October 7, 2010

Well isn’t this just lovely

Okay, so with the help of my good buddy Advil I am dealing with the discomfort of the molar bands against my gums. Even the tightness/pressure from a new arch-wire being in place is manageable if not uncomfortable. Heck, I even like smiling/grimacing at my reflection to check out my new clear ligs… they look so nice all shiny and new and not stained with mustard/curry/red wine!

Then, like predicting a scary part in a bad movie… I could sense something was amiss. The insides of the molar bands are rough. Prickly sharp. I vaguely recall the technician who fitted them grinding something on the insides on the bands (I try to zone out in the chair).

They looked like tiny ridges. This is what is scraping my tongue… however the scraping turned into something much more sinister and now the sides of my tongue felt like they were being run over a rasp. Over and over and over. I figured I could ignore them and just forge ahead.

So I had a snack of leftover tuna and some leftover mashed potatoes before I headed out to curling (can’t eat too much before a game, it doesn’t sit well) figuring I’d eat more when I got home. By the time I was back home 3 hours later my tongue hurt so bad it hurt just resting in my mouth. The mere thought of eating anything was enough to make me wince. So I figure I’ll just brush my teeth and head to bed.

If only. As soon as I started brushing, the sensation of toothpaste against the right side of my tongue felt like I was brushing with acid!

So I tried to spit out what I had in my mouth realized that the way your tongue moves when you spit pushes the wide part of your tongue against your teeth… in my case, against the molar bands and when I did, I saw blood in the sink. I stuck my tongue in front of the mirror to check out the right side where it was hurting the worst and saw the damage. My tender tongue had a scrape/gouge along the side. Well fuck me isn’t that fun? Figuring I had few options, I thought I’d just brush the rest of my teeth and try to rinse out my mouth. Never ever have I cried in pain from brushing my teeth before. I do not wish that feeling on anyone… even the people I don’t like. Okay, maybe a few of them.

Today, in order to have some relief, I have a gob of orthodontic wax pretty much encapsulating the right banded molar that is giving me grief and so far (after about 12 hours) it is helping. I can speak normally (if not sensibly) again and my tongue feels less raw and the swelling is going down. I still can’t imagine chewing anything so today I have had: 1 bottle of pomegranate/cherry Vitamin water, 1 can of chocolate Ensure, a dozen jarred peach slices that I mushed them against the roof of my mouth, and an Aero bar. You know, for energy! Haha! Tonight I made Kraft Dinner for supper. Mmmm soft and "cheesy" KD. It was easy enough to eat (pretty sure I could have devoured the entire pot-full) but I took the wax off my banded tooth to eat and it HURT. SO. BAD. dammit all. Felt like my tongue was being shredded. Tongue looks raw. Wax is back on now. Fawk.

I just pray(!!!) that I will be able to eat Thanksgiving dinner with my family this weekend.

October 6, 2010

Heavy Metal v. I’m With The Band

You know when you eat popcorn and a miserable little piece of kernel gets lodged between your teeth up under your gums and you vow you’d give up popcorn forever just to get the bit out and feel some relief; and you attack it with toothpicks/fingernails/floss ignoring the discomfort because you know once its out things will start to feel better? Metal molar bands feel kinda like that, except without the relief at the end because the effers are permanent (well, until the orthodontist removes them at the end of treatment). Constantly feeling like you need to floss to get something bad out from between my teeth has got to be some form of torture. Unscrupulous folks out to get their pound of flesh could save themselves a lot of misery chasing people with knives (or whatever it is they do) and just jam stuff between the teeth of those they are out to get redemption from. I’m glad I have a devious mind! Ha ha!

Molar band... torturous thing
But yeah…metal molar bands, they hurt. More accurately, they hurt like hell. It feels like there are little teeny razor blades nested firmly against my gums.

And why do I have them you ask? Well as it has been explained to me, they are to create a stable anchor point for the surgeon when my jaws are in pieces… a solid brace point if you will. *shudder*

Oh come on, you know reading this, you want to trade places with me. Everyone must want this sort of oral nightmare! I’ve never hated going to the dentist (correction: having a root canal through a front-tooth crown was nerve wracking enough to have Ativan prescribed) but this sort of tooth manipulation/movement in my adult mouth is totally un-fun. I stopped growing years ago. These chompers I’ve got have been happily in place since I was a teenager. The pressure from moving teeth in my mouth is causing some epic headaches and these molar bands are the current bane of my existence. Melodramatic? Yeah, probably. But this is my blog and I’ll whinge if I want to! I just keep telling myself it will all be worth it in the end!

September 29, 2010

Gimmie space, oh baby gimmie space!

I am fighting a cold, but I am not winning. I am chock-full of Advil Cold & Sinus as well as some daytime cold relief capsules we had in the bathroom  this morning. I am counting the hours/minutes/seconds until I can go home and curl up on the couch with my dog and a blanket and a cup of Neo-citran because I somehow felt I had to drag my butt into work today. Silly girl.

So in addition to feeling miserable with a faucet for a nose, I had an appointment at the orthodontist to have spacers put on either side of my 2nd to last back molars on the bottom. Spacers look like tiny rubber washers that are stretched and then “flossed” between my teeth. Yeah… they were a pretty damn tight squeeze to get them in. Now they are in place and I can actually “bite” on the tops of the spacers. It’s a weird sensation… kind of like when you’re blowing up balloons and you chomp down on the rolled open end. Anyhow, aside from that annoyance, since they are pushing against the teeth next to them I have intense pressure in my mouth. This of course complements the sinus pressure in my head.

Bad cell phone pic of the blue spacers

The purpose of the rubber spacers is to push my other teeth away from the "naked" tooth to make room so that a week from today when I go back in, the metal molar bands being put on the aforementioned molars will *hopefully* go into place with relative ease. However I am bracing myself for the possibility that it will suck. And I suspect rightfully so, because to quote my orthodontist, “next week, be prepared for about 45 minutes of tugging and wrestling in your mouth”. Oh golly, I can hardly wait. Then in October I get to have the same thing done to the top teeth.

But for now, it feels like I have steak stuck in-between my teeth and there is nothing I can do about it. I am under strict instructions to NOT floss between the teeth the spacers are on. Blarg. I was sent away with 4 spare spacers and instructions on how to put them in place in case I lose one. Considering how difficult they were to get in place at the ortho’s office, I am not banking on them “falling” out. At least I hope not! Either way, I have a week with them in!

September 23, 2010

I Dream of Teeth

I had my first braces related dream last night. I’ve heard of people having nightmares about braces/jaw surgery and I am sure as my own surgery day creeps closer my subconscious will filter in some orthodontic influences, but this was my first orthodontic dream. It wasn’t even bad all things considered. Two weeks ago my bottom front teeth were aching pretty badly. The morning after the worst day of pain I noticed a small visible gap between the two bottom front teeth, which to me explained the pain. So in last night’s dream, I didn’t have pain but I did have crazy spaces between all my teeth. It looked like when a small child gets their first teeth and they are all spaced apart. I guess I must be okay with the “it will get worse before it gets better” part of major orthodontic treatment because I didn’t wake up panicked or disoriented (you know, like I do when I dream of work ha ha).

My husband’s family are all going to see my braces for the first time this weekend so I had better be prepared to tell my “why-did-you-get-braces-when-your-teeth-were-already-straight” story a bunch of times. Ten bucks says his grandmother makes some comment about the cost.

And speaking of people noticing my braces, my friend’s 4 year old saw them for the first time last weekend and he was pretty curious about them. Explaining what braces are and what they were doing in my mouth to a 4 year old was interesting… he doesn’t care that they make me look a bit different; he just didn’t know what they are. So, he looked in my mouth, touched the brackets and wires and was generally a curious kid. I think he understood what they are to a degree, but he’s 4 and we went from talking about what the braces were doing in my mouth, to running away from imaginary crocodiles. To be honest, he is my favourite person I’ve explained them to so far. I didn’t tell him about the surgery, I figure he doesn’t need to know about that until the time comes. Then, I am sure I will need help explaining why my teeth are banded together but I bet as long as he knows I will be “better” at some point; he’ll be okay with that too. My friend on the other hand, gets squeamish and visibly uncomfortable when I mention the surgery so it might be up to someone else to explain it to his little guy without gagging. I am not eager to think about the actual methodology of the surgery, but so long as I don’t analyze it too much I should be okay!

September 17, 2010

I believe in the magic of hot dogs

Well, it’s been two weeks since I got braced. Those first few days really sucked. My mouth/teeth were achy and everything I tried to eat was a challenge. I wore the orthodontic wax over most of my brackets with elastic-hooks and the insides of my lips/cheeks were raw and tender. Then, last Saturday my husband and I were having lunch at a campground and I ate/spit out the wax I had on my brackets. When I was done eating, I brushed my teeth and to my surprise it didn’t feel like the brackets were hurting me anymore! I don’t know what the turning point was, but I am going to go ahead and credit the magic of bbq’d hot dogs. For the record, mustard stains the clear ligs on ceramic brackets. But I love mustard and am not about to give it up! LOL the discolouration is minimal so it’s not that bad. Either way, I haven't worn wax in almost a week and I can honestly (and thankfully) say I am used to the braces!

My co-worker who had upper jaw surgery on August 31st came back to work on Monday of this week. She was only off for not quite two weeks! I keep telling her she is going to make me look bad when it’s my turn to be off work recovering from surgery. Then again, I am 7 years older than her and there is a chance my surgery will include both jaws. That aside, her mouth seems to be healing really well. The swelling in her lips is going down and you can tell sort of what her bite is going to be like when everything is done. Talking to her about her surgery and recovery is a good thing for me, and her current progress inspires me when I am having a blah-braces day. I had another girl in the office come to me after seeing the other co-worker on her first day back and ask me if I was scared about my pending surgery. Well of course I am! If it wasn’t nervous about it I would be worried! However the thing that keeps me positive about it is the thought that things will all be good when the whole process is done!

I am amazed the amount of people I know that have had the surgery done. They see my braces; comment how it doesn’t look like I need braces, I explain it’s for my jaw/bite and that I will be having surgery at some point. Then the “oh, I had that done”. It seems more common than I thought! It’s also nice to get feedback and hints from people who have gone through the whole shebang and are all recovered (years later!). Again, I know its going to be tough going for a bit, but I keep thinking about the future and what I will feel and look like. I am debating asking the surgeon if, while he’s in surgery if he’ll shave down the bump on my nose! LOL

September 2, 2010

The Architecture of my Mouth

This morning I went to the orthodontist. An hour and a half later I left with a mouthful of orthodontic construction material. In the time that I’ve worked for the Construction Contract Administration department of an Architecture firm, I’ve discovered that I sometimes view the buildings around me as ordinary or artfully designed thoughts and ideas. And it seemed to me that the things I have in my mouth are not all that different. Building construction materials have similar purposes as orthodontic construction materials. You could think of it as: I have rebar held in place with metal (and ceramic) footings concreted to my tooth surface. All in an attempt to help straighten and correct the Architecture of my mouth. Yep, that’s how my brain works.

I’m not sure how I feel about having the braces on. They aren’t hurting me yet, just a little aching so far. I managed to eat supper tonight with minimal awkwardness. But people do look. A quick double take... sometimes in a subtle manor, sometimes not. Some are all “hey, right on, good for you” others are aghast “ohmygawd... you're 30 and you got braces? Why? Your teeth are already straight” I have yet to put together a reply that doesn’t seem to take too long to explain. I think as those who see me every day will get used to them on me, and hopefully I won’t notice having them in my mouth after a bit.

Who knows... this is day 1. There are many many more days to come.

September 1, 2010

Do you know what tomorrow is?

Tomorrow... is B Day. No, not my birthday... which was Sunday. And as a friend on Facebook pointed out, that (according to his math) I was now in my thirties. Yeah. 30. Yippidee... *sigh* B Day is Braces Day. Tomorrow morning (at 10:45) I have an appointment to get my braces put on. I nervously excited. I know that this will mark day #1 of a potentially long orthodontic/orthognathic journey.

Today after work I went with two coworkers to visit another coworker who had jaw surgery yesterday. I was fully prepared to walk into her hospital room and see her all bandaged and bruised and groggy and swollen. I was happily surprised to see that she was talking and smiling and looked like she could just get up and run right out of her room. I got to see her “eat” tomato soup through a syringe which, while it didn’t look fun, looks do-able. Yeah, it’s easy for me to say that now. Once I am in her position I expect the novelty will wear off quickly. Until then, I will be wired and waiting to meet my surgeon.

Earlier tonight, my husband asked what time my appointment was at the orthodontist tomorrow. Then he says “Awww you’re not even going to get to eat lunch before you get your braces on!”. Yeah (sigh from me) I know. He then reminds me that will suck. Uh huh... I’ve figured that out (another sigh). Then he suggests we leave for work a bit early tomorrow and go into Smokeys (a local diner) for breakfast so I could have a great last meal before the braces go on. I love surprises like that! So, I am really looking forward to tomorrow now. For a week that started out so horribly, it’s been steadily improving!

August 26, 2010

Just one week to go

Here I am, one week away from getting wired. I'm not sure if I am more anxious/stressed about that, or turning 30 in three days. Both have their good and bad points. Turning thirty really isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but somewhere in the back of my head is a wee voice screeching "OLD HAG!" at me. I think its because of the way society treats aging women. Beauty is all about youth when it comes to marketing. I guess having the braces on will young-ify my appearance a bit but I will still have the crinkles in the corners of my eyes when I smile and that bone-tired exhaustion from a stressful workday on my face from time to time. Never had either of those when I had braces as a teenager!

I have been running my tongue along the front of my teeth a lot the past few days. On days when my brackets are digging into my cheeks and there is constantly food-bits stuck in unreachable places (for my tongue) I hope I remember how nice it feels to have lovely smooth teeth. I am also worried that I will hate my adult smile with braces on them. I've read a lot from people who are terribly self conscious of what others think of how they look in braces. Most of my friends and coworkers know about the journey I am taking with my teeth and jaw and are very supportive, but I keep wondering about that girl in the mirror. She is brutally critical and sometimes I just don't like her. Bad hair days, breakouts (nope, haven't seemed to outgrow those yet), dark circles and the like mock her and make her scowl back at me. I predict the first couple days I will be smiling/grimacing at my reflection in the mirror or avoiding it altogether.

I hope I don't have too much pain with teeth moving and I hope the insides of my cheeks don't get sliced up like they did the last time I wore braces either. I will be carrying orthodontic wax everywhere and will keep a healthy supply of Advil at hand… I don't do pain well! Until next Thursday however, I have a stagette party to attend, a birthday to have, and loads of work (at home and at the office) to keep me busy. It feels like I have been waiting for September 2nd to come forever, and now that its so close I'm hoping this next week flies by!

August 24, 2010

I'm not above asking for help

I had a long chat with my mom last night and told her about this blog, after telling her exactly what a blog is. “You’ve had it since January and I am only finding out about it NOW?” was her exclamation. LOL She shouldn’t feel bad, the only person who knew about it until quite recently was my husband. We also had a wee laugh over the name I chose. I wanted something memorable, and I think the one I have does nicely. She chuckled over my account of taste testing baby food, then we talked about how when I was an infant, I never ate pre-made baby food as she made everything I ate. I expect I will ask her for much help when I am in the healing stage!

Tonight I went on errands to get some things in preparation for my (ugh, 30th) birthday party this Sunday afternoon. I am coordinating with my mom and stepmom to make sure I have many of my favourite foods at the party. I am absolutely going to try blending a few things together and seeing what sort of things I will find palatable. I am curious to see what I can make!

August 22, 2010

Experimental Sundays - the first one

So, a lot of bloggers do theme days... Wordless Wednesdays, Thankful Thursdays and the like. I have decided that for me, I’ll have Experimental Sundays. No, I know that doesn’t have the same pithy alliteration but I like it. And besides, it is generally the one day of the week that I am almost always home for a good part of the day and I can take the time to try different recipes.

Today is Sunday, and I decide I am finally brave/hungry enough to try the baby food I bought the other day. In keeping with the whole always-prepared thing I seem to subscribe to, I thought I’d pick up a few flavours of baby food to try in anticipation of my future with a jaw wired shut. After reading labels, I figure I can totally make most of the blended “foods” myself like sweet potatoes and squash and such so I stuck to mostly to the fruits. Right now I am sampling “Strawberry Dessert”. Its... interesting. And according to the label, the nutritional goodness is low. Hmmm. I am okay with making/blending my own foods but I was hoping to have at least a few simple shortcuts in the way of pre-packaged “food” meant for babies. I really don’t think I could eat too much of it. It’s curiously bland but you totally get the flavour they were going for. I'm not terribly eager to try the "Turkey with Vegetables" I bought.

Note to self: when you get the bright idea to use a pretty cloth as a photo backdrop, iron it first

August 21, 2010

Sippin' a Smoothie on Saturday

I woke up this morning with epic jaw pain. I hate mornings like this. There was toast being made in my kitchen and it smelled soooo good I decided to make some and chew through the pain. Bad idea. The dog helped me finish what I wasn't able to eat. It's going to be a painkiller kinda day :(

So, I plugged in my new single-serve blender and made myself something filling that I didn't have to chew. I made a smoothie with frozen strawberries, fresh blueberries, plain vanilla yogurt and some Ocean Spray "Tropical" juice blend. This new blender is awesome. Its compact (it will be coming camping for sure!) and blends up solid frozen berries something wicked. It comes with a blending lid AND a travel lid so you can blend your drinks and take it to work, it totally fits in our SUV's cupholder! And as a bonus, it was only $14 at Walmart! If you're in the market for something like this I would definately recommend it!

August 20, 2010

T-minus 2 weeks

Well with less than two weeks to go until my braces are on, I’ve been thinking a lot about the journey I’m about to embark on. I wonder and worry about the pain/discomfort my mouth will be in, and what foods I won’t be able to eat or at least have to eat differently. Monday night hubby and I had corn on the cob for supper. Ohhh… it was brilliant! Sweet and tender and messy.

I’ll miss bacon breakfast sandwiches from Tim Hortons too; they are my I-didn’t-have-time-to-make-breakfast meal on work days. I have borrowed some books from the library to try and get some creative meal ideas for after the surgery too. I want to start trying some things now just in case I end up hating certain concoctions! In addition to foods that will be good for a mouth healing from surgery, there are some really yummy sounding recipes! There is one in the I Can’t Chew Cookbook for a curried chicken salad that I am eager to try! Even more with spinach and green beans and cheese that sound healthy and delicious.

Since I am having clear brackets on my top teeth, I will have to be mindful to avoid/limit my intake of things like tea, coffee and curry that could easily stain the brackets. For the record, those are three of my favourite things. So tonight I am making a huge skillet of Butter Chicken with extra added curry paste. It will get the jars out of my cupboard and thereby removing at least some temptation!

August 9, 2010

Getting Closer!

I am getting closer...
In 20 days, I will be 30 years old (gulp)
In 24 days, I will have braces.
Some days it seems like no big thing, some days it feels like I am starting a hell of a journey!

Anyhow, I hauled out the camera tonight and with the assistance of my husband, took some mouth "before" pictures:

Okay... not pretty but here is my bite. At first glance all seems okay, but then I see the sideways slant and width of my bottom jaw and I am anxious to start the process of fitting all my teeth in my mouth in a sensible and pain-free way! You can see the broken right front crown where it was bonded in place!

Profile - not smiling

Profile - smiling

Natural smile!

July 23, 2010

And we're off...

So my days as a bare-toothed gal are numbered… on Tuesday I had my x-rays, impressions and wax moulds done at the Orthodontist’s office. I was not looking forward to the impressions as I have a ridiculous gag reflex that engages even just thinking about tongue depressors. Anyhow, the impressions went shockingly easy (no gagging!) even though the bottom mould needed to be re-done as the impression material came away from the bite tray when the technician removed it. I blame the humidity we’ve been suffering through lately.

No... the worst part of the whole visit was the x-rays. With every bite-wing the tech put in my mouth I fought (and often lost) the urge to gag. I felt bad for the tech and kept apologising to her for ruining her chance at yet another x-ray shot of my bite. But, I got through it and now I wait for the day I get my braces affixed to my teeth. My scheduled appointment is Thursday September 2nd but I am on a cancellation list so I may get in sooner.

I am excited and a bit nervous. I remember the ache I felt in my teeth and gums when I had braces at age 12 and am not eager to relive it, especially considering I am almost 30 and my mouth has stopped growing and the shifting of my teeth with take more effort. Luckily there is not a lot of movement required of each tooth this time around so I am hopeful! I am going to stock up on Ibuprofen, Tylenol and dental wax!

January 3, 2010

Things I'm realizing I will miss while wired shut... (one post of many)

Cheeseburgers (okay, most fast foods)
Peppermint gum
Licking my lips
Sticking my tongue out at people (hee hee)
Peanut M&M's
Club sandwiches

January 2, 2010

What does Wikipedia say?

I decided to ask Wikipedia about jaw surgery just to see what I'd find. Pretty interesting actually, worth a read at least:


How I got to this point

In late November 2009, I went to the dentist to root canal on one of the front teeth with a crown on it (both front teeth are porcelain crowns… the story of how I came to own these babies will come later) and I started talking to the Dr. about my mouth and jaw pain and how my teeth don’t meet together when I bite down. We decided it was a good time to start thinking about long term solutions to my dental issues and I ended up booking an appointment to have all sorts of molds and impressions and cameras in my mouth and all kinds of stuff done (none covered by my insurance, naturally) and the Dr. said he’d look over everything and come up with the best treatment plan available as well as a couple alternative choices.

A couple weeks later I ended up back at the dentist office to get the verdict. His recommendation? Surgery. He said he is reluctant to recommend his patients to have the surgery as it is the most extreme option. The other choices he offered to me would have worked fine, but are not permanent. I could have something cosmetic done, only to need to have everything replaced in a few years, but like I thought, I don’t want to be 39, 49, 59, whatever and have the same issues and perhaps it would have deteriorated to a place where I have to have surgery, but it’ll take me 3 times as long to heal. So… after talking with my husband about what we could be looking at for cost and recovery we decided that we’d do whatever it took to get my mouth/jaw in a good place. To that end, I’m having surgery.

It was recommended that I have this surgery when I was a teenager and had braces (oh ,yeah… I went through all that part of the fun before!) but parental input was negative toward the surgery as there were a few people who had it done and ended up with “chipmunk cheeks”. I’m confident I’ll end up jus t fine, but my mother always has a voice tinged with worry when we talk about it.

If I didn’t worry at all I would be more concerned. I know what lies ahead of me. I’ve been doing my reading and research and I feel that the more people that share their experiences, the more I feel like I can handle this. I am most worried about going mad smelling bacon and not being able to eat it…

Number 1... the beginning

Here we are in a brand new year, brand new decade. Where were you ten years ago? Where was I? Well I remember breathing a small sigh of relief as the much publicized hype of Y2K didn’t do the catastrophic damage it was predicted might happen. And now here we are the years later in 2010 and this will be the year of having my jaw wired shut for 6-8 weeks likely. This… this should be interesting.