to September 2002
We spent the
past 10 days down in the Caribbean island of Grand Cayman, or,
as it should be called, "Spend-a-grand-a-day"
Cayman. Everything is so expensive, and the US Dollar is worth
only 80 cents. Lunch for 4, without drinks, easily costs $50
US. If you have dinner at a nice restaurant and order wine or
drinks, you'll easily be dropping $100. Needless to say, we
cooked for ourselves as much as possible (we rented a condo).
In my experience, this is always the best way to go when you
vacation with kids.
the beach is free, and what a beautiful beach it was. We
snorkeled almost every day. It was very relaxing! In case you
were wondering, yes, you can snorkel with braces on your
teeth. It was never a problem. I assume diving would be the
Now, back to
reality. Later today I have my first teeth cleaning since
getting the braces put on. I'm not exactly sure what to
expect. Tonight or tomorrow, I'll write all about it.
My teeth have
been fine, no problems or pain. I still don't see any movement
as far as the gaps are concerned. Perhaps after my next
adjustment, things will begin to change, as I expect my front
bottom teeth to get banded in. I'll be curious to see what my
regular dentist has to say about the condition of the gums
under those teeth. They look fine to me!
I went to my
regular dentist the other day and had my teeth cleaned for the
first time since getting the braces. For some reason, I
thought that they would take off the arch wires and chains to
do the cleaning, but they didn't. They worked around all the
As usual, the
dental hygienist did the cleaning. She started out with a
water jet appliance called a Cavitron. (What a great name; it
sounds like some 1950s Sci-Fi instrument of doom and
destruction...."Captain Kirk, the Cavitron would never
hurt anyone! I have programmed it with my own
Click on this
link to find out more about the Cavitron (includes a photo of
the device): http://xray.essix.com/mainpages/new_cavitron.html
Cavitron water-blasts your teeth and vibrates. It sounded like
a dental drill, and my visceral reaction was to stiffen up
when I heard that shrill squeal. But unlike a drill, it didn't
hurt a bit. After water blasting my teeth for a while, she
switched to the regular pick that is usually used for teeth
cleaning. The cleaning took a bit longer than it would have
without braces, because she had to work around all the
brackets and wires. After the pick, she used the polish brush,
and then she flossed the teeth. Ouch! She used regular floss!
I'm used to Glide floss, which is kinder to my gums.
although I brush my teeth several times per day with Sonicare
and a regular brush, and floss regularly, there was quite a
bit of gook removed from a few particular teeth. If memory
serves me correctly, these are the teeth that used to overlap.
I believe that the gook she removed has been there for a long
came in to examine my teeth and everything looked good. He
recommended that I have my teeth cleaned every 4 months, as
opposed to the usual 6 months. This means that my insurance
company won't pay for one of the cleanings, but since it's
only $80, I suppose it's no big deal.
So that's the
story of my first cleaning. Soon I go back to Dr. Vogt for
another adjustment. I hope he ties in the bottom front teeth,
because some of the bottom teeth have become crooked. I
suppose it's to be expected, until the gaps close up, but it's
annoying. Those teeth had straightened out so nicely, and now
they're crooked again! Waaah!
mentioned recently that I was trying to interview Tom Cruise
regarding his braces, but was unsuccessful because he was out
of the country. In my web searching, I found a recent
interview in which Tom talked briefly about his braces. He
said that he was having trouble closing his mouth correctly;
that his teeth were not aligned properly. His kids'
orthodontist took a look, and discovered that he was in danger
of fracturing some of his teeth because of the mal-alignment.
So for Tom, the braces are not just cosmetic. Apparently he'll
be wearing braces for a year: ceramic on top and wire on
I went to Dr.
Vogt the other day and got another adjustment. He was
reluctant to tie in my bottom front teeth, but I begged a bit.
You see, since the wire isn't tied into those teeth, the wire
tends to loop outward a bit. This tends to slash the inside of
my lip. I've gone through a lot of wax because of this! I've
put up with the discomfort for more than a month and I'm tired
of it! So he agreed to halfway tie in one of the teeth. This
way, at least the wire is flat and won't slash my lip. He said
that he had wanted to give the two teeth another month to
recover before tying them in completely.
He put a
different type of arch wire on the top teeth. It looks the
same to me, but apparently it has a different curve in it --
convex, concave -- I don't remember exactly what he said. The
gist is that it exerts a slightly different type of pressure
to help move the teeth into position.
new elastic chains was somewhat painful. I actually yelled
"ouch" at one point! I had clear chains and elastics
put on, but I have decided that next month, I'll opt for a
color! I'm tired of having these clear chains and elastics
turn yellow when I eat curry or other foods and beverages that
So here's the
tip of the day, courtesy of Dr. Vogt's staff: Apparently, the
light blue color is good. It isn't so dark that it calls a lot
of attention to your braces, but it doesn't really stain,
either. And after a while, the blue fades lighter. The silver
color is also a good choice if you want something sorta
subtle. I suppose it would look like you have more metal in
your mouth. If subtle isn't what you're going for, then how
about patriotic? I saw a photo of a guy's mouth from the Yahoo
forum -- he did red, white, and blue elastics for July 4th. It
looked really cool. But I don't know if I'd be brave enough
How did Dr.
Vogt think my gaps were coming along? He measured them with a
tiny ruler. Two teeth have moved about a half millimeter each.
The other two haven't moved noticeably. Patience, patience.
My teeth are
achy from the adjustment and change in wire type. Eating
crunchy or chewy foods is uncomfortable, so I'm sticking to
somewhat soft stuff. It's not as bad as it was when I first
had the braces put on, so it's bearable. The pain will
probably pass in a few more days. Actually, I find the pain
encouraging. It means that things are happening. If I didn't
feel any pain, I'd be worried.
adjustment took place a few days ago, and today it suddenly
seemed that one of the arch wires was poking my cheek. This is
very common when you have extractions and are closing gaps.
When the teeth move, they can displace the end of the wire,
and it will poke your cheek. This often happens soon after an
adjustment. If you don't have it clipped off, it can be
painful and irritate your mouth terribly. I made an
"emergency" visit to Dr. Vogt in the afternoon to
have him clip the end of the wire. That alone is a good reason
to choose an orthodontist that is close to your home or
office. You wind up going there more often than you'd think.
I want to
apologize for the lack of cartoon image on my Humor page this
month. I have corrected the problem. I forgot to change a line
in the HTML to point to the correct thing. Thanks to the
reader who told me about this! You see, it looks ok on
MY computer because it was pointing to a file on my computer.
So, guys and gals out there in toothland, if that happens
again, please let me know. I try to be thorough about getting
everything right on the site, but sometimes I get distracted
and forget to change some of the code.
There was an
interesting thread on the Forum recently about chains and
elastics turning yellow. Someone mentioned that using
whitening toothpaste isn't a good idea, because the area under
the bracket isn't getting "whitened" and you can end
up with a little darker square on your teeth when the brackets
come off. Has anyone else been told this? Dr. Vogt never
mentioned it to me, and I think my toothpaste is the whitening
type. I plan to have my teeth professionally whitened after
this is all over, so even if it DOES happen, that will
probably take care of it. I hope!
really cool news. This site has been mentioned in a few
newspapers recently, and the other day, a reporter from the
Orlando Sentinel (Florida) interviewed me. That was fun! She
posted a message on the forum looking for Florida adults who
have braces. She's totally legit, so email her if you want.
She is especially looking for adults and kids who are going
through braces together. If the article is published, I'll
probably put a link to it someplace on the site.
thought for today: I'm totally astounded that this site has
gotten almost 30,000 hits since I created it in March. Thanks
to everyone for their support!
Angelfire solved whatever problems they had, and this site is
once again normal. For two or three days, things were rather
screwed up, with several links and images not working. I plan
to move the site to a different host sometime in the next few
months. I'll keep this web address on Angelfire, but then
you'll be re-directed to the new site automatically. I'll let
you know when to expect it to happen. The new site will not
have ads, and I'm really looking forward to that!
Why do I plan
to move the site? One important reason is that Angelfire has
"bandwidth" restrictions. This means that if the
site is getting too much traffic, Angelfire will shut it down
temporarily, until traffic slows down. Since the site is
getting more popular, it makes sense to move it someplace
where bandwidth is not a problem. There are other technical
reasons, too, which I won't go into here.
going normally with my braces. I'm not in pain anymore, but
occasionally one tooth or another will ache a little. It seems
like one or two gaps look smaller. Progress!
Last week my
painter was here re-doing our master bathroom. It really
needed an overhaul. The bathroom had many problems:
previous owners were unsuccessful in getting all the wallpaper
off the walls, leaving both wallpaper and adhesive on the
walls. They painted over this mess, leaving a very
unattractive surface which attracted fuzz -- lots of fuzz
which was impossible to remove. It was really ugly and gross.
2. There was
inadequate ventilation. All the fixtures were badly rusting.
3. The color
of the walls was off-white and rather boring.
faucets were ugly and difficult for my kids to use.
Now all the
problems in this room have been solved. Months ago, we had the
windows in the house replaced. The new bathroom window opens
wider and is much more attractive. We also had our electrician
install a ceiling exhaust fan to supplement air flow. Then we
had the plumber install the attractive new faucets (chrome
with white porcelain handles). Finally last week, our painter
re-did the all the drywall in the room and painted it. The
color consultant I hired a few months ago had suggested a
color called "French Silver," which actually is a
very pretty light blue. The tile in the bathroom is pale pink.
It looks terrific together; much nicer than off-white!
all the rusting fixtures and got a beautiful set of vanity
lights, new towel bars (chrome with white porcelain trim) and
a new medicine cabinet. We didn't get a new vanity -- that
would have involved ripping out the old one, and fixing the
tiling on the floor and walls -- too expensive and really
unnecessary, since the vanity was nice and in good shape. I
just got new handles for it. And the final touch: new bath
towels, new artwork, new curtains, and a few new matching
accessories. Phew! One little room sure generated a lot of
without saying that I spent a lot of time at Home Depot and
the bed and bath store last week! But now the bathroom looks
terrific. Hubby approved: "It looks like an upscale hotel
bathroom," he said. Hey, ANYTHING would have been better
than what was there! It was a fuzzy rusting mess before we
fixed it up!
On to my next
project: the kids bathroom. Fortunately, it just needs to be
painted. Nothing needs to be replaced or fixed.
is finally done with the outside of the house. His next
project will be painting our kitchen. But first, I need to get
those darned pocket doors replaced!
beginning to see some changes in the spaces between my teeth!
The gaps from the extractions seem a bit smaller. Also, I have
slight gaps between some of the other bottom teeth (probably
because they are being pulled by those elastic chains). It's
very weird to see gaps between teeth that were overlapping
before the braces! For whatever reason, no other gaps have
materialized on the top. I assume that as treatment goes on,
the "extraction gaps" will close completely, and
then Dr. Vogt will deal with any other small gaps that have
resulted between other teeth.
I also got a
nice surprise when I caught a profile of myself in the mirror.
My bite seems to have improved. The top teeth used to jut out
a bit (a slight overbite). Now they look much straighter and
aligned. The top and bottom teeth also meet slightly
differently in the front, and it just looks better than it
used to. I'm considering posting a new photo soon to show the
eating curry as much as possible this month (bummer, since I
love Indian and Thai food). This is the last month I'll be
wearing the white elastics. I'm tired of them staining yucky
yellow. On my next adjustment, I'll try the light blue ones.
I'll let you know how that works out.
I haven't been bothered by too many gum irritations this
month. I had been going through a lot of wax for a while, but
now things seem to have calmed down. I think that tying in the
bottom front wire slightly has helped (it was bowing out and
cutting into my gum, OUCH!) On my next appointment, Dr. Vogt
promised that he will tie in the bottom teeth again (finally!)
experimenting with a different mouthwash called Biotene.
My mother-in-law was using it for her periodontal problems
(her dentist recommended it). Biotene kills germs like
Listerine, but it doesn't sting your mouth at all. It claims
to "work with the enzymes in your saliva" to help
protect your teeth against various bacteria. In addition, it
claims to help soothe mouth irritations (which is the main
reason I tried it). It has a pleasant peppermint taste, but a
slight bitter aftertaste which takes a little getting used to.
I think it doesn't leave your mouth quite as "fresh
feeling" as Listerine, but on the other hand, it doesn't
sting, so it's more pleasant to use. Anyway, it's possible
that the Biotene has helped to keep my gums from getting too
sore -- frankly, it's hard to tell. I use it once or twice per
claims to help control "dry mouth," so if you have
that problem, you might want to check it out. The product is
available in most drug stores, and costs from $5.99 to $7.99,
depending upon the store. Here's a link
with more information on Biotene products. Drugstore.com sells
it for $6.29.
By the way,
the results of this month's Braces Poll really surprises me! I
didn't expect so many adults to say that their treatment
includes headgear or other special appliances. I hope that the
statistics bring some amount of solace to the adult
headgear-wearers out there: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I often get
email from adults who are in various states of angst about
needing headgear, and I really sympathize. Lord knows, if I
needed to wear headgear, I'd be high-maintenance about it,
too. It's hard enough to deal just with the braces. So hang in
there folks, you're in good company!
my mother-in-law....if you've been reading the journal over
the past few months, you know that she has severe periodontal
problems in her upper teeth. Well, it was past the "point
of no return" recently, and she had all her upper teeth
extracted last week. They were all loose and getting infected.
This is result of years of periodontal disease. We found an
excellent Prosthedontist who made her a full top denture (it
is very expensive; more than $7,000!). And of course, she
needed an oral surgeon to do the extractions. But everything
went smoothly, and she is able to eat somewhat normally with
her new denture. It will take several more trips to the
Prosthedontist to get the denture fitted exactly.
Every time I
think of her and the ordeal she went through, I want to go
brush my teeth! It really drives home the importance of good
oral hygiene. In many cases, periodontal disease can be
controlled, and it doesn't have to lead to dentures! If you
ever have a problem like this, you need to be very diligent
about taking care of your teeth and seeing your dentist
regularly. I have also learned that periodontal disease can
run in families. So if your parents or siblings have had
periodontal problems, pay attention to your own mouth!
Sorry that I
haven't written in a while, but life has been moving at light
speed, with summer ending, school starting, etc. If you have
kids, you're in the same boat as I!
details on my teeth. Things are definitely moving. Last week,
I noticed that I could touch my front teeth (top and bottom)
together. This is something that has never really been
possible before (without contorting my jaw). At first, I
noticed that I could touch them together if I moved my jaw
slightly. But now, they seem to do it effortlessly. When I
look at the four gaps (where the bicuspids were extracted in
June), they do seem smaller. In fact, I can't put the tip of
my tongue into one of them very easily, which is a change. So,
things are happening! Yea!
On the flip
side, I do have some slight spaces between a couple of teeth.
This is totally weird, because my teeth had been so crowded
still be a bit technically challenging. It's a little more
difficult to eat with the gaps in my mouth than it was before
the extractions. I suppose that I'm used to it by now, but I
must chew rather carefully, and some foods are more
challenging than others. I'm bearing with it, because I know
that in a few months, the gaps will be closed up and it won't
be a problem anymore. I can stand just about anything that is
I sit here
with yucky yellowish elastic chains on my teeth. Yesterday I
had Indian food for lunch and I didn't get to brush my teeth
right away. So the chains got stained. Soon I go for another
adjustment, and I'll tell Dr. Vogt to use those light blue
chains and elastics. It will be interesting to see if they
stain less. Either that, or my blue chains will turn green
(you know, blue and yellow curry make green). I'll let you
know how it turns out, and I'll probably post a new photo with
the blue chains.
It may be
early September, but I'm gearing up some fun stuff for the
site in October for Halloween. I came across a really cool and
totally bizarre 2 minute animation which I hope to provide as
a link. It only minimally has anything to do with teeth, but
it's hysterical, weird, and offbeat. So there's something to
look forward to next month!
"Dental Joke of the Month" page, I'm really pissed
at Angelfire. I have complained that the images are not
showing up on that page. They told me that they are
"aware of the problem and are working on it." I
assume that mine is not the only site affected.
identified another host for this site and I plan to move it
there by the end of the year. Moving these files will be a bit
challenging, so I want to do it when I know that I have the
time to do it correctly. In the mean time, please bear with
the stupid pop-ups, missing images, and other assorted
problems that Angelfire presents. When I move the site, I'll
probably improve a few things, and maybe change the look of
the site slightly. It depends on how much time I have to mess
around with stuff!
I had an
adjustment earlier this week, and things are definitely
moving! The gaps on my top teeth are now only 5mm (they
started out as 7mm). So, a 2mm change in just over two months!
The bottom gap has only closed half a millimeter each, but Dr.
Vogt said that typically the top gaps close faster than the
FINALLY put bands on the bottom front teeth, but he decided to
leave the chains off of them. He replaced one bracket
(slightly re-positioned the new one) to help straighten one
specific tooth. He said that when the bottom teeth are a
little more aligned, he'll put the chains back on them.
chains, I got light blue chains and bands this time. I plan to
post a picture in a couple of days. The light blue looks
pretty nice. Not quite as invisible as the white, but not
"jump out at you" either. Hopefully they won't stain
the way white ones do. Next week I'll eat lots of curry and
see what happens! Yum!
Lately I find
that eating can be a bit challenging. With my teeth moving, my
bite is definitely off. I can eat almost anything I want, but
I just can't chew quickly. The days of stuffing my face and
inhaling food are over until this metal comes out of my mouth,
that's for sure. So I sit there, chewing my food very slowly
and deliberately. I suppose it's better for digestion that
week, when the bands were put back on the front bottom teeth,
my teeth did ache a lot. I was very cranky for about two days.
But now, at the end of the week, I barely notice it and don't
feel the need to take Ibuprofen.
I don't know
if it's related to my bite being weird, but I find myself
clenching my teeth in my sleep. I never used to do this. Also,
it seems to me that I drool more in my sleep!
is Friday the 13th, so I hope no black cats cross your path.
Anyway, in my opinion, the 11th was the "bad luck"
day of THIS month. I don't know about you, but I feel relieved
that the anniversary of 9/11 is behind us. Not that it really
changes anything. I keep wishing it was all just a horrible
nightmare that I could wake up from. Or, that I could invent a
time machine and prevent it from happening.
I still can't
believe that the twin towers are gone, and all those innocent
lives were lost in them. I suppose that now we all have to be
towers -- towers of strength, towers of peace, and towers of
hope. It sounds cliché to say that we can all make the world
a better place, but it's true, isn't it? We all need to stop
hating each other because of theological, racial, or political
differences. It isn't the opposing thumb or the ability to
create language that separates us from the animals -- it's
realizing the true power and potential of our humanity. And
with that thought, I'll step off the soapbox.
Sorry for the
long hiatus, but nothing interesting has really been happening
lately, and my kids have been keeping me very busy! My teeth
have been fine. We haven't done anything else on the house. I
think we're just running out of steam.
is an interesting detail: I finally ate some Indian food for
lunch yesterday, and guess what? My blue bands turned GREEN!
Yes, they really did! They were bright day-glo green until I
got home and brushed my teeth. Now, they are a pleasant shade
of teal. Definitely not light baby blue, as they began. So
there you have it. I think that curry stains every color! I
suppose if they started out pink, they'd end up orange.
Just out of
curiosity, next month I plan to try the silver colored bands.
They are my next "inconspicuous" choice.
Did you know
that they make bands and elastic chains in
"glow-in-the-dark"? That might be a cool thing to
try for Halloween. I wonder if the glow-in-the-dark ones stain
the same yucky yellow as the regular clear ones?