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Archive for March, 2011

I was having a conversation with my friend, D.  It was about my teeth in the center occasionally touching each other, which causes uncomfortable, tingling feeling, and I have to slightly open my mouth (lips are still closed) to stop them from touching each other.  And then I bite down carefully.  But sometimes I just bite down without thinking much, and occasionally they touch each other again, and I have to repeat the same motion.

I told D that I wish I could see Dr. G soon for this issue so he could do something to my braces to prevent my center teeth touching each other.  I was simply thinking that Dr. G is my orthodontist, and if I see him, he should be able to make my teeth feel more comfortable.  After hearing this, D asked me, “But usually patients feel more uncomfortable after they get adjustment on their braces, don’t they?”

Hmmm….  Good point….  I didn’t think about this.  Recalling what I have read online and what people have told me, it seems to be the case that discomfort and pain come after orthodontic checkup visits.

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It has been 12 days after I passed the one month mark, so today I examine my teeth closely again.  At the 40th day, my bite is clearly off.  Visually observing my teeth when biting down, the lower arch seems to be situated closer to the middle than the upper arch.  I feel that the social six all together on the upper arch are slightly off to the right by about 0.2 cm (0.078 in).  (This is just an estimate by looking.)  And it seems like the top left central incisor extends downward a bit more than the top right central incisor.  The wires now look more parallel to each other than when I first got the wires on.

If I just look at the upper arch without paying attention to whether it is centered or not, I think the arch shape looks fine.  Even though my upper central incisors are crooked inward, when looking at the position of them and the upper lateral incisors, I feel that the upper right central incisor looks more crooked than its counterpart, which causes the area where the right central incisor and lateral incisor touch to look more uneven than the area where the left central incisor and lateral incisor touch.

Few days ago, when I touched the inner side of my lower six teeth in the middle with my tongue, I felt the teeth were situated fine, because I didn’t feel there was one or more teeth that are crooked.  Today, when I touch the same area with my tongue, I feel that the lower left lateral incisor is lightly crooked, because where it touches with the lower left central incisor is now uneven.

Before wearing braces, I appeared to have a cross bite issue on the lower left first molar.  By now, it seems like this tooth is more aligned than 40 days ago.  It is not totally aligned with its neighbors yet, but it is a good start.  (Maybe a while back my molars hurt was due to Damon braces making the molars more aligned?)

Below is a picture taken from the right side of my mouth.  Looking at where the upper right canine situates in relation to the lower right canine, clearly it shows that when I bite down, there is a space between the right canines.  I believe it is caused by the social six all together moving to the right gradually, because when I just started with braces, there wasn’t this issue.

For comparing with the picture above, I also took the below picture from the left side of my mouth.  My upper left canine is now almost touching the lower left canine.  I hope the social six wouldn’t keep moving to the right, or my left canines would be hitting each other soon.

On the 40th day, since the build-ups on the lower second premolars are worn down somehow, I can bite down much more than when I first got the build-ups, but because of this and my teeth move little by little, I sometimes feel that my teeth in the front hit each other, which causes a bit of discomfort.  I hope that as my teeth move little by little more, the teeth in the front wouldn’t hit each other, and even if they continue to hit each other, at least I hope the discomfort level would go down.

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My mom has been back from overseas for 10 days, so the number of times that I use the kitchen to cook has greatly reduced.  Since today is Saturday, I feel that I need to cook to regain the feeling of cooking.

I told my family members that I want to stay at home cooking my lunch.  After they headed out for lunch, I began preparing the ingredients.  I felt like eating smoked salmon, and I wanted to challenge making omelet again, so I prepared spinach, celery, red radish, eggs, imitation crab meat, and smoked salmon to make this meal.

As usual, after cutting my vegetables into small pieces, I boiled them in the cooking pan, without using salt.  When the vegetables were almost cooked thoroughly, I added in the imitation crab meat chunks to the cooking pan.

While cooking vegetables, I also cooked spinach omelet in another cooking pan.  I have tried to make omelet in the past for several times, but every time, I prepared too much ingredients for the omelet, so the meals always turn out to be scramble eggs.  This time, I tried to suppress the inclination to put a lot of ingredients in the cooking pan; rather, I only got a small amount of spinach from all the veggies I prepared for making this omelet.

Thinking about the strategy for making the omelet that my brother shared with me, this time, my attempt to make an omelet was successful!

After finished cooking both the vegetables and the omelet, I placed both onto the plate, and added in slices of smoked salmon, and my meal was done.

My lunch was delicious.  Even though I didn’t use any sauce to make the omelet, because the smoked salmon was already salty, the pairing turned out to be great.  Besides, because of the imitation crab meat chunks, my vegetable side dish tasted good  too without salt.  Looking at what’s inside my plate, I felt that this meal was a healthy one.

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I was looking at the front of my teeth in the mirror.  It is obvious that the central incisors on the top and bottom are misaligned, and then I noticed the spaces around my canines in the mirror.  It is understandable that because my social six are positioned more toward the right side after getting braces, the spaces around my canines are uneven.  But when I took a closer look at the area around my canines, I was like, oh my…, the left and right canines are so off!

Below is a picture of my teeth taken from the right side.  Looking at the position of my top and bottom right canines, I can tell that my social six have been moved to the right after I get braces, because my top right canine used to be between the bottom right canine and first premolar, but now, look at where it is!  It is moving away from the middle and getting closer to the premolar.

Another picture of my teeth taken from the left side can also prove this.  My top left canine also used to be between the bottom left canine and first premolar, but now it has moved to the right, where it is almost touching the bottom left canine!  And I still can’t completely bite down due to the build-ups.  If I didn’t have the build-ups, my top and bottom left canine would have been touching each other whenever I bite down.  This is not good….

People have told me that teeth constantly move under the work of braces, and sometime teeth move to the wrong position during the duration of treatment, but it is okay, because they have to be like that before they can be repositioned correctly.  But my canines were positioned okay before.  I don’t want them to move because they were fine.  I was hoping that braces would only fix areas that are problematic, like moving my top first premolars closer to the canines to close the visible gaps.  While I don’t see those gaps becoming narrows, I see my social six moving all together slightly to the right.

Understanding what others have told me and actually seeing that happening to my teeth is different.  It just makes me feel sad to see other confirming facts that my top teeth are off from the center, and I don’t have control about it.  I just feel worried that the treatment would be prolonged in order to fix this issue.  My appointment with Dr. G isn’t coming until 4/16/2011.  Till then, I could only hope that the social six would stop moving all together to the right.

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Today is a special day because it marks the first one month that I have lived through with braces.  When I think about this, I just don’t feel that it has been one month already.  I guess time just flies when you are not counting the days.

Thinking back about the first month that I have had braces, I feel that the first week (especially the first four or five days) was the hardest, because I suddenly changed from eating whatever and whenever I want, brushing my teeth in normal speed and with ease, and having a normal smile and hydrated lips, to staring at and smelling delicious food but unable to chew, feeling hungry and thinking about food constantly,  brushing teeth slowly and carefully to avoid soreness, and having cracked mouth corners and a smile that doesn’t look like before.  In the second week, things did get better, that I gradually could eat more different things, and cracked mouth corners got healed.  By the third week, I didn’t feel much teeth movement and pressure so it was quicker for me to brush, because there were fewer teeth sore areas.  During the fourth week, I had more choices in terms of what I could eat and I finally was able to eat out (twice).  And maybe my teeth were moving again, so I felt soreness on my bottom left and right first molars when I ate, but it only lasted for two to three days.

Once I signed the contract and began the treatment, there is no way back.  Fortunately, I do gain something in the first month.  First, I lost 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg).  Second, the gap between my top central incisors apparently is gone.  Third, I feel I become better at cooking (it is fun to cook things I hadn’t cooked before).  Lastly, I am definitely eating more healthily (i.e., barely use oil or add salt, steam most of my veggies, and eat more variety of veggies per meal).

So, how are my teeth so far?

When I relax my mouth and slightly open it, it is obvious that the top row is pretty off from the center line comparing to the bottom row.  When I first started to wear braces, I don’t think the top and the bottom rows looked this misaligned.  Now the top row is off like this, I really wonder how they can be moved to the center because it seems like they are moving toward the right side, slowly moving away from the center all together.

This is my smile after one month of having braces.  My top row is off….  This makes me worry that the top row would stay like this and the bottom row would move to align with this off-centered top row….  I hope this wouldn’t happen.

The build-ups (which can’t be seen in the picture above) that the orthodontist put on my two bottom second premolars are somehow still working, so my teeth do not fully touch each other when I bite down.  But now I don’t have a visible gap between my top and bottom rows of teeth as compared to when I first got the build-ups.

Not only that the top row is off from the center, but my left central incisor on the top looks like it is extending a bit longer then the right one….  Also, the bottom row is sliding downward to the left….  I hope these can be fixed eventually and the orthodontist wouldn’t adjust the brackets to move the teeth on the lower side up….

I pulled my left mouth corner so I could take a clearer picture of my teeth’s left side.  I see that at the very back the brackets have hooks.  The orthodontist told me when I first time went in for a consultation that he would use rubber bands to align my bite.  I guess the hooks are for the rubber bands.

I also have matching brackets with hooks on my teeth on the right side.

Starting from two days ago, I feel my teeth on the very far back on the right side are touching each other, and when I took a close shot of the brackets and teeth, I think maybe my right first and second molars are touching my bottom bracket….  I hope not, but from the picture, it looks like they are either touching my bracket or they are pretty close to touching my bracket.  The orthodontist put two build-ups on my two bottom second premolars to prevent my teeth on the top row from touching the brackets on the bottom row.  He said if the right one is worn or falls off, the left one can still function.  But the fact is that my teeth haven’t been able to touch the build-up on the left side, and I already think there is a high possibility that my back teeth on the right side are close to touching, if not already touching, the bottom bracket.  My next appointment is still in another month, but I think about going to see my orthodontist sooner if the situation gets worse.

The above picture shows the huge gap on the left side between my canine and first premolar.  I don’t notice the gap is smaller than before , but I hope it is a bit smaller but just too small to notice.

The above picture shows the right side gap.  I also don’t notice the gap is smaller than when I first started wearing braces.

When I look at the mirror, it looks like the gap between my top central incisors is gone.  But when I use my tongue to touch the back of my top central incisors, I feel there is still a small gap.  In the above picture, it shows that my feeling is correct.  Because my top central incisors are crooked, even when the gap is quickly closed when I look at my teeth from the front, the crooked teeth still form a gap behind them.  When I spoke with my orthodontist, he told me that he wanted to close the gap first and then align the teeth.  I want to believe that he knows what he has decided would generate the shortest treatment time, but I still wonder that once all the crooked teeth on the top row are next to each other without a gap, my teeth would still be crooked.  How would there be space left to straighten the crooked teeth?  My guess is that if this really happened, my treatment time would be prolonged, and I wouldn’t be happy to see that my treatment time is longer than planned.

As I stated in the past posts, I think my bottom row’s left and right sides are not horizontally balanced.  (I didn’t know this until I begin taking pictures of my teeth.)  The arrows in the picture above point out my build-ups.  The right one is pretty worn while the left one is still intact.  I think that the only way to prevent any of my teeth on the top row to touch any of the brackets on the bottom is to keep having the build-ups on my bottom teeth until the top teeth are moved to the desired positions.  I don’t know how long this would take, but I think that maybe when the two huge gaps are closed on the top, the teeth would be situated in the middle of two brackets instead of right on a bracket.  I hope this day would come soon.

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I bought two chicken leg quarters from a Japanese supermarket because I sort of miss the home-baked chicken leg quarter I had in the past.  Originally, I wanted to also buy teriyaki sauce from the supermarket, but since there are a lot to choose from and I really didn’t know which one tastes the best, so I eventually decided not to buy the sauce.  Rather, I thought to marinate my chicken leg quarters with soy sauce (the base of almost all teriyaki sauce).

While I was marinating my chicken leg quarters, my dad told me that if you want to make it taste better, you can add a little bit of sugar or honey.  I suddenly remembered Sugar In The Raw Hawaiian cane sugar I bought before and thought that I could use it.  For some reason, I also remembered the green tea with black beans tea bag I have and decided to use that as well to give my chicken leg quarters some “tea” flavor.

So, mixing tea and sugar water with the soy sauce, I marinated my chicken leg quarters for 2-3 days.

By tonight, they were ready to be baked.  It took me approximately 30-45 minutes to bake the chicken leg quarters in the oven, and when they were baked thoroughly, the their color just looked great.

These two chicken leg quarters were from free ranch chicken, so the meat tasted better than regular chicken leg meat.  I was happy that my first-time baked chicken leg quarters turned out to look and taste great.  Even though I had to use a knife and a fork to cut the meat into small pieces and could only eat slowly, I was satisfied about the taste.  This DIY marinating sauce (i.e., soy sauce + tea + sugar) is something I will make again.

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Two days ago, I felt that the area around my left bottom three molars hurt a bit (just a bit, nothing serious) when I “chewed” down on food, but this slightly painful feeling decreased as the time I spent “chewing” on food around that area elapsed, and eventually it didn’t hurt anymore to use these bottom molars to “chew”.  This pattern occurred twice: once for lunch, and another time for dinner.  It was a little bit uncomfortable to eat in the beginning, but just after 5 minutes or so, I didn’t feel that it hurt to eat at all.

Today, it was the right side’s turn to feel painful (also just slightly, nothing major).  Like two days ago, I also felt that it hurt slightly to put food around the right bottom three molars area to “chew” when I began eating.  But this uncomfortable feeling gradually decreased, and, within about 5 minutes too, disappeared.  Same as last time, I experienced this pattern one time for lunch and second time for dinner.

This is my first time feeling that my molars on both left and right sides hurt since I get braces.  At the moment when this just happened, I felt odd that these two areas were slightly painful, but later when I recall the experience, I believe that the Damon braces working on my molars was what caused this painful feeling.

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