Saturday, April 23, 2011

Root Shortening

2 weeks ago, I went to the dentist for my normal 6 month teeth cleaning.  It was also time for the routine xrays. What came out of those xrays disturbed me.  My left front tooth's root has shortened more than before. I'm not sure if you remember that after my braces and jaw surgery, my orthro told me that I lost about 10% of the root of my upper teeth and bottom teeth.  Now the root loss has progressed from 10% to 40% for my upper left front tooth.  The others remained relatively the same as before.  I asked the dentist if there is anything we can do - either to reverse it, or to stop the loss from getting worse.  And the answer came back as No.  My heart sank.  Nothing can be done?!  The dentist explains that it is like the body reacting to tooth, and is "eating up" the root...similar to what it does on baby teeth...except I won't have a replacement tooth! The body has already grown bones in the gap the root has left behind.  The root will never grow back.

So when the root gets 'eaten up,' my tooth will not have the anchor to hold guess what? My tooth will fall out!! I can't believe that after so many years of braces, surgery, etc... I will have to lose a tooth due to root loss.  And it's my front tooth too!!  I am already having nightmares when my tooth falls out, in public!!  The only option is to have a tooth implant.  I really can't imagine how that will be.... I am so scared thinking about all of this...  Maybe this is God's way of telling me that I'm not meant to have straight teeth, and when I took matters in my own hands to get braces and jaw surgery, I still can't win.  :-(

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Post-Surgery 4 years later to the day

Boy, it has been 4 years since my double jaw surgery!  Time sure flew by!!!  Here are some of things that I am still doing/experiencing:

1. I am proud to say that I still wear my retainers every night!  I don't want to lose my bite and my straight teeth, especially after all that I've been through to get there.

2. The "pricky" sensation on my upper left lip is still there.  It doesn't really bother me but when I purposely take notice of it, it's there. I also especially notice the numbness whenever I get my teeth cleaned.

3.  The plate on my left side of my face (next to my nose) is also still there.  It's not noticeable when you look at me. Only my beautician (when I get a facial) knows that I have a lump there.

4.  The one thing that is bothering me the most is my gum loss. The roots of some of my teeth are exposed due to the gum receding.  This makes them really sensitive, and they are feel sore whenever I drink cold beverages or eat cold foods.

I am still very happy with my results, and would recommend this surgery to anyone who is unhappy with their jaws.  Don't wait! Do it early so you can enjoy the benefits!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Before and After Pictures

Left is before Braces and Surgery. Right is after Braces and Surgery

Here is my profile picture -- my lower jaw is pushed back and my upper jaw moved forward. It make my cheeks a little more pronounced and fuller.

Here is my front face picture - my face is much "rounder" and more balanced. My face is shorter because my chin is not as long.

Here is my teeth - besides them being crooked, my upper and lower teeth didn't "touch" each other because there was a 9mm gap. My entire bite basically had 4 teeth touching. After 2+ years of braces and surgery, I am so happy with the "after" results. Not only are my teeth nice and straight, my bite is very good.

I hope you enjoyed these pictures. The transformation is so amazing... journey was long and at times brutal, but well worth every ounce of it! Now I have my PERFECT SMILE!!

Retainer Checkup

I went in to my ortho's office yesterday for my 2-month retainer checkup. Whenever I wear my retainers, I find that my midline is off. But when I take it off, my bite is back to normal. So my ortho took a look at them and noticed that I am biting into one of the wires, causing my teeth to be "off." So he trimmed a bit of the wires off. Now, my midline is lining up nicely, even with the retainers on.

We sat down for a 10 min chat, which is, by the way, the longest we ever talked...other than the initial consultation. He showed me the Xrays I took back in December. He told me that my lower front roots of my teeth have "shortened." In other words, I had tooth loss (at the roots) during the orthodontic process. He said I lost about 10% on the bottom. And on the top front, I lost about 5%. Great. Just Great. Now I have a chance to have my teeth fall off because my roots are shorter than before = less stable. This was definitely NOT something that I wanted to hear.

Actually I knew that something was wrong a while back because that part of my teeth kept on bleeding everytime I brushed. It's probably because I don't nearly floss enough when I had my braces. My bad. Anyhoo, I asked whether I will continue to lose the roots, and my ortho said no. I don't know about that. Maybe he's just lying, especially seeing how scared I was. Mann, and my stupid dentist didn't even see it and spot that. He's not that great. Sloppy.

My ortho also gave me the before and after photos I took. I'll post them up in the next entry.

Next appointment: June 10, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Retainer Update

I am still not used to my retainers. I hate the fact that my speech is funny when I have them on. Although the ortho prescribed 20 hours daily wear for me, I think I wear about 15 hours or so. After brushing in the morning, I don't wear them because I have to eat breakfast. And my breakfast tends to drag on until noon. Then I have lunch (7 hrs total). I guess I officially wear my retainers again at 2pm or so, and then take them off for dinner (2hrs) and then I'll have it on throughout the night. So in a day, I have approximately 9 hrs that I am retainer-free. 15 hours is not bad at all! My upper left back tooth was hurting a bit a couple of weeks ago. At first I thought I had a tooth decay, but my general dentist didn't see any cavities... so I suspect that it is the retainer causing the pain. I'd have the Ortho check it out the next time I go in.

By the way, I asked my dentist to switch out my metal fillings to the tooth-colored ones. I don't really care about my upper fillings, but I have 3 on my lower teeth, which shows up drastically when I laugh. I have an appointment this coming Saturday...but I don't know if he will be able to replace all 3 of them at the same time.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Just when I thought I'm done, I have to wear retainers! I picked up my retainers at the Ortho's today. The plastic parts are fuschia sparkles. When I open my mouth wide, you can see the fuschia color. It's a good thing that I didn't get blue ones!! The retainers basically are these plastic molds with wires across. They are custom-fitted and molded to the curvature of the mouth. I have to wear these little suckers for 20 hours a day, for 6 months! Yep, it's ALL THE TIME except for eating and brushing. I am not used to them because my speech is now "slurred" and I can't pronounce certain words. I think it's worse than braces since I can't speak right with them on. 6 months of this, and then my Ortho will "see from there." I may or may not be downgraded to part time wear after 6 months. There is basically no difference between wearing retainers than braces - it looks a little bit better and there is always an option of taking them off. But other than that, they are pretty much the same... annoying.

Next appt: Feb 12, 2008

Monday, December 03, 2007

Naked Teeth

My moment arrived! I have officially De-banded. No more braces! My teeth feel so "naked" now without those metal brackets and wires. I find myself constantly using my tongue and feeling my smooth teeth. My teeth feel fake. It's a weird feeling. Here is how it went this morning:

The nurse tech took the braces off really fast. I was worried how the bands out of my back molars will come off, but she just clipped, clipped, and clipped and then the entire wire came out with the brackets, the power chains, everything. I never really realized that the brackets could come out so easily. When she yanked the wire/brackets out, certain parts hurt more than others, but it was quick so the pain didn't last long. She told me that with the Ceramic brackets, they could shatter easily so I should keep my eyes closed. So that's what I did so I wasn't able to see anything.

After the wires and brackets came out, the ortho used this machine thingy to "sand" my teeth - primarily to remove the glue residue still stuck on my teeth. There were times when I felt a little pain because my teeth were so sensitive. I don't know for sure, but that machine sounded like those dentists use for fillings. After that, I rinsed. The station I was at didn't have a mirror so at that point, I didn't know how my teeth looked!!

The nurse tech then polished my teeth with toothpaste (same procedure as what dentists do). I then had 4 impressions done (2 upper, 2 lower). I also picked out my retainer color. This is the plastic part of the retainer. The nurse tech said that people only see the wire and not the retainer color so it doesn't matter what color I choose. But there will be a time when I will have to take out my retainers in public. So most people don't pick the light pink or clear color because they look very "dental," and almost resemble dentures! So I picked the Fuschia (hot pink) color just to make it more fun. I now regret now not adding Sparkles to it 'cuz I could have. Oh well... I'm not a teenager anymore!

After that, I was done. Free to go. I finally took out my pocket mirror and looked at my teeth for the first time. My teeth looked great! They are so straight! I am SOOOO happy with it! It's so different looking at my teeth with braces and now without. What a fantastic feeling!!

I couldn't believe that my journey to a perfect smile has somewhat come to an end. I know there are still endless days of retainers, but I am done. I am done with braces. I am still a bit worried about my bite and potential relapse...but I need to just live for this moment now. The future is the future. I'm set to take a set of final Xrays so I'll post those when I get them done...I'll post the Before ones too, just to compare.

Here are some pictures I took today:

12/3/07 Before de-banding

12/3/07 After de-banding

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Surgery day remembered

Exactly ONE YEAR ago to this day, I was in the Oakland Kaiser Hospital recovering from my double jaw surgery. Truthfully, I don't remember much about that eventful day... so I am so happy that I've made a good decision to document my entire journey here on Blogger. Now I have the luxury of reading my archives! Read Archive.

I couldn't believe that it has already been 1 full year! So how do I feel? I feel grrreat! My teeth feels "right" - the upper and lower teeth touch each other and they "fit." I am able to bite and break apart food with my front teeth, which I have never been able to do before. I still chew a lot with my back teeth but I think that's normal. I am very happy with my bite.

The titantium plate next to my nose on the left side is still there, although I never ever realize it's there. I can still feel it when I purposely look for it and press on that spot. Otherwise, it has not bothered me at all.

There is still a bit of sensation on my upper left lip. I feel a bit of tingliness and numbness in that area whenever I move my lips to talk, eat, etc. Half the time though, I forget about it and then I don't realize it's there. I've always had this sensation since the surgery and now that it's been a year, I begin to accept that this will be permanent. The OS and research that I've done on my own suggest that there is a risk with permanent numbness associated with a double jaw surgery. I just never thought I would be a statistic?! Maybe one day, it will be gone...but today, I accept that the numbness is here to stay. On a day to day basis, the numbness doesn't bother me all that much. Or maybe I just have so much other bigger things to think about...

I think the thing that bothers me most of all is my wrinkly chin. It's possibly because it's the one thing that other people can see (the plate & the numbness - no one can see it!) Yes, call me VAIN. I can't close my mouth and have my lips touch without using additional muscles. And the additional muscles cause my chin to get wrinkly. Maybe I'm just being overly critical or paranoid that people will notice my wrinkly chin. Chances are that they actually don't notice, or don't even care.

BUT (and it's A BIG BUT) despite of all the things that didn't necessarily go right, I AM SO HAPPY THAT I WENT THROUGH WITH BRACES & THE SURGERY. IT IS THE BEST DECISION I'VE MADE. I really can't stress this message enough so I had to put the words in Caps and Bold. The surgery has really changed my life for the better because now I can finally feel normal and confident. Self-esteem is so important to a it has for me. I don't remember how many days and weeks and months I felt so horrible because of my teeth.

So if you're contemplating about having this surgery and/or afraid of the risks, please feel free to email me. I'm so happy to share my journey with you!

Anyhoo, here is a picture of my teeth and bite 1 year after surgery.... 2 days before my braces come out...