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Of Braces and Home Improvement

an orthodontic journal

August to September 2004
z Thursday, August 12 

Costa Rica was a really neat place, but it was a bit difficult going there with our kids. This was their first "third world" experience and sometimes they were NOT happy. For instance, kids being kids, halfway through the trip they insisted on wanting macaroni and cheese when absolutely no restaurants served it. I suppose they were tired of meat with rice and beans and plantains. But we kept them happy by staying at places that had nice pools. Aside from that, we saw lots of "critters," from families of monkeys living in the trees along the roadside to frogs, iguanas, sloths, lovely birds and tons of beautiful butterflies. We also stayed near an active volcano (Arenal), which was really interesting.

On this trip, nobody got sick until the we got home! My oldest daughter has "swimmer's ear," my youngest daughter has an ear problem which apparently will resolve itself, my husband has a slight cold and I seem to have a slight sinus infection. But considering last year's pneumonia, this all very minor! Anyway, we didn't get sick until the end of the trip, so who cares?!

I will give you all a good piece of travel advice: don't go through Miami when you're coming back into the country. The immigration room at Miami airport was the worst I'd ever seen. There must have been 1000 people lined up in there, no exaggeration. It was packed and moved at a snail's pace. It took us almost an hour to get through the line and we barely made our connecting flight! Our luggage didn't make it -- it was delivered the next day.

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The gaps between my teeth persist. In the words of Shakespeare: "Out, out damned gaps!" Sigh. When I see Dr. Vogt later this month I will beg and plead and submit to whatever dental torture he decides to close these gaps already so my braces can come off soon. Food is still getting stuck in that top gap, and the other one (created by the elastics I wore) is taking its sweet time closing. 

This is so frustrating! I had hoped to have the braces off by October at latest, but now I really don't know when they'll come off. Of course, I want everything to be correct, so I'll just continue wearing them until these gap problems are solved. It's just hard to be patient when your treatment is going months and months longer than originally planned.


z Wednesday, September 1 

Today my kids go back to school, but I still want to be on vacation! It has been hard to get my brain back in gear this summer after two nice trips. I'll admit, I've been goofing off a lot. Watching a lot of movies, reading, playing or listening to music, surfing the web for silly things. Soon enough, things will get busy and crazy again. For now, I still need a buffer zone.

I took up a new instrument last week -- electric bass! We've had this nice matte black ESP bass sitting with our guitars for a few years. Neither of us really played it, and it sadly sat there, gathering dust. So I dusted it off, tuned it up, and popped in the instructional video (because I was somewhat clueless). In no time I was thumping out bass lines. I suppose it's a bit easier for me, having played guitar most of my life. Unfortunately, I haven't memorized all the notes on the fretboard -- tsk tsk, it would be easier if I'd done that many years ago, so now I suppose I'll have to pay closer attention. Now I'm picking out the bass lines in songs. Sometimes I play MP3s on my computer and try to thump along -- and sometimes I get it right (she says, quite amazed). Cool. I want to learn more!

I told my husband that I want to get one of those nifty multi-track recording machines. When would I have time to fool around with it? I don't know! But I really want one! I'll just slip the current issue of the Musician's Friend catalog under his pillow...

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Those little gaps between a couple of my teeth are closing up, and less food seems to be getting stuck between those upper molars (but it is still a problem). Dr. Vogt actually thinks that I might only need one more adjustment. (!!) If that one molar gap won't resolve itself, he might try to resolve it with a tight retainer. Another solution could be a bit of cosmetic dentistry to build up the side of the tooth and eliminate the gap. I don't know what to expect for my next appointment, but I won't be surprised if I'm still in braces a few more months.

Nevertheless, I am getting very excited. I can't wait to see what my smile will look like free of metal and ceramic!

********

My kids had their semi-annual dental checkups last week. Overall everything is really good, but it looks like my 8-year-old daughter is going to be Dr. Vogt's newest patient. As I've mentioned in the past, she has an underbite and a crossbite. She has barely lost any of her baby teeth, but she does have her 6-year-molars. The dentist said that at this point it's often a good idea to begin expanding the palate to help correct the crossbite. They like to fix the "side to side" problems before they fix the "front to back" problems. She has a consultation appointment in October. Very ironic. I'll be getting my braces off, and she'll be getting a palate expander. And Dr. Vogt will will be getting that nice red Porsche he's had his eye on. ;-O

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I hope you guys like the new, improved Metal Mouth Message Board. It was an education installing and configuring a PHP-driven application. I had to upgrade ArchWired's hosting to accommodate it. My techie guru husband helped a lot (a round of applause for him!) 

The good news is that the forum is now hosted here at ArchWired and has tons of bandwidth and file transfer. ArchWired's host is extremely stable, so I anticipate very little downtime, if any. Enjoy, folks!

There's a glitch some people have come across. After you register, a confirmation email is sent to you. Be sure to check your email account's trash and bulk folders, because sometimes these types of "automatic" emails are sent there, instead of to your inbox.  After you click on the registration confirmation email, you can go the the new board, but remember to LOG IN before you post!

Whatever glitches exist, I'm sure we'll iron them out in the weeks ahead.

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BTW, I has posted some info last month about an upcoming film called Thumbsucker, starring Keanu Reeves as an orthodontist. In doing my research, I discovered that Keanu is turning 40 tomorrow (Sept. 2). I don't know about you, but that makes me feel kinda...well...older.


z Tuesday, September 14 

Just as I had predicted, I will be in braces for a few more months. Actually, I'd have been very surprised if Dr. Vogt told me I was done, because I know I'm not. That small gap between the top molars has improved, but it's still there. Food doesn't get shoved into it anymore, but I still have to be really careful with that area, flossing it once or twice per day to ensure that food particles don't get impacted in the space. (Lynn rolls her eyes and sighs....)

And I still have one or two really small gaps between a couple of other top teeth (that's purely an aesthetic thing). So no, we're not done yet.

But...

Instead of waiting a month for my next adjustment, I'm going back in a couple of weeks. Dr. Vogt used a tighter power chain last month and it helped make some progress, so hopefully things will continue to move in the right direction. 

The assistants in his office were saying, "Hey Lynn, I really want to make impressions of your teeth so your braces can come off!" and Dr. Vogt was saying, "Your teeth look really good. Really good! I wish your braces could come off!"  Hey, no one wishes it more than me! LOL!  The morning that I was there, another adult woman was getting her braces off after 18 months. Just as my adjustment was wrapping up, she was waltzing out of there with retainers. Grumble, grumble...

So here I am, a long-suffering metal mouth. Alas, I won't have my braces off for my upcoming birthday next month. C'est la vie. Anyway, I don't want to stop too soon and risk relapse of these pesky gaps. If the gaps don't close completely in a reasonable period of time, I may go the bonding route. I have no idea what that might cost; I will need to ask my regular dentist about it.

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Things are going well with the new Metal Mouth Message Board. We have almost 250 registered members from around the world, and growing! Aside from a few lingering problems (like the inability to upload avatars from your own files), things have been going well and I'm very pleased. I hope to have the avatar problem solved soon, and upload some extra smilies, too.

There are two features about this new board that I really like. First, you can "View Posts Since Last Visit" to see what's new. And, you can search the board for keywords and phrases!

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It has been a long time since the site has had a contest. Next month, I hope to launch a fun Song Parody Contest. The gist is: take a popular song and change the lyrics to something dental or braces-related. (Look at this month's humor page, for example). So sharpen your wit and dust off your wicked sense of humor. This is one that I hope everybody can have some fun with!

Here's my pre-contest contribution, which I hope will help spur your creativity: 

The Reason for Braces with apologies to Hoobestank:

I'm not a perfect person
My teeth would never touch when I would chew
I didn't care about it
Until I tried to get a date with you
And here's the final word before you go
I just want you to know

I found a reason to see
myself with much straighter teeth
A reason for brackets and glue
And the reason is you!

These arch wires really hurt me
It's something I must live with every day
And all the pain I put up with
Will pay off when my teeth are nice and straight
I'll smile so wide that you will surely see
Tom Cruise has nothing on me!

I found a reason to see
myself with much straighter teeth
A reason for brackets and glue
And the reason is you!

I'm not a perfect person
I think I'll grow a beard and lift some weights
When these two years are over
It's you who will be begging for a date
And so I have to ask, before you're gone
Would you have said "No" to Tom?

I found a reason to see
myself with much straighter teeth
A reason for brackets and glue
And the reason is you!

I found a reason to show
How far five grand and two years can go
A reason for brackets and glue
And the reason is you!

 

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