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Of Braces and Home Improvement

an orthodontic journal

February to March 2004
z Saturday, February 1 

The bottom extraction gaps are closing! Really truly closing! I know I said they were closing a few months ago, but it turns out that the teeth were tilting inward, creating the illusion of a closed gap. However, NOW, they are truly closing, once and for all! One gap is closed, the other is like 85% of the way there! OK, I give it 2 months, tops, before those bottom extraction gaps are history!

It's hard to believe that I've had this stuff on my teeth for two years. Am I tired of having it? Yes. Am I used to it? Yes. Would I be upset if Dr. Vogt told me that I needed to wear the braces until the Fall? Not really. At this point, sure, I'm tired of all the gunk getting stuck in my teeth, but I'm used to it. It's a fact of life. Of course, I'll be really happy when I don't have to deal with it anymore. But for now, I'll continue living with it for as long as is necessary.

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In honor of Valentine's Day this month, I decided to make a poll to see if having braces interferes with your romantic conquests. It has been a subject of ongoing debate on the Forum almost from day one. 

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As you can see, the ads are up on the home page of the site. I hope they aren't too bothersome for anyone. I have a few deals in the works to put a few more ads where the blanks now are. 

Another change in the site this month involves the Photo Gallery. I decided to stop accepting new photos for a while. There are many reasons for this decision, such as space, time, and bogus photos being posted (or almost posted). If your photo and story are already in the Gallery, you can send updates, which I will post. But for the time being, I won't post any photos or stories of new people.

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My younger daughter just got her first cavity filled this week. I suppose we've been lucky avoiding cavities for so many years in both kids. 

The techniques they use these days are so terrific. Her dentist used "laughing gas" to help somewhat sedate her. She was awake but a speck groggy, and she had no idea that she got a needle of Novocain. She came through it all just fine, and happily plundered the toy chest when it was all finished. She's a very fastidious kid, and was really upset about the cavity. However, upon learning that it was a baby tooth, she was relieved that she now gets a "second chance" once the permanent one grows in!

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By the way, I've slightly re-designed the Orthodontic Supply section of DentaKit and added a few new products, including regular and cherry scented dental wax and threader floss. I plan to add a few more helpful products in the coming weeks. If there is a product you'd like DentaKit to carry, please let me know and I'll consider it.


z Monday, March 1 

I know there's only one entry for February, but it was a rather quiet month!

Yessirree, the extraction gaps are going, going, gone! By the end of this month, the lower gap will be completely closed. I'd say that there's only 1 to 2 mm of movement left for that one stubborn gap. It's very exciting to look in my mouth and see all those bottom teeth together, and straight! It's like the extractions never happened!

In my most recent appointment with Dr. Vogt, he once again bent the arch wires a bit here and there to tweak the teeth. The gap that had developed between my two front top teeth is gone -- it disappeared within 24 hours of the adjustment. And there are subtle changes to a few of the other teeth, which result in my teeth (in general) looking straighter and nicer.

Of course, I was in some pain for a few days after the adjustment, but it quickly went away. 

Dr. Vogt wants me to continue wearing the elastics at night, which I am happy to do. 

So of course, I'm getting really excited now, because it has been more than 2 years since treatment began, and those gaps are almost closed. I asked Dr. Vogt when the braces could come off, and he said, with a laugh, "Sometime before the end of the year!" But, but.....this summer? Will they be able to come off this summer as I'd been hoping?  Well, Dr. Vogt would not commit to that. He said that although the major work is now done, there are small technical problems that must be fixed first...slightly rotating this tooth, correcting the blah blah blah on that tooth, etc.  *sigh*

OK, whatever. I AM used to wearing the braces, but when the end is within sight, you start to feel antsy about it. It's not the maintenance that gets to me, it's the stupid little inconveniences. Like biting into a sandwich in public and being aware that I have disgusting guck all over my front brackets. And having to carefully plan when I eat curry, so that I don't walk around with gross-looking yellowish ligatures for weeks. And needing to spend a small fortune on electric toothbrush head replacements. OK, and flossing is a big pain, but I'm used to that already.

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The results of our February Romance and Braces poll was interesting. A total of 34 percent said that it was harder to get dates with braces. But combined, 43 percent said that it was either "about the same" or "easier" to get dates with braces. (The other 23% had no opinion). 

This should be at least a tiny bit encouraging to our single, dating readers. The results were not an overwhelming, "braces have totally screwed up my love life" response. I hope this helps to quell some of the anxiety that some of you feel. I know it's still not easy, but please try not to fret as much about it.

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A special shout out to all of our Irish readers this month. Happy St. Patrick's Day to you! I hope you'll be doing some wearen' of the green....ligatures, that is, not lettuce stuck in your brackets! ;-) 

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If you've been reading this journal for a while, you may remember that my mother-in-law (who is in her mid-70s) has periodontal disease and needed a full set of upper dentures last year. Well, things haven't improved for her. She has a lot of implants where her lower teeth used to be, and now that is all infected and must be removed. When all is said and done, she will have 5 natural teeth left at the front of her mouth. The lower bone is very badly infected, which poses a huge problem for the dentist who makes her denture. 

As if this weren't bad enough, the poor woman fell and broke her hip on Saturday (yes, two days ago). Fortunately, she is in an assisted living facility and got help immediately. She will be in the hospital most of this month, either in the hospital unit, or (later) in the rehab unit. You can imagine how difficult this is for Hubby and me, because we are the only family she has around here, and the hospital is 10 miles from our house. A huge burden, to say the least. 

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Just to let you guys and gals know, I plan to add a few at-home braces care products to the DentaKit lineup soon. Among the new products will be long-handled dental picks and spiral brushes from Denticator, as well as replacement tips of all types.

There is also a neat product that Mary in Oregon called to my attention: The Fresh-n-Go toothbrush. This is a toothbrush with about 30 applications of mint toothpaste built into the handle. You turn the handle and some of the toothpaste comes up. Then when the toothpaste is used up, you throw it out. The Fresh-n-go is quite affordable and a nice alternative for travel (or something to throw in your purse or you kid's backpack). The kid's version comes with bubblegum toothpaste, which my kids have given an enthusiastic thumbs-up. 

 

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