Thursday, November 14, 2013

A year and a half later...

It's hard to believe that its been a year and a half since I got my braces off! As I mentioned in the last post, getting my braces off was not the end of the road unfortunately. I walked out of the orthodontists door with a "flipper"/retainer to fill in blank spots for two teeth (one blank spot was a baby tooth that had to be removed and would later be replaced with an implant, the other spot was what is called a peg lateral.  For anyone wondering what the heck a peg lateral is...
  -A peg lateral is a condition where the lateral incisors (the second tooth on either side of the front teeth) are undersized and appear smaller than normal. This situation occurs when the permanent lateral incisors do not fully develop. Sometimes, the permanent adult lateral incisor teeth do not develop at all, leaving only the baby teeth (which is exactly what happened on the opposite side of my mouth) in their place. Although some people refer to these teeth as peg laterals, they are really "over retained deciduous teeth". A true peg lateral incisor is a term reserved for the under-developed adult permanent tooth that erupts after the deciduous tooth has been lost.
So anywho, here is one of the only pictures I could find with my flipper...

All in all, I had to wear the flipper for around 4-5 months since the implant process takes that long.  Implants are a 3 step process: first the oral surgeon will insert the actual implant that replaces the root of the tooth and is completely under the gum (I was put to sleep for this part).  It was at this time that the oral surgeon also removed the screws from the bone graft I had done in preparation for the implant. 
Then, after that is healed, the dentist connects a tiny piece to the implant called an "abutment"-this is what the tooth will actually connect to. The dentist takes lots of x-rays and molds of your teeth to get the tooth made just right for the implant.  Then he just screws (at least that's what it felt like) the tooth onto the abutment...and you hear a "CLICK". It wasn't painful or anything.  They put the crown on my peg lateral during the same visit.
When I looked in the mirror for the first time, and saw all of my teeth in my mouth, and NO METAL, I teared up a little.  It had been a long road, but it was finally over. 
That would complete Sarah's Smile!!! :)
If you are wondering if I would do it all again...the answer is YES.  It's been over a year and a half since the surgery now and since then my circumstances have changed in a lot of ways, so I am happy I did it when I could.  To see where I am now, you can look at my new blog: GREGG+SARAH
Thank you for following my journey!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Almost to the finish line! is the day.  The day I have been waiting for for 2 years, 4 months and 4 days. Today is the day I get my braces off!  I'm super excited to say the least...

I wish it were as simple as plucking the things off and walking out the door with straight teeth...but of course not...this is MY mouth we're talking about and it seems like nothing in my mouth is "normal" so I'll try and explain to the best of my ability how it's going to go and why my situation will be a little different.

You may or may not know this, but one of the teeth in my mouth is not real.  There is actually a fake tooth wired on my braces.....guess which one...haha.  You see, I was born missing a tooth, so when my baby tooth SHOULD have fallen out, instead the adult just said "hey baby, I'll just come on down next to you and we can hang out together forever!" and that's what they did.  For 30 years.  So when I got the braces put on, my orthodontist thought 30 years was long enough, and it was best for me to say goodbye to the baby tooth and move that adult over where it should be....but that left me with a tooth vacancy....which leads me to the fake tooth being wired on the braces.  It has been lovely really, and I've kind of gotten used to it.  All the girls at the orthodontist's office are so understanding, and its pretty much just a joke now when they have to take out my "tooth" to change my wire.  The best is when I get a new girl, and she takes my wire out, and a tooth is attached.  I can only imagine what she is thinking.  Not to mention,  I literally look like a redneck so its real fun when you brush your teeth next to a 10 year old and smiling can make them jump.

So anyways, about a month ago I got put to sleep and got a surgical  implant installed in my jaw which a tooth will be screwed into in about another month from now, when the bone is done healing.  Now you are probably wondering.... if the braces come off TODAY, and I don't get a tooth screwed in for a month, what am I going to do in the meantime? right? were you wondering that?   Well.... I guess I'm going to find out who my real friends are and who aren't.   haha jk.  Back to the amazing world of fake teeth... who here has seen Toddlers and Tiara's?  It's a guilty pleasure.  If you have ever turned to it by accident, it's like a car crash, it will suck you in.  Anyways, the 2 years olds are forced to wear things called "flippers" which are these plastic teeth which look ridiculous.  So I will have a "flipper retainer" or basically a retainer with a tooth on it.  And NO I will not take it out for you.

So I guess that sums up what I will be doing today...braces come off, flipper goes in.  Wham bam.

Also, are some updated before and afters which will be the last photos of me with braces on.....

Other things you can take note of from the pictures:
1. in the past 2 years I have learned how to pluck my eyebrows. Yay for me.
2. I have found a great hair stylist.
3. And I have apparantly either changed skin care, or learned how to use the camera settings on my camera to make me not look like I have rosacea.

Pretty good couple years over all.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Before and After Lefort I - 5 weeks post-op

Let me just start by saying that my recovery has really made me appreciate the way God designed the human body to heal all by itself... it really is incredible the way we are designed!
It's been 5 weeks and I feel almost all back to normal! Feeling is around 80% back. There are still some pins and needles behind my nose every once in a while, but nothing major. The swelling has almost all gone down too...I know there is still some swelling under my lip, but I would say for the most part, it will not make any dramatic difference when it does all go down.
Overall, I am so happy I had the surgery and would definitely do it all over again. I haven't had ONE migraine since I had the surgery which is HUGE to me...and I am very hopeful that they are gone for good! I can NOT wait to start using my new bite too! I have my 6 week followup next Wednesday and get to find out if I can start chewing!!!! I'm VERY exicited!!!
Here are some side-by-side before & afters...pretty neat to see how much a couple millimeters can change your face.

And here is a silly picture that shows you how wide I can open my mouth now!!! A few weeks ago I couldn't even get a full sized spoon in my mouth!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2 Weeks Post Surgery - first day back to work!

Its hard to believe its been two weeks since surgery already. It has gone by fast, but it still feels like the surgery was yesterday...

Being home with Gregg for two weeks was amazing, even given the circumstances, but I knew it would come to an end eventually. Today was my first day back to work and I must say it has been nice to get back into the swing of things and get my mind of my jaw for a little while. (I DID not miss Atlanta traffic though...ugh!) Everyone at work has been so understanding through the whole ordeal...I couldn't ask for better employers and co-workers!

Swelling goes down a little each day, but I'm still very swollen above my upper lip and behind my nose. The bruising is almost all gone. Stitches are still in the healing process, and really only bother me when I talk for a long time or laugh. I'm still completely numb on my nose and the area directly around it, most of my upper lip, and the roof of my mouth. I'm not happy with my nose at still looks quite "piggy" to if I needed any help making my nose bigger! haha

I'm trying to remember that the doctor warned me it would take 3-6 months to really judge the final result, but thats hard to do.

Here are some photo's from this morning:

Chew something for me!

Friday, April 29, 2011

What did I have done?

So, a lot of people have asked what I had done exactly, and why I needed the surgery, since to most people my teeth looked fine before. The thing is, my "teeth" pretty much were fine, and I wanted them to stay that way, my bite on the other hand was incorrect and was causing my teeth to wear down more and more because of the way they hit each other. If I didn't have the surgery my teeth would have continued to get smaller and smaller. I got migraines on a regular basis from grinding my teeth, and had cracking and popping in my jaw.

I had braces for 1 1/2 years prior to the surgery to reposition my teeth to fit correctly AFTER surgery. If they had done the surgery without braces beforehand, my teeth wouldn't have fit together correctly, but now they only need fine tuning.

The procedure is called a "Lefort I Multi-Piece Osteotomy". The Lefort I can be 1-piece, 2-piece or 3-piece. I believe I got the 2-piece since they had to expand my upper jaw. In layman's terms:

2-Piece Lefort I Osteotomy:

•makes an incision under the upper lip
•fractures the upper jaw
•completely separates the upper jaw
•removes a wedge of bone
•splits the jaw down the middle
•re-positions the jaw
•re-attaches the upper jaw with titanium screws and plates
•sutures the incision


Days 7-10

Now that my steriod induced pity party and bout with depression has subsided, I figured an update would be nice :)

I think Tuesday was definitely the PEAK of everything...the swelling, the pain, the depression, the name it - it was at it's worst. Crying for no reason, curled up in a ball, missing my mom, feeling sorry for myself, not wanting to get out of bed, looking at my face in the mirror and convincing myself that I look like Shrek - it was no fun. And for all of you who were victims of mine, I sincerely apologize and promise I will make it up to you somehow (ie: Gregg, etc.). Oh yeah, and good news, I'm not pregnant. I found that out on Monday I think that emotional lovelyness that takes place naturally on a monthly basis really added a "little something special" to the emotional state that I was already in...

Wednesday was like a light switch went on...I went into some sort of crazy organizational frenzy and decided it would be a great time to organize things that I haven't organized in 4 years (cabinets under the bathroom sinks, drawers of the nightstands, boxes under the bed) Gregg just kind of sat there with a look on his face like he saw a unicorn in real life or something....confused, but pleasantly surprised.

Yesterday, I had my post-op with Dr. Loetscher. He really is an amazing surgeon, and all of his nurses and staff are SO nice too. He said that my bite is "perfect", and that everything is healing the way it should be :) I asked if its normal for the inside of my mouth to look the way it does, and he was like "oh, like fish guts? yeah, that's normal." So thats a relief. They took xrays and I got to see all the metal plates holding my grill together. I think there were 4 metal plates all together, and 2 screws holding the bone graft in place. He showed me on a model where they separated my jaw to widen it, that was pretty interesting, its like a "v" cut into the roof of my mouth with the point starting between my two front, huh? I have to go back in 5 weeks for a follow-up, but all in all it was a great doctors visit. I asked one of his nurses to email me "before" pictures and copies of the xrays so I'll post those when I get them.

I guess thats all for are some pictures from day 9 (4/28), the swelling has DEFINITELY gone down a lot, and the bruising seems to be getting better too:

I thought I would end with a picture of my favorite little visitor (isn't she adorable?!):

Love you Karley!

Chew something for me!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 5&6

Hello Everyone,

Didn't post yesterday because I hardly had the energy (or desire) to leave my bed. There was more swelling, more pain, and more bruising. Since I didn't feel like moving, Gregg was nice enough to watch a movie in bed with me that came highly recommended... "hiachi". Note to self: do NOT watch a depressing animal movie when steriods are wearing off!! Very sad :( I'm sure it is a good movie otherwise...

It was nice to have my mom here this weekend to make sure I ate, that I had fresh ice in my "bra", and to stay on top of my medication schedule. She even went grocery shopping for me, and made the boys dinner last night (fajitas have never looked or smelled so good). Aren't mom's great? I was sad to see her leave this morning :( but it was SO nice to have her here during the worst part of this ordeal. She left me some homemade tapioca pudding that I'm sure I'll devour at some point today.

Thank you again to everyone that has come to visit, brought soup, sent cards, flowers, etc. now I know that that stuff really DOES help people heal faster. You'll never know how much it means to me!

Here are a few pictures, these were taken 4/24:

Chew something for me!
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