Here I am with braces
in March, 2002, two months after treatment began:
January, 2003 after one year of treatment. I'm wearing
elastics, but you can barely see them because they're
near the corners of my mouth:
A close-up of my teeth,
the morning before I got my braces:
Sure, they don't look too
bad, but look closely. Some teeth on the bottom overlap
each other, and several aren't very straight. They also
aren't even vertically (some seem
"shorter" than others, especially on top):
And, after one full year
of treatment, this is how my teeth look in January, 2003:
What an improvement! Although I still technically have an open
bite, the front teeth no longer appear to have all those gaps
-- the upper front teeth slightly overlap the lowers. (To
eliminate the open bite entirely would have required
ridiculously extensive jaw surgery, and was never an option).
The teeth have all straightened out nicely, and appear more
even. The gaps from the bicuspid extractions are about 70
percent closed. Has it been worth all the pain and
inconvenience this past year to see these changes?! Take a
look at the difference in my teeth! A resounding HELL YES
This was after six
months of treatment:
Here are my teeth after 6
months of treatment. My top teeth are almost all aligned, and
my bottom teeth do not overlap anymore! Note that the archwire
on the bottom front teeth has been removed because my
gums were suffering. Soon after this photo was taken, I
had my four second bicuspids extracted. The extractions were
unfortunately necessary because my gums were in danger of
receding. Extracting some teeth gave us more leeway to
straighten my smile without harming my gums.
Elastic Power Chains To
Close the Gaps
On July 2, 2002,
I had the arch wires put back on after having my four second
bicuspids extracted. These photos show the white elastic
chains (extreme right and left), on top of the arch wire) that
will help close the gaps. It's kind of hard to see,
since they are white. The elastic chain is attached to the
brackets the same way as the regular little rubber
bands (ligating modules), except that the rubber bands are
chained together, thus pulling on the teeth. The front
two bottom teeth are not banded in yet. Dr. Vogt wanted to
give the gums more time to adjust before pushing them.
Yes, so far, it HURTS! (p.s. the pain lasted about 2
weeks and then dissipated).
9 Months of Treatment -
Light Blue Bands and Chains
I love to eat Indian and Thai
curry, but was tired of how they stained my clear bands and
elastic chains. So, I switched to light blue. You can barely
see the difference between light blue and white. Now, after 9
months of treatment and extractions, my smile is looking
better than ever. My bite is beginning to be less open. The
gaps from the extractions are closing up. The chains do not
hurt anymore (they go back on the bottom next month after
one specific tooth is made a little straighter).
1 Year of Treatment - Chains
still wearing light blue power chains, and have begun wearing
elastics to help close the gaps from the bicuspid extractions
(the gaps should be completely closed in about 4 more months).
The elastics hook once on top and twice on the bottom, forming
bite has changed significantly in the past 3 months and my
teeth look straighter than ever. The top front teeth now
slightly overlap the bottoms. This is to help correct my open
bite. Notice the space that is closing between my upper and
lower teeth on the right side of my mouth!
wear the elastics at night, and during the day when I can. I
take them off to eat and to brush my teeth. At first they made
my teeth ache, but now I barely notice them. Sometimes I
forget that I have them on -- until I try to yawn and they
snap my mouth closed! I do wear the elastics in public. They
are barely noticeable. They impede my speech ever so slightly,
making me slur certain words a bit. Overall, they're not too
bad to deal with.
1 Year 4
months of Treatment
year, 4 months into treatment. I'm wearing "smoke"
colored power chains, and you can barely see them! The gaps
are almost closed and the bite is looking more even than ever.
Dr. Vogt said that my gaps are closing slower than average. My
bottom teeth are beginning to rotate inward too much, so a
stronger arch wire was used this time. I am still wearing
elastics at night and during the day when I can.
A Year and a
Half of Treatment - The Gaps are Almost Closed
months into treatment. We're taking a break from the elastics
for a while, but I will continue to wear the smoke-colored
power chains (smoke color has proved to be my favorite) until
the end of my treatment. The four extraction gaps are almost
closed (especially the top ones), but the lower gaps continue
to stubbornly remain, as show in the following photo.
Vogt says that my gaps are closing much slower than average.
Oh lucky me. At this point, my teeth are fairly straight and
my bite is pretty much where Dr. Vogt wants it to be. Now at
each adjustment, he's tweaking things to straighten a few
teeth which are still a speck crooked in one way or another.
Also, my total treatment time will probably be more than 24
months. I expect to be in treatment an additional six months
and get the braces off in Spring or Summer 2004.
can see the gaps between my frontward molars (which are
banded) and the teeth next to them. Aren't my fillings lovely?
That's the result of lazy oral hygiene as a child and lack of
sealants in the '60s. Thankfully, so far, my kids don't have
one cavity in either of their mouths!
21 Months of
months into treatment, and now after taking a break from
elastics for a while, I'm wearing new ones that go from the
first upper hook down to the last lower hook. This will help
to better align my bite. My extraction gaps are FINALLY
beginning to close. I'll have a progress photo of that soon.
22 Months -- The
Gaps are Almost Gone!
photo on the left was taken in June, and the photo on the
right was taken in late September. FINALLY those stubborn
bottom gaps are closing. A few more months and they'll be
to come as my treatment continues!