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!