to travel abroad so often.

Now I really feel it, my upper teeth feel as if I had been put a mouth piece as they do with horses (perhaps head gear feels like that). I can feel it tightened backwards. For days I was not able to even floss my upper front teeth, too painful!!!

Now I can finally put the tips of my lower and upper front teeth together with minimal effort! wow! I waited so many years for this moment! Now I just have to wait patiently for these darn braces to come off and be FREE!!! Most definitely, orthodontic treatment is a long journey with good things in sight and pain in the process of achieving it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Christopher Columbus & Tooth Extraction Day!

It is October 12th, the "Hispanic Heritage Day" or in better words the 512th anniversary since Cristobal Colón had sight of this wonderful continent, the Americas.
LateralEncephalogram-Oct2010 Today I had my appt. at 11 A.M. and my “architect” orthodontist examined both the panoramic (all teeth) and the lateral encephalography to re-evaluate. Yes, sad news are as expected: I need extractions of both of my upper bicuspids :’(.
As you know I had decided earlier (variety of reasons) not to go through with orthognathic surgery. During that surgery they would have extracted both bicuspids and made the cut of my upper jaw just there, and move it back. If after that patch up the adjustment was not enough they would have proceeded with lower jaw surgery to advance it a little bit. Ugh, a lot to go through. The make a measurement more like the one shown on the Rx above, my front teeth are at an angle of 126º when the normal angle is 114º so a lot of correction is needed there.
DSC05253 Since there was quite some delay between the removal of bicuspid brackets and actual extractions (2+ months) I felt they had moved forward again (increased angle). Anyway, today the extractions were to be made. First I had anesthetics on both sides, while it took effect I had my cleanup (hygienist), just fine, less pain. Afterwards both bicuspids were extracted, I was very nervous but everything went alright and I suffered no pain. Never in my life had I two extractions in one day! I had some bleeding, especially by the time I got to the hotel I had quite some blood in my mouth but that was natural.
I used the very cold bottles from the hotel fridge (my water bottles) as an ice pack and kept them on both sides nearly the rest of the day. As a result I had no swelling!
After the extractions I still had three archwire sections on my upper jaw, two on the molars behind the bicuspid and one on the 4 front teeth and gaping holes where my bicuspids were “amputated” :( I was worried “oh my God, what have I done! now I have two teeth less!” but well, all in the name of a better (more functional) smile. I used pain killers as instructed by my orthodontist and suffered no pain discomfort.
I was given my two bicuspids :-) and told how to clean them with Oxigenated Water (H2O2). I was hoping to have them both buried with me when I died. Unfortunately that was not so… while cleaning them one of them fell on the sink and was lost forever :’( and I was very upset. Now I am leaving both my heart and a tooth in Medellin.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prepare for Extraction!

OK, I am dealing now with two orthodontists, one abroad (my original one) and one local. Since my local ortho was still not fully aware of my treatment history I decided to visit my ortho abroad and kill two birds with one stone. Luckily he is aware of my situation and told me I just needed to call and they would give me priority during that whole week! and it was indeed so!.

A week prior to my visit abroad the metallic power chain on my upper jaw’s front teeth (1 to 3) started to fall apart. During the past months I had swallowed a ton of orthodontic wax and my cheeks inside where torn with the damn wire. The problem with that is that when you brush the tie point moves and comes out and starts stabbing your cheeks. I was really sick and tired of that. So, I removed it myself, what a relief!

So I arrived Friday, October 8th and on Saturday 9th at 11:00 I had my first appointment of the week. He examined my mouth, saw the two brackets (on the bicuspids) that were missing prior to the extraction. We discussed my situation and my treatment and made another appointment for Monday.

DSC05246 On Monday I had my 2nd priority visit. The lower archwire was removed and replaced by another that seemed thicker but he said it is softer and may bend more easily. A bit of force had to be done to put it through the last two brackets on the molars but no pains. This was good news because earlier this year (in January) a new archwire was installed and a bracket on the lower front tooth replaced to make it turn. That was a painful procedure because the tooth was not aligned and getting the wire in was of screaming proportions!

This time it went easily, the left front lower tooth is now properly aligned, one more problem down.

Now the hard part… Since he knows I have anxiety problems with dental treatment he asked if I was ready for the extractions tomorrow Tuesday! or perhaps Wednesday if I wanted to chill down. Problem is I fly on Sunday so the sooner the better for checking possible complications. I said, what the hell, I have been postponing it since August, they have to go so let’s do it.

I had to get two X-Rays prior to extraction, a Panoramic and a Lateral Encephalograph (something like that). To save time I did it in the neighborhood of the hotel. The Orthodontist said they had not sufficient quality so I had to then go to another branch of the same people in the city center (near the Ortho). Uff! venturing on my own in the city center of Medellin, watch out!

They did the RX again at no cost. And then again, and again, and again. Yes 4 times because there were problems with the lateral RX. Finally I took them back to my ortho to check my positions prior to the extractions.

He was right on Saturday when he told me to eat everything I could because after this new archwire my lower molars where aching, I ate soft things for the next few days, good bye Colombian delicacies :(

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some videos about orthognatic surgery

Found these excellent videos about the operation without any blood spills (animations):

Good animations (a few others available from the same video author) without the horrific real-life blood & swelling that scare people off (I sure am!)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A delay...

Things have been awkward locally, orthodontists from two sides of the family asking me to follow my treatments with them. In fact I had already started with one but this is just two awkward. Either way you end up annoying some part of the family!

Also, I really liked my original orthodontist and he had been doing my treatment for 21 months, 2 weeks and 5 days by now! Unfortunately, if I want to continue treatment with him it means I have to spend quite some money travelling abroad, not only the plane ticket but also the 1 week hotel stay! pfew! that really adds up! The dilemma is also, if extractions are going to be made then I won't be able to enjoy delicious Colombian food! and way to many times I had to miss great dishes due to aching teeth.

Another complication, the extractions were planned for Aug. but that couldn't go through because a friend came over for 5 weeks. In the meantime my upper teet had a missing link on both sides because the orthodontist had removed the brackets on the 4th tooth/molars that were "sentenced to death". Given the delay, I worried about having my front teeth displaced again. I found one of my old elastic power chains and installed it myself for the time being until I visit the ortho. I had a little tooth pain for a few days, meaning there had been some movement. That means I have to take action soon.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Extractions planned for August

I have decided not to go on with the orthognathic surgery for several reasons. At this age I simply don’t want to go through months of bucal recovery and pain. I have had enough of that already. Anyway, both my previous and current orthodontists said it was an option not to do it. The new one thinks I don’t even need it but adjustments need to be made.

So… the shocking news came although I had heard them from my previous orthodontist as well: tooth extractions! it is necessary to move my upper bite backwards to align the teeth with the lower jaw. Unfortunately two healthy teeth (rather than the one that had heavy reconstruction) will be “amputated”. Yes, that is how it feels.

DSC04601 She, my new orthodontist first cut the Damon archwire and removed the brackets from the two teeth (the 4th on each upper side) that have been condemned to death…

As you can see on the photo I still have an overbite but it is much less than it was prior to treatment, it has quite improved my smile, confidence and speech.

Another thing that was done in this last visit was to remove the old, yellowish rubber power chain. It was replaced by a real metal wire. looks “nicer” because it doesn’t get dirty with the first coloured food you eat but it is a pain. My lips and cheeks are stung all over by this new wire. Extractions have been planned for end of August.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Change of Orthodontist :(

Well, all good things come to an end. Unfortunately the “miss” has decided to break dipomatic relations with your truly. It is well known that latin women have a special gene in their ADN that precludes any friendship from remaining after break-up, even if it was a friendly one.
Having said that, it had consequences. Going to Medellin for a week to visit my orthodontist would cost me nearly $1000 (USD) without extras (medical/dental expenses, food, transport). My orthodontist was a particularly good one but I have to be practical, especially with unemployment. So, now I have a (trusted) local orthodontist where I will continue my treatment. Here in this country however, Damon brackets are almost not used because nobody wants to pay the extra cost.
Double sadness, the end of a long standing relationship and leaving my current orthodontist. In particular this means that what was going to happen after the ortho treatment is now not in the list. He was going to rework my lower frontal teeth to restore the top of them that has been churn over the years.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Waterpik W-360 – Product Review

Waterpik I bought this unit a little over a year ago because I wanted a quick way to dislodge items prior to flossing and brushing.

The WP-360E2 that I have (bought in Europe) has a water reservoir (5) that is too small. Luckily I could do with one filling but not spending 5 seconds on every tooth. At the beginning I had to watch out not to get that pulsating jet into my eye (would cause eye damage).
It also has two sets (high and low power) replaceable nozzles (3) that you should rotate with your finger (4) while doing the job but be careful not to accidentally point the water jet at your eye unless you want to cause your eyes some serious damage. The on/off button (2) is very conveniently placed. The electrical charger plug (1) has a rubber cover to prevent water from entering.

This device is fantastic for everybody, especially us, brace wearers and even more if you have a power chain installed on your braces.  It is also tubeless (I wouldn't call it wireless) because there is no rubber tube between the device and the reservoir, something present in other units with larger reservoir but that might prove annoying.

A couple of days ago I went to use it after a couple of days and it quickly discharged half way. I found that strange and put it to charge. Let it 8 hours and when I went to turn it on it did nothing. I put it to charge another 12 because unfortunately this unit also lacks a charge indicator (red/green) how can something so basic be missing from an expensive device?

Well, after two consecutive charges I got the same result. The diagnostic appeared final, this unit, still relatively new and with not that many charge cycles on it, has become an expensive paper weight! or so I thought!. I was getting ready to dump it and decided to do some forensics, got my voltmeter and decided to check the charger/adapter and then I noticed it was 220V input and here we have 110V !!! no wonder, it was not getting enough voltage. But was it damaged? well, I checked the voltage and it said 4.3V (nominal 3.0V) so all was good. This time it charged properly as I had a low wattage 110V/220V step up/down converter.

The battery compartment is sealed and it cannot be replaced. Something to look for next time because once that NiCad gets Alzheimer (memory effect) my Waterpik truly becomes an expensive paper weight!

So in summary, while it works it serves its purpose with the pulsating water jet, especially if you choose the high power nozzle. Unfortunately the electrical design leaves some things to be desired and the reservoir is too small.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

An open Damon bracket

To begin with I have not had any more teeth movements since February, perhaps because I have not been drinking hot beverages now that I live in a tropical country.

My rubber powerchain is still yellow in spite of all the cleaning :( and on top of that I think the bracket that was replaced on my lower front tooth (ouch!) to allow it to rotate more has become open for quite a while. That would mean it is not doing its work.

Considering that I am abroad an no longer where my orthodontist has his practice (in another country) I think I will have to look for a local orthodontist specialized in Damon braces and have him/her close it and hopefully change the rubber chain for a new one.

Other than that no news except I am really tired of wearing braces and all the special care it needs. I want freedom!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hating the transparent power chain

Yes I hate it, I am very detailed in my mouth hygiene, brushing very often as well. It has been barely a week since the rubbery transparent power chain was (re)newed on my upper jaw and it already looks yellowy (disgusting!!!). The reason: I ate a Thai chicken with curry at Crepes & Waffles :(

I serioulsy thing the "transparent" power chain is counterproductive, you are better off with a strongly coloured one like red or blue, I don´t think those will get stained that easily. Anyway, just my experience.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Another painful experience :´(

Today after 14 months and 5 days since getting braces I had my follow up at the orthodontist. This is what happened today on my early (8AM) visit (tooth numbering chart here):

First both archwires were removed and on the lower archwire a binding wire had to be removed as well because due to the position of my two lower central incisors it was not possible to completely pass the archwire. The removal of this binding caused some pain. Opening the locks of the demon brackets was not painful this time, on my previous appt. (June 2009) a few were painful,especially the two lower central incisors.

Second to that was the removal of two brackets, one from my upper jaw tooth #11 (left canine/cuspid) the bracket needed to be repositioned. The removal of both bracket and glue was not a big deal. However, on the lower jaw tooth #25 (lower left central incisor) after the bracket was removed (a bit painful) he had to remove the remaining glue and THAT was very very painful! I was wriggling in the chair and would not like to go through that ever again! I thought the tooth was going to break or come out. In the end he had to use the grinder/drill to remove the rest. Both brackets were installed again but in a new position to adjust the teeth once the archwires are placed.

The third task was to grind some of the side that lower central incisor (#25) so that there is space to move around with less pain. That was not a big deal luckily.

Fourth came the placing of the archwires. The upper one was placed and brackets closed (daemon self-fixation) the same was done on the lower one. Unfortunately again there was some problem passing the whole archwire into position due to the new position of the lower central incisor bracket :( again a binding wire was used and that caused some pain on the sore tooth.

Last thing was the placing of another rubber power chain (unfortunately transparent so after some time it will get stained and look ugly) on the upper jaw to replace the one I removed a week ago. This one however is not as tight so that we can see if teeth move back to much or what. It is supposed to last there for a couple of months until my next visit.

So yes, a painful visit, no wonder a few weeks ago I had a nightmare (more like a premotion) that one of my lower central incisors had come out! Other than that all is good, still with a sore tooth but ok.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A new follow up

Just had my first follow up of the year after 6 months. Supposedly my lower wire was going to be changed and other things checked.

The outcome was the dental hygiene was very good (yeehaa!) and I had my teeth cleaned after the upper wire was temporarly loosened. All is looking good but surgery is not yet planned, but I may choose not to go for surgery.

He decided my lower archwire will remain as it is but some grinding will be done to let the brackets do the rest of the alignment. This will happen with the two front teeth of the lower jaw. The molar that has been bothering me (with crown) will probably be sanded down while we monitor what it is happening there.

On the upper jaw all is looking fantastic, all teeth aligned and retracted enough. Last week I removed myself the rubbery power chain that was supposed to have fallen off months ago. The teeth felt a bit painful (just faintly) for a few days because there was not chain traction.

Tomorrow the upper archwire will be replaced for another (I thought it was the last and thickest one). A new rubber power chain will be applied though I hope it is not transparent. Transparent is fine because in the beginning it is barely seen but as time passes it gets stained and in my opinion looks quite horrible! I hope he puts one with a color or something, better that than a horrible stained power chain.

He ordered a new panoramic XRay and a peri-something XRay of the molar with the crown that is bothering me every now and then. I had it done right away (paid about $14 for both!).

Other than that nothing else to report. I shall see tomorrow.