You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.

I forgot to report that at the beginning of December, when I went to get my wires clipped, I found out that I SHOULD BE WEARING my elastics.

I think the doctor has said that I don’t need them, but the records indicated I did.  So, I’m wearing them again.

Apparently, they’re using a different supplier, so the Chimpunks have been replaced by Thailand.  The elastics are thicker, coarser, and not as cute.

I don’t know where the time has flown, but almost a month since my last post! 

I write to you from Morelia, Mexico, where I happen to be staying in the area of town with many medical clinics.  Including an orthodontist’s office on the corner!

I’ve seen two women with braces.  But keep forgetting to ask what they call braces here.

Anyway, por favor, para la gente que tiene ‘braces’ en paises hispano-hablantes, ensename como se dice ‘braces’ en espanol.  Supongo que hay varias palabras.

What’s that saying about how adaptable we humans are?

I’m kind of embarrassed and amazed to say this, but I kind of miss wearing the rubber bands. I was told my bite was good enough, I don’t need to wear them anymore.

I think I miss them because I could see (and feel) the progress.  Now I worry, what if I don’t make more progress?  What it my teeth go back?

Am I worrying too much?  I need to get my wires clipped tomorrow; I’ll ask the doctor about this.

An article in the New York Times last month, A Lineman in My Bed: Notes on Teeth Grinding, talked about sleep bruxism, which refers to grinding or clenching teeth while asleep.

A dentist explains that during sleep bruxism,

“the upper and lower teeth may come into direct contact as much as 40 minutes per hour, and — for example, on the first molar — with a force of about 250 pounds. Hence the football player. Compare that with normal circumstances, when a person’s teeth make contact for about 20 minutes a day, while chewing, and with only 20 to 40 pounds of pressure.”

I know I’ve had time when I grind my teeth.  Had no idea I had a football player in my mouth!

Here’s an earlier post on relaxing the jaw, with a couple of natural (non-drug) how to tips.  I want to make sure to follow these because I suspect sleep bruxism has affected my bite — and hence brought me to my current state of wearing braces — and also I want to minimize the effect AFTER I get them off!

I’m almost done! Actually, I have 3 months to go, but I’m 3/4 done! Woo-hoo!

Here’s my Month 9 State of the Braces report:

  • Rubber bands: I have to admit, I’ve been slacking a bit on wearing these during the day, but have worn them every night. So that’s at least 8 hours every day.
  • Power chain: These were put on my bottom teeth. The first few days were very painful, but no problem afterwards. They have worked; the gap between my molars is closing. See photo.
  • Wire wreaking havoc: The uncomfortable consequence of the molar moving forward is that the wire is sticking of the bracket about 1 mm in the back. And tearing up my cheek again. I’ve been suffering and trying to get some relief with wax. It’s kind of working. Will get that clipped at the ortho office tomorrow.
  • Face shape: Over Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law noted how my face looks thinner because I have more of a jaw than is natural. I wonder how I will look when the braces come off? Will I look different to myself, or like my old self? What will people who met me in the last year, and only know me with braces, think?
  • Food: Still looking forward to biting into something crunchy, and enjoying some lovely dried dates.

Photos

Bite is looking, and feeling, better:

front month9

A new gap has opened up; I think another power chain might be coming. Ouch!

left month9

And look at the progress on closing the gap, compared to last time.

 closing gap month9   today

071102molargap last month

On the topic of ways to deal with the pain of braces, here’s a post I wrote in my wellness blog about using mental imagery and visualization to deal with pain.

The idea is to take attention away from the pain by putting attention on an image that is soothing or comforting in some way.

  • For braces related pain, images that take you away from the area of your jaw and head could be helpful.  Perhaps imagining your bare feet walking in the cool mossy floor of a quiet deep forest.  Imagine how the coolness feels on the soles of your feet, and your toes.  The smell of trees and plants.  The feel of the soft breeze.
  • Or maybe the coolness of water.  Blue.  Cool and soothing.

Imagery and visualization can be deeply personal.  Experiment.  See if there’s a kind of image or visual journey that  works for you.