Friday, September 16, 2011

7 Months, 25 Days—18 Days to Go!

I am excited. They're coming off. They are finally coming off.

My, my. Time has utterly flown.


Before you get more excited than me, the "them" are my upper braces only. Nevertheless, I can't believe this day is scheduled.

This is it. October 4.

Well, half of it. Which I'm not sure why the case is this way, exactly. I think my orthodontist hates me.

I should be utterly excited about this, which I am. But I swear he hates me.

Not in the way you think though. I don't care (too much) that I have to have my bottom braces on for a bit longer. Whatever it takes, doc. What I think though, is that he has an actual issue with me.

The story begins here.

Maybe it's because he's getting sick of me. Maybe he wants to get rid of me ASAP.

Maybe I look too old for his clinic? No. I'm being silly.

Maybe it's because I've made my payment upfront and he's happy he's got his money and can finish up quick-sticks.

Maybe he thinks I'm a rude person. Which I am not.

Maybe he thinks I'm insulting him and his practice, which I also am not.

I don't know what else it could be. Either way, he doesn't seem as friendly, or talkative or explanatory, or the high-five giving merry-maker that I've known him to be in my initial stages and good part of my adjustment visits.

It made me feel horrible. 

Maybe he's having problems at home.

Let me start from the beginning. I went in to see him a few days ago, September 13, to be exact (yeah, you say, I usually update on the day, I've been busy, shoot me, full-time work makes you a 'lil tired, go figure).

He didn't say anything back to me after I came in and said "good morning," his assistant did. And the first thing he said to me, after finishing off another patients notes, was "sit back".

Look, maybe he's becoming grumpy. Maybe he's sick of his job. Maybe he was having a bad day. 

I don't know what it is, but I've noticed from the past few visits that he's seemed a bit displeased with me, for whatever reason. Maybe he was having bad days whenever I came in. Maybe.

To touch on my teeth, I don't think they're quite ready yet. And this is sort of what I said to him.

I had known that he planned on getting the braces off on my next visit, as he mentioned to me. But he also said that he didn't promise it.

I don't feel my teeth are perfect yet, and this is the reason I'm not as happy as I should be that they're set to be coming off.

I feel that the centreline is not completely centred. Namely, that my right front tooth seems too much to the left, almost like it's jammed in.

It might be to do with the filing down of the space between my teeth that he did, and filed too much off on the side? It might also just be my teeth, which I don't care if it is, so be it. It might just be me and my perfectionism, but it's how I feel. It's only that I am so fussed because they are my front two teeth. Kind of a big deal. Just.

He shot down my thoughts, which were in no way communicated rudely, kept telling me that I was seeing things.

Look, I don't know why he was being like that. They are my teeth and I'm paying for him to fix them, align them and make them perfect. I want him to do the the best job possible.

Am I unable to have an opinion or voice how I am feeling? On top of the fact that he hasn't asked me what I think, and if I like the job that he's done. Isn't there usually a great deal of finesse and perfecting when it comes to orthodontics? Maybe he really is done, I'm hoping on that.

If this is as good as it gets, great. I am in no way unhappy. I have a great smile, my underbite class III malocclusion is gone, and I really am thrilled. This whole situation has taken away from it a little bit, that's all.

I don't want to feel or be left short-changed for whatever reason if there can be improvements made and if these teeth of mine really aren't as perfect as they can be. 

I don't know if they are completely perfect. I am no dental alignment expert. I do, however, have eyes and an opinion and a fairly exceptional understanding of what is centred.

I don't want my orthodontist to behave in a way that presents himself as anything other than capable of undertaking an exceptional job in aligning my teeth. Or because he's not bothered, and money hungry. Or whatever the reason seems to be. I don't want to sound brash, but I am paying for a service, and I want that service done and done well. That's what I am paying you for. I haven't been rude in my dealings, so I deserve some courtesy and respect and delivery of my results. 

Neither do I want to be in braces for a longer amount of time than I have to deal with, but I wouldn't mind sticking out a few more months if it meant absolutely perfect teeth.

In your professional opinion, if they are perfect, so be it, and so be I wrong.

So, I am in a bit of a pickled, mixed-feeling scenario.

Either way, they are coming off in under a month. I don't think this is open for another 'discussion' with my orthodontist.

He took impressions of the roof of my mouth before I could bring up my concerns. He didn't even ask me if I was happy with my teeth. Which is perhaps why I am most annoyed? He knows I've obviously wanted them off ASAP (who wouldn't), but I want a proper job done, first and foremost.

Maybe my teeth will look different when the braces come off. Maybe, as my orthodontist says, I've become obsessed with my appliances and need to get on with life.

I am probably being an idiot. Anyone looking at this would probably tell me this. But it's me, and my teeth. C'est la vie.

I also don't even know why my lower braces are still staying on. He also hasn't changed the ligatures on the bottom brackets in over two visits. Why?

I don't know how to feel. This is not good.

I am really happy with my teeth though. And I think that's what matters.

If I can't do any thing more about it, I really have done my best to voice my opinion, and if my orthodontist thinks they're perfect, then they're perfect. And that's the doctor's opinion.

I'm looking past all of that for the right now, how good do my teeth and smile look?

Goodness that was a story, if a story is anything to go by. Think of it as a semi-rant, semi-autobiographical excerpt about an orthodontist visit and the afterthoughts of a vain, perfectionist on an ego-trip, willing to tell anybody who will listen.

For the first time, here they are, presented in border-blushing colourmy gorgeous mouth space! Hello sunshine!

I love lipsticknot that braces have made me fall in love with it-but I think they have added another dimension to smiling teeth and sexy lips! I just came back from a night outshoot me, again—that explains the lipstick and the mad smiling mood I was in.

I have been really busy as of recently, which has prevented me from updating my story, so I decided to just do it now before I get bogged down, again, and delay, if not forgo (no, I'd never!) an update.

It takes time and effort to do this, people. And I'm doing it for you! The people who want and need perfect teeth. Let me inspire you. It's been a beautiful and painful, but oh-so worth it journey so far.

Millions and millions of photos later, I have a gorgeous mouth.

In the orthodontia arena, in my adjustment visit, he changed my upper, back ligatures and gave me a six-toothed powerchain, as opposed to four-toothed, akin to other visits. I have my suspicions he may have changed it from four- to six-toothed after I complained about my issue, seeing a gap on the side beyond the four teeth, and of course, the centre alignment concern.

He had already put all the new ligatures in my mouth before I raised my concerns. So after my complaint, he  then decided to take off all the elastics he just put on, took out the wire and made a small, 0.3mm bend in the front of it, which he'd said would fix the issue I saw, ever so slightly. I'm not sure he even understood my problem.

Further, the orthodontist said that I'd still be wearing the bottom braces after my top ones come off. I'm not sure why, or for now long. He hasn't explained that. And I didn't have the chance to ask. And I'm not one to shy away from questions.

He also mentioned that I will be getting permanent wire retainers placed behind my teeth, on top and bottom, to hold the new teeth positioning. 

I will also wear a plate after all is said, or rather, done. Which is why he took the impressions, I can only assume. I'm not sure for how long or for what hours of a day, but there will be a plate involved. I'm not sure which type of plate he will issue me with, also. I think it will be a Hawley plate retainer as opposed to the Essix vacuum mouthguard-style type, from the sounds of things, and the research I've done. I don't know too much about the benefits of either. I just hope it doesn't interfere with my everyday. I can tell you I will not be very happy to be lisping again.

Also on the table will be the filing down of my my front teeth (and perhaps others) to even them out due to the wear of my underbite and to even them out a little. I don't want them filed and leveled too much. I like the unique intricacies of the way my teeth look in their natural state. Fingers crossed when we get to that bridge.

And so, I am happy. If that's anything to go by. There is not long to go, and that's something big to look forward to. I can smile a smiling smile and be happy for that.

I would say that this is a 'so long', and 'until next time', for when I will be braces free in the uppers, but we all know, perhaps a bit too well, that I will most likely be back, the night before they come off, with some final, fleeing photos of worse days.

Until then, I sit, and patiently wait, awaiting the day when I will be brace-free, for eternity! Keep smiling, I know I will be starting to practice!

P.S. This was very long, you are an awesome person for getting here. If the length of this is anything to go by, you can understand why I put off writing it in the first place. Reward yourself with an apple.


  1. yay ,so exciting! I've had mine one for 4 months so far. My underbite is gone but now i have this crazy space between the top and bottom rows of my teeth that I can stick my tongue through. is that normal?

    I hope for them to be off by December!!

  2. Thanks for the comment! It's very exciting, indeed.

    I did have an odd, albeit small space for a little bit, if you do look back to April, when my underbite had become no longer. It, of course, did end up disappearing. I couldn't stick a lot of my tongue out when I pushed it against the inside of my teeth, but there was some visible tongue there.

    It's important to be patient and know that in time, most, if not all of the issues or concerns you have with your progress will be rectified.

    Good luck with your journey! December, Christmas holiday time sounds like a perfect time to get them off for!

    Congratulations on losing the underbite, too. I almost fell off the planet when that happened to me!

  3. I must say, your teeth look absolutely AMAZING!!! Wow! Maybe your ortho has recently had some bad news or he is hating his job. Who knows... but I don't think that he should show that when working with his patients. *shrug*

    You are the 2nd person I've heard to get their top braces off first! I wonder why?

    Congrats on your progress again. Your smile looks fantastic.

  4. Thanks again, it means the world.

    Maybe if he'd have explained why that was the case, we'd all be enlightened. I'll try and get some sense and reason into him and ask next time I see him.

    Hopefully he feels in a better mood, or feels like explaining things. I want to know every detail, please share it with me! It's a bit like that.

    I think it might be to do with aligning the centrelines of the top and bottom teeth, which I haven't actually mentioned I am unhappy with. I don't think this will happen. I also think it might be to ensure the longevity of maximum stabilisation of the bottom jaw due to the underbite issue to begin with. Regardless, I will let everyone know if and when I do find out.

    Thank you so much, again. I really am loving it.

    Everyone get braces. But don't let me tell you that! Go see an orthodontist!

  5. Get what you want! You said your teeth need additional straightening. That's all there is to know. You're paying for the service, and the orthodontist should provide what you want. Don't let his needs supersede yours! He can't remove the braces without your permission. If he took molds last time, and now can't use them because you required him to work more on your teeth, then the molds are HIS problem.

    These "experts" fail to understand that the every client has a different style. Patients don't come in as sample, test subjects. They know that they want, and ask the orthodontist to do it. When someone redesigns a living room, the client asks for the designer's ideas, but ultimately it is the client who decides on the final product.

    If an orthodontist wants to show his personal style, he could off a discount to someone who doesn't have a preference, just like hair stylists offer cheap haircuts to try out new styles. You are paying full price. You get what you want.

    A friend recently had her brace's removed and regrets not making one more improvement. Can't do that now, without forking over another $5K.

    Is your ortho one of those who has turned treatment into mass production with three chairs lined up next to each other and a slew of assistants? That is part of the problem. On assembly lines, there's not time for personal preferences. The ortho wants you done and done quick. But you're not some inanimate auto skeleton waiting to get fitted. You can say, hold it right there buster. Fix this, and this, and this. Calmly and politely. And again.

    Your post is not a rant. It's your feelings, your beliefs, and clearly your ortho has invited you to express them. i was going to write that he didn't allow you, but that's victim language. You didn't allow yourself to say what you want.

    The other day, my orthodontist, who I've realized is totally inept, said, "you know, no one will notice if you don't straight that tooth." So he's trying to talk me out of this, and he thinks I'm doing this for others. So i'm dealing with the same poor customer service.

    Get what you need. Bring a friend for support. Practice what you're going to say. He can only take those braces off when you agree. And you don't need to agree until he has made every tooth align according to your preferences.

  6. eeks, few typos in prior post. Your ortho has NOT invited you to express your opinions.

    Orthodontic patients unite!

  7. Thank you for such an inspiring post. What you've said really resonates with me. What I'm stuck on is it seems to come down to a matter of his professional opinion.

    It feels like what I'm saying is wrong, because I don't know any better about how orthodontics works. Maybe this really is the best he can do. But I don't think it is.

    It also comes down to not knowing what to say. He's taken impressions, and he took them last time I was there. The retainer or whatever is probably already made. Who knows.

    The de-banding appointment is also made and it's assumed that they will come off then. I'm between a rock and a hard place, and it's really hard for me to know what to do.

    Maybe I'm seeing things? But I feel it's not quite right yet, and I in no way want them off before they are perfect and before I am at 100% happy with my teeth. I just don't know what to do about it, and that makes me upset.

    Sure, I know to say something, but I've tried, politely, and I was shot down. It feels like there isn't a discussion about it. The orthodontist even said, out of the minimal things he did say, "I'm running out of things to do with you".

    Either way, I'm lost for what to do, because if I knew what to do, and say, I would do it. I want to say something, and I should, have and did. I have to speak up more, but I know he will shoot me down again.

    Perhaps calling the clinic up and asking to speak to him a week before de-banding is set and talking to him about it might be the best idea? It might be easier on the phone, if I can get a hold of him. Then again, I wouldn't know what to say.

    Gosh, this is so hard. And it really shouldn't have to be.

    Under 9 months is hardly any time for braces. I've read and heard about people having them on for much longer, and having so many adjustments done to make their teeth perfect. He's barely done any fine-tuning or adjusting. Just a few small wire bends a couple of visits.

    Rock and a hard place. I'm not completely happy with my teeth yet. I know I have to do something, I'm just not too sure what that is, yet.

  8. Wire bends! the cheepo way to move teeth! Wire bends reduce the circumference of the wire. Other orthos move the brackets--throughout treatment--to move the teeth, and let a STRAIGHT wire do the work. Brackets are moved, and the wire becomes tighter, but the wire bends back to straight and the brackets and teeth move with it.

    His comments show he doesn't want to do the work. Saying, "I'm running out of things to do with you" is rude. I doubt he had that disposition when he tried to win your business. Keep in mind that he talks to patients 100 times a day. He's a pro at talking people out of things, and then pressuring them by taking molds, setting up closing apptments, and the like. But he can't take off the braces without your approval.

    His attitude is his problem. Don't take it personally. Just get what you want. If he doesn't want to provide you with the service, you could tell him you're going to switch to another orthodontist who will finish the job for you. Then you could sue him for not providing the service promised. You wouldn't be the first person who has had to switch contractors during a project. Maybe you have to fork over another $1000 to get what you want. I'd consider that to be acceptable. Your project would be running about $1000 over budget. Talk to people who've remodeled their homes about cost overruns. And your teeth are a lot more important than a new counter-top.

    Or talk to someone who got a divorce. Everything was great during the courtship, the wedding, and for a few years during marriage. Then things went astray and they couldn't agree. So they ended the relationship, and it cost everyone a lot. But they've moved on to better circumstances.

    Don't get uncomfortable about wanting straight teeth. That's why you got orthodontics. As is this needs to be said! And everyone has a different style preference.

    You DO know what to say and you have said it. You could, as you suggested, call on the phone and talk to him after hours, without people in the waiting room. Say what you have said all along, though again and again. If he still won't do what you want, then you might want to lay down the exit option of you leaving without the final molds and getting a refund for that portion. Then go to another ortho. He can't force you to take off the braces and you can't force him to make more adjustments.

    I've learned that when I'm in a frustrating situation and I can't understand the other person, sometimes it's simply because that person does not want to help. And I shouldn't spend my energy trying to change that person, I should focus on finding someone who can and *will* help.

    When you call to schedule a phone conversation, you could cancel the debanding appointment and tell them to hold on the molds or impressions or whatever.

    Consider this problem a gift. You will be stronger from this experience.

  9. If you moved for a job, you would need to find someone else to finish the job. Most orthos take on existing cases.

  10. The wire bend approach is a bad sign, especially since you had an underbite. If you do switch orthos, try to find someone who will move the brackets to change the alignment of the teeth

  11. envy your teeth so much !!!
    how i wish they were mine lol
    my orthodontist is ruder... i am almost crazy because of her..She never heard my opinion and make my overjet space too small..

    i am thinking about changing orthodontist..but i can't take my medical history since it needs her agreement....Lord, please help me T.T

  12. what do you do next? i want to hear your story

  13. Heys i came across ur blog through google haha anwyays i am 19 years old also living in sydney and also have wat used to be ur problem ! i've been thinking whether to go surgery or just braces..i prefer braces alone but i wasnt sure if it'll work..but seeing ur result...i guess it helps in my decision making process..mind telling me ur orthondontist contact details? if possible how much he charged u?
    From ur before pics, it looks like im about a class III too xD
    btw congrats for fantastic results ! and thanks so much for posting everything up!

  14. I'm here, I'm here!

    What I have to say, to answer your question, is definitely see an orthodontist, and one you trust. You do not want the same issues which I have been having lately. You want someone who is patient and will give you the time of day.

    I don't really want to advertise where I go, for a few reasons. Mainly that I haven't been happy with the treatment recently, but also because I don't really want to advertise for them. I have mentioned it in a previous post, if you care to look back through, but I don't think I'd like to share it again.

    Regardless, definitely speak to a professional and they can assess your personal teeth and bite situation. I don't like the thought of surgery, and would avoid it at all costs, but in some cases, it really is the only option. You have to weigh out everything and commit to what you're doing.

    I cover what I was charged for it if you look back to my 'Dr. Pretty Teeth' post back in way back November. I paid a total lump sum payment of $6745.00.

    Good luck on your journey, where ever it takes you! I will always be a class III at heart, though! Thanks for the compliments and your questions. I am happy to help anyone I can.

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  16. I really like your take on the issue. I now have a clear idea on what this matter is all about..
    What are Ceramic Braces?