to May 2004
am happy to report that the gaps are GONE. Closed! Finished!
Kaput! History! Three cheers for arch wire loops and power
had an appointment with Dr. Vogt recently. He's looking in my
mouth. OK Lynn, open....now bite down. Pause. Inspection.
"OK, open again.....and bite down. Pause. Inspection.
"OK, open again.....and bite down. Pause. Inspection.
"OK, open again
.....and bite down.
get the idea. This went on for like 5 minutes.
I had to ask. "So what are you looking at, Dr.
this point, we're doing a lot of fine-tuning. He explained to
me that this tooth needs to come forward a speck and that
tooth needs to be rotated this way a speck, and these
he proceeded to make more bends in my two arch wires, (which,
incidentally, hurt like hell when he put them back on)! He
wants to see me sooner than usual. No power chains for the
next few weeks, while those teeth do their little rotating and
tilting and coming forward or backward. I haven't been out of
power chains in months, so it's actually pretty nice to have
"normal" braces for a while. No elastics at night,
either, yippee! Anyway, at the next visit, he will probably
put the power chains back on, because although the gaps are
99% closed, there is still that tiny 1% that needs to
The Extraction Gaps are
(It took 21 months to completely close them)
this point, being in braces almost two-and-a-half years, I
have a mixture of excitement and annoyance. When I look in the
mirror, I can't believe that I'm looking at the same teeth
that were terrible most of my life. They look so great! I try
to imagine what it will look like when the braces come off and
they have been whitened. Wow! The near-final result is
terrific! The only thing I want to change (eventually) is to
have all the amalgam fillings replaced with tooth-colored
composite...as needed, of course, when the old fillings need
to be replaced.
said...I'm trying my best to be patient. I know that I'm in
the home stretch and these tiny tweaks need to be done, but
I'm tired of having guck in my mouth after I eat, sometimes.
I'm tired of needing to brush so often. I'm tired of being in
pain for 2 or 3 days after an adjustment. I'm tired of the way
I need to floss. I'm tired of NOT being able to eat certain
foods or chew gum. In short, I am really looking forward to
the braces coming off. Hopefully that will happen
sometime this summer.
we're on the subject of being annoyed, here's the latest
little hindrance. Some of the brackets on the far sides of my
mouth had little tubes attached to them. Dr. Vogt decided to
open up the little tubes with pliers and make a place for the
arch wire to fit through. That, in itself, is not really a
problem. The trouble comes when I brush my teeth. My Sonicare
bristles sometimes get stuck in those areas, and occasionally
a bristle gets pulled clear out of the brush head! The other
day, I had to pluck one out of my braces with tweezers! Uugh!
results of last month's poll surprised me a bit. I didn't
realize how popular tooth whitening has become. Like me, most
of you want to have your teeth whitened after your braces come
off. And why the heck not? After spending so much money, time,
pain, and inconvenience, those expensive straight teeth
deserve to be white!
reader asked recently how braces are taken off. I realized
that I had never put that info here on the site. So, it is now
added to Braces 101, along with more information about
retainers. Check it out!
have a new little hobby here at home: making ice cream. We had
a heat wave last month here in California (I know, it was
snowing everywhere else...very strange). Anyway, I was on eBay
and got a screaming deal on a brand new Cuisinart ice cream
maker. It's the "Duo" model, which makes two
separate quarts of ice cream at once. You can make chocolate
on one side, and vanilla on the other, for example. So far,
I've made chocolate and vanilla (of course), as well as decaf
coffee, chocolate malted, and cookies-and-cream. I plan to get
a bit more exotic and try coconut and then ginger. Then I will
indulge in Thai iced tea ice cream. I'm having a lot of fun
with it. It's pretty easy and not very time consuming, and you
can get really creative, which I enjoy. My family is loving
this. I wish we had more freezer space! This summer I will be
on the hunt for black raspberries (either fresh or frozen). My
favorite childhood ice cream was black raspberry. I can never
find it anywhere, and I'm really jazzed about making it!
really nice thing: when my teeth hurt, I can put some lowfat
yogurt in the machine and whip up some frozen yogurt. It feels
so good in your mouth when you're in pain! For a low-carb
option, you could blend plain yogurt, some berry puree, and
some Splenda. Or just use that new Carb-Control yogurt they
have come out with.
God, listen to me. I sound like a pre-jailbird Martha Stewart.
I'd better stop before I get the urge to act on some hot stock
help burn off the extra calories from all that home-made ice
cream, I've been beefing up my exercise routine. (Actually, I
don't eat very much of the ice cream compared to my kids -- I
do have a lot of self-control). Anyway, I'm now doing
something exercise-related 6 days per week. I alternate
aerobics (bike, Nordic Trak, step aerobics, dance aerobics, or
jogging) with weight training on our Bowflex and at-home
pilates exercises. It takes up a lot of time each morning (or
afternoon), but it's worth it! I have about 8 lbs to lose to
get back to my normal target weight. It's not a lot of weight,
but it is extra and I want it off already. It crept on after
that bout with pneumonia last fall when I was a couch potato
for months, and I'm tired of it. When I was younger I could
lose 8 lbs in the blink of an eye. But at age 43, it's a bit
harder. You know that phrase, "Youth is wasted on
the young"? I want to add....fast metabolism is wasted on
mother-in-law has been through rehab and is back at her
assisted living place after breaking her hip last month. She's
in a lot of pain, but seems to be healing well and can get
around with a walker. It was a very stressful month for us,
with her being in the hospital and then rehab. Hopefully
things will quiet down now and get back to "crazy
normal" as opposed to "super crazy" these past
I've been adding some new products to DentaKit's
lineup. Along with long-handled picks and brushes, I'm in the
process of adding several types of retainer cases (both hard
plastic and soft fabric), and headgear bags. The very cool
Fresh-N-Go toothbrush is also there, as are pre-pasted
disposable toothbrushes. I know that those disposable
toothbrushes politically incorrect environment-wise,
but people have been asking for them and I wanted to accommodate.
when you thought the last hot movie star had finished with his
braces, apparently Johnny Depp sports a metal mouth at the end
of the new film Secret Window (for the movie only, not in real
life, of course).
to Dr. Vogt for the second adjustment in three weeks. A few
weeks ago, he took off the power chains and bent the arch wire
here and there to tweak some of the teeth. He wanted to see me
sooner, but my family and I were in New York for Spring Break.
So, this week was the soonest I could get back over to him.
the three weeks since the last adjustment, those teeth did
move slightly here and there as he had wanted, but at the same
time, various gaps opened up between the teeth. Here I am,
trying to show off my new smile to my relatives and friends --
with a gap between my front teeth that rivals David
("Oh sure, Lynn, your teeth look great, wink,
wink..") Oh well...
now the power chains are back on, the bottom loops are chained
in, and I'm bracing myself (unintentional pun!) for
major pain from the power chains and the figure-8 tie he put
on a couple of molars. I'll also continue wearing one elastic
at night (apparently my midline is slightly off, so I only
need an elastic on one side).
I had a hearty lunch today, because I
expect to be on a liquid or soft diet for a few days. Well, at
least those pesky gaps will go away now. In addition to the
gap between the front teeth, there was a really annoying gap
between two of the top molars. Food (specifically, shreds of
meat) always got stuck in that gap. I had be especially
diligent about flossing between those teeth every day. Picking
the shreds of meat out has been incredibly gross, (boinnnnng....flung
across the bathroom sink) and I will not miss that!
here is some terrific news...news I've been waiting to hear
for months: Dr. Vogt informed me that this is my FINAL ARCH
WIRE! It's actually a bit of an anti-climax -- because I've
had this same arch wire for about 5 months already!
yes, finally, Dr. Vogt revealed that I should have my braces
off in a FEW MONTHS!!! I asked if they'd be off by
August, and he said DEFINITELY! We're planning a
family trip in August, and it would be so great to have the
braces at that point!
Vogt said that after the braces are removed, he wants me to wear upper and lower Hawley
retainers. Depending on how things go, I may request a
permanent bonded retainer for the bottom. I'll cross that
bridge when I get to it (another sorta unintentional pun, if
you think about it....)
I guess I really am in the final countdown!
I had another dental cleaning and heard some words that, in a
million years, I never thought I'd hear. The hygienist said,
"Your teeth are so clean, I don't have very much to
do." Even before braces, nobody had ever said that
to me! I must admit that before this orthodontic experience, I
was very lazy about my oral hygiene. I rarely flossed and
brushed only before bedtime, unless I felt like brushing more
often. Thankfully, Sonicare was invented and I actually began
brushing longer and a bit more often in the year or two before
I got my braces. That toothbrush probably saved me from the
beginnings of periodontal disease more than once, I'm ashamed
reason I rarely flossed was because my teeth were so crooked
and the spaces were so tight. Glide was the only floss that
I'd ever been able to use semi-comfortably. Now, things are
180 degrees different. I actually use dental tape. Which is
ironic, because flossing is much more difficult with
made my next appointment for September, and if things keep
going as they should, I will be sans-braces for that one!
had a nasty little cold earlier this week, which turned into
an equally nasty little sinus infection. I probably caught
some bugs in my travels from New York. My exercising came to a
screeching halt because I've felt really lousy for the past
few weeks. Darn!
again, I can talk about Home Improvement! We are finishing the
last thing that needs attention at our home: the landscaping.
Our weedy blucky lawn disappeared into the back of a large
truck this week, with the help of a gardening team. We now
have a lovely new weed-free green lawn and (FINALLY, FINALLY,
FINALLY) timers on the sprinkler system. Now the lawn won't be
over- or under-watered.
is just the tip of the lettuce leaf. There is a semi-bare
sloping hillside which wraps around the entire back of our
house and cries out for lavender, salvia, bougainvillea,
Mexican primrose, bacopa, oleander.....you get the idea. Part
of the hillside is unshaded, hot and sunny; the other part is
shaded by pines and eucalyptus (great place for rhododendrons
and azaleas). But before we plant anything there, the crummy
sprinkler system must be converted to drip, and the valves
must be added to the new timer.
the most important part: we need a very large fence to keep
out the deer -- because I'm not paying all this money to
create a very expensive salad bar for our local Bambi
population. You've got to understand why this is such a big
deal to me. We've lived in this house 10 years. And every day
for 10 years, I've looked out onto that hillside and thought,
"Gee, it sure would look nice if..." But that
project always took a backseat to other, more pressing
cross your fingers for me. We have the new lawn. We have the
timer. We're 50 percent of the way there! Can we make it all
the way? Have we turned a new leaf?
the mean time, with the weather warming up here in California,
I've been dressing up the deck with pots of flowers. I dusted
off the grill and put up the hammock and the wind chimes. When
we get the back landscaping done, I will make sure that
irrigation lines are brought up onto the deck, so I can have a
successful herb garden in its large redwood box, and not kill
my new flowers with my forgetfulness. (I planted gardenia, a
trellis with jasmine, some stock, and impatiens. Such
then, with any luck, in about a month I will finally have the
outdoor landscape I have always wanted for this house.
I had a doozie of an adjustment. It started out with the usual
stuff, and then Dr. Vogt came over. I mentioned that I have a
really annoying gap between two of my top molars. Whenever I
eat anything, especially meat, huge hunks get caught up in
that gap. I must be careful to floss that space every night,
because food is always stuck in it. You should see what comes
out with the floss! It's so incredibly gross!
I told Dr. Vogt that I'm tired of the gap and I want it
closed, whatever it takes. I figured he do a loop or use
double power chain or something. But he did none of those
what he did. He bent a wire and encircled it (wrapped it) around the
brackets on those two teeth a couple of times. Then, he
twisted the ends, tightening the wire. Twist, twist, twist,
twist...and I swear to God, I felt my molar move with every
twist! In fact, he even said that he thought it had
moved! Yowza, that was quite an experience! I hope the
pressure doesn't cause the brackets to pop off!
should do it," he said.
that about does it for me, alright!
thing I took some Advil before the appointment.
finished the adjustment by putting a few new bends in the arch
wires and tying a couple of teeth in with tie wires.
midline is also a speck off, and he wants me to continue
wearing elastics (double, if I wish) 24/7 for the next month
to correct that. The elastics are just on one side of my
I asked when my braces will be off. He didn't want to answer.
"OK, how about August?" I asked. "Yeah, that
sounds reasonable," he said.
I'll set my sights on August, figuring that it might be
September or October. But if it goes past October, I don't
know if I'll be able to stay patient. "Finishing" is
a very subjective thing. For now, I know that I'm not
finished, because I have a gap between two top teeth, my front
teeth still have a tiny gap, and my midline is slightly off.
But when we get all of that fixed, I will be very fidgety, to
say the least.
good thing. I had forgotten to ask if the retainer is included
in the total cost I was paying. Yes, it is. One less expense
to worry about.
making progress on our landscaping project. I consulted with a
landscape designer and got a really nice plan. Now we need to
get a final estimate from the gardener. After we have all the
numbers, we're going to see if it makes sense to do the entire
project now, or just do part of it now, and part some other