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Of Braces and Home Improvement

now it's a post-orthodontic journal

April to June 2006 
z Saturday, April 1 

Actually I don't have a lot to write about this month. I've made almost no progress on the buying of new furniture for my house (although I did get a rug). I hope to start the furniture shopping in earnest this coming month. I just haven't had the time, plus I was waiting for the rug to come (the furniture color will be based on the rug). So it has continued to be a slow and painful process. I hope to get the dining room set squared away this month. I am so tired of empty rooms and no place to sit and hang out!

The flu is going around my kids' schools and my oldest was home a few days last week feeling sick. Fortunately she didn't get the 103 fever for days on end!

I've been busy figuring out what camps to send my kids to this summer. It seems that each summer it gets harder to figure out! I really wish that they didn't start the registration in March, because really who knows their summer plans already in March or even April? But you know how it is -- it's best to sign up early or you could be stuck on a waiting list, or worse be totally shut out of something your kids wanted to do. Anyway, I've got it all squared away except for one thing, which will be easy. Another summer figured out! Phew!

It has been raining and raining here in Northern California and I've got to say that I'm tired of it already. All of my daughter's softball games and most of her practices have been rained-out. I'm ready for some sunshine, some tennis, and some bike rides!

My younger daughter and I are going to the orthodontist soon for a "check up." For her -- to see how her teeth are coming in (and to determine when she will need braces). For me -- just to have a "look see." I am going to ask if my retainer can be made tighter to help push a couple of teeth closer together. As time has gone on and the teeth have settled there are a few places where food shreds still get stuck. It would be nice to close them up tighter without resorting to bonding or whatever.

Monday, May 1 

Well, neither of my kids needs braces right now. My younger daughter's palate expansion (to correct her cross bite) has held up very well. Her permanent teeth are coming in nicely. Both of my kids are very slow teethers; my oldest still hasn't lost all of her baby teeth and she is almost a teenager. Our orthodontist doesn't feel that it is necessary to start treatment until all of their permanent teeth are in. I agree, because now neither of them has any bite or jaw issues and the teeth generally look OK. But I know that in the future they will both need braces to straighten their teeth. My oldest will probably get them in a year or two. She's happy that Mom has all the dental wax she will ever need, LOL (i.e., our stockroom).

The orthodontist also tweaked my Hawley retainer a bit to encourage one tooth to move slightly and close a small gap that opened up. At first it seemed to work very well -- the gap did get smaller. Unfortunately shreds of food still get stuck in there when I eat. I think I will need to get it bonded. I'm not upset about it; I just hope that this is the last one I need to get done. Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't go back into braces for 6 months, but I think at this point that would be rather drastic. Except for that gap, things are fine. I get a lot of compliments on my teeth!


This month the site is featuring an article about bisphosphonate drugs (such as Fosamax and Boniva) and their role in the risk of developing a damaging jaw disease called Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ). If you have taken this drug, you should read the article to become informed about this condition, especially if you plan to have extractions or jaw surgery.

I became aware of this topic when one of our older ArchWired readers (who is in Damon brackets and needed extractions), had to stop treatment. Many adults are on these drugs to help strengthen their bones. As more adults seek orthodontic treatment, the risk associated with bisphosphonate drugs could become worrisome. At the moment there isn't much information about the risk these drugs might play in orthodontic treatment. As information becomes available, it will be posted on ArchWired.


On a lighter (and certainly less important) note, my home improvement odyssey continues. It has been challenging at times trying to coordinate the work we're having done, but it is coming together. Next week we will have new recessed lights in our living room and shelves in a closet in our TV room. Soon after the painter will come in and do his thing, including new crown molding and baseboards. And sometime in the process all the yucky old interior doors will be replaced with nicer ones.

I managed to finally order a sofa for the living room, but now I'm at a standstill over the fabric for one chair. I want a nice pattern for the chair, but it is very difficult due to the color scheme and pattern of the rug that will be beneath it. Every fabric I've found seems to clash in one way or another. It's a huge headache. I may just give up and go with a solid color, because I'm tired of searching through fabrics.

This renovation thing is like a full-time job and it makes me very tired. I have learned a lot about myself in this process. Mainly, that I just don't have the patience to ruminate ad-nauseum on pieces of furniture and fabric. I don't mind searching, but when it takes more than a few days I start to get really cranky. And then when you finally make up your mind, it takes 10 to 12 weeks for the furniture to arrive! Now I know for a fact that I would never have the patience to be an interior designer! (Not that I was ever thinking about it, LOL).

Well, I hope that we will be done with this process by the end of the month. Hubby wants to buy one of those new reclining chairs that doesn't look like a reclining chair (it looks like a nice club chair). Which is fine by me, except that he needs to sit in a bunch of reclining chairs and pick one out! THAT is the challenge. Some of the chairs we have in mind aren't even on a showroom floor anywhere (although similar models are). It is maddening, and I can't wait until the whole process is over. I keep wishing I could wake up tomorrow and the whole thing would be done, so I could get on with other stuff I want to do.

Before I get off my soapbox on this subject, I want to comment on how unrealistic those home makeover shows are on HGTV, Bravo, and Lifetime. They just go to a showroom and pick out furniture -- no endless waiting for them! And of course all the colors harmonize perfectly. A full kitchen remodel? No sweat, it can be done in the course of a half-hour show (which is so easy when you have a full-time carpenter, plumber, and electrician at your beck and call). I saw a show last night called Flip This House, where a real estate team in Charleston SC bought a dilapidated little house stuffed with junk, and in 10 days -- TEN DAYS -- totally renovated it, inside and out, including a new kitchen, newly finished attic, and new backyard garden. On the 11th day they sold it and made $72,000 in profit.

Disney should consider a new attraction: Home Improvement Land. I'm sure that HGTV would have a big pavilion in that fantasy world. You'll find it right next to the flying cars and the photos of the Mars colony.

Thursday, June 1 

Later today I take both of my kids to the dentist for their routine cleanings and checkups. My older daughter will probably need another baby tooth extracted. This has been the norm with her baby molars -- they just don't seem to want to come out on their own. She has been wiggling it for almost 3 months now. I hate to put the kid through the extraction process, but our pediatric dentist is wonderful and makes it as pleasant and painless as possible.

Why extraction? Well, if the baby tooth isn't coming out, and the adult tooth is under it (or behind it), it can either cause the baby tooth to shatter, or the baby tooth may become sort-of embedded in the gum. Neither option is good, so extraction is the answer on these stubborn teeth.


Since I have been out of braces for more than a year, I am thinking of ending this journal at the conclusion of this year. Simply, it is no longer an "orthodontic journal," but just a "regular 'ol journal"!

Of course, the chronicle of all my braces experience will remain here on the site. I may add a new interactive blog just to say what's on my mind each month. But I feel silly continuing to write that here, because it's supposed to be a journal about my treatment -- which is now long over.


Well, I am neck-deep in home improvement. As I write, the painters are here cutting and hammering up the new crown molding that is going into our living/dining room.

Some of our furniture has "come in" and is waiting in the furniture store's warehouse. It's painful to know that it's there but I can't have it yet (I have to wait until the painting is finished). This is especially true for the china cabinet -- a piece of furniture I've been wanting for almost 20 years. Patience, patience....

I did a lot of nail-biting about what colors to paint things, and finally those colors are going up on the walls. Phew, OK, so far they do look good. I have very little confidence in my own ability to make these decorating decisions (despite help from some professionals). I have to keep reminding myself that it's only paint, it's only furniture -- really, it's not earth-shattering or even terribly important in the grand scheme of things.

Later this month, the door replacement company will replace all of our yucky old interior doors with nice new ones. Unfortunately, they need to TAKE THE OLD DOORS WITH THEM for a few days before they put the new ones on! They need to use the old doors for templates (??). I'm not looking forward to this. A house with 4 people and no doors except in the kitchen (pocket doors that were re-done a few years ago). No doors on the bedrooms. No doors on the bathrooms! The door company tells me, "We come on a Monday and take your doors away, then we install your new ones on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday." To which I reply, "Umm....what do I need to do to make this happen on Wednesday instead of Thursday or Friday?" Yeah, that will be a really fun week in my house.

Oh yeah, we finished picking out all the major pieces of furniture, FINALLY! My husband and I spent a very productive Saturday recently going to several stores so he could sit in various reclining chairs. I was sure that this would take forever, but amazingly enough, Macy's happened to have a very stylish reclining chair (which doesn't look like a recliner at all -- it looks like a really nice club chair). Turns out that Macy's was having a sale. Hubby liked the chair and it was comfortable for both of us. Plus, I liked the style. Sold!  One more task is done!

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