Thursday, December 6, 2007

First Bracket--- See ya!

So two days ago my boyfriend brought me Chinese food at work (sweet, I know). Just as I was taking a bite of a scrumptious little wonton, my first bracket came off (front bottom tooth, right side). I was waiting for it to happen!

Dr. Arango's office was able to squeeze me in this morning to repair it, and they took the top and bottom wires off and put new ones on. Before, the wires didn't extend back to the very last teeth on the top and bottom of my mouth; today that changed! Now I'm all wired up, every last tooth (except my wisdom teeth, which I was lectured about again today--"Get those out of there, girl!")!

The tension is back...tomorrow it will hurt... Yay! :(

Since I had to come in early, they extended my next appointment to the 7th of February. I hope no more brackets fall off in the meantime.

Here are some pictures...everything looks the same to me. I know, I know, it's only been six weeks ;)

On a side note, the number one thing I've heard since getting braces on is "Why do you have braces? Your teeth are straight!" I've gotten tired of explaining the surgery, so now I just smile and say, "Fine tuning!"

Also, I can't believe how many people used to have braces. Almost everyone I work with had them when they were younger; it's crazy! People have been whipping out their permanent retainers, their lip scars from poky brackets and wires...things that I didn't even know existed just by looking at them...And it makes me feel better! :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My new bite

When I bite down now, all of my front teeth no longer touch. It's so weird, all of my teeth touched before. Is this the crossbite being corrected? Boo!

Another Before Picture

I found this picture of my boyfriend and i from a couple of months ago... it's a good "before" photo!


Dressed up as Red Riding Hood for Halloween.

When I see myself in pictures with other women, I can really notice some differences. The whole lower area of my face is so much... bigger. And there's no indentation from my cheeks to the bottom of my chin.


Okay, so there really isn't much pain now so much as I just feel the urge to gnaw on things constantly! All that tension in my mouth is awkward; I keep sucking my teeth in to relieve it. As goofy as it is, I bought a teething toy for babies the other day, and it's so nice!

I've been trying to smile more now and be more confident with the braces... tonight at work a guest told me that I need to be more confident, and "embrace the braces.. no pun intended." har har har.

And the best part: i can eat more foods now! yay! ...and this isn't even bad--i'm going to be so bummed when my jaw is wired shut. :)

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ow, ow, ow

I've made it to the third day, and I'm a total baby!

Coupled with the wisdom tooth pain, my teeth are really bugging me! I've only really been able to suck the flavor out of solid foods, or just barely nibble on them until they're soft and small enough to swallow.

I'm starting to get used to the feeling of having them in, although everytime I sit down to eat my brain wants to automatically reach in and take the braces off before putting food in my mouth. Putting lipstick on is hard too--I can't rub my lips together without a lot of effort.

I was very worried about being made fun of at work, but everyone was pretty grown up about it. I guess it's just me not being able to let go of being made fun of for my jaw in grade school.

I went to a Halloween party last night and got a few pictures, I'll post them when I find the cord to my camera.

On another note, getting food stuck in these babies is a real pain! :) Also, my cheeks are getting destroyed! I've used the wax a few times, but I brush my teeth so much that I keep accidentally brushing the wax right off.

Shontell asked a couple posts back if I have a surgery date yet. My orthodontist told me that we would worry about that a little further down the road, when I was closer to being ready for surgery. Is this a good idea? He said that he has a few surgeons that he has worked with in the past for me to consider.

Thank you to everyone who leaves comments and links me; I appreciate everything!

Friday, October 26, 2007

They're so on

This is from the 26th--I haven't had internet!

Well, it's done!

I was worried that they'd have to postpone the appointment--I have massive, painful swelling going on in the right side of my mouth due to a wisdom tooth that decided to start breaking through my gums a couple of days ago. Dr. Arango (ortho) told me to ask the dentist if I should have the wisdoms out when I went in for my cleaning about a week ago, and the dentist said he wanted to call Dr. Arango to discuss it…but that never happened. Sooo, I had to endure those huge plastic pieces that held my mouth open as they dug right into my inflamed gums. Ow.

After eating lots of popcorn and gooey candy yesterday, I figured I was ready for my appointment this morning to be banded. Other than the pain of my wisdom tooth, getting the braces on was only slightly uncomfortable. I wasn’t really sure what the ortho. assistant was doing in my mouth for awhile, and I couldn’t really ask J When she told me to go brush my teeth and come back to put the wires in, I couldn’t keep my hands out of my mouth! The braces are so foreign and big!! I feel like I can barely hold my lips over my teeth, and I’m even having trouble speaking clearly. I’ve been so focused on researching the surgery that I haven’t really looked into or thought much about the braces. I forgot that the brackets and everything would be crooked at first and then straighten themselves out, so that’s a little weird to look at in the mirror!
I cried when I got home and saw my reflection; the braces make my face stick out even more! I always felt like having nice teeth drew people’s eyes away from my jaw, and now the braces draw more attention to it. I can’t wait until this is all finished!
I haven’t tried to eat anything yet, except for a yogurt. Will it be hard to chew?
Also, I just realized that I can’t bite my nails anymore…I can no longer grip them between my teeth! So long to that bad habit! J
My next appointment is January 10th. Will the brackets have straightened out by then?

Anyway, now for pictures…
I apologize for the bad quality, I was taking these in the bathroom with my camera phone (I swear I’m not that pale in real life, haha!). I’ll have better pictures someday when I buy batteries for my digital camera.
Okay, here are the pics from this morning, before I had the braces put on:

And then after:

And up close:

And that's that! Now off to watch the World Series!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brace Face?

I have a little over a week until the braces, and I'm so nervous!

I find myself staring at the couple of girls in my classes who have them, and this feeling of dread washes over me every time. Two years of braces? Two years? At this point that seems like a lifetime. I'll have braces on my 21st birthday!

I keep running my tongue over my teeth... so smooth! So white! So straight!

I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it's worth it right now...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


okay, I have the most exciting news so far in my blog's history!!

My braces are going on October 26th.


I made an appointment with Dr. Arango ( and everything went really well! He was very helpful and informative, and he really took a lot of worry off my shoulders. He told me to try not to worry about finding a surgeon and everything for the moment, and that I should focus on the braces part for the time being. He said that when the time comes he'll give me a list of surgeons that he's worked with before and help me try and work things out with Cigna.

He uses something called the Damon system, which looks pretty cool. Does anyone know anything about this?

Unfortunately, the braces will cost me 240 dollars a month for 12 months. I'm paying 2400 of the total 5000 dollar bill.

I was so happy to finally get this started I almost cried.

They did x-rays and molds...It was weird to see my x-rays on the computer screen (I've never seen them before). It made it "real", so to speak, to see my jaw positioned so incorrectly on the computer. It makes me wonder what happened...why did my face grow like this? Why did my top jaw develop so narrowly? Questions to ponder...

Anyway, yay! I'm going to look silly with braces, though...


Friday, August 24, 2007

no, really, time flies

sooo after all this time i finally made an appointment with an orthodontist listed by cigna's website for next thursday! yaaay! the receptionist told me to have 200 dollars when i come to pay for the molds and xrays, which they'll do for 50% off if i do it the same day as the consultation. i'm excited, but a little nervous. i'm a bit upset with myself for taking so much time to finally get things started, but the problems i had with the last orthodontist really deterred me! my face is all i can think about lately. it might all just be in my head, but i feel like my jaw is getting worse! i feel as if just in the last year my upper teeth have receded more behind my lower teeth. they don't fit together at all anymore, and my jaw hurts all the time. it hurts the most when i yawn and try to hold my mouth closed with my teeth together. i'm ready for this to be fixed!! no more "hey, you look like jay leno!" :(

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

time flies!

sooo, lalala. i realize it's been awhile, I was really just pretty much hopeless after getting the run-around from so many people.

However...drum roll...

my work is switching dental insurance, and going with cigna now! so cigna will be my insurance for dental and medical, instead of just medical. there are many more orthodontists under cigna's policy than aetna's where I live, so hopefully this will make things a little easier! I really don't like the ortho I was going to.

hopefully i'll get the ball rolling again soon! :)

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


sooo, after going to have x-rays done this morning, i received a call from the orthodontist's office. apparently i can't see the oral surgeon there because he "won't be the one performing the surgery" and the information i need to send to the insurance company is from my regular general practice doctor... i'm a little confused.

and i did a search on cigna's website for oral surgeons in the network...and apparently there are none. i'm not quite sure what to do next; the orthodontist's office hasn't been as helpful as i'd hoped.

Monday, February 26, 2007

x-rays and surgeon appts.

so two mondays later... :) :)

i went back to the orthodontist, Cigna insurance policy on "jaw surgery" in hand, to see what's next. the receptionist gave me a referral to go get x-rays on wednesday, and then set up an appointment to see the oral surgeon on friday. i'll ask him to write me a letter! fingers crossed... thanks for all the comments, everyone! they're very helpful and inspiring, even if i waited so long to get started.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


so on monday i'm making the call to my insurance company to see what my options are. hopefully... i'll have some options. i feel a little better since last week's ortho visit. time to get to work!! :)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

a little background

i've started this blog to track my progress.

since i was in sixth grade, i've been made fun of for my prominent, less-than-perfect lower jaw. i never really thought of it as a serious problem until i recently went in for my six month check-up with my dentist.

"wow, melissa, we need to get you to an orthodontist. unfortunately, your lower jaw has overdeveloped and you have a pretty bad crossbite. you'll probably need a combination of braces and surgery to fix this. oh, but you're a beautiful girl."

... What?? It's funny how i just now remember that little compliment he threw in there at the end of his speech. i suppose that's how it's been my whole life---i can only remember the "hey, jay leno"s and the "hey, chief chin"s and never the "oh my, you're so beautiful"s.

it's like i can feel my lower jaw down there, mocking me, showing itself off to the world. lately it's been hurting a lot too... it just won't let me forget it's there!!

today i had my ortho appointment, and i started crying. i pulled my hair back into a ponytail (which i hate doing, as it shows off my long profile) and let this man stare and poke at the part of myself that i've tried to hide my whole life. he told me that i don't need braces; i have "perfect teeth."

i just need surgery.

and just as soon as it had started, my appointment was over. after all, what else was there to discuss? i can't afford surgery, and according to the orthodontist, i have a "slim chance" of getting my insurance company to cover the costs (30,000 dollars plus???). I'm a little confused because our dental insurance is through Aetna, while medical is through Cigna. After looking at both insurance policies regarding orthognathic surgery online, it looks like Aetna offers more flexibility where this type of surgery is concerned. the ortho assistant told me to be a "squeaky wheel", because insurance companies hate people who continue to write and call and cause a fuss.

so all night i've been looking at surgery before and afters, and i can't even count the number of times i've started crying. when i look in the mirror, all i can see is my imperfect face. when my jaw pops and moves out of place and hurts all i can think about is my imperfect face. when i see a person with a beautiful jaw line, all i think of is my imperfect face. when i wear turtlenecks, when i smile, when i wear my hair up, when i'm in a photograph, when i eat, when i talk, when a person looks at me from the side...

all i can think is "hey, jay leno. ha. hah. ha."