to March 2003
week I encountered my first real inconvenience from the
elastics. I was at Costco, which is a huge warehouse wholesale
store. Every day, they provide food samples for you to taste.
Sometimes, there are a dozen or more samples of everything
from dumplings to soup to chicken salad on crackers. I had
planned to have lunch at home, but spent more time shopping
than I had anticipated. Before I knew it, it was lunch time, I
was hungry, and free food awaited. But I had the elastics in,
and I didn't feel like trekking all the way across the massive
store to the restroom.
I ducked into an empty aisle, plucked the elastics out of my
mouth, and put them in my pocket. I was then free to schmooze,
and schmooze I did. Fortunately, nobody saw me take the
teeth have been in pretty good shape lately. Nothing much to
complain about. Every so often, the elastics make certain
molars ache. I have been wearing the elastics almost 24/7,
which (I'm sure) will speed up the process.
may sound weird, but they FEEL straighter. Can teeth feel
straight?! Or is it just my imagination?
those of you with children under age 10....there's a really
cute book that my daughter brought home from the school
library. It's called "Open Wide, Tooth School
Inside" by Laurie Keller. It is filled with some of the
most adorable illustrations I have ever seen, and is a very
humorous book about teeth and oral hygiene. To give you an
example, the book has teeth at an amusement park riding the
"molarcoaster," brainy wisdom teeth wearing glasses
and spouting phrases like, "I chew, therefore I am",
canine teeth that bark, and a teacher named Dr. Flossman. Very
creative. I added a link to the book (just Amazon.com) on the
Links page for anyone interested. Any dental professionals
reading this? Well, get that book for your waiting room! It's
super cute and instructive, too!
month's poll is the result of some debate from the Forum.
There was a rather large thread where you guys were wondering
whether more women wear braces than men. Can we consider this
site a general cross-section of society? OK, a cross-section
of web-savvy society....I know that one reader is a
professional statistician, and he's probably shaking his head.
Nevertheless, cast your vote. Hopefully you're all either male
or female....or at least consider yourself one or the other (I
live near San Francisco, so I think about these things.....)
The following little
distraction popped into my head during an inspired moment
today while reading Metal Mouth Forum. A reader commented that
having braces was like being from another planet, to which I
You unlock this mouth with the key of imagination, beyond
it is another dimension. A dimension of fright, a dimension of
bite, a dimension of teeth. You're moving into a land of both
overbites and underbites, of brackets and bands. You've just
crossed over into . . . The Braces Zone.....
what's new in the Braces Zone this week? For starters, a curry
stain on my elastic chains that doesn't seem to want to go
away. I have light blue elastic chains and usually they turn
day-glo green and fade to a pleasing neutral teal after one or
two brushings. But not this time. I suppose I've eaten a lot
of curry this month. Here's a photo. Sigh...well at least the
brackets are unaffected...
you can see, the elastic chains are greenish yellow on top and
a combination of greenish yellow and teal on the bottom. Maybe
I should take some liquid food coloring and give myself a
rainbow mouth. Naah.
was really upset earlier this week about the Space Shuttle
crash. But once again, I think the TV media is overdoing it. I
watched a few minutes of footage and turned it off. I just
can't sit there to watch and listen to disaster for hours; I
think September 11 was enough for a lifetime. Now they think
it was a natural atmospheric electrical event that triggered
the crash. It's all so sad, no matter the cause. My heart goes
out to the astronauts' families.
my family and I went to a space and science museum just two
weeks ago. My kids love space, planets, and planetarium shows.
The museum had some big telescopes and after dusk, we got to
look through them and see Saturn and Jupiter. It was
don't know if you guys noticed, but some of the links added to
the Links page are other people's braces journals. There is
another braces journal, and a jaw surgery diary, so check it
elastic chains aren't greenish yellow anymore! It took a few
days, but they are back to an understated light teal. I ate
curry 4 or 5 times in the past few weeks (much more than
usual). A local supermarket had this really great salad made
of curried turkey, dried cranberries, and other stuff I can't
remember. Anyway, it was so delicious that I was craving it
and had it for lunch several days in a row. Tsk tsk.
Anyway, if you look at the
picture from last week, you'll see that the bottom elastics
look light teal. Well, that's what the upper elastics look
like now, too. Quite a relief. As much as I love that turkey
salad, I think I'd better lay off of it until I get these
chains removed (whenever that will be).
Which brings me to a topic
that I'm sure you can all relate to.
miss eating after one year in braces
and cookies with nuts
cream with nuts and hard pieces of stuff
overpacked sub sandwiches
you can sink your teeth into
with everything on them
caramel anything; chewy nutrition bars
into apples and hard carrots
huge tasty bites into burritos
curry with wild abandon
hell, eating anything with wild abandon!
Happy Valentine's Day,
everyone! May your sweetheart give you a big box of delicious soft
chocolate truffles and new toothbrush! Don't have a
sweetheart? Well treat yourself! YOU DESERVE IT!
ordeal we have been through in the past few days. My family
and I planned a ski vacation to Banff, Alberta Canada. We
arrived on Friday evening and everything was going so well. We
stayed in a beautiful hotel to make it an extra special
The next morning we all went
skiing. My kids have both skied before, and we had them in
group lessons. Personally I haven't skied in about 5 years, so
I took a lesson, too. Hubby is a black-diamond skier and went
off on his own, agreeing to meet us in 2 hours when the
I went on two little runs as
a refresher and then up on the ski lift with the instructor.
"Who are your kids' instructors?" she asked me,
"..because one of them has a hurt kid." Yes, it was
my kid in the ski patrol sled. My older daughter. I called
down to her, and she said that she hurt her ankle.
The instructor and I skied
down the run and she took me to the medic hut, where my
daughter was being checked out by a paramedic. I spent the
next hour-and-a-half there, comforting my daughter, waiting
for my younger daughter's lesson to finish. I couldn't find my
husband -- he was on a black diamond slope someplace.
To make a very long story
short, my daughter broke her leg -- her tibia. We spent the
rest of the day at the Banff hospital in state of total
disbelief. When we left the hospital, my poor daughter had a
plaster cast from her upper thigh down to the tips of her
Our vacation was effectively
We couldn't come home right
away, because my daughter was in too much pain (despite
Tylenol with Coedine). When you have an injury like that,
there is a lot of swelling for the first few days. So we were
room-bound. I don't ski well enough to take my younger
daughter out, and after what happened, I didn't want to push
our luck. My husband had to stay with my injured daughter,
because to go to the bathroom, she had to be carried, and I
couldn't carry her.
My younger daughter and I
went on a little bus tour to help pass the time, but mostly we
didn't do very much. There was some snow to play in, and a
nice indoor pool. That kept the little one busy. We had
brought our laptop computer, so we could access the internet
and play DVDs. I also went into town and bought my kids a
bunch of toys to keep them occupied.
We ate most of our meals in
the room or at the hotel restaurant. Fortunately, the hotel
had a wheelchair to borrow. So when my daughter felt up to it,
we wheeled her around the hotel, which was big and very nice.
I don't know what would have happened if we'd been in a small
hotel without elevators.
My daughter didn't feel up to
going in the car for a drive. Because of that, we didn't get
to see much of Banff or the surrounding areas. Sigh. There
were so many things we had planned to do, and it all went down
But despite the
inconvenience, I am relieved that it's *only* a broken leg.
Broken bones heal and life goes on. God forbid it had been a
concussion or a back or neck injury. For that reason, I'm
rather stoic about whole thing.
We came home Tuesday night.
We flew from Calgary to Denver and then into California from
there. I have to tell you about an incident at the Denver
airport. We arrived and a wheelchair was waiting at our gate
with a female attendant. She wheeled my daughter to our next
gate. But we had a 2-hour layover and were planning to eat
dinner. The attendant said, "I need to take the
wheelchair; it's signed out to me."
"But my daughter can't
walk and she can't use the crutches either. My husband would
have to carry her. She needs the wheelchair."
"I need to take it back.
You can rent a wheelchair if you need one."
I was fuming. Hubby went off
to find the wheelchair rental place. He came back 10 minutes
later. "It's closed," he said. "It's staffed by
volunteers and they have all gone home."
"I need to take the
wheelchair back. I'm sorry but it's United Airlines
policy." Apparently, it was a matter of liability -- she
had to be the one pushing the chair. They'd rather dump an
injured child at the gate than keep her comfortable until the
next flight. Is that fucked up, or what?
"Listen," I said to
the lady, "We are going to eat dinner. You are welcome to
stay with us for 2 hours until our flight leaves if you need
to watch your precious wheelchair, but my daughter isn't
getting out of this chair."
She could call the friggen
wheelchair police if she wanted, but my kid wasn't leaving
that chair. The attendant left to "speak to her
supervisor", but she never returned. We saw her 15
minutes later walking on the concourse. She didn't even have
the courtesy to tell us that it was ok to keep the chair.
Well, that's the story of our
Canadian adventure. We're home now and face many challenges in
the 6 to 8 weeks ahead. I've rented a wheelchair for my
daughter and hopefully she will be up on crutches soon. I hope
she will be able to go back to school next week. She sees the
doctor tomorrow. I pray that the leg was set correctly and
won't need to be re-broken or anything horrible.
I'd originally had an
appointment with Dr. Vogt on Friday for an adjustment, but
rescheduled it for yesterday. I wanted to have my adjustment
while Hubby could be home with the kids. This time I opted for
smoke colored chains. So far, they look really terrific. We'll
see what curry does to them as the weeks pass.
Two of my lower teeth are
turning inward, so in addition to the power chain, they used
metal tie wires on them. I thought I'd feel the wires, but I
can't tell the difference at all.
In conclusion....I'm EXAUSTED!
The past few
days have been challenging, to say the least. On Friday we
took my daughter to our orthopedist. Thankfully, he liked the
way the leg was set and cast, so he didn't want to change
anything for another 3 weeks (which will make it a total of 4
weeks in that big cast). Then, if the x-rays look ok, he wants
to change her to a fiberglass cast that is only below the
knee. At least that will give my daughter some knee mobility
and eliminate the need for her to stick her leg straight out
all the time.
She will go back to school
tomorrow, but it won't be easy. We decided to rent a second
wheelchair, which will be kept at school. This eliminates the
need for me to lug the wheelchair in and out of the car trunk
(which would surely kill my back).
We also rented a wheelchair
ramp for the entrance of our house. We have 3 stone steps in
front. Thankfully, we don't have one of those houses with a
whole bunch of steep steps in front (as many do in our area)!
And everything "necessary" is downstairs on one
level in our house (the upstairs was an afterthought, added by
previous owners 10 years after the house was built).
I think my daughter will be
ok at school, but going to the bathroom will be a major
challenge. The school isn't 100% handicap compliant yet. So
she will need to use the only handicap bathroom in the school,
which is in the office and not close to her classroom. I
expect to be going back and forth to school at least once each
day to help her with lunch and the bathroom. It's a good thing
I don't have a full-time office job!
Anyway, we're managing. The
poor kid's leg itches and there's nothing we can do about it.
But we're keeping her busy with craft projects, TV, videos,
books, and TRYING to get her to do the homework she has missed
(I've just about given up on that one -- she'll just have to
catch up at school). She has had visitors and gifts, and we
got a wireless internet extender so she can go to her favorite
dot-coms downstairs (our main computer is upstairs, but the
downstairs computer has never been hooked up to the internet).
Well, in the midst of all
this, a wire started poking me from the adjustment I had on
Wednesday, and tearing up my cheek. So in the middle of all
this running around, I had to go back to Dr. Vogt for a wire
clipping. I think the top gap will be closed in another two
months; it's looking so much smaller. The bottom still has a
little more to go, but it's getting there.
My cheek was pretty torn up
from that poking wire. After the wire was clipped, I used that
Colgate Ora-Base and some dental wax. By the next morning, it
felt a lot better. That Ora-Base is a really nice product. A
little pricey, but it does a good job in protecting mouth
I haven't eaten any curry
yet, but those smoke colored bands look really nice so far. If
curry doesn't make them look horrible, I might stick with that
improvement" (which I haven't talked about in ages, have
I?), I am making plans to FINALLY finish the kitchen. If
you've been reading this journal for a while, you may remember
that I still need to replace the kitchen's pocket doors and
get the room painted (along with a few other minor things
elsewhere in the house). When my daughter is out of her
wheelchair, we're going to proceed on all of that. Originally
I was going to have it all done right after our ski trip, but
c'est la vie...
Well, we got
through the first week of my daughter being back at school
since breaking her leg. We have things down to a routine now,
but it's still rather complicated.
For example, either I or
Hubby must come to school each day at noon to take her to the
bathroom and sit with her at lunch. She can't join her friends
at lunch on the playground (no handicap access). Her friends
eat lunch with her in the classroom, but kids can't be left
unsupervised in the classroom (the teacher is in the teacher's
lounge). So an adult has to be there -- which leaves either me
It's a challenge to stop what
I'm doing at noon and go to school for an hour, but it's only
for a few weeks. Even so, it's very disruptive. Our daughter
is adjusting well to everything. It's an understatement to say
that she can't wait to be out of that damned cast!
The orthopedist said that,
according to a new x-ray, her bone was slightly out of
alignment. He had to open her cast slightly and insert a wedge
to push the bone over. We'll need to go for x-rays weekly to
ensure that it's healing correctly.
The results of the February
Braces Poll were interesting but not entirely surprising. I
think most of us know that more women have braces than men.
But interestingly, more men were THINKING about getting braces
than women! This is the largest poll we've ever had on the
site, with over 400 responses (hopefully all unique).
There has been a lot of talk
on Metal Mouth Forum regarding stained ligatures and chains.
One reader mentioned some pearlescent chains that a friend
really likes. I contacted the company that makes these
pearlescent chains and they generously sent me a sample. Alas,
they did not stand up to my curry test (I didn't wear them; I
just dipped them in a curry mixture for a couple of minutes).
Yes, they turned bright yellow.
Then, to complete the test, I
"brushed" them with my Sonicare and some whitening
toothpaste. No effect. I dipped them into the new Rembrandt
Stain Removing mouthwash for 15 minutes. No effect. And
finally, I used some Dental White bleaching gel on them.
Ditto. They are still as yellow as ever. Very disappointing.
If a company could make
elastic ligatures and chains that are CURRY resistant, that
would be an incredible breakthrough.
The pearlescent chains are
very nice, and they probably do resist more normal food
stains (mustard, coffee, etc) than others. But sadly, they
didn't pass the curry test.
I entertained the idea of
dipping them in chlorine bleach, but since it's a poison, I
would never suggest anyone put that in their mouth! Still, I
wonder if a swab dipped in chlorine bleach would get some of
the stubborn stains out, if you did it carefully enough and
rinsed with a lot of water (out of desperation only, of
course). Would the bleach break down the chain? Well, I guess
that's another test I could do, strictly out of
12 - Happy Birthday
year ago today, this site went live under the name "Of
Braces and Home Improvement" on angelfire.com. In the
ensuing year, it has received more than 75,000 hits from
people around the world. When I first started this site,
I knew very little about being a "webmaster." But I
had plans and dreams, and today, this site comes very close to
all that I imagined.
I just want to take this
opportunity to express how rewarding it has been to evolve and
maintain this site. I constantly receive emails and guestbook
entries from readers who tell me how helpful the site has
been. The site's success comes from two sources -- me
in my persistence to bring you helpful unbiased information,
and more importantly, you, the readers, who share your
stories and your experiences in places like Metal Mouth Forum.
Your warmth, humor, and candor have helped make this site a
unique refuge for adults in orthodontia.
My sincere thanks to all of
ArchWired's readers around the world. May your treatment be
short and painless, your ligatures unstained, and your midline
Things have been pretty
uneventful lately, as far as my braces are concerned.
I've been wearing the elastics when I can during the day (and
always at night). The teeth are slowly moving, closing those
gaps. I recently had a nasty canker sore. Lord how I hate
On the Metal Mouth Forum, one
subject of discussion recently was using double chains or even
double elastics to make the job go faster. I would never
advise anyone to do this on their own -- the people who wrote
about it have been told by their orthodontists to do so.
Anyway, it has been almost 9
months since those bicuspids were extracted, and I'm getting a
little impatient. The top gaps are mostly closed, but the
bottom right, in particular, seems to be taking its sweet
time. So the next time I see Dr. Vogt I'm going to ask him if
it's advisable to do anything additional to close the gaps
faster. I'd be willing to put up with more pain if it
accomplished the goal without harming my teeth. Of course, the
health of my teeth and gums is my utmost concern.
Last time, I wrote about
stained elastic chain and my curry experiments. (The chain is
NOT in my mouth; it's a bunch of chain I received as a
sample). Well, just out of curiosity, I dipped the stained
chain in chlorine bleach for about 10 minutes. Would you
believe it had very little effect? The chain was still yellow.
Then I had another bright
idea. What about denture cleaner? Unfortunately, the chemicals
in denture cleaner cannot be put into your mouth. Dentures are
supposed to be cleaned outside your mouth. So even if a
denture cleaning tablet worked, it would be beside the point
-- because you can't put it (or the cleaning solution) in your
mouth! The only denture cleaner that might fit the bill was
Polydent, a toothpaste. After scrubbing the ligatures with
Polydent, they were still yellow.
So folks, I guess we're back
to square one. Darn! I've been wearing my smoke colored chains
all month and haven't eaten any curry yet, so they still look
great. I plan to eat it soon, before my next adjustment. That
way if they turn yucky I won't have to live with it for long.
I'm actually thinking of
writing to one or two of the companies that make ligatures and
chains to ask about the curry problem. I think that this
problem is mostly confined to adults. It seems that unless
it's in their culture, most kids don't eat curry, so it's not
a problem for them. And besides, most kids opt for those
bright colored ones, which wouldn't look yucky anyway. One
girl in my daughter's class alternates pink and orange
ligatures. It actually looks really nice on a little girl --
Have you noticed what a mess
you make on the bathroom mirror since getting braces? Seems
like I'm always cleaning it. One product that I've found very
helpful is these new pre-treated glass cleaner wipes. Windex
makes a packet of them (25 sheets per packet), and I think
other companies make a similar product. I keep the packet in
my bathroom drawer. It's very convenient for fast touch-up
jobs and doesn't take up much space. Of course, the same thing
could be accomplished with a bottle of glass cleaner and a
paper towel if you had the space and the inclination. I
find myself being drawn to these types of convenience products
lately. The pre-moistened towels, the disposable
"Swiffer" type mops -- neat time-saving
Regarding my daughter, who
has a broken leg, here's the latest. She will be in her big
plaster cast until the end of March. Then she will be changed
to a fiberglass cast that goes from below her knee to her
foot. She still will not be able to walk on it or get it wet.
She will wear that until the middle of April. Total time in a
cast: 8 weeks. We've gone for several x-rays over the past few
weeks and the bone is healing well.
She's doing fine, but I'm
really worn out from all the running around I do for her. And
lifting the wheelchair in and out of the car trunk (which I
must do occasionally) is not good for my back. We're all
counting the days until she can walk again! Maybe when she
gets into that new lighter cast she will have the confidence
and stability to use crutches.
March 17 is
looming; the day that President Bush has set for this new war.
I'm not going to launch into a huge debate on politics or
world affairs, but do we REALLY need to do this? The direction
of my country, and of the world in general, scares the crap
out of me. And that (as Forrest Gump says) is all I have to
say about that...
week I had a rite of passage: finally one of my elastics
snapped inside my mouth. I was wondering if it would ever
happen. Sure enough, the other morning, I gave a huge yawn,
and SNAP! But here's the good news: it didn't hurt at all. The
elastic broke, but it didn't snap against the inside of my
My teeth have been very
stable, so sorry to be boring, but I don't have very much to
say about my braces this week. One of the gaps on the bottom
is almost all closed, while the other one remains stubbornly
larger. The top gaps are also almost closed. Well FINALLY!
Unless Dr. Vogt does something new to close them faster, I
think those three gaps will be all gone in a couple of months.
The fourth one might take a month or two longer. It's so weird
-- when I'm flossing, I actually forget which teeth the top
gaps are between! I guess that it progress!
I've been really annoyed at
voy.com, the host of our Metal Mouth Forum. They decided to do
a system upgrade and gave us webmasters absolutely no warning.
The Forum has been flaky, and I apologize, but it's beyond my
control. I think the folks at voy are finally stabilizing it.
We have a new Photo Gallery
and much to my chagrin, I found out the hard way that there's
a viewing limit on the darned thing. (One of those "small
print" things you don't see upon signing up.) So, just to
let you know, I'm re-evaluating the Photo Gallery host.
Originally I had wanted you guys and gals to be able to post
photos yourself. But perhaps that isn't realistic. My own
ArchWired webhost has plenty of space for photos, so I might
decide to bring it here instead of having it at an off-site
host. In any event, I apologize if you've been shut out of
viewing the photos because we reached photoisland's stupid
viewing limit. I'll get this situation under control within
the next few weeks.
With all the running around
I've been doing for my broken-legged daughter, it has been a
challenge to fit meals, exercise, and chores into my day. I've
been hungry and cranky a lot, which is never good. Before
getting braces, I used to eat various types of high protein,
low carb "power bars" in situations like this. But
since most of them are incredibly chewy, I haven't been able
to eat any for the past year. Fortunately, last week (thanks
to Hubby) I discovered one that is easy to eat and (IMHO)
tastes really good. It's called Zone Perfect bar. The bars
have a little less protein than some of their ultra-chewy
mega-protein counterparts, but definitely enough to be a
decent meal replacement or high-protein snack: 16g protein and
20g carbs, with lots of various vitamins and minerals and 3MG
of Omega 3 (one of those "good fats" we apparently
never get enough of).
I have tried two of the
flavors and they are really tasty: Apple Cinnamon Crunch and
Blueberry Yogurt. There are bunch of fruit flavors. I don't
know if the chocolately ones are chewy (I'll get back to you
on that, because they might be -- I'm leery about anything
that has "caramel" in it). But the fruit/yogurt ones are great!
They're like really soft granola bars. Very easy to bite into,
easy to chew (like a soft Rice Krispy treat). Not too sticky
on your braces. I was surprised and delighted and decided to
buy more. The fruit and yogurt flavors are: apple cinnamon
crunch (no, it's not "break-your-teeth"
crunchy; it's soft) , blueberry yogurt, strawberry yogurt,
peach yogurt, lemon yogurt. The bars cost around $1.75 in a store, and I did a
little snooping on the Web to see if I could buy them cheaper
online. Sure thing: drugstore.com has a 12 pack for $16.99 and
right now they're doing a promotion where you get a free
14-bar variety pack. So what the heck. I ordered a bunch
(enough to qualify for free shipping) and got the free pack,
too. If you want to know more about the Zone Perfect bars,
here is a link
to their website. If you do a web search on "zone
perfect" you'll find lots of e-tailers selling them for
various prices, and I'm sure you can find them in your local
Speaking of my
broken-legged daughter, she got her cast changed yesterday.
Now she's in a fiberglass cast from her knee to her foot. For
4 more weeks. So although it's going to be a bit easier for
her, nothing changes for us. I still need to schlep to school
each day at noon to help her. The doctor told her she could
stand/walk on this cast for limited periods, but she doesn't
want to. She is scared to try crutches
and we'd rather deal with the wheelchair and keep her safe and
So, the war in
the Middle East is underway. I don't agree with it, but I hope
it ends swiftly, with few deaths. Godspeed to our troops.