Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Braces Come Off!!

Well, the day finally happened!!  I have been waiting for this since my first consult when I learned how difficult this journey was going to be. Speaking of that journey....let's recap.
After deciding to go ahead and do the surgery, the first step was placing the brackets. This was an interesting process - having brackets on for quite some time before the wires were placed. Looked pretty strange!
Then I went through the surgery process, which turned into two surgeries (breaking the top jaw and removal of my wisdom teeth, and then emergency surgery to stop some uncontrolled bleeding). The recovery was difficult, and just as much a mental battle as it was physical. Being on a liquid diet for an entire summer.....NOT fun. I did appreciate the weight loss (50 lbs), but it certainly wasn't the healthiest way to drop pounds.
Here is the expander in place.
Once the expander was in, I began the process of widening the top jaw.
By the time we were done, I think we expanded 11mm, which doesn't seem like much, until it IS.
The wires were then placed on the top teeth, and we began the process of bringing those teeth back together. It really made everything settle at strange angles, but my orthodontist told me to trust him, he would fine-tune everything as it was supposed to be.
The expander once it came out.
And he was right, everything started to straighten out nicely. Until we figured out we needed more room on the bottom to make additional adjustments. This mean pulling yet another tooth. Seriously? At this point, I was rather pissed off. I thought the main part of this process was over, and here we are, yanking more teeth.
And closing yet another gap.
But it closed. And to tell you the truth, unless you stand there and count my teeth, you would never know I was missing a bottom center tooth.
So then the major fine-tuning started. Minor adjustments here and there. Quite the waiting game.
Several months ago, we took the brackets off of my top six front teeth and repositioned them. For a brief moment, I got a glimpse of the final result, though we still weren't done moving.
The last month or so was really a race - I was being really picky about one tooth, which resulted in movement in an adjacent tooth, which brought on some panic of "are we going to get this done in time?!" I had a self-imposed deadline to get these damn things off - BEFORE I leave for Italy. So we scrambled to make some quick changes, and quick they were.
Everything turned out just how I wanted. I now have permanent retainers on my top and bottom teeth, which is a whole new thing to get used to. I'm not liking it, but the adjustment gets easier with each passing day.  Here is the final result!
Just some cautionary words of advice for anyone thinking about doing the surgery and/or getting braces. 
1.  HIGHLY consider that surgery. Think about the pros and the cons. Think about the cost. Think about whether or not your insurance will cover it and if you are ready to pay the entire cost if they don't.  My total was just under $28,000.00 (OUT OF POCKET) for orthodontist, oral surgeon, and hospital fees and costs.  NOT what I was expecting going into this. My top jaw still doesn't feel as strong as it was, and I'm not sure it ever will be. I'm not sure I will ever be able to bite into an apple like I used to. Time will be the only true test on that.
2.  While having those white brackets is nice (I preferred them, thinking they were less noticeable), they are the biggest pain in the ass to take off. The metal brackets (supposedly) pop right off. The porcelain brackets literally just shatter during the removal process, leaving a ton of glue, resulting in hours of grinding the glue off of your teeth. I highly regret doing the porcelain brackets. My recommendation - stick with metal.
3.  Slattery Orthodontics is the way to go. Dr. Slattery and his staff are such a fun, professional group of people. I highly recommend doing with his office for your orthodontic needs. I know it's where I will take my kids when that time arrives.

No comments: