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BRACES OFF (Day 323) - ~11 months since Jaw Surgery

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This was an auspicious day. Braces off day. I've been preparing for this day for 2 and a half years, thinking about how I'd act. When the day came, everything went... absolutely perfectly!

The orthodontist and assistants checked everything over, and then for the the next hour cracked off my braces with glorified pliers and sanded off the remaining cement with glorified dremels. I was in a state of perpetual euphoria the entire time, with a few bouts of uncertainty when I wasn't sure if they were drilling off the tooth or the cement (pro-tip: It's always the cement, they use end-bits that are not as hard as the enamel so it would be close to impossible to drill off the tooth).

I also scheduled a deep cleaning 2 hours later at the dentist, though when they checked me over they were happy to say I didn't even need anything beyond a normal cleaning. Possibly for the first time ever, I actually did a good job flossing and keeping my teeth clean. Miracles do happen.

Afte…

10 Month Check-In (Day 315) : The Final Week

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It's happening.

In 6 days I'm having my braces taken off. At this point I basically have Stockholm syndrome with my braces, and find myself worrying about not being able to blame braces for all my problems in life.

I've been wearing the required 5 elastics at night consistently for the last 2 months, I'm not about to screw this up after the 2 years I've had this braces, not a chance. Wherever I walk I keep my guard up for any potential boxer assailants, this jaw is currently Air Force One.

In terms of teeth movement, it's been subtle, but my bite has become so solid I haven't even realized that I'm biting into difficult to cut things like celery and cutting them cleanly. I still occasionally look at a bite and show it to whoever I'm eating with currently, letting them know how accomplished I am, though they seem to not find it as impressive as me. There has been some shaping up of the mid-line a good bit, here's 4 months ago versus now.

Sure th…

Day 268: Mini-surprises near the end of the road

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Today I was trying to explain what is different about my teeth after double jaw surgery and braces. To others it looks like nothing much changed, and I forget sometimes why I got jaw surgery, except when I'm eating.

Now that I'm less than 2 months from getting my braces off, my teeth are almost in their final position. I've been noticing more and more during meals that I'm comfortable biting fully into meats and veggies. I still get surprised when my upper teeth collide with my lower teeth and the food separates cleanly.

In a funny way I find myself worrying saying "wait this isn't normal," and then I realize that actually I'd just never had it normal before. This has been a long ride, but from what I'm seeing now the destination is looking pretty awesome.

9 Month check-in (Day 255)

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The last 3 months have been me living my life with elastics in varying configurations. There has been a small gap between my back right molars which the orthodontist has been trying his darndest to close... Every few movements a gap opening here and there between my teeth, with the solution being More Elastics!

I've been wearing 5 elastics that do things like trying to pull the midline back in, and getting my molars to touch.

Yes, it's been frustrating.

But.

Yesterday, the orthodontist looked around at my teeth. Then he looked around again. He looked confused, and looked further in with my mouth open and closing several times. Then it happened. "Let's schedule you for impressions next visit, and the visit after that we'll take your braces off."

My immediate instinct was that this was a trap. But no, I'm now scheduled for 3 visits in january. Getting impressions on Jan 8th. Getting my braces taken off on Jan 22nd. And then getting my retainer a few days aft…

Day 199 (6.5 months) : Teeth are straightening out!

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My lower teeth are not as canted/tilted compared to a 6 months ago! I hadn't noticed, because the changes my orthodontist were doing were so gradual it seemed like nothing was happening. But here we are, look at this comparison pic from 2 weeks after surgery versus now (6 months later).

If you look at the angle of lower brace wire versus the top, after surgery it was tilted. To me at the time it felt like my left side of the teeth met first and the right side not at all, almost like my jaw was canted.

I worried about this quite a lot, and had several conversations with my orthodontist and surgeon about it. They were not worried, and now I'm finally starting to understand why. It was a teeth alignment issue more than a jaw alignment issue. My right teeth (left in the pictures) touched on the tops and bottom in weird ways, with the lower teeth meeting outside the upper teeth, when it's supposed to be the other way. Because of this even with elastics they were not wanting to …

6 Month Check-In (Day 188) : Tau months in, upper gum sensation returning

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It's been about 6.28 months since the operation, or Tau (2*pi) months. I am starting to gain more feeling in my upper gums, whereas a month or two ago I could feel my palate and some of my upper teeth, but still had only partial sensation with the gums around my upper teeth.

Since those nerves were cut in the operation, and are numerous and small, the surgeon said roughly a year for recovery. I'm happy to say at ~6 months I'm starting to get partial sensation everywhere now. Honestly I can't really tell I don't have sensation in my upper gums anymore, I would've said it was noticeable up until about 4 months after surgery. I can only tell when I poke certain parts of the gum and notice only pressure sensations.

I went snorkeling last weekend, diving to 10-15 feet without issue. I was able to equalize my ears fine, despite the slight differences I've noticed after the surgery where my left ear seems to not feel a weird pressure occasionally.


On to 9 months
B…

Day 167 : Orthodontics continues despite Eclipse

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At today's checkup with the orthodontist, I've finally graduated to only wearing elastics at night! I can finally not worry about carrying around elastics during the day, having it snap during meals (yes, one is supposed to take them off...), or finding random food-bits stuck behind the bands hours later.

Some rubber power-chain type elastic were added to the front of my upper teeth, which is meant to help my center-line (mid-line!) stay the same or improve.

Before all this I spent the morning on the roof yelling at the clouds to get out of the way so I could get some photos of the eclipse. A few minutes of clear sky let me get several shots.


I said I'd never dare hope again, but here it is, I'm starting to hope that my braces might be coming off within 6 months.

On to Day 188 (6 month check-in)