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Archive for the ‘having braces – photo’ Category

I have been wearing the power chain and rubber band for three weeks now.  One new thing I have noticed inside my mouth is the lump on my interior gum line between the upper right canine and first premolar.  This lump is not something that grows on my gum.  Rather, it is more like that area of my gum is pushed/squeezed to form a lump.  My guess is that as the power chain is closing the gap quickly, my upper right canine and first premolar endure great force to come closer to each other, which pushed/squeezed the gum between them, so the lump on the interior gum line is formed.

Looking at my teeth from the front, I can’t really tell much of a difference between now and three weeks ago.  When I bite down and observe my teeth, I feel nothing much has changed since my last braces adjustment.  And because I only wear one rubber band on the left side, I think my arches are tilting to the left side.

The rubber band is connecting between the upper left canine and lower left first molar (when I am not eating, brushing, or taking photos of my teeth).  Three weeks have passed, and I also don’t see much improvement with my bite.  The spaces between my bite don’t seem smaller, but the power chain has made the gap between my upper left canine and first premolar smaller.  It looks like the gap is almost gone.

It is a similar case on the right side.  I feel that the spaces between my bite on the right side  still look about the same as before, but the power chain is working well, because I notice the gap between my upper right canine and first premolar is getting smaller now.

Only one more week is left before I go back for my next follow-up appointment.  I don’t think my teeth would suddenly improve a lot in just one week, so I guess by the time I will go back for my appointment, my teeth probably wouldn’t look too much different from now.

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After I get used to wearing the rubber band, I only feel intermittent pressure on my lower left first molar when I reapply the rubber band after eating or brushing.  At other times, I don’t feel much.  But for some unknown reason, my lower left first molar hurts today.  If I touch it with my tongue, I feel a little bit of pain at that area (there is a two-second lag between touching that teeth with my tongue and actually feeling the slight pain though).  It is a bit annoying….

I have been wearing the rubber band and power chain for about two weeks.  Basically, through my observation, I found out two things about my current teeth.  First, my top arch looks like it is tipping to the left side when I look at my teeth from the front.  Because the rubber band is connecting between the hooks of my upper left canine and lower left first molar while there is no force given to the right side, after two weeks of pulling, I feel my upper left canine is extended downward more than the upper right canine.

Second, also due to the rubber band pulling the teeth only on the left side, the shape of the top arch is slightly skewed to the left….  And on top of this, my upper central incisors are crooked again, and this time the left one is more outward than the right one.  It is just sad to see it goes from getting better to getting worse.

I understand bite misalignment will not be possible to get fixed in just two weeks, but at least I am hoping to see some minor improvement, but I don’t see it.  I feel a bit disappointed, and I worry that if in two weeks my teeth get skewed and imbalanced, then what will my teeth look like by the time I go through another two weeks of rubber band wearing?

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About two months ago, one day I noticed that the area between the upper left lateral incisor and canine was bleeding a little bit.  It only lasted for like three seconds, but I was still concerned about it because the last time I saw blood inside my mouth was more than 15 years ago (when a dentist helped me to remove a swinging temporary second molar on the bottom… I can’t remember which side it was because it was so long ago).  Although I was surprised to see blood, but it only bled a little bit, so I figured it wasn’t worth mentioning to Dr. G when I went to the previous follow-up appointment.

Today morning after I woke up, I removed my rubber band as usual to rinse my mouth with water before eating breakfast, and then I noticed in the mirror that the area between the upper left lateral incisor and canine was bleeding again.  I wanted to know whether the blood came from the gum between these two teeth or under the gum line, so I used my proxabrush to touch that area, and it led to more bleeding.

It looked a bit scary, but it didn’t hurt at all.  The area stopped bleeding after 10 or so seconds.  It was strange….  I wonder why that area was bleeding.  I hope bleeding was not caused by the braces forcing the gaps to close….

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It has been eight days since my second follow-up appointment.  Because of the rubber band, I feel that my top arch is messed up.  I was told by Dr. G that the rubber band is for correcting my bite, so I thought it will pull my social six to the left to align with the bottom teeth in the middle.  (My concept of correcting the bite: when the bite is corrected, teeth should be aligned and at the right positions.)  I know teeth don’t move that fast, but I still feel a bit disappointed that after eight days, I haven’t seen any improvement in the bite yet.

Rather, what I see is that my upper left canine, where one end of the rubber band is hooked to, and its nearby area have been pulled outward!  Comparing to my top arch before wearing the rubber band, now the shape of my top arch isn’t as symmetrical.  I worry that if I continue to wear the rubber band, it will keep pulling that canine and its nearby area outward.  I think if it takes one month to go wrong, it will take one month (or more) to get back to normal, and this would prolong my treatment….  And what if my orthodontist decided to also move the other side outward so the top arch can be symmetrical?  If this happened, my mouth would be a bit more protruding and it would worsen my facial profile.  Oh… I don’t want this….

Besides the issue with my upper left canine moving outward, I also notice something about my upper central incisors.  During the second follow-up appointment, Dr. G customized a section of the top wire to move my upper left central incisor upward into the gum, so visually my top central incisors can be more leveled off.  His strategy does work, so my top central incisors are more leveled off in just eight days, but this also messes up the position of my upper central incisors.  From the front, they look more even, but from the bottom-up, they look worse than before.  They look crooked.  I feel sad to see this….

I actually have noticed these two issues occurring just 24 hours after my second follow-up appointment.  As eight days have passed, these two issues are more noticeable.  There are still three more weeks before I return for the third follow-up office visit.  Now what I can do is to still continue wearing rubber band and hope it wouldn’t get worse than now within three weeks.

When I was still researching what kind of braces to go for, I read something that says the kind of bracket doesn’t matter; what matters is the skill of the orthodontist and his/her ability in using wires to straighten the teeth.  At that moment, I didn’t quite get it.  Now seeing the situation with my teeth (i.e., one issue is resolved but another issue is occurring), I suddenly understand what that sentence means.

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Within the first hour or two after I left Dr. G’s office today morning, I didn’t feel pressure on my teeth.  But later I have begun to feel pressure and soreness on my teeth.  Since both the power chain and rubber band are working on my teeth, by late night, when I close the bite, the only place that touches is my top and bottom central incisors.  (It can be difficult to tell from the picture below, but nothing really touches except for my central incisors.)  When they touch each other, it is uncomfortable.

The power chain is transparent, so it is hard to spot it from the front view in the picture above, so I took a picture from another angle to show the power chain (see the picture below).  It surrounds all my brackets on the top row and goes behind the wire.  Before today’s follow-up office visit, my top central incisors were visually aligned when looking from the bottom up, but because Dr. G bended a section of the top wire to correct my upper left central incisor, by late night, although it looks more even with the top right central incisor from the front, when looking from the bottom up, it messes up the alignment.  (It has only been half day.  I am amazed by how fast my teeth move after each follow-up appointment.)

In addition, because of the power chain, the left and right gaps between my top canines and first premolars are closing quickly.  They are  not completely closed yet, but I can tell the fast improvement.  The picture below is the left side.

And the below picture is the right side.  It is just amazing that the gaps are much smaller now comparing to before today morning’s office visit.  Power chain is powerful.  No wonder it is called “power” chain.

Because I am experiencing both power chain and rubber band at the same time for the first time, my teeth become sensitive.  When I brush, I feel pressure on my teeth, but the pressure caused by the power chain seems stronger at the current moment, so it sort of surpasses the pressure caused by brushing.

My rubber band’s size is 6.4 mm.  It looks kind of cute, but it is not cute anymore when I hook it between my upper left canine and lower left first premolar.  I have to remove it when I eat and brush, and it hurts to reapply it after I am done brushing.  Knowing it hurts, I still have to wear it.

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Time passes so quickly.  I have been wearing braces for three months now.  In the third month, I lost another 2.2 lbs (1 kg).  Since I get braces, my weight just keeps going down.  In three months, I have lost 6.6 lbs (3 kg) already.  I am just 1.1 lbs (0.5 kg) away from reaching my ideal weight.  I actually want to lose 7.7 lbs (3.5 kg) in a one-year span, but I didn’t know I am almost there in just three months.  (If straightening teeth could be this fast too, that would be awesome.)

Since thee-month is 25% of a year, I decide to not only show how my teeth look like in three months, but also compare them to previous months.  In the photos below (which took me a few days to put together), I track how my orthodontic treatment has progressed from Day 1 to Day 90 by month.

First of all, my smile pictures above indicate that my teeth on the top row were slightly situated off the center to the right to begin with, but over the course of three months in braces, I feel they have moved to the right even more, although just a tiny bit.  There was a small gap between my upper central incisors, and it was closed in just one month; however, it seems like the upper left canine, lateral incisor, and central incisor all got moved to the right to close the gap, so my teeth look more off the center to the right on Day 90 than on Day 1.  Despite them shifting to the right, my smile now looks better than before because my social six are a little bit more organized.  I also feel that my smile in the third month has a more natural look than when I just put the braces on, because it was strange to have braces in my mouth, and I didn’t really know how to smile naturally in the beginning.  One more thing I notice is that the upper archwire has a more natural curve over the course of three months.

When I just open my mouth slightly to show the few middle teeth, it confirms that my teeth are off the center to the right.  Seeing the first day’s picture above reminds me of the cracked mouth corners I had when I just got my braces on (because my mouth was widely open for too long in order to get all brackets glued to my teeth).

The above set of biting down pictures shows one of my more noticeable teeth movements over the course of three months.  I have no closed bite issue, but because one of my upper teeth was knocking on a bottom bracket when I bit down, my orthodontist put build-ups on my bottom second premolars to prevent me from biting down completely.  In a three-month period, the build-up on the right side gets worn, so I can bite down more day after day.  My teeth looked straighter in just one month of having braces.  From the first month to the second month, my teeth continued to look straighter, but I don’t notice too much change on my teeth from the second month to the third month, besides that my upper left central incisor appears to extend downward more in relation to the upper right central incisor.  The two archwires have become more parallel to each other in three months, but in the third month, I feel the archwires are both sliding a bit down to the left.

Displaying my monthly open bite pictures next to each other, the biggest change I see is that my teeth on the bottom row are more leveled off now than before.  But on the upper row, I feel that, in the first month, my left and right lateral incisors and canines were at about the same level, but entering the second month, the teeth on the upper left quadrant were moving more downward comparing to the upper right quadrant.  The issue gets a bit worse in the third month….  This makes me wonder how my orthodontist will do to make the upper left quadrant go upward so the teeth on the upper row can be leveled off.

My upper arch is another area that I see more changes in three months.  Before wearing braces, my upper left premolars and molars formed a straight line, but with the smart archwire that will eventually go back to its original shape, these four teeth have been moved to form a more natural curving line to go along with the rest of the upper teeth.  Taking pictures from this angle also shows that the small gap between my upper central incisors was closed in just one month.  Although they stayed crooked for the first two months, after I changed to a bigger/thicker archwire, they seem to become straight in the third month.  Comparing the four pictures above, I really think that now my upper arch has a much better arch shape than before.

Before getting braces, I had a minor cross bite issue on my lower left first molar, which was kind of positioned away from the rest of the teeth.  (It was funny that I never noticed this before I went for orthodontic consultations.)  My lower central incisors were also tilting and the right one looked taller than the left one.  In just one month, the lower left first molar was being brought in a little bit and the lower central incisors looked more leveled off.  In the second month, the lower left first molar was already completely aligned with its neighbors.  (No wonder I sometimes felt the area where my molars are hurt.  It hurt because movement was happening.)  Now, in the third month, I feel that this lower left first molar has been working too hard, because it looks like it is positioned a tiny bit inward than its neighbors now….  And maybe it is just the picture-taking angle, but I feel that comparing the first month and third month pictures, my lower arch looks a little bit narrower now than before?

After the build-up on my lower right second premolar was worn, I  could almost bite down in the first month comparing to the first day with braces.  (My teeth moved so biting down completely like before was impossible even if I didn’t have the build-ups.)  The first day’s picture doesn’t look quite alike as the monthly pictures because I didn’t think about pulling the corner of my mouth to take a picture in the beginning….  Although the teeth on the very back were not shown, I could tell that my archwires were not straight on the left side.  In the first month, the archwires moved a little toward becoming a straight line, and in the second month’s picture, the smart archwires amazingly looked straight.  However, my social six also got pulled to the right (not knowing the accuracy of this claim, but at least that’s how I see it), causing the upper left canine to overlap a small area of the lower left canine.  This same issue persists or even gets worse when the treatment enters the third month.

If I didn’t think about pulling of corner of my mouth to take a picture of my teeth on the left side, I also wouldn’t think about doing so for the right side, so the first day’s picture doesn’t show the very back teeth on the right side.  The change on the right side is pretty similar to the left side that’s detailed above.  My teeth on the right side were at better positions before the treatment started, so the archwires looked straighter on the right side.  My upper right canine used to stay in the space between the lower right canine and first premolar, but over the course of three months, the upper right canine has moved to get closer to the lower right first premolar.  In the third month’s picture, it looks like my upper right canine is hitting on my lower right first premolar, but it actually isn’t, but almost.

Okay, I also didn’t think about taking pictures of my teeth from the side angle until the second month into the treatment, so I don’t have pictures to show for the first day and first month.  (I feel sad about this because time doesn’t go back for me to make up taking those pictures, but at least I realize to take pictures of my teeth from this side angle in the second month and on, so I can still track the changes at a fairly early time.)  I bet the left gap between my upper canine and first premolar was bigger before the second month in braces, because there was already a trace on the gum indicating that the upper left first premolar was pulled toward the upper left canine.  The pulling force continues, and in the third month, the left gap appears a bit narrows than one month ago.

The first day’s and first month’s pictures from the right side angle are not available either.  Similar things happen to the right side as on the left side.  A trace on the gum between the upper right canine and first premolar shows that these two teeth are getting closer to each other.  The right gap in the third month looks smaller than the second month, and it seems like the right gap is closing faster than the left gap.  However, comparing the second month’s and third month’s pictures, it proves that my observation is correct, that my social six are moved to the right gradually, because in the third month, my upper right canine looks like it is almost hitting on the bottom right canine, but it didn’t appear to be like this in the second month.  So I conclude that my upper right canine is moving toward the upper right first premolar, instead of the other way around.

Although it is time-consuming to put the pictures together to show the monthly changes, I also have fun to document my observation for the first three months I have been wearing braces.  I probably would write another blog post like this that I compare then and now braces pictures when I am half-year into the treatment.

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I can count the number of times I had ever flossed before I got braces with my fingers.  Even after about two and a half months of wearing braces, I still rarely floss.  I know I need to floss because now I have braces, but to be honest, because some teeth are too sensitive to floss and some are too tight to squeeze the floss in between, I seldom flossed.  However, about two weeks ago, I have begun to notice food remaining stuck easily between my upper first molars and second molars, especially on the right side.  Since it is difficult to remove them just by brushing, I have begun to floss. 

It was difficult and awkward to floss in the beginning, but I feel that flossing is one thing that the more you do, the more you will like it.  Even though I only pick the areas that need special attention to floss, each time after I floss, I just feel that my teeth are cleaner and I am preventing my teeth from getting cavities.  Today I even told my brother that I think I am addicted to flossing.

Anyhow, below is my observation about my teeth today:

I don’t see too much of a spacing issue when I look at my teeth from the front.

However, I feel that there appears to be a small space between the top right central incisor and top right lateral incisor now.  This tiny space wasn’t there before.  I wonder if this is caused by my upper arch being widened slightly by Damon braces, or by my top right lateral incisor and top right canine moving a tiny bit to the right.  (My social six have already moved off the center to the right side, so if my top right lateral incisor and top right canine really move more towards the right, that is just the wrong direction to go.)

Before I got braces, I read online somewhere that in order for the braces to move the teeth, the pressure from the braces will need to loosen the teeth, and the patient will go through a bone remodeling process (which takes about three months to happen).  I don’t know if it is relating to this, but today is my first time noticing that my gums behind my top and bottom six teeth in the middle are “softer” than before.  Touching these areas with my tongue, I feel that they seem softer than the last time I paid attention to gums behind my middle six teeth.

Damon braces have been working on my teeth for almost three months.  Because my last teeth (second molars) on the top don’t have brackets, now I feel that when I swipe my tongue across the upper arch, the top right and left second molars are not aligned with the overall arch anymore….  This is sad and scary.  I naturally miss wisdom teeth on the top, and brackets generally aren’t glued to the last teeth, so my brackets on the top stop at the first molars.  On the bottom row where I have wisdom teeth, they don’t have brackets because they are the last teeth and it is difficult to glue brackets to wisdom teeth anyway; therefore, my last brackets on the bottom stop at second molars.

If I have brackets on the bottom second molars, I do also want to have brackets on the top second molars to make it even.  If it is difficult to fix wisdom teeth, that’s fine, but I hope my teeth can be aligned all the way to the second molars on both top and bottom.  (But if I had the choice, I still would prefer to get a bracket on every tooth so no one is left unattended.)  I will bring my concern up to Dr. G when I go back for the second follow-up appointment in one week.

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