Last blog post I wrote about WHY I am doing orthodontics. Recap: I had allergies as a child and it led to mouth breathing and sleep symptoms. Mouth breathing took my growth/development off track and led to a challenging orthodontic case, jaw surgery, and still poorly shaped jaws and worse – a poorly impacted airway. Predestined for sleep apnea problems as an adult, I decided to DO something to change my fate.
Though people have seen me in brackets and my super cool appliances, you may still have no clue as to what the process is. Here’s a walk through of what’s happened so far.
First, I took a CBCT 3D X-ray of my head which was evaluated by a maxillofacial radiologist. Several different orthodontic analyses were used to determine the problems present and a game plan of how to treat it using these orthopedic-like appliances and protractive Controlled-ArchTM orthodontics (moving teeth forward in mouth rather than back).
Next, we put separators between my teeth and sent digital models of my teeth to a specialized orthodontic laboratory to custom-make my appliance.
The orthodontic appliance was cemented onto my top teeth with 4 bands and a wire bonded on the tongue-side part of my front teeth. Springs on the cheek-side part were activated once a month.
This put pressure on an acrylic pad on the roof of the mouth. At the same time, we put flat pads of tooth-colored composite resin on my lower molars. These were crucial to allow my lower jaw to go where it needed/wanted and to follow the upper jaw.
Over time, space developed behind my canines (the long pointy teeth) as the front portion of my upper jaw remodeled forward. According to my treatment plan recommendation, our goal was 6-8mm of space. For me, it took about 5.5 months in the appliance to reach that desired outcome. We removed the appliance and I spent a few weeks in a clear retainer to keep the teeth/bone stable until brackets could be placed.
Brackets were placed and in addition, a stainless-steel wire runs across the roof of the mouth to help provide more support/anchorage to move teeth safely and efficiently. A broad shaped, specialized wire is attached on the cheek-side part of the mouth to the brackets/bands. This is guiding my teeth and ultimately changing the shape of the arch of teeth to better accommodate my tongue.
I have started aligning my teeth to match the midline of my face. This is more complicated for me personally because a surgeon changed how my jaws are attached to my skull and my jaw joints. Chain-like elastics are starting to close the spaces between my front teeth. Once this is complete, I will start pulling the rest of my back teeth forward to close the space.
For me, the amount of time spent in orthodontics will be dictated by how quickly my teeth move. The entire process will likely take a few years, but I am thrilled with the progress and change in profile so far.