Friday, April 15, 2011

Orthodontic Adjustments

It's now been seven weeks since Shawn and I started orthodontic work.

Shawn seems to have adapted to his orthodontics for the most part. He has a palatal expander with a device attached to curb his thumb sucking. Unfortunately, that little device had to be altered a bit last month. Just before leaving for Nana and Papa's house for spring break part of the metal snapped off. We had to contact the emergency line for the orthodontist office on Saturday morning from a Pancake Breakfast Fund Raiser (Tyler was working it for Boy Scouts). The main man himself, Dr. P, who owns the practice, arranged to meet us in the Bentonville office. He bent the pointed metal remaining in Shawn's mouth up and out of the way so it wouldn't hurt him and set up a follow-up appointment in Fayetteville a few weeks later. At the follow-up visit we decided he seemed to be adjusting to it as it was, so we would move forward with treatment without the cost of making a new device. We made plans for Shawn to get braces on his top few teeth in the upcoming weeks. Shawn would soon have more to adjust to.

I seem to be adjusting to my braces pretty well also. Like many things, some days it feels like the braces are just a part of me, while others I'm still shocked by them. Most frequently, the feel of the braces seem normal, but the APPEARANCE is a huge shock--I still tend to do little double-takes when I spot them in the mirror or in a picture.
I, too, had an unexpected visit back to the orthodontist. Just 10 days after getting them placed, one of the metal bands around my molars started sliding. I had already had the most difficulty with that particular band, since part of it rubbed my tongue pretty painfully, so that when it also started hurting my gums I was a bit unhappy. When I realized it was hurting the gums because it was sliding on the tooth, I made a quick call to the orthodontist. They worked me in and got it tightened.

The experience of having the band repaired was not pleasant. It did, however, prepare me for adjustments. I knew to be sure to take pain meds, and I knew to expect an odd sensation when the metal wire was removed from the brackets--an odd pain from no longer having the teeth "locked" into place by the wire. I also knew that reattaching the wires with the little ligatures was, well, painful!

Fortunately, my true adjustment yesterday only required a brief recovery time. I had heard that after every adjustment soft foods would be necessary, but I was actually able to eat a real meal. I had to take small bites, and didn't eat much, but the soup, mashed potatoes and milkshakes that became my mainstays for the 2 weeks after first getting the braces on--and then having an unexpected added visit--wasn't necessary this time.

Maybe by my next visit I'll have adjusted even to getting adjustments. :)

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