2002 to January 2003
What a busy
month November was! I can't believe that it is actually the
last month of the year. And, one year since I first seriously
considered getting braces! At the end of this month, I will
post a new photo of my teeth showing the progress.
The gaps have
been slow in closing, but Dr. Vogt has been very pleased with
my progress. I expected my teeth to absolutely KILL ME after
he put the chains on all of them last month, but it hasn't
been bad at all. They did hurt for a couple of days, then
settled down. I was able to eat Thanksgiving turkey with no
problem. Food is still getting stuck between the molars,
however. I have to be super careful about keeping my teeth
something I've been meaning to mention. When I put my teeth
together (especially the front ones), they creak! I'm not sure
exactly what's creaking -- the teeth or the brackets. It has
been this way for months. It doesn't bother me, but it's kinda
weird, dontcha think?
This year, I
cheated a bit at Thanksgiving. Because we were only having
very immediate family at the dinner table (just my husband, my
kids, and hubby's mom), I actually bought everything pre-made
from the supermarket. I did very little cooking, and lots of
"warming up." It was so incredibly stress-free, it
was unbelievable! And the food was pretty good. The turkey was
juicy and tender. And I didn't spend days slaving in my
kitchen to prepare any of it! What more could you ask
As we head
into the holidays, I want to remind everyone to try to
schedule their adjustments at least a week before any major
event where eating takes place. If you try to plan it, at
least you can enjoy special parties or dinners without major
Hanukkah to all who celebrate the festival of lights. It came
early this year! Braces make a great excuse to eat more of
those latkes than usual -- as long as they're not too
I also want
to thank those of you who have purchased a DentaKit from my
other site. I hope you enjoy the product and that you find it
I went for a
cleaning this past week. My diligence in cleaning my teeth has
paid off. There was tartar, but nowhere near as much as 4
months ago. And the cleaning didn't take as long, either. I
say: two thumbs up for my Sonicare!
after the cleaning, my teeth ached slightly. I don't know if
there's a connection. Probably just things shifting slightly.
Food is still getting lodged between those two top molars,
which is a major pain! I can't wait for that space to close
up on one year since I first got the braces, and I'm wondering
when the dreaded rubber bands will be introduced. I assume
that Dr. Vogt won't want me to use them until all the gaps are
closed. I've got to say, I don't envy you people who have
rubber bands. It sounds like a big pain -- changing them after
each meal. Hopefully I won't need to have them on for long.
great news for this website: it's a winner of the Golden Web
Award for 2002-2003! I have also applied for the Diamond Web
Award. I think to win that one, you guys need to vote. So
if you get a chance, please click on the "Diamond Web
Award Applicant" logo at the bottom of the home
page and vote for this site! THANKS!
According to today's SF Chronicle newspaper, actor Nicholas
Cage now has braces on his teeth!
Cruise, now Nick Cage. And Faye Dunaway (I think). Do you
suppose John Cusack will ever get his crooked bottom teeth
straightened? Well, knowing him, probably not. He doesn't seem
like the type that has the patience for braces. It's
interesting how some of these Hollywood men are opting for
braces (whether out of necessity or esthetics). Who will be
next? Perhaps we should have a fun poll in January:
"Which celebrity needs braces the most?"
OK, I'm in a
goofy mood today, I'll admit it. Nothing new to report to you
other than the blurb about Nick Cage. I have to get my butt in
gear and try to interview these folks. IF (big "if")
they would talk to me, it would be very interesting to hear
about how braces affect their professional and personal lives.
Hey Tom, Nick, and Faye: Enquiring Teeth Want to Know! Any
readers out there have a Hollywood "in" that could
Well, as you can tell, I have
re-designed the site and even re-named it to something a
little more concise! I've been wanting to do this for a long
time. I hope you like the new flow of things.
If you encounter any problems
with any of the files, please drop me an email. I expect a few
bugs at first.
December 19 - Elastics!
I saw Dr. Vogt for an
adjustment, and much to my surprise, he started me on
elastics. He said that the elastics will help to close the
gaps quicker and start the process of aligning the teeth
better. So, without any fanfare, I'm into the second phase of
my treatment. I've had these braces on my teeth for almost a
year, and I knew it would happen sooner or later.
The dental assistant showed
me which teeth will be hooked up, and how to use the little
elastics-stretching tool (a little plastic hook). The elastics
form two little triangles on each side of my mouth. They
stretch from one upper tooth to two lower teeth.
At first, the feeling of
pressure was a bit uncomfortable. But over the past few days,
either I've become accustomed to it, or my teeth are moving
and there isn't as much pressure as a result.
Dr. Vogt said that I only
need to wear the elastics during sleep. But with all the
research I've done, I know that it would be better to wear
them more hours. I asked Dr. Vogt if it was OK for me to wear
them during the day, and he said yes. Hey, I just want to get
this over with -- the faster, the better!
So, when it's not
inconvenient, I have been wearing them. My reaction is mixed.
On one hand, when they're in, it's not too uncomfortable
unless you try to open your mouth wide. On the other hand,
it's a royal pain to keep changing the damn things every time
I eat something.
Here's the drill: you wear
them all the time. You take them off when you eat. Then you
brush your teeth and put new ones on.
In case you've never seen
these elastics, they are tiny -- a circle smaller than the
diameter of a pencil eraser. You need to stretch them pretty
far to get them on the hooks of your braces. It takes some
practice to do this without accidentally flinging the
microscopic thing across the room, never to be found again.
Good thing they come in packages of 100!
So far, I've become pretty
good at just using my fingers to get them on and off. The
elastics tool is in my DentaKit in my purse, and I've been too
lazy to retrieve it to the bathroom. I stretch the elastic
around my index finger to enlarge it, then use the thumb and
index finger of the other hand to stretch it more and put it
on the braces. In case you don't know, they are attached to
the little hooks on your braces.
What does it feel like to
have elastics on? A little weird. Here's a good analogy: when
the elastics are on, it's like being in a business suit -- a
little constricting, but you get used to it. When the elastics
come off, it's like changing into a comfortable pair of sweats
after work -- a big relief!
I have to remember not to
open my mouth too wide when I have them on. The other day, I
was wearing them in the afternoon and I got angry at my kids.
I never realized how wide I open my mouth when I yell.
Ouch! So, big yells
and big yawns are out of the question for a while.
How long will I need to wear
these things? Almost until treatment ends. Of course, over
time the elastics will change position. Dr. Vogt might tell me
to stop putting them on these teeth and move them to those
teeth, etc. I just hope I don't have more than one pair in my
mouth at any given time. That would be just a little too
So far, I haven't swallowed
any elastics during my sleep, although I'm sure that day will
come. Also, so far none have snapped in my mouth. I'm not
looking forward to that eventuality!
But strangely enough, I think
the elastics are already doing their job. A couple of teeth
seem to have shifted slightly. And that makes it more
worthwhile to put up will all the inconvenience and
Oh, one more thing. Tom
Cruise has his braces off. That's according to his official
publicist. Yes, I tried to get an interview, to no avail. The
Nicolas Cage and Faye Dunaway people haven't gotten back to
me. No doubt, they're not taking my request seriously.
C'est la vie....
Friday, December 27
the elastics haven't been too much of an inconvenience. I've been wearing them
at night and at odd hours during the day. They definitely put pressure on my
teeth. It's only a little uncomfortable and very tolerable. I haven't even taken
pain reliever for it.
I've worn them in "public" with no
problems. I have noticed, however, that they make it a little difficult to
speak. How can I explain it? It's not exactly a lisp. I just sound a little
funny with the elastics on. I have a tendency to slur certain sounds, probably
because I'm trying not to open my mouth too wide.
I think the elastics are doing their job
already. It seems to me that at least one of the lower gaps has closed more
since I've been wearing them. I forgot to mention -- at my last adjustment
appointment, Dr. Vogt said that the gaps were 2/3 closed on the top and about
half closed on the bottom. The process of closing these extraction gaps is
slower than I'd expected, but at least I'm seeing good progress. It has been 6
months since I had those 4 bicuspids removed.
One thing I'll say about wearing elastics: they
are great for losing weight. It's impossible to eat with them on (I don't think
you're supposed to). And if you're between meals, it's a major pain to take off
the elastics, eat, brush, then put them back on. So I find myself re-considering
those between meal snacks. You just can't do impulse eating with elastics on
On a side note, I'm having deja-vu with my
jacuzzi spa. It broke, out of the blue! Suddenly, it's not heating the water or
filtering. If you've read this journal from the beginning, you'll remember that
exactly one year ago, we were stressing about it malfunctioning. This really
upsets me, because I really like using it in cold weather. Hopefully it won't be
broken for long.
Anyway, I have to wonder if the planets are
aligned some weird way in my zodiac sign this week. Things involving water are
breaking! The spa broke. Then, the new faucet on my kitchen sink came off
(fortunately it was easy to fix). Of course, it sprayed water all over me and my
kitchen before I had a chance to shut it off. And today, I noticed a puddle in
the upstairs bathroom and realized that the toilet tank had a big crack and was
leaking! Between parts and labor, it will be about $300 for a new toilet. Just
what I wanted for Christmas! I could muster up a few good puns here, but I'll
spare you the agony.
I'd better keep an eye on that fish tank. Good
thing we don't have a swimming pool...
Tuesday, December 31
- Happy New Year!
I'm starting 2003
with a new bracket on one of my lower teeth. Without warning, the bracket came off the tooth yesterday! I guess the adhesive just gave way. I thought
it felt weird after eating lunch, and after brushing I looked carefully and sure
enough, the bracket was hanging next to the tooth! It is one of the teeth that
has the elastics on it.
I called Dr. Vogt. He said that it could stay
that way for a day or two, but the wayward bracket was putting uncomfortable
pressure on the tooth. So, I snipped the elastic chain on each side of the
bracket and removed it. I couldn't go right into his office to have it repaired
because Hubby was at work, and my kids had friends over to play.
Dr. Vogt saw me today to replace the bracket,
and of course I wound up getting the full adjustment out of the deal. He was
amazed at how much progress the gap closures have made in the past few weeks.
The elastics have really been doing their job! He said that the lower gaps have
closed by a whole millimeter more! The top gaps have closed by about a half
millimeter more. Eyeballing it at home the other day, it had seemed to me that
the gaps were much smaller, too. In fact, I
can barely fit the tip of my tongue into the upper gaps.
Ceramic vs. Inspire Sapphire Brackets
While I had Dr. Vogt's ear, I asked him about
Inspire sapphire brackets versus ceramic brackets. In a nutshell, he said that
he prefers the 3M Clarity ceramic brackets because they are reinforced with
metal. He thought that the Inspire brackets were good and strong, but he's had
good clinical success with Clarity and that is the brand he prefers. The Clarity
ceramic brackets are the type that Tom Cruise had.
He also said that the Inspire brackets are very
transparent and sometimes don't look as good on teeth that have a yellowish
tinge (which describes most teeth). I suppose it all depends on aesthetics and
what your ortho prefers to use. If you want to try the Inspire brackets, I
suggest that you talk to your ortho about them and ask specifically why he does
or does not use them. I don't think that orthos are used to us consumers asking
about bracket brand. Often, the choice is totally up to the dentist, and the
companies that make them only market them to dentists.
Dr. Vogt did say, however, that plastic
brackets are crappy and often break. So there's a caveat for you. The ceramic
and sapphire brackets are superior if you're not going to use traditional metal.
Plastic alone just doesn't stand up to the forces involved in moving teeth.
So, if you are new to orthodontics, be sure to
ask your dentist exactly what is being used in your mouth, and why.
Any Inventors Out There?
Here are two things that orthodontic patients
would really love. If you could invent these, you'd make a ton of money:
1. Clear or tooth-colored arch wires that
resist stains. Why hasn't anyone invented this yet? All arch wires are silver
metal. Can't they coat the metal with some sort of tooth-colored material? And
while they're at it, make it stain resistant? While we're dreaming, how
about a transparent arch wire?
2. Also, could someone please invent ligating
modules (little rubber bands) and elastic power chains that are tooth colored
and don't stain from curry, coffee, tea, and mustard?
Thursday, January 9
other brackets have popped off, so I suppose it won't be a common occurrence.
Later this month will be the one year anniversary of my initial banding (that
is, when I first got my braces). It's amazing that an entire year has passed. I
will take new photos after my next adjustment and post the progress to the
There's nothing exciting to report about my
teeth this week. I've continued using the elastics, and they are closing up
those gaps, slowly but surely. I've really gotten used to the elastics and don't
mind them, most of the time. I'm beginning to think that my fear of them
"snapping" inside my mouth is unfounded -- an urban legend, if you
Happily, DentaKit has received some great press
recently in a few trade papers, including the one most dentists pay attention
to, "Dental Products Report".
Speaking of DentaKit, I have added
international shipping to the options, but customs fees and duties in other
countries are very high. I'm looking into ways around the high fees, but I don't
think there's much I can do about it. So, my overseas friends, you can
certainly buy one, but your country's fees will be added on top.
So, what are your new year resolutions? I have
one big resolution -- to achieve more balance in my life. I had slacked off
terribly in both exercise and guitar playing, and intend to remedy that
situation. I've been doing all my back exercises, 30 minutes of aerobics, and
soon hope to begin lifting weights again -- 3 times per week. And finally,
today, I played my Strat again. Music is food for the soul.
I took a trip this past weekend, a 2-hour drive
-- an opportunity to blast some great old music on my car's CD player. XTC,
Peter Gabriel, and Beck. Well ok, Beck is newish, but the others were "best
of" albums. Have you ever heard the song "Life Begins at the Hop"
by XTC? It originally came out in the late 70s/early 80s. Amazing song, meant to
be absolutely blasted. It has a great bass line and a really fun guitar solo in
the middle. That solo really bugged me. I just had to figure it out. And I did.
Which is very satisfying.
While I'm on the subject of music, here was the
ironic moment of the week. A local cable channel airs a show called Merge,
which is what MTV used to be -- a solid hour of music videos. Most of the videos
are either old "new wave" or new local bands. So here's the ironic
moment: the Ramones singing the song "Pet Cemetery." Standing in a
cemetery, waiting to be buried. Joey singing, "I don't wanna be buried/in a
pet cemetery/I don't to live my life again..." Joey and Dee Dee, we miss
ya....maybe you're up there in Rock-n-Roll heaven jamming with Joe Strummer and
Friday, January 17
sitting around, having a perfectly normal evening, when suddenly I notice that
one cheek feels really irritated. And then, after dinner, I notice it actually
hurts. So I run my finger over my braces on that side of my mouth, and sure
enough....the top archwire is poking me. WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO HAPPEN ON FRIDAY
NIGHT WHEN THERE'S NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT?! Murphy's Law, I suppose.
This is the number one reason to choose an
orthodontist that is near your house. You just never know when your teeth will
move, displacing the archwire, and sending it straight into your cheek. Good
thing I have plenty of wax. Although, there's not much you can really do for a
poking wire, except have it clipped.
We have wire clippers at home, but Hubby would
never endeavor to snip my archwire. And frankly, I don't blame him. Because
after you snip off the tiny piece that has been poking you, it sits in your
mouth for a few seconds until other person fishes it out with a tweezer. In Dr.
Vogt's office, I always hold my breath and try not to swallow when this happens.
I'm paranoid about swallowing a tiny piece of metal, and having it perforate
something in my digestive tract. I could just see the headline: Mother of Two
Killed by Braces, story at 11....and my kids spending their lives with
crooked teeth because they were so traumatized. Hubby might go to jail for
involuntary wifeslaughter, and then what would become of my crooked-toothed
kids? Orphans, doomed to a life without a mother, a jailbird father, crooked
teeth, and the worst irony of all -- hundreds of DentaKits to sell!
So, it's best that I wait for Dr. Vogt to snip
that wire, dontcha think? ;-)
New photos will be coming soon! After my next
adjustment, I'll have Hubby take new photos and post them beside my old ones. It
will be interesting to see the difference now that I'm approaching one year of
Thursday, January 23
Vogt was nice enough to meet me at his office on Saturday to take care of that
poking wire. I was due for an adjustment in just a few days, so he saved me the
trip and did an adjustment for me on Saturday. What a relief that was! He
brought his preschooler daughter to the appointment, and I brought my older
daughter (who loves little kids) and they played together. Kids just love those
"treasure boxes" that dentists have. I asked Dr. Vogt to look at my
daughter's teeth for an opinion. So far, no braces are indicated. But her adult
teeth are still growing in, so time will tell. She does have the beginnings of
an open bite, just like her mom. Anyway, phew! Some of her friends already have
braces, and they are under 10 years old!
Dr. Vogt is really happy with the progress my
teeth have been making. He said that he thinks the extraction gaps will close up
completely in about 3 to 4 months. Which will make it about 10 months total for
the gaps to close. That is longer than I expected, but I'm just looking forward
to getting it over with.
So guys and gals, I've been in braces one year.
I can't believe the changes in my teeth, one year later. Since you don't see the
changes on a daily basis, I was very curious to take the new photo and compare
it to the first "non-braced" photo. It astounded me! Wow, I'm so happy
about it! The most wonderful thing is, my teeth will never look so crooked ever
again! I realize that the new photo doesn't show the elastics. I'll post an
elastics photo soon....sorry, I just forgot!
That brings me to comment on this month's
braces poll. The results are really surprising. I thought that I was the only
person out there who hedged so much. But seeing that 25% of you waited more than
10 years before starting treatment...now that's a surprising statistic.
Seems the people either do it right away, or wait a long time and think about
Coming up, some new stuff will be added to the
site next month. Mark from Australia wrote an essay about his braces experience
(thanks, Marky!), and a reader from Europe sent website link to another person
who has a really good adult braces journal (I wanted to thank the reader, but
his/her email bounced)!
We got a new piece of musical equipment the
other day. A Dobro! Hubby wanted it for his b-day. What's a Dobro? It's a
steel-body guitar that you play with a slide (metal or glass). Think twangy
delta blues, Bonny Raitt, etc. We had fun playing some 12-bar blues riffs and
experimenting with the Dobro. Neither of us really knows how to play it well, so
the results are semi-comedic. I think lessons (or at least a good book or two)
will be necessary. Slide LOOKS easy, but there's definitely a technique to it.
Since I can finger pick really well, I'm a little more successful at it than
Hubby. Still, it's REALLY different, since it's tuned differently than a regular
guitar. Almost sounds like a banjo. We were playing the song Dueling Banjos with
it (him on his acoustic, me on the Dobro). Fun, fun, fun!