Thursday, 20 December 2012

Busier than a Blue-arsed Fly

Good Grief!

I think I have had just about the busiest December on record (for me anyway) - so I haven't had time to update my blog until now.  What with School concerts, excursions, Birthday parties, Christmas parties, dentist appointments and trips to the emergency department (mid birthday party) - I have been busier than a Blue-arsed Fly - and they are apparently really busy! 

On Dec 5 I went for my second braces adjustment, and I had a pretty great day!  My Orthodontist group travel down to another town once a month - and it just happens to be half way between their usual office, and my home town - YAY! 

I'm pleased to say that I did get just as excited about this adjustment as my last, and it has not become a mundane task yet.  Even though there has not been as much noticeable movement, there has been some - which is comforting. 

My bottom canines had both overlapped the teeth beside them, and while I had been keeping an eye on their movement, and could see subtle changes, about two weeks before my appointment I was having dinner at my Mum's and had felt something differernt during dinner.  When I got home, I checked out these teeth in the mirror, and to my great excitement I found that one of those canines was now sitting nicely BESIDE it's neighbour!  I actually did a little jig in the bathroom, and jumped up and down like a crazy person......but it felt SO GOOD to see it sitting where it should be.  One down, one to go. 

Canine on my right (your left) is now behaving nicely
The offending canines before treatment



I was in and out in about 10 minutes, so I am really glad that I didn't have to drive a round trip of 4 hours just for that!  I didn't get to have my expansion support taken out, but I hardly notice it, so really it is no biggy. Next adjustment, though - definately.  Dr O says that my teeth are moving as they should be, and are looking good; and he also said that he thinks about April/May next year they will need to take a whole new set of records (impressions, photos, and measurements) so that he, and my surgeon Dr D can review and discuss whether I will need just lower jaw surgery, or upper and lower. 

Say what?  Do you mean to say that there is a possibility that I may be ready for surgery then???? Yes. Possibility.  :)

I was SO EXCITED!!  I know that April/May are (well they were then anyway) only like 5 months away - but that eqates to (possibly) only two more adjustment appointments!!!!  PROGRESS!!! I love progress. 

So they whipped off the lovely Pink bands, and since it is December, and the time to be Merry and celebratte all things festive, I decided on Christmas colours (and specifically chose a Green that doesn't look too much like Spinach). 

I brought my Mum along for the day, and after my very speedy appointment, we hit the shops and then went out for lunch.  I was a bit worried that my teeth would be really sore (like last time), but they were only a little tender, and were back to normal the next day.  Woohoo!

About a week after my first adjustment my braces cut up the insides of my cheeks, and I was using the wax for a week or so.  Since then I have had the odd day here or there where my cheeks are tender, but generally, the braces are back to being nice to me, and I haven't had any issues since my last adjustment - yay. 

My next adjustment is scheduled for the end of January; and then the one after that is in early April.  My youngest daughter is set to accompany me to that one, for an assessment of her own.  Poor little thing (only 8) and referred to the Orthodontist for a similar problem to least we will  have the same Dr, and hopefully her treatment will not need to be as drastic as mine.....hopefully......

Wishing everyone out there in blogging world a very Merry Christmas & an Awesome New Year!!

Monday, 15 October 2012


Well the last 10 weeks haven't exactly flown by; by they are gone nonetheless - and I have made it to the next leg of this process.  After the 'excitement' of my palate expansion surgery, and then fitting of my braces - there has been relatively little going on with all this mouth business for me. 

Not that that isn't a good thing - no news is good news right?  My braces have generally continued to be nice to me (thank you; thank you; thank you), so I haven't felt the need to share my lack of interesting braced tidbits to the blogging world.   

But!  Today I went back to see Dr O for my first braces adjustment - AND I was excited about it.  I have been excited about it for the last two weeks; and counting down; and jumping up and down singing "I get my braces adjusted tomorrow".  I don't know whether this excitement will wear off before the next adjustment - and turn into "braces adjustment - yada yada"; but I have tried to think of these as little milestones that bring me closer to a surgery date (the BIG one); and closer to the day when my mouth is free of metal & my beautiful new smile is revealed.  I think that is something to be excited about & if I don't break this whole process into little chunks, then it just seems so long and daunting! 

Started the day with another long drive.  My appointment was for 9.30am & was all over before 10.  I have read in so many blogs that the adjustments are painful - but I didn't really have anything to compare this to since I didn't have any pain when my braces were fitted.  I now realize that this was most probably due to the fact that most of my top jaw (gums & teeth) was numb from the teeny tiny little nerves being severed during my palate expansion surgery (all according to plan).

So, some good news, and some not so good.  My nerves seem to have grown back - YAY!  However this means that I was in a bit of pain today.  Nothing too dramatic - but now I understand what everyone writes about.  My bottom front teeth really hurt when Dr O put the new bands on - but then over the course of the day, all of my teeth started to object & ache.  Panadol seems to do the trick though.

And I am reminding myself that this is really nothing compared to what Terra and Sarah are going through at the moment; and what Ellie, Erin & Rosa have not long been through.  Think I need to toughen up a bit!

I walked in to the Orthodontist rooms this morning with a gap between my front teeth of around 2mm & Dr O said that this will close up fairly quickly with these new bands on. Again, underestimated "fairly quickly" - 2 hours later it was half that size; and by 2pm it was completely closed. Holy! Crap!

Left to Right - Yesterday; About 4 hrs after my adjustment!!!!

The gaps left by my extracted teeth (bottom) had closed up quite a bit over the last 10 weeks (I hadn't really paid much attention to this bit); and today I had brackets fitted to my top back molars - so this will start to close up the extraction gaps at the top.  I am amazed at how much my teeth have moved already, and what a huge improvement it is (even though technically we are making my bite much worse than it was).  I am just so happy at how straight they are looking - and when I look back at my before pictures, I feel like such a hillbilly.  It is good to look back though, as it just reinforces that I have made the right decision. 

Left to Right above - Pre braces; Expansion completed; Braces Fitted

Left to Right - Pre braces; Expansion complete; Yesterday :)

Left to Right - Pre braces; Braces Fitted; Yesterday

This whole process continues to fascinate me - and would like to think that if I had've had this done when I was younger that I may have pursued a career in dentistry in some form or another.  Then again, I probably would have been full of teenage hormones and would not have paid any attention to the actual process at all. 

Since I liked my blue coloured bands so much last time; I decided to continue with this theme on this colourful process & we fitted hot pink bands today.  My kids love them. 

Seven weeks until my next adjustment & on one hand I am looking forward to it (I get to have my expansion support wire removed); but on the other I am not - so close to Christmas, and I refuse to believe that we are almost upon that time of year! 

Again - no news is good news, so I hope to not update my posts again until then. 

Cheers - Ellie x

Sunday, 12 August 2012


So much has happened since my last post - so slack at posting :(  

Well I went for my check up with my Orthodontist in mid July as planned, and as I had suspected - my expansion wasn't big enough.  I was so bummed by that news. 

I was supposed to have turned the little key once a day for 24 days @ 1/4mm each turn to achieve an expansion of 6mm.  And I did turn it that much; and more - a whole extra 1mm - yet when the Orthodontist measured my expansion it was a measly 5.5mm.  How does that happen????

It wasn't all bad though, I think this Orthodontist (Dr Hanrahan - I kinda have two that I see regularly) took pity on me (since I live so far away and can't just pop in whenever I like).  So rather than re-schedule my braces on appointment for sometime in the next millenium; he said that I should continue to turn my little key once a day for the next 10 days which should give me more than enough expansion by my braces on appointment.  YAY.

I was unsure whether my regular Dr would agree, because it had been explained to me that normally they would take moulds and then measure and plan where to put the braces from my moulds; but because my mouth/teeth hadn't stopped moving - they couldn't do moulds yet.  And since my regular Dr would be the guy to put my braces on - I really needed to hear it from him.  Thankfully he was ok with this (I love these guys!). 

So on 30 July I GOT MY BRACES ON :).  I was so excited; my kids were excited - they told EVERYONE at their school what I was doing, and they were just itching for the end of the day so they could see.  How gorgeous is that? 

Did another 400km round trip, and the appointment went off without a hitch.  The assistants had everything ready (as you would expect) but while we were waiting for the Dr, we got chatting about the coloured elastics that were available.  Now I love colour, and since I had a whole array of colour to choose from - I decided why the hell not!  It's not like having clear elastics were going to make my braces any less visible, so I figured that I might as well embrace (pardon the pun) this opportunity.  And since I was off to the races that coming weekend, and had my outfit all planned - I decided that my elastics would match also.     

The whole process was pretty smooth and uneventful except for a few horrid moments with the UV light that they use to set the glue.  I'm not sure if anyone else has experienced similar to me, or if I am just a little strange - but that light really hurt my teeth!  Not all of them - but the ones that did nearly had me in tears - if you imagine the feeling when a nerve is exposed; or for those who have sensitive teeth - imagine eating something really really really cold.  Thankfully it was only a few teeth (front bottom) - I don't think I could have gone through it if it was all of my teeth. 

It was definately a different sort of feeling once the brackets were all in, and although I was worried beforehand how my mouth/lips would manage to stretch around my new hardware - it wasn't too bad at all.  My Dr had warned me that I would likely need Panadol for the first week, so I popped a couple for the drive home; but these were the only ones I took.  I grabbed some easy-to-eat food (thank you KFC for popcorn chicken) and headed for home. 

My back teeth were a little tender for probably the first week, but nothing like I had expected; and to date (touch wood), I have had no nastiness (in the form of rubbing/ulcers etc) on the inside of my mouth.  My teeth actually ached more BEFORE my braces - almost like they needed something to be pushing against them.  I know - weird.    

The first thing my girls wanted to do was see my braces, and they LOVED that I had some colour too!  Here are a couple of pics of me just-before braces and just-after braces.

And one of me in my races outfit with my matching mouth bling. The gap in my front teeth had closed heaps in just five days! Woohoo!! 

Well I was thinking that everything was going along a little too smoothly - and hey presto - DRAMA. 

Two days after getting my braces on, my expander broke.  So this is the device that has been creating the extra space across my palate; and this same device is supposed to support my broken jaw while it heals - AND. IT. BREAKS!!  To say that I was a little stressed is a bit of an understatement - especially when it is at night; I am 200km from my Dr; and I can't get hold of him for advice.  Thankfully I was able to get hold of my Surgeon, who assured me that although it needed to be fixed ASAP - it wasn't all going to crumble overnight.  Phew!

And no, I hadn't had anything I shouldn't have had in my mouth.  One of the welds failed. 

I was in quite a bit of pain that night - my palate was aching; and the expander had slumped on the broken side, so was sitting weirdly in my mouth.  I called the Dr's rooms the next morning - and was able to talk to my Dr which was a relief.  We organized an appointment for the following day (big thanks to my Boss for being so understanding) and I jumped on a bus at 4am with my fingers crossed. 

Because it had only been 6 weeks since my surgery, and 4 days since I had stopped expanding; my other Dr (Hanrahan again) decided that I still needed support until the bone healed properly.  They took my molar bands off (yay) and removed the expander - it was quite a weird feeling without that support.  Then they took a mould of my new mouth shape in order to make up a new device. 

The taking of this mould was the WORST pain I have felt through this whole experience to date!!!  I am not sure whether it was because my braces gave the plaster something extra to stick to, or what - but OMG - I thought he was going to pull my teeth out with the plaster.  I was hanging on to the chair for dear life, and had tears streaming down my face.  Ouch does not even begin to cover it. 

I had to amuse myself for a few hours after that, and find something squishy to eat; before heading back in to have the new device installed. This part was not so bad - new molar bands; and a new device which is basically just a wire for support.  I really don't even know it is there, and it is so much easier to pronounce my sounds now that there is nothing stopping my tongue from reaching the roof of my mouth.  It is also much harder for food to get stuck; and much easier to remove said stuck food :) 

All fixed, and going nice and smooth now :)  Next appointment is about 10 weeks away - for my first adjustment (and new and different coloured bands); and hopefully the removal of my palate support. 

Hopefully that time will fly!



Monday, 16 July 2012

I can't whistle

Oh how time flies!  It is quite bizare to think that it was just over three weeks ago that I had my top jaw broken into two kinda floating pieces. 

I say bizare because when you think broken jaw, you think pain, you think metal plates and screws, you think wired or banded shut, and you think basically liquid diet.  But that is not what I think of looking back over the last three weeks - and that is AWESOME!

SWELLING:  The bulk of the swelling went down over a couple of days after my last post, so by the time I went back to work (six days after surgery) I felt more like a normal human being instead of half human half chipmunk.  I was pretty tired on my first day back, but after that - no worries. 

BRUISING:  My top lip was still mostly purple when I went back to work, and my lovely moustache bruise started coming out then, but really that was nothing to complain about.  The bruising has now just about completely disappeared - so for me that was the thing that I noticed most.  My Aunty and Uncle visited from New Zealand, and they told me that they thought I had been beat up (but didn't want to say anything) - so they were kinda relieved when I told them what actually happened.   

JUST BIZARRE:  I have noticed some funny, some weird, some strange things about my mouth.  In the first week after surgery I noticed that from time to time I would feel like a tiny little rubber band had just flicked loose inside or close to, my front teeth (not sure if that makes sense to anyone else).  Almost as if tiny little 'strings' were letting go to allow my gap to form.  It didn't hurt at all, it was just strange - and describing that really grossed my sister out, which was funny. 

I have also noticed that as my mouth moves, my speech is different.  That sounds obvious I know, but I am talking about being able to speak fairly clearly one minute, and then the next, speaking like I have a lisp; or like someone who has not put their false teeth in.  My workmates notice it as well - but they are all very supportive which is great!  It generally doesn't take too long to adjust to the new configuration in my mouth, and my speech returns to my new 'normal' before too long; only to change again just a quickly.  Interesting times.....

We have the radio playing in our office, and one of the most played songs at the moment is "Blow My Whistle" by Flo-rida.  I find the tune quite addictive, and had become used to whistling through the song; however last week to my dismay - I found that I could no longer whistle!  What?  Oh that's right - I have a big gap between my front teeth - of course I can't whistle!  It is also quite strange when I say Fs - now I feel a big rush of air through my gap - something to get used to for a while I guess.   

I had also found it hard to lick my lips, put my tongue anywhere near the front of my teeth, or rub my lips together (like you would to smear lip gloss).  Actually I still can't rub my lips together very well, but at least I can lick my lips and feel the front of my teeth with my tongue now.  Must have been from all the swelling I guess. 

GROWING GAP: The gap between my front teeth has continued to grow day by day, which is quite exciting for me. From having the bottom of my two front teeth overlap to having about a 4mm gap (today - 14/07/12) is great! I do get some strange looks from people who have not seen me for a while - I can almost see their minds ticking - thinking - how is it that I never noticed that gap in her teeth before now - because logically, adult's teeth don't move like that. No-one has actually asked, although I would not mind if they did.

Turning the key to engage my expander every day has been relatively easy, and relatively comfortable up until the last couple of days.  The last few times that I have turned it (once a day) it has felt quite tight, and I feel pressure across my cheeks (logical since my top jaw is being expanded).  I also feel like some of the swelling has returned across my cheeks, and I have not noticed as much of a difference in my gap day to day like I did last week. 

My surgeon told me that during surgery when my palate split (all according to plan) he saw a nice big gap between my front teeth, which is exactly what he wanted to see.  It makes me wonder though whether the expansion process so far has been relatively easy for me because I have just been winding my jaw out to where it was when my gap appeared during surgery; and now there is more resistance because I am pushing it further than that.  Who knows?  I guess that is a question for my doctors next time I see them. 

I have been watching the changing shape of my upper  teeth with great delight.  If you imagine that their shape used to look like a U shape that had been squished in on each side; and that it now looks pretty much like a normal U, pretty exciting stuff. 

I know this is really long, but I want to make sure that I capture as much as possible, both for me to look back on, and also for general info if anyone else is going through this process. 

EATING:  This has been pretty good, and yes it has been real food.  I did have mash (or mush) for a couple of days, but that got boring really quick (not the taste, but the texture).  So, I figured I would try to chew softish stuff, with great success - yay!  I started off with things like fish, peas and mashed potato - all easy to 'chew' and not likely to get stuck under my expander.  I upped the ante to steak after the success of the fish, and am pleased to report that it went pretty well.  So the steak was cooked medium - so fairly soft all the way through, and I cut it into thin ribbons - and then into smaller pieces again - and I was able to eat that no problems. 

Anything stringy like spinach or cabbage tends to get tangled around my expander - and it is the most annoying feeling. Occasionally I have had a pea stuck underneath the expander, and if sucking it out has not worked, then I have had to resort to gently poking it out with a cotton bud.

When I say chew, it is not as a regular person would chew - it is more like exerting just enough pressure to just squish the food slightly so that it is easy to swallow.  I am pleased to say though that although this process was quite gentle in the first two weeks due to tender teeth, I am building up the pressure, and feel like I am almost chewing kinda normally now. 

Again 'normal' is different also.  Where my back teeth (all of them) used to touch nicely, with the expansion of my top jaw, all of my top teeth have moved out, and so now I really only have two teeth on each side at the back that touch.  And that touching is only about half of the tooth, but that is just another of the little challenges of this process. 

It takes me longer to eat that it did previously (not necessarily a bad thing), but I have also added yoghurt and custard with soft fruits like raspberries and peaches (yum) to my diet, so any weight that I lost in the beginning is back on. 

DISCOMFORT: I don't really notice the hooks (don't know what they are actually called - and they don't look like hooks) that jut out from the molar bands that are holding my expander in anymore.  To begin with it was uncomfortable to smile, but now although I feel them, they don't bother me.  These hooks will be what my braces are attached to when I get them on - so I hope that I adjust as quickly when the rest of them are added then also. 

NUMBNESS:  Really the only place that I feel numb is my gums, but not quite all the way to the back; and my front eight teeth.  I can feel everything else - the roof of my mouth, my lips, cheeks (inside & out).  I asked my surgeon about the numbness and he basically confirmed that since they sliced clean through my bone - that they also sliced clean through the tiny nerves that feed these areas.  He says that they should grow back on their own over time (hope it's not just before they get sliced for a second time (well maybe)). 

BLOWING MY NOSE:  I thought that not being able to blow my nose for two weeks would be harder than it was.  For the first few days I basically had a tissue shoved up each  nostril to catch the constant drip which seemed to be a combination of blood and just really watery er snot.  This dissapated gradually, and I only had a couple of occasions where I really wanted to blow my nose, and had to fight the erge.  Most of the time I would just fold a tissue up small, and twist it into my nostril to clear it.  (Sorry perhaps too many details here).  After my two weeks were up, I could blow my nose, but have only done so a few times - this is unusual for me because before this, I would blow my nose a couple of times each morning at least!  I wonder how what they did to my jaw affected my sinuses - but it seems to have made a positive difference.

SERVICE:  I had a call from my orthodontic treatment coordinator (Shona) about a week after my surgery - which was lovely.  She called to check up on me, see how I was going with everything, and make sure I was coping ok.  I really did appreciate it, and it was great that she could understand me on the other end of the phone.  It was only a small thing, but it really made my day.  They also sent me a card in the mail to wish me a speedy recovery after the surgery. 

WHERE TO FROM HERE:  I have been back to see my surgeon for a check up, and he says that all is going well.  The wounds from my teeth extraction are healing well, the stitches at the back of my mouth have all come out, and the ones at the front that remain won't be there for long.  So now, I won't see him for at least 12 to 18 months - until I go back for round two.

So, the next step for me is a check up with my Orthodontist at the end of next week, where he will check on the progress of my gap - and if all goes well then my braces will go on about a week later.  I am really looking forward to it, because that means that things are moving forward nicely, but I am also a bit worried that things won't have moved as much as they should, which will delay my braces.  I think that I need to not worry so much and try to have a bit more patience - easier said than done sometimes. 

I have taken photos everyday, and will continue to do so until my expansion is complete, and my gap is as big as it is going to get.  So far this has helped to see just how much my jaw is moving day to day.  Have uploaded some of these to show my progress. 

23/06/12 - Nice Purple Lip 

Looking like death warmed up - 26/06/12

First day back at work & feeling almost like normal.  Amazing what a little make-up an a pair of straighteners can do!

First day back at work (27/06/12) - the bottom of my two front teeth is just touching - yay some movement already!!

A week later (04/07/12) only my moustache bruise left

04/07/12 - Gap is still growing

04/07/12 Close up

Another week later (11/7/12) still growing :)

11/7/12 Close up

Today 15/7/12 close up

Saturday, 23 June 2012


Hi there, it has been a bit of a busy week for me as far as all this dental stuff goes. 

On Wednesday, I made a 400km round trip to see my Ortodontist, and he removed my separators, and fitted my expander.  It didn't hurt at all, it just felt weird, and made it seem difficult to swallow.  Kinda like there is a big spit bubble stuck at the roof of your mouth, except you can't get your tongue up there because the expander is in the way. 

My Mum had picked up my girls and made a yummy dinner which was great (aren't Mums the best!!) except that the spinach kept getting tangled in the expander, and it took me nearly an hour to eat a small bowl of pasta.  My kids thought it was hilarious, and they also love that I have trouble pronouncing some sounds - so they kept saying "Say bees Mummy; Say please Mummy".  I have to admit, I did sound pretty funny. 

Then on Thursday, I drove back to Townsville where I had a pre-surgery appointment with my Surgeon (Dr Dance); did a few errands, and then checked myself into the hospital.  I felt pretty relaxed (considering) until they called me in, and then I got a bit nervous.  They got me to hop up onto the surgery bed (which was parked just outside theatre), and then left me there - alone - it was probably only for a minute, but it was long enough for the tears to start, and my brain to go - WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING???

I took a few deep breaths, and tried to suck it up and kept telling myself that I am in the best hands possible for this kind of thing, and that besides having a beautiful smile at the end of all this, I should also be able to close my lips in a relaxed state, breath through my nose when I am lying down, and sleep with my mouth closed.  I guess the biggest fear was of the unknown - how am I going to feel when this is done? 

It probably also didn't help that someone was testing out the saw (yes the saw) in theatre, and I could hear it.  You know when you are sitting in the dentist office, and you can hear the drill, and it kinda makes you squirm (and think thank goodness that is not me.....).  Well like that only worse, cause I knew that it was meant for me.  I did manage to see the slightly funny side of that though. 

The anaesthetic nurse came out to see me, and I remember thinking wow you have beautiful teeth - and that's when she asked what I was having done, and told me that she had had adult orthodontic work done also.  She made me a lot more relaxed (without drugs - yay).  My whole team were so lovely.  I remember being wheeled into theatre not long after that, and looking around to find my surgeon who gave me a wave and then that was it.  I didn't even get to count or anything - ripped off!

So while I was off in lala land this is what Dr Dance did:  Firstly he removed two top teeth and two bottom teeth (an art in itself considering that my expander was right next to the top two); and then he made an incision on each side of my gumline at the top back of my mouth, exposed the bone and sawed my jaw bone right through.  He also made an incision in  my gum at the very front of my mouth and then wound my expander right out (to put my palate under pressure) and with a tiny little chisel gave it a tap and cracked it right down the middle at the natural weak point.  He tells me that at this point he saw a nice big gap between my front teeth (which is what he needed to see) and then he wound my expander back in, sewed me up, and his job was done.  Phew.  Only took about 1.5 hours. 

I remember waking up in recovery thinking thank goodness that is over - yay - I made it!!  I stayed in there for about half an hour chatting (or perhaps mumbling) to the nurses, and then I was wheeled to my hospital room for an overnight stay (standard practice in Australia).  I wasn't allowed to have a shower, but other than that I was pretty comfy.  Took some pictures of myself and texted my family to let them know I was ok and awake, and then attempted to eat some dinner.  Well, jelly.

It was the longest night ever!! By the time I thought that I wanted to go to sleep, my body was quite happy to relax, but my head just wouldn't stop - it was so annoying.  Eventually got to sleep, but the nurses kept coming in to take obs and administer meds etc.  The hospital is a pretty noisy place at night, surprisingly. 

I was very glad to see the morning, and took myself off for a shower - so much better.  Then breaky arrived, and although it took me a while, I managed to eat most of the porridge they gave me. 

I had puffed up a bit by now; had had ice packs around my jaw, but I was puffing up at the front, on each side of my nose and around my top lip.  So I was starting to look a bit like a chipmunk (or the rat from "Flushed Away").  Watched a bit of tele, and flicked through a couple of mags, but this made me a bit dizzy and nauseous, so I just went  back to sleep. 

The thing I most did not want to do, was be sick.  I remember vomiting blood when I had my wisdom teeth removed some years back - and it was yuk yuk yuk!!  Thankfully, I managed not to. 

My partner came and picked me up from the hospital that afternoon, and we stopped and grabbed a pack of frozen peas for my face for the long trip home.  Dinner at Mum's again then home - yay back in my own bed - so good. 

Not too much pain - just pressure really across my cheeks and top lip.  No numbness apart from my front teeth and gums - yay.  Just a puffy face, and a nice bruise on my top lip.  The hardest thing is trying to take my medication with this expander in my mouth.  It is challenging enough to swallow, without having the added difficulty of getting the silly pills stuck. 

Oh yeah - and I am not allowed to blow my nose for two weeks - WHAT???  Thankfully that has not been too much of an issue so far - I was a bit worried about that, I blow my nose so many times in a normal day. 

Sleeping is going well, no dramas.  I figure that I am not doing too bad at all.   

So now for the next 24 days, I need to wind my expander once each day (1/4mm each time) which should give me a nice 6mm gap between my front teeth.  The place where my jaw was sawn should fuse back together nicely (in a slightly different spot) in about 6 weeks. 

Doc says that he wants me back on a normal diet as soon as I can manage it - so we will see how we go. 

All in all, so far so good, and not too bad considering.  I just feel like there is an elephant sitting on my face.

I managed to turn the key of my expander by myself yesterday, but today I am so much more swollen, that I can't see what I am doing, so I had to get my partner to do it.  Bless him.    

Have added some photos below - which show my progress over the last few days.  

Expander (20/06/12)

Back in my hospital room after surgery (21/06/12)

Trying to show the size of the gap (if any) between my teeth

The lovely gaps left behind

Starting to resemble a chipmunk (22/06/12)

Chipmunk from front (22/06/12)

 Me and my little mate Harry - still swelling (23/06/12)

Good look hey!  My attempt to stop the swelling (er that is an ice pack under there), and still have two hands free to do stuff 

 Oh dear - will this ever stop getting bigger???? Today (24/06/12)

My lovely bruised and enourmous lip. I also have a blue moustache bruise happening - Nice!

Saturday, 2 June 2012


Well, it has finally started - I've taken the first little baby steps on this journey, and that feels GREAT! 

Last week I had a couple of appointments with my Ortodontist - which were not terribly exciting in themselves, but were pretty exciting for me because something is finally happening. 

The first appointment took all of about 10 minutes - five of which were taken up by my questions; then they fitted four spacers between my top molars.  Didn't hurt, although the Dr said that the pain would likely kick in (if it was going to) in about 3 hours.  I did feel my front teeth squish together a little more, and ended up with a slight headache later on, but nothing that a panadol and a neurofen didn't fix.  Yay. 

Two days later I was back again, and this time they took the spacers out, fitted steel bands and took plaster impressions, then took all that back out and put the spacers back in.  Some of this hurt, but not too much. 

These impressions were so that an expander appliance can be specially made to fit my mouth. 

Hopefully not too many more almost appointments this close together - as each one is a 400km round trip from home. 

I did find that my teeth (different ones at different times) were a bit tender if I attempted to chew - hardish things like bacon or toast - but now - a week later, all is good and I can comfortably eat whatever I want. 

I am trying to really enjoy doing this - for the people who can't at the moment. 

The next step isn't too far away - just under 3 weeks, and again back to back appointments :(  where my Ortho will fit the expander appliance. 

The following day, I am booked in for my first surgery which involves breaking my palate right down the middle, and the expander appliance will be wound out to a certain extent.  It is then up to me to wind it out a little more every day until the desired width is achieved.  This is going to open up a 'large' gap between my front teeth - so the progress photos will be um...... interesting. 

The Ortho (should stop calling him that) - Dr Ong has estimated that although the desired width should be achieved after a few weeks, I will need to wear the appliance for about 6 months.

I am not too worried about the gap itself - I had one when I was in primary school, and there are a number of others in my family who also have gaps, but I guess it will take some getting used to again.  Not for too long though........

About five weeks after I have the first surgery, I should be ready to have my braces fitted.  So for five or so months, my mouth is going to have more metal than teeth - sounds like fun hey? 

I am excited about this though.  Am I strange or what?

Thanks for listening :)   



Friday, 4 May 2012


About five months ago, I went to see an Orthodontist about getting braces.  I knew I had an overbite, and I knew my teeth were crowded, and I knew that they also stuck out as a consequence of sucking my thumb when I was a child.  Other than that, I have good big and strong teeth, and while I thought that my smile enhanced my face, I figured I could tweak it a little with straightening my teeth.  Sounds simple right?

So my Ortho says no worries, we can give you braces to make your teeth straight; BUT there is another option.  He starts to tell me that apart from my overbite and overjet, I have a very narrow upper arch; my lower jaw is too far back, and my upper jaw is too long; which is why I can't close my mouth when my lips are relaxed - SO if I would like to, this can ALL be corrected to give me an ideal occlusion and profile. 

That changed EVERYTHING!!! I had no idea that this was even possible. 

So, since then I have been like a sponge trying to soak up as much information as I can about what it is they are proposing to do. I have googled; youtubed; wikapediad - you name it I have done it. Thank goodness for the internet! I also found this awesome forum for people just like me who are contemplating the pain, the unknown, and the potential results of jaw surgery (thank you Brandon and all who have contributed - ).

This has helped no end, and I have been able to follow the journeys of others who have faced this before me.

Well, for as long as I can remember, I have had issues with the way people see me from my side - that is - the way I perceive that people see me from my side. 

I feel like my mouth and lips protrude abnormally from my face, compounded by my teeth that jut out, and my weak chin.  It has bothered me forever, although no-one else (those that matter, anyway) seems to notice or care about such a superficial detail.

And, after much to-ing and fro-ing I have decided to take on this HUGE challenge.  If you are interested, come and join me on my ride.  I know there are going to be times when I'll need help and encouragement from those who have gone before me, or who are going through it with me.  Hopefully, not too far down the track, I can return the favour. 

My challenge involves the placement of an expander and surgery to break my pallate to broaden my upper arch; braces on (top and bottom); and then a second surgery (12ish months later) to move my bottom jaw forward, and (most likely) also cut a piece out of my top jaw. 

OMG - why would I put myself through all of that?  Because for the most part of my life I have been embarrassed and self conscious about my teeth, my mouth, my profile - I can finally do something about it, and I think that the end result will definitely be worth it. 

I know there are risks, but I take a risk everyday I drive to and from work too. 

This is going to be a long journey (apx. 2 years) which is, I believe as long as it takes a baby elephant to develop fully in the womb - hence the name of my blog.

Wish me luck :)

I have taken some 'before' pictures, so that I (and you) can track my progress from the very beginning - before braces, before anything. 

Normal Small Smile

Making my lips meet

Relaxed lips (hate this look)

Overbite (0.9cm) and overjet


Ugh - this is the first time I have seen my teeth from this angle!  Shows just how terribly crooked they really are. 

Big mouth; narrow bite

Small version of gummy smile (it gets bigger....)