Monday, April 14, 2008

Orthodontic trauma


I was going to start this post with a picture of my braces, truly I was. But as it turns out it's much more difficult to take a picture of teeth wearing clear braces than I imagined. I took a dozen bad ones by myself, and then enlisted the help of Russ, who took 4 more that were both bad *and* unflattering. So I give up, and if you'd like I will show you my teeth next time I see you.

I had a scary day at the ortho. I was in for a repo evaluation. No, don't worry. My teeth were not the latest victims of the sub-prime mortgage crisis. They were evaluating to reposition, not repossess.

So I'm laying there in the chair with my mouth open as far as humanly possible, and then some. They have these cool plier things that they use in some mysterious way to scrape the bracket off your teeth. Apparently the cement is strong in only one direction, though it quickly became more apparent that this principle is more true with metal braces than with clear braces. Because the technician popped the metal bracket right off, but pushed and pulled and tugged and then pushed some more on the clear bracket. I was more than a little concerned about the possibility that she was going to wrench my tooth right out of my mouth. Then something popped and she said "oh darn, I've fractured it." Now if that doesn't inspire confidence in the heart (and teeth) of the orthodontic patient I just don't know what will. All I could think was--she FRACTURED my tooth? This cannot be good!!

I had a moment of relief as she explained that she had broken two of the brackets and not my tooth. (hooray!) But it was a short moment, because then the orthodontist came over and explained that he would now have to grind the broken brackets off of my teeth. "Don't worry," he said, "I'll be able to see when I've ground all of the bracket off and have reached the glue layer." That was comforting--to know that he at least had a landmark to keep him from griding off the front surfaces of my front teeth! He also explained that he was going to have to have water spraying on my teeth as he ground. Who knows why that was. It's possible that I'm better off not knowing...

The last part of my eventful appointment was having the new brackets cemented in place. This was proceeded by the technician inserting a piece of plastic in my mouth around my teeth that made me look, I am sure, very much like a wide mouth bass. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view) my mouth is too small for the wide mouth bass look, and so it had to come out. The actual cementing of the new brackets was almost anti-climatic by the time it happened.

Here's hoping that next time I can go back to the quick, uneventful orthodontic adjustment, in which I have no need to worry that any of my teeth have been broken. Or that I look like a wide mouth bass...

3 comments:

Sam, SuperSam said...

You know, we all knew about the wide mouth thing... j/k
on the water: in manufacturing (my 3rd major here at Ricks) they often use a cooling fluid (normally cutting oil, but i guess you wouldn't have liked that as much) on a blade to keep the heat down. Heat tends to make stuff wierd, and weak. I think that includes teeth... although i doubt the nerves would have appreciated it anyway.
great story.
send us your daughter,
Sam and Em.

somestratt said...

Wow, now doesn't that sound like fun! You know, when they drill a cavity, the drill head shoots a steady stream of water right where the tip is drilling, hence the need for the constant suction.

Cindy said...

No, I didn't know either of those things! In fact I thought the constant suction was to get the drilled off tooth stuff out.

I also didn't know that repo'd brackets could cause so much pain... :(

Sam, I'm keeping her for a while longer, and am just as thrilled as I can be about that!!!!