Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January Picture Updates

Two posts in one week! I'm on a roll!

Here are the photos I promised of my braces update:

The saturation is weird on the new photo, so please ignore that! But otherwise I wanted to point out how much my bite has changed so far! My orthodontist has been widening my upper jaw and narrowing my lower jaw. You can see a huge difference in the way my back teeth meet one another. In the Week 4 photo my bottom teeth are actually slightly WIDER than the top! Craziness!

Here are the photos of the new buttons put on my inner top right molars, linking to my outer bottom right molars:

p.s. from now on all of my new photos will be in black and white, I feel like it looks less gross upclose that way! ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 - The Year of Change

Hello braces world!

I know I've been distant and a stranger over the past few months...but I promise it's not you... It's me... Can we still be friends?

I knew you'd say yes :)

So I have a lot to update you guys on! First of all, I would like to start off by wishing everyone a very happy and healthy new year! I hope your teeth are getting straighter by the day. For those of you who do not have braces (YET), I wish you the confidence to just go ahead and slap those puppies on! I'm telling you, it's worth the goofy smile and the visit to the orthodontist every 6 weeks. My teeth have amazed me thus far and I can't wait to see what exciting changes are to come in 2010.

In total, its been about 9 months (or 280 days to be exact) since I got my braces on. What a journey it's been! Here are a few progression photos since the last photo update I posted:

My orthodontist says that my teeth are moving very well and that next time I go in for my adjustment (mid-feb) that I'll have progression models taken. Progression models are exactly like the white molds they take in the beginning of the process, and now will be taken to see how much my teeth have improved. The main reason for doing this is to be able to update my oral surgeon on the progress. This will help inform the oral surgeon as to when I will be able to begin the jaw surgery prep (holy camoly!!). When I first started this blog it seemed like the surgery was such a long time away...but now it's this year! This is the year of change for me. By the end of 2010, I will have my oral surgery completed (fingers crossed) and be able to see what my bite (and my face, profile, etc.) will be like for REST OF MY LIFE! EEK!!! Very exciting times. I'm actually not nervous one bit, and people think I'm crazy for that. I would have the jaw surgery tmrw if I could! Just knock me out, take some of the bone out of my upper jaw, screw me back together, hop me up on some sweet sweet pain meds and let the healing process begin! Haha. That is a fantasy of mine, but it seems more likely that the surgery will be happening in the late summer or early fall.

At the beginning of this process, I promised myself that once I got the braces on, I was determined to become the healthiest (physically) that I was able to be (without obsessing). I set a goal of losing 30 lbs and gaining a lot of lean muscle and eating as healthy as I possibly could. My reasoning behind this is that I want to be incredibly healthy for the surgery so that I know I've done everything possible to ensure that the surgery is a success and that I heal as well and as fast as humanly possible. I took a stand (against myself) and began to take full responsibility for my health. With that said, 9 months later, I am 25 lbs lighter and healthier than I've ever been in my life. I know it's weird to say, but since I had the braces put on, I've changed most of my life - for the better - and I will continue to use this experience as much as I can to grow as a person (both mentally and physically). I intend to push myself to limits I never thought were even possible. That said, my final goal is to lose 5 more lbs before I go into surgery. The objective and outcome of that goal is to only have to take 2 weeks off from my job and have my face and body to return to normal ASAP. For those of you out there who have had jaw surgery, how long has it taken you to be able to go back to work? How long until you were not eating out a straw?

Now for some technical braces updates. As you can see in the pictures, I've had some fun additions to the braces family. Back in the fall they started using power chains on my teeth. Power chains are the elastics that are attached to one another and can be linked across multiple teeth. They have used these power chains to shift teeth and to close gaps (especially on my upper right teeth where I had some major gaps from tooth removals as a child). In addition to the power chains, brackets were put on to some of my inside teeth on the upper right. These brackets are tinier than normal, and I think they are called buttons? Can anyone confirm this? Here is a picture of them:

These buttons were put on because they are trying to fix my wonky bite (which is a constant process obviously). When I bit down, I tend to jut out my bottom teeth and shift the bottom jaw to the left side. I have no idea why it does that, but I've been seeing MAJOR improvements in my bite over the past few something must be working! The buttons are there to attach an elastic (my first elastic experience!)to the inside of my two top mollars on the right side, to the outside of the two bottom mollars on the right side. Does that make sense? I will post a photo of my buttons and elastic on the next post.

Now let me tell you... so far I am NOT a fan of elastics. Anything that I have to remember to do on a daily basis (besides flossing and brushing) may not happen as often as it should. For the first 6 weeks that I got them on, I was pretty good and wearing them 24/7. The major problem I noticed was that in the middle of the night, I would chew the elastic apart and wake up with either a missing elastic (probably ate it - yum) or it would be stuck in my cheeks. This probably happened every other night. Another, slightly easier problem to fix, was that I was not able to eat with the elastics in - for reasons of not EATING the elastic itself. Pretty sure I ate the first elastic that the orthodontist put in my mouth. Haha. Of course. Thus I learned to take the elastic out before meals and replace it afterwards. Anyho... now that my teeth have shifted the intended way, my ortho said I only have to wear them for half of the day (either all night or all day). Thank goodness! Although, I am certainly aware that there are MANY more elastics in my future. FML.

On a side note, I've wanted to make a new video post lately - to show you my transformation - but my new laptop does not have a webcam. I'll try to get one up soon!

That's all for now! I hope you enjoyed reading all about braces today, and I look forward to hearing your comments and questions.


p.s. if any of you are on twitter, you can find me @alexis_levenson