Thursday, December 1, 2011

Braceface: The Girlfriend

So, I'd like to happily share that I met a really amazing guy who actually really likes this braceface. Just proof that life doesn't stop with a metal mouth. It does, however, make life a little more interesting. So, who cares if people think he's my dad when we are out together because I look 14. (ok, I'm exaggerating, we are the same age). But I swear I got a bigger scoop of sorbet the other night because the girl behind the counter had braces. With a new guy comes meeting lots of new friends and family. And of course, those friends and family are all about sizing up the new girl.

Conversation in car on way to every new meeting...
me: You did tell them I have braces, right?
him: Ummm, I don't remember.
me: (panic) What do you mean?!
him: I don't remember, if I said anything. You know, your braces aren't a big deal.
me: (quiet panic)

I always think that whenever I meet these people they think "Oh... Poor guy, dating a girl with braces."   Yes, I know it's all in my head! (maybe)

Bottom line... I found a perfect guy even with all this hardware in my mouth.

Is it too soon to fantasize about these things coming off???

Progress Report

Hi kids,
It's been so long since I've posted, sorry! I had an appointment with my OD yesterday. He finally changed my arch wire! Yay and owchie!!! The real push is to expand my very narrow bite. He thinks the summer is a more likely time for surgery (I was hoping for spring). I am really noticing changes to the alignment of my teeth, which is really exciting. Here's a comparison of Day One and today. Progress!

Aug. 22, 2011 - Day One

Dec. 1, 2011 - Month 3, Day 9

They added a spring between my upper lateral incisor and cuspid on both sides. This is to add a small space so that my surgeon can make a proper chop... I also have the lovely power chain on my lower left to help straighten out my left central incisor.

Happy December!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I ♥ my OD

Had an appointment today. Finally got the last band added to my last molar. All my teeth now have hardware on them. My OD said the most amazing thing... "I don't have any patience. I'm trying to move all these teeth as fast as I can so that we can get you into surgery." I just wish my teeth would move along with the nice man's plan. My arch wire still has not been changed. But he added twisted wires to a few spots (I forget the proper, they look like springs), but their purpose is to rotate and add space to a few of my crowded teeth. Next appointment in 5 weeks, where he'll upgrade my wire.

P.S. One of my favorite sounds is the little clicking noise of the ligature pliers when they clamp down.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Braces and more dating

Hi kids,

I can't believe I've had braces for 2 months. I've almost forgotten about them. The only thing that reminds me is when meeting new people, and by new people I mean new guys on dates.  I'm happy to say I'm past  the kissing w/braces experiment. All went well. It seems the only thing I'm still having trouble with is eating-like-a-normal-person-on-a-date challenge. Since I'm limited by my vegan diet, I'm usually stuck ordering the worst braces foods imaginable. Last night I had an arugula salad. I'm sure I don't even have to describe the bounty of little leafy greens stuck in my grill when I was done - since you all have been there. I did excuse myself after I was done (making sure I did not open my mouth too wide) and made a trip to the ladies room. I, of course, forgot my toothbrush in my other bag, so I was left to swish and gargle my dinner all out. It worked pretty good except for a stubborn piece of lettuce on a back bracket. Somehow, when trying to get it out with my finger, I snagged my bottom lip on the arch wire.  It was so snagged that I had to actually re-maneuver my bleeding lip off the wire. It was awesome. I waited a few minutes for the bleeding to slow and went back to the table and quickly grabbed and reapplied my cherry lip balm. It was date number 2 and we already have plans for a third, so no harm done (except to my lip)!

In reality it hasn't been too bad. The guys who I've gone out with all thought (or rather said) they were cute. Of course, here's one text exchange that wasn't so smooth:

guy: Thanks for going out with me last nite I had fun and you are really cute! Even with braces:)
me: Yes, me too. But 'even w/braces' is not very nice!

Oh well. Hope you all have a great weekend!


and yes, i'm totally back to my glasses.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Braces Week 6

Sorry I've been so quiet the past few weeks! It's been a bit uneventful on the metal mouth front. I did have a couple appointments, one to put in more separators, the other to actually add more bands to my molars. My OD also put in a spring between my bottom central incisors. I have to go in again next week for one more separator on my last stubborn molar.

Here's a comparison of week 1 and 6. I can see a little movement. My upper wire is less 'bent' now.
I still haven't had a wire change. 

I know, not a very exciting post. I do have another first date tonight, so we'll see how that goes. There seem to be plenty of guys who seem to not mind the braces. Maybe I'm just attracting metal fetishists. Oh well! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Braces and dating...

So, not only did I just have my first date in 12 years, but I did it with braces! (I'm not a hermit, I just broke up w/my boyfriend, of yes, 12 years - go figure.) So, I created a profile on eHarmony and OF COURSE, the big question was where in my profile I break the news about my braceface. I ended up deciding that one picture (w/caption) of me with braces thrown into the rest was plenty explanation. After a few back and forth communications with my potential suitor, flash forward to me driving to my date and getting last minute panic - MAYBE HE DIDN'T SEE MY PICTURE WITH BRACES!!! SHIT SHIT SHIT!!!

I, of course, couldn't help myself and asked 5 minutes into it "you did see that I had braces, right?" He laughed and said, "yes, they look good!" Lol. He may have been lying, but I appreciated it:) We had a great time and I think we'll probably go out again.

Most importantly, when I got to my car, I didn't have any bits of food stuck on my teeth. This is going to be very interesting...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Separators Round 2 :(

When my braces were 'installed' two weeks ago, most of my molars were still so tight that my ortho couldn't get bands around them. He was only able to get them on my back 2nd and 3rd molars in one area (lower left).  At the time he told me I had to come back in two weeks to get separators AGAIN to try to finish the job. That's what I did today. And sadly, since I clenched my way through the rubber kind last time, he used metal separators (not pictured below). They really hurt! I go back in two weeks so that he can finish the job. He did mention right away that he could see movement. If you say so doc...

If anyone is wondering why I'm talking about my wisdom teeth (3rd molars), remembering I had oral surgery in July, it was my freak of nature 4th molars that were extracted. I had an extra on both my lower sides.  For a small girl I apparently have a huge mouth and don't need to have my real wisdom teeth removed. Yay!

And just because I know you all want to get a REALLY close up view of the inside of my mouth...

My ortho would like bands on the very back teeth. 

My lower left is the only 'completed' quadrant. #19 was pulled many years ago after it cracked in half. The space is much bigger than what the picture shows. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Notes From A 2 Week Braceface

Hi All! Just thought I'd jot down some of my musings over the last two weeks for those of you who haven't gotten your braces yet (Beth!).

1 - You may be a little horrified the first 5-7 times you look in the mirror. Panic may set in: "What did I do?! Can I change my mind?!" You'll get over it. Eventually, you will laugh at your image b/c you look 14 years old and may even think it's sorta cute. (P.S. I'm very happy I went with metal brackets).

2 - Dental Wax is gross. Although, it's quite necessary the first few days to apply wax to some 'hot spots' in the mouth, it's gross. You may not think so until the first time you brush your teeth and pieces of wax fall off and land on your tongue or lip. It reminds me of that scene in Austin Powers when Goldmember eats skin out of a little box. Sorry, but it's that gross! There's a solution to this problem! Gishy Goo (thanks Nicole)! It dries into a hard plastic that will stay in your mouth all day and can easily be peeled out.

3 - Oral hygiene takes a looooooooong time. I have a Sonic Care tooth brush and instead of using the 2 minute cycle once, I do it twice. 2 mins on the bottom, 2 mins on the top. Flossing is the pits, although it's gotten MUCH easier and faster after ordering some Glide Single Use Thread Floss. They are great, each piece of floss already has a threader built in on the end.

4 - Don't go anywhere without a touthbrush! You're crazy if you think you've swished all the food out of your brackets with water and your tongue. Because you DEFINITELY have a gigantic black bean and a piece of spinach sitting on your front teeth.

5 - Lipbalm is your best friend.

6 - I really haven't had a ton of pain, but I have a baby wire on now. I suspect it will be worse when my OD steps up my wire thickness.

7 - PATIENCE!!!! I apparently have NONE, since I keep taking pictures of my bite to compare to Day 1. Maybe if I squint hard enough I'll see some movement...

Anyway, hope this helps.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Have you heard?

The tin grin is in...

It was a pretty painless appt. It took about 45 min. The most painful part was sitting in the waiting room with all the kids before they called me in. I know I'll get over it bc my favorite part was when I asked the 12 year old in the chair next to me if he thought baby blue (ligatures) was a good color. He did.

I have to admit, it was a little shocking looking into the mirror for the first time. I feel like I'm 14! As soon as I got over the initial horror (took about 5 minutes) I was able to let my excitement take over. I can't believe I am ACTUALLY starting this journey!!! I was thrilled when Dr. Hang finished our appointment with "let's get you to surgery as soon as we can."

I do have to go back to him in two weeks for more separators. My right side is very stubborn, he was only able to put one band on each the lower and upper right, bc everything was still so tight.

can't wait till #8&9 move down. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

And the award for most pre-braces posts goes to...

Ok, I know I probably most definitely hold some sort of record for most posts before actual treatment, but I really wanted to do a pre-braces video! It will be exciting to see how my speech and articulation will improve with a closed bite. Have a great weekend! xo Amanda

video 1: pre-braces from amanda k on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nerd Alert

Howdy everyone. In preparation of Braceface: The Sequel next week, I've been easing into contact lenses. We'll see how this works... I haven't worn them (except for a handful of weddings, etc) for quite a few years and I figured braces were going to be too much bling to also sport my frames. And even though I'm a big nerd in real life, I don't necessarily have to advertise it. Well, except for on this blog... So, in evidence of my nerd-dome, here goes: I'm VERY excited about the return of Dr. Who next weekend, am very disappointed in Torchwood this season, and this is the only picture I've ever taken with an actor(s)... 

You are all probably too young and/or normal to know these men are from
Star Trek: Voyager, my absolute favorite series of the whole Star Trek franchise. 
Tuvok was on set too, but wasn't around for the pic. 

xo. Amanda

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


I'm so excited that I had a real appointment at my ortho's yesterday. Had my separators put in. They told me I would be in a lot of pain for the next few days. Not much so far, which makes me worry that my teeth are slow movers. More to be revealed. Braces in two weeks!!

I feel a bit like I'm in a remedial class getting excited about separators when most of you lovelies are either post-surgery, in surgery or very close.

Brent and Catherine hope you are both recovering well now!!! Good vibes going your way.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Reason to Celebrate

A little off topic...
6 months ago I was finishing off a block of cheddar cheese I had picked up only a week before at the grocery store. There was something about devouring that cheese so quickly that really grossed me out. I realized I had a problem, I was a cheesaholic. No joke! So, I quit... it ALL. I am proud to say that I am celebrating 6 months as a vegan!!! I never thought I could do it until that moment, but I'm in this for life.

The cheese wasn't the only thing leading up to the decision. I had been contemplating my eating choices following the death of my uncle Wayne at the beginning of the year. He had been diagnosed w/prostate cancer about 6 years ago. After that diagnosis, he immediately flew, with my aunt to Hawaii (where he is from) and sought the guidance of a friend who specialized in natural healing. In addition to island herbs and supplements, his program consisted of cutting out all animal products of his diet (being Hawaiian/Filipino his diet consisted largely of pork and white rice). When he came back from Hawaii and went to the doctor a few months later, his cancer numbers had dropped significantly and continued to drop. He lived on that whole foods/no animal product diet for years. Then slowly, in recent years, his discipline diminished and he was back to eating his much loved pork and white rice. Sadly, when he realized the cancer came back, it was too late.

Visiting my uncle Wayne and cousin Mica in Hawaii ('82)

Sorry to be depressing, but wanted to share why and how this cheese burger loving girl went vegan one day. It's actually been the easiest thing I've ever done! My decision to go vegan is just one of many things that are changing right now for me. I am also going through a split from my boyfriend. We've been together for almost 12 years. We dated then lived together for 6 years in NYC, then moved out here to California for another 6. No drama, it's just run it's course. I can say that I am thrilled to live on my own for the first time ever! (Not thrilled about braces during my first single time in YEARS!)

We are all going through major changes right now. I know some of you are feeling discouraged. I hope you can feel some empowerment over the fact that you decided to make your life better and it WILL BE. Don't lose heart!

Some wise words from the Dalai Lama:

"Never give up. No matter what is going on, never give up. Develop the heart. Too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart. Be compassionate not just to your friends but to everyone. Be compassionate. Work for peace in your heart and in the world. Work for peace and I say again, never give up. No matter what is happening, no matter what is going on around you. Never give up."

“Compassion is most important for happiness. We must treat fellow human beings as equal, that is very important, but also all beings who have capacity for feeling. So the innate desire for happiness that is the basis of human rights extends to all sentient beings, including animals and insects. There are now some individuals and organizations who care about animal rights and are showing concern about the suffering or torture of animals. I have noticed among ordinary people, out of their love and compassion, growing efforts for promotion of vegetarianism. These are the right kinds of expression of compassion, very positive and encouraging signs.”

Some of the things I am grateful for:
p.s. Terra I was inspired by your doggy post, to share mine! I love that you are Vegan too:)

(i got chester from a woman who couldn't care for him and his sister ruby anymore)

(chester's sister)

(she's the baby. i got her from our vet's office. someone had dropped her off, not able to handle her. she's got HIGH spirits! part terrior i think.)

i know i'm not supposed to have favorites, but...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Molars out!

Had molars taken out this morning. The experience was definitely interesting. They brought me back to the room and as soon as I lay down they placed the nitrous over my nose and covered me with a blanket. After about two minutes I was VERY comfortable and VERY relaxed. A couple minutes later the doctor came in, asked me how I was doing, I told him fine and asked him how HE was doing and if his hand was feeling steady. He assured me 'yes' and proceeded to put the IV in my arm. And here's how the chain of events felt like they happened: They started putting cotton/gauze in my mouth, rearranged it a bit, took it out then told me I was done. I was very confused, I don't remember losing consciousness. My mom said I kept asking how long I was in there for and if they were sure they were done. In hindsight it was a very nice experience! What really made me laugh is that a few hours later I looked at my phone and I had about 6 pictures of myself in the recovery area. I asked my mom about it and she said I had taken them. All in the spirit of the blog I guess! So, even though every pic is terrible and is of no purpose, I have to post at least one since I made the effort. Cheers to all and I hope everyone has a great weekend:)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Molar eviction notice

Having my extra molars extracted tomorrow morning. The doc said it would only take about 30-45 minutes. I will be put under general anesthesia, which will be my first time. Is it wrong that I'm looking forward to the pre-nitrous and post-vicodin perks? (I'm really not that type of girl.) I rarely take meds, but it's nice to take a mental vacation every so often and why not this weekend, where the big news story is "Car-magedon." One of the main freeways in LA is closing for construction Saturday and Sunday and the mayor has warned it will be a huge traffic nightmare and stay home. So, I will be staying at my mom's house. Maybe I'll catch HP7:)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"B" day is almost here

I'm excited and want to cry at the same time (and I don't mean tears of joy). Operation Braceface will commence in August. Spacers will be added on August 8th, braces on August 22nd. Boo and Yay!

Question for all you bracefaces: Are you happy with your metal vs. ceramic decision? I'm actually leaning toward metal bc the brackets are so much smaller and they are supposedly faster. Also, I've come this far, I might as well really go for it. Thoughts?

I am grateful to live across the PCH from very wealthy people in Malibu, who pay for their own firework barge to float in and give us all a show. view from my roof deck. hip hip hooray!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


It seems like it's been a long waiting period to get this show on the road. I finally saw a new dentist for a cleaning and checkup (all clear!) as well as a consult with an oral surgeon for my 4th molar extraction (happening July 14). My ortho appt to put on my braces will follow shortly thereafter.

One of the things I haven't seen in the blog universe is how much money this all costs! I know I hear 'a lot' and it's so different for all of us in different countries, with different insurance plans. I was planning on keeping my own tally going, I figured why not share it. So, without further ado:

Costs to date
dental ins.: none
medical ins.: Anthem Blue Cross PPO

$328 - Dental Cleaning/Exam/Pano Xray
$91 - Oral Surgery Consult

$419 TOTAL

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

(can't wait until I can say "Before") Pictures

The first step is always the hardest. In the orthognathic blog world, it seems airing one's "dirty laundry" or rather posting close-up pictures of your bite, is that step. It's something we are always aware of when meeting new people, seeing old friends, passing a mirror and of course, looking at photos. (I know I always censor photos posted on facebook!) So, for the sake of healing, here are my current pics!

Monday, June 6, 2011

To the dogs...

Ok, so I'm still waiting to get into the Oral Surgeon's to have my 4th molar's extracted (yes, 4th molars). My orthodontist would like to wait until that's done to put my braces on. I've read a lot about the jaw surgery anxiety dreams. Well, I had the lamer braces anxiety dream! Maybe I shouldn't say anxiety, it was more braces envy. Yes, the dog in my dream had braces. And by the smile he was giving me, I think he was rubbing in how straight his teeth have gotten.

I couldn't help but re-create the image:)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting family on board...

I've been lucky that most of my family has been pretty supportive about my decision to do what may seem like extreme measures. The only hold out was my dad.

He is a TMJ specialist who's primary focus is now sleep apnea. Even though he referred me to orthodontist Dr. Hang and touted him as "the best", he was not enthusiastic (to say the least) about surgery. Being in the field he's in, he knows how detrimental botched jaw surgeries can be to TMJD and breathing, having seen countless patients over the years with problems post-surgery. Since I really needed his emotional support and medical knowledge in my corner I brought him to a consultation appointment with Dr. Hang yesterday (my 3rd consultation since 2007!). He walked in with doubt, but left fully supportive!

Lucky for all of us currently on this journey, jaw surgery techniques have changed in the last 30 years.

- Amanda

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

And it begins...

I'm 35 with a terrible bite. I had braces when I was about 12, by an orthodontist who had a business relationship with my dad (a dentist). It was free. You get what you pay for. I now have an open bite and crooked teeth. My airway is the size of a straw. Oh, and I have a deviated septum. So if you ever want to kill me, just place one finger over a nostril and place the other gently around my throat.

I first went to Dr. Hang about 3 years ago with the hope of invisalign. Seemed perfect! Well, after x-rays and imaging of my jaw I was sadly told that braces and surgery were the only option. I left the office and thought "I can handle teeth that don't close and limited breathing, right?" Flash forward 4 years and I just received approval from my insurance company. Even they agree that the surgery is "medically necessary."

All I need to decide now is metal or ceramic...