Thursday, November 14, 2013

Braceface: One Year Later!

Hi Everyone!

My "One Year Later" post is a bit late! I am not going to tell you that my surgery is not on my mind anymore, that I've moved on and don't really think about it. I think about it EVERY TIME I LOOK IN A MIRROR. I am still in awe when I look at my smile. After so many years with a funky bite I can't believe I'm "one of those people" with great teeth.

I didn't post the week of my one year anniversary because it was a very busy one! I celebrated my surgery anniversary (Oct 16) with a check up at my orthodontist. Everything looked pretty good! The back of my bite has opened a little bit and I was given some rubber tubing to "chew" on as an exercise... hopefully that will close everything up.

Jeff and I celebrated our 2 year dating anniversary (Oct 17) at a doctors appointment by listening to our baby's heartbeat! (Much better than our 1 year anniversary, which was in the hospital post-surgery!) We are so excited!!! In true Italian fashion, I got pregnant a couple weeks after our wedding. The last two years has transformed my life in every single way possible. I am very very very grateful.

I wanted to put this all in one post, but needed to wait a bit until I was a little further along. I am about 3.5 months now - due May 7th. Prepping for delivery feels weirdly similar to prepping for surgery!

As for the state of my jaw: There is still some numbness in my inside upper lip at the incision site... Also, my upper outer gum line is still numb. It's definitely weird when brushing, but it's something I don't notice throughout the day. My range of motion is where it was pre-surgery. I can open wide and shift my jaw side to side without pain.

Check out this before shot! It was taken in 2007 when I 
was first given the bombshell news "you need surgery".   
It took me 4.5 years to pull the trigger on braces and surgery! 

 And now the AFTER!! It really blows my mind.  
(Even my messy bun looks better)

Hope you all are FANTASTIC! I will keep updating every so often. There's just not much jaw related news. Please jot down my email address: welbyway -at- gmail and keep in touch or write to connect on FB.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Braceface: The Wedding!

Hello everyone!!! It's been a hectic 9 weeks, which culminated in an amazing celebration this past weekend. Jeff and I had our hand in almost every aspect of the wedding and tried to make it as personal and intimate as possible with 85 guests (we have big families!!!).

We got married at his brother and sister-in-law's house, wrote the ceremony, had his brother marry us, I created all the decorations and we put together our own iPod music mix to be played through a borrowed sound system. The only thing that wasn't homemade was the dinner, which was ordered in from a restaurant.

It was absolutely magical!!!

First, the teeth.... I ended up getting two veneers on my two upper central incisors. They turned out really nice;) It was pretty painless. Just 2 x hour long appointments set a week apart. My teeth were finally ready the Wednesday before the wedding.

And now on to more fun stuff!!!

We had an amazing photographer, who has shared a handful of images with us. This is my favorite of the two of us. 

Table numbers & dinner menu. 

Creating my pennant flag garlands. I sewed 300 yards!

My faux black board signs. They turned out great!
Our families busted their butts to get everything ready! I never thought I'd
enlist my dad to arrange flowers with me! I am very proud of my bouquet!

This was my absolute favorite project. I ordered plain wooden peg dolls
and created this cake topper of the three of us.

And of course, this is the best picture from the day. Thomas was our Best Man. 
His speech and song (bruno mars "count on me") left everyone in tears!

Jeff's brother, now known as the "Reverend" Mikey and my new niece Katie! 
My new sister-in-law and hostess with the mostest.
Enjoying a bottle at the end of the night;)
This is after everyone went home. We didn't want the night to end and didn't want to turn the beautiful lights off. 

These mason jars were party favors we had etched with our initials and date. We used as table assignments
and glasses for the guests to use throughout the night!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

BOOM - Braces Off!!! (Day 267 - 8 months, 3 weeks, 3 days)

I am no longer a Braceface.

My days of being carded at restaurants are over, but so are the days of ripped up lips and food stuck in my grill!

Yee haw!!!

The process: It literally took 2 minutes for my ortho to pop off all of my brackets.
Then about 25 minutes to grind down all the cement - which was the most uncomfortable of the two.

Seeing my teeth for the first time in the mirror was bizarre. They looked so big! The only drag, is that I have one tooth that is darker than the rest. I went to the dentist following my ortho appointment for some major help. After xrays, he was able to determine that my dark tooth has root resporption (say what?). There was a horizontal crack in the root at one point, and it has now broken all the way through. So, basically, my dark tooth has a really short root.

Bracefree! Instagram filters do wonders for a random dark tooth:)

I also did Bright Smile at the appointment, to see if it would help. It got my other teeth sparkling white, but my one tooth is still darker. Sadly, I will have to get a veneer.

A note on Bright Smile... After applying bleaching solution on your teeth, they shine a light at them for 3, 20 minute sessions. Some people have sensitivity and get whats called "zingers". It literally feels like a drill is being put to your teeth.  I had done something similar years ago and it was terribly painful. This time around I used Sensodine for the few weeks leading up to it, took advil right before and I didn't go all three rounds. I lasted two full rounds - when I felt my first zinger at the end of the second round I stopped.

So, in the next two weeks, I will have a veneer put on my front tooth...c'est la vie...

My discolored tooth post whitening. Looks worse with flash. 
Last Braceface photo!!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Day 233 - 7 months, 3 Weeks Post Op

Hello all,

I had my impromptu 2 week appointment yesterday and am now in rubber bands for another two weeks (for the final push to close my bite a little more). It's been 24 hours and I can really see a difference! My next appointment is in another two weeks. I'm crossing my fingers for that one;)

In the meantime, I look like this!

I have one rubber band square on each side of my midline. 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Thank you bloggers!

Thank you all for the outpouring of LOVE! Jeff and I so appreciate your comments and support ♥.

I also have to mention my orthodontist, Dr. Hang, who said he would work with me to get my braces off before the big day on July 27th!! (Yes, it's very soon, but we are so excited that we couldn't wait. We also have very busy family members who have virtually wiped out every other weekend until the fall;)

It's been a little over a week since my last appointment. I was supposed to go in after 4 weeks, but have switched my appointment to end of week 2 for what I think will be my final adjustment. Can.not.wait.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Braceface: The Proposal

I am proof that life does not stop with braces (or in your 30s for that matter). Don't dispare at the prospect of blinging out your bite!

Those of you who have followed my progress were with me for Braces and DatingBraces and More Dating and Braceface: The Girlfriend.

I'm am now happy to announce Braceface: The Proposal. Yes, dear blogger friends, Jeff has asked me to marry him and I said yes! He has only known me as a metal mouth and still went for it.

Since we would like to keep things low key, we don't need a lot of time to plan, so the question is, will these things be off by then? You know what... I don't really care!

Hip hip hooray!!!

Here are some of our favorite pics of the moment.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Day 191 - 6 months, 9 days

The sun is shining, birds are chirping and the end is in sight.

I had an appointment with my OD yesterday. He is really happy with my alignment. We have one last project left - closing the bite of my molars on the right side (they don't touch). I am wearing rubber bands 24 hrs to achieve this for the next 4 weeks.  Then, I have another appointment which may result in rubber band wearing only at night for a few more weeks. And then, as my OD puts it, "it's celebration time".  I keep telling myself not to get too excited and don't count on ANYTHING, but it's very difficult!!!

After many years, new glasses!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Day 167 - 5.5 months - Expander Free!!

Hi All,

I had an appointment with my OD last week and was THRILLED when he took out my expander. My upper arch is now at 33mm from 30. It was a pain, but worth it. Not only has my arch expanded, but my teeth seem to fit together better. My front teeth have dropped a bit and my bite is more closed. Prior to the expander, I was a bit disappointed in my alignment, but it's one of those things you don't say out loud, considering all the blood, sweat and tears I've put in along this journey. 

I have to admit I am getting excited about getting these things off!!! I have no time estimates, since it seems every little nuance takes a month to complete, but I can feel it getting closer. My next appointment is in 3 weeks, so who knows what the next project will be. (Right now we are working on closing the gap between tooth 10 and 11)

State of My Face

My exterior upper gums are 90% numb, there are a few random spots of feeling. The only area of my interior gums that is numb is right behind my front teeth. My bottom gums seem normal. 

I still have some numbness on my upper lip along the incision site, where my lip meets my gum line. It feels like there is a roll of cotton stuck under my lip. But it's something I don't think about during the day, only when someone asks. And it doesn't affect my speech or eating and my actual lips are 100% normal. 

Also, if I run my finger along my chin I still get tingles... It is probably 95% back to normal. 

I had very bad TMJ pain in my left joint when I first got the expander in. But that went away after a week. That is the same side that plagued me after surgery. It wasn't constant, but my jaw would sometimes spasm on that side... as if I was absentmindedly opening my mouth and my jaw reflex yanked it back into position. One sharp pain and that's it. I feel a pain in my ear/TMJ sometimes during sneezing. 

It seems my swelling is completely gone. 

Range of motion:
I can open to 3 fingers. 
My tongue can now move freely. I can touch my upper and lower molars with the tip of my tongue. (I wasn't able to do this for a long time. My tongue muscles would cramp up if I tried to move it too crazily!)
I can move my lower jaw from side to side about a half an upper tooth length and can probably move my jaw forward a little more than that. 

I'm sharing not only bc c'mon, how cute is this little guy?!
But bc I am SO HAPPY with how my jawline looks here!

This is the newest little peanut in Jeff's family.
He's scrunched up in fetal position... look at his feet!!
Serious case of baby fever. I've decided my next blog is going
to be about trying to get pregnant at my advanced age;)
I'll be 37 on April 9th!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 139 - 4 Months, 16 days

Hi Everyone:)

In my last post, I mentioned I had an appointment for the installation of a palate expander to widen my upper arch a bit (Jan 24th). I missed that appointment and made and skipped 2 more, delaying this whole process by a month. But you know what? I really don't care that much. Yes, I do want these things OFF, but I'm not as anxious as I was pre-surgery with the "hurry up already" state of mind. I was also in no hurry to be in pain and discomfort. Now that I've had the expander for a week, I know my concerns were not overstated... I HATE THIS THING! It's as if I've reverted back to my first week post-op. I can't eat properly, speak properly and my mouth hurts. I could actually speak better after surgery than now. My next appointment is in 3 weeks. I can't wait to get this thing OUT.

My lovely "spring" expander. You can't tell, but there's
quite a bit of room between the metal and the roof of my mouth.
I can slide my tongue above it or store food and nuts for winter. 

Each day gets a little better, but I'm TOTALLY OVER extreme measures.

I'm too lazy to take proper photos, so I've thrown a few in here from trips we've recently taken to Paso Robles and Petaluma, CA. They actually aren't wine trips, but beer trips. Jeff and I are craft beer/IPA geeks.

Dani and I recently talked about the difference of seeing photos of ourselves now compared with before surgery. Before surgery you delete 9 out of 10 photos, now you keep 9 out of 10. It's fantastic.

LOVE my straight (normal) bite. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 102

Ok, so I missed my appointment for the palate expander installation bc I was running late from work. I have to admit, I was not that disappointed. It's funny, this is the first time that I am not anxious to get an appointment as quickly as possible. I remade it for Wednesday, but Jeff and I are going away for a long weekend on Thursday and the last thing I need is to have a piece of metal equipment across the roof of my mouth and for my teeth to be too sore to eat. So I might put it off for another week. I've waited this long, what's another couple weeks??!!

I also wanted to share that last weekend I skied for the first time!!! We went to Mammoth (which was AMAZING) and I took two days of group lessons. I was tearing it up! My body is so out of shape, so it was a workout!!

Here are some pics that show my jaw and teeth better than my self portraits;)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day 100!

Hi all! I hope everyone is doing great. The subtitle of this blogpost was going to be "I'm going to be in braces forever", but I didn't want to plagiarize Sarah's latest post:)

I went to my ortho last week and he was not happy with the width of my upper arch:( It's 30mm and he'd like it 35mm. My gosh darn 3rd molars are anchoring my teeth in too well and won't let them move at a proper pace. So, I'm going in this afternoon to have an expander installed. You know, that piece of equipment that 2nd graders wear before they have braces put on? He thinks I'll need to keep it in for one to two months. Ugggggg. Not very happy about it. At least its the kind that I don't need to wind with a key.

I'm happy to say that I don't think about my jaw all of the time. Though, I still examine my teeth and jaw every single time I step into my office elevator.  After all this time I still have numbness above my top lip and chin. It's not too bad, but it's definitely weird when I move my mouth. My top gums are almost completely numb.

I do have some pain when I yawn, but this has been easing over the last month.

I realized I can now move my tongue all around my mouth and can touch every tooth with the tip. I know this may seem weird, but I used to try to explore the inside of my mouth w/my tongue and it would cramp up if I tried to extend it too much.

I can ALMOST open my mouth three fingers wide. I can't really move it side to side.

Another issue is my skin... my forehead is so broken out, worse than I've ever experienced. It seems like this is a problem other people have after surgery. It's just weird that it's hitting me months after.

This pic is from about two weeks ago. The shadow makes it look like my face is out of whack, but it really is pretty symmetrical.