my shiny teeth and me

7 Weeks Post Op (13 March 2014)

Emma had an appointment a couple of weeks ago, so I apologise for the delay, and she had some repairs done to the blocks that had come off during the operation and also all the wires were taken off that were attached to the blocks and replaced with the usual rubber bands. She also had a different shape of ‘bald eagle’ band put on, it’s a parallelogram on both sides this time! It was a good job we had lunch before her appointment as it was quite painful and so therefore she was very sensitive again.

We had been out for lunch with her brother as he has been off work with an open compound fracture of his big toe as he dropped a 20kg object on it! I have been to two hospitals, three times this week, but I suppose I had some catching up to do as we haven’t been for four weeks!!

I will post the previous profile picture again as now most of the swelling has gone down you can really see the difference. Also I took a photo today and you can see Emma has her smile and her dimples back.

Profile 11 April 2012

Profile 27 March 2014

Her smile

Her lovely straight teeth

I tried to take a photo of the scars in Emma’s mouth but you couldn’t really see them so I think I will have to ask the professional in the family as my little camera isn’t quite good enough (well it might be, maybe it’s operator error!)

I also found a few photos on my camera that I had forgotten about, so here they are:

These are showing Emma’s bruising after the op, these were taken on 26 January, so 5 days after. They are a lovely shade of yellow aren’t they?

Here is the medication tower we made in the kitchen!

Yes it’s all children’s medicine, but as you will remember she had to have everything in liquid form via a syringe in the beginning.

We are back at the hospital in May so I will update you all then.

Three Weeks Post Op

We went to MaxFax this week and although Emma is progressing well, her teeth still need a bit of tweaking. The elastic bands on the sides have been changed to ‘Gorilla’ ones which are even smaller than the ‘Bald Eagle’ which she had last week. The eagle one is still on the front teeth in the upside down ‘v’.

Emma is still getting funny sensations around her mouth and certain bits are still numb and other bits are very sore. She has a few ulcers too which are painful.

We think we need to step back a bit and go back to much softer foods as Emma has been trying to chew small pieces of soft chicken etc, but it just hurts too much. We had a bit of a chat yesterday and I think she feels a bit silly by complaining and so she has kept quiet, but I told her she can complain to me all she wants!!

I think because there is no big bandage or stitches and wounds on show, I don’t think even now it has quite sunk in just what Emma has had done and therefore it all will take time to heal and feel normal again, although some parts may never feel the same again as she may not get every sensation back, but as we know, that is a small price to pay for all the good the operation has and will do.

I haven’t been taking my daily photos but I will show you two profile pictures to see the difference.

11 April 2012, at the start of the treatment.

Most recent profile, 6 February 2014, still swollen though.

Two Weeks Post Op

We went to Maxfax yesterday morning and saw Dr Ali and Mr Von Arx. They both said Emma was looking great and was doing really well. She said she looked like a chipmunk and Mr Von Arx said that he was looking at the bigger picture and she was looking good!

Emma told Mr Von Arx  that she was still in quite a bit of pain although it is now a different kind of pain, she was told to carry on taking the paracetomol and maybe some ibuprofen as a booster but she should really be trying to take less painkillers, also Emma has to still keep using the mouthwash as this is very important.

Dr Ali put some different elastic bands on Emma’s teeth and showed me where to put them, these have to be changed every day. Emma can just wear the front upside down ‘v’ at night if it is too uncomfortable. She wore it for the rest of the day and we took it off so she could eat her dinner. I put it back on before she went to bed but we did have a bit of trouble and I pinged her lip! That’s why in the photo she doesn’t look very happy :(

During the week Emma has been eating a bit more and she has now eaten spaghetti bolognaise, lasagne, macaroni cheese, corned beef hash, shepherds pie (all home-made) and I did get her a couple of ready meals of a similar variety for her to have when we have something a bit tough for her. Emma tends to just have a milkshake in the morning for breakfast, but it is one with lots of vitamins and 250 calories to help keep her going although she is also eating weetabix and porridge, she has been snacking on tinned hotdogs and eats them at all hours of the day!! She has also managed syrup pudding (eating 2 in one go!) chocolate buttons and strawberries and cream.

Her lips have certainly come down in size.

she can smile a bit!

Caught! Eating another pudding!

I said smile, not growl

Looking very serious Emma, she’s probably thinking ‘not another photo!’

The elastics put on this week

Sorry Emma, I didn’t mean to hurt you xx

Not getting dressed again today then?

Profile

A week post op - Wednesday 29 January

I think I have told everyone most if not all of what went on this last week so I won’t go over it again. I will give you an update as of today and show you the photos we have been taking every day of Emma’s changing face. We can’t get any photos of her teeth yet as she is still too swollen to get the cheek retractors in and the surgeon told me not to pull her lips around too much.

I woke Emma at 9am this morning as we had an appointment at MaxFax at 11.15am. She groaned when I said it was time to wake up so I got myself ready the went back up at 9.45am! This is the first day Emma has been dressed since the op and we tied her hair up as it still looks like a nest! We got to the hospital and were seen pretty quickly, we saw the same lady as we saw last week as Dr. Ali is off until next week. We also saw Mr Von Arx and he said Emma wasn’t that swollen!!! He said people usually look like a football! I told him that Emma’s brother said she did look like a melon and now a grapefruit and presumed it was a compliment! He also said she looked great for only being one week post op, it must be the fabulous nursing staff at the Massey Convalescent home!! The orthodontist put on some different elastics (she asked for bald eagle then changed her mind and asked for panda ones - what’s that all about???)
We came home and had some lunch, Emma had macaroni cheese (surprise surprise) and a fromage frais but then felt a bit sick so had a snooze on the sofa but retired to bed shortly afterwards.

Emma can smile a bit on her left side, can drink through a straw, can take her medicine, can feed herself and eat foods with a bit more consistency now. It doesn’t seem a lot but from not being able to feel her mouth therefore not being able to put anything in it she has really come a long way from this time last week. Emma did say she could actually taste the cheese sauce today, and has advanced from 2 pieces at a time to 4 pieces of macaroni, although she also says it still tastes of broccoli, I can assure you I didn’t even think of sneaking that in there!

21 January 2014 - A few hours after the operation

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22 January 2014 - After X-Ray before going back to MaxFax

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23 January 2014 - Just got home and into new pyjamas

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24 January 2014 - Having a chill on the sofa

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25 January 2014 - Still using the ice packs as it helps with swelling

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26 January 2014 - Her face is going down but her lips keep swelling!

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27 January 2014 - She likes that sofa

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28 January 2014 - Just had a bath, been really tired today

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29 January 2014 - Can almost close her lips together

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That’s all the news for this week, we have another appointment next Wednesday so I will update everyone then.

Can I just say thank you to everyone for their support, their cards, flowers, visits, food parcels, magazines, phone calls, texts, it really is appreciated and I’m sure it is helping her to get better quicker. xxx

Wafer Check

Well this was Emma’s last appointment before the operation next Tuesday, the measurements were checked and we were shown the models of her teeth in the position that the teeth are in now and in the position that the teeth will be in after surgery. A few hooks were placed on the squares of the brace which will be used during surgery to wire the jaw together temporarily at certain points in the procedure. The ‘wafer’ (which is a flat piece of acrylic, which Emma said tasted like antiseptic) was placed into Emma’s mouth to check that this fitted her teeth. One side fitted the top set and one fitted the bottom set and it is used  (I think if I remember correctly) for when the jaw has been moved into the new position, it acts as a splint to make sure the realignment is correct, as it will then fit both sets of teeth at the same time.

Model of teeth as they are now

Model of teeth in their correct position after surgery

Wafer shown in position (Not Emma’s, picture from web)

Emma will still need 3-6 months treatment on her teeth after the surgery to make any final adjustments that have to be made using the braces still in position but it should be all done well before the time she is 21 in November. At the very start of this process, Emma did ask if it would be done by her 21st and it looks like her request will be fulfilled!

I did tell Mr Von Arx that he had to get an early night on Monday, no partying hard! I also asked if I could have an anaesthetic to get me through the surgery, but he said only if he could have one! Oh well, wine it is then!

Only a week to go!

Emma has had a few appointments since before Christmas and I will recap on them now.

22 November 2013: The first one we thought was a pre-op check, but in fact it was a ‘check before op’ which was a last adjustment before the op. Emma’s wire on her teeth was taken off and trimmed down a bit, then put back on, which meant it was quite tight. Also the rubber bands were replaced with wires twisted onto each block, these are more secure so will not come off during surgery. Plenty of wax and Bonjela and a soft dinner this evening then!

10 December 2013: We received a letter from the hospital with the details for the pre-op assessment and the operation date. We had to fill in the form saying that we wanted the appointment and were to send it back.

19 December 2013: We dropped off the letter to the waiting list office this morning as I didn’t want it getting lost in the Christmas post. Emma had one of her rings fixed back onto her tooth today, it may have something to do with the toffee she had last night! Good job we are here today. It wasn’t a big job, just a bit of cement.

She also had some moulds taken today and she requested that they were made a little thicker (like the nice lady did last time) as it means that they are not in her mouth as long as usual. When Emma had one tray in her mouth, Dr Ali asked for the other one to be passed to him, even with a mouthful of plastic and gunge, Emma still managed to speak and say no, no, no to the other one being put in too!! Dr Ali said “It’s ok, you haven’t got a mouth like an alligator so I can’t flip your mouth open to get them both in!!” It was really funny (you had to be there) It reminds me of when Emma had a tooth out at the very beginning of the treatment and spoke the whole way through, probably just nerves!

27 December 2013: Today Emma had to have more moulds done as they hadn’t taken very well last time (Oh no cried Emma)

She also had to have her head measured with the weird looking contraption, she had to put a bit into her mouth and a couple of bits into her ears, it was then tightened and removed, we are assuming it then gives the surgeon the measurements of Emma’s head and the angles of her jaws in relation to each other.

8 January 2014: Today was a bit of a nightmare in that we had to wait an hour and a half before we were seen. There were two lads in the waiting room that had been in surgery only the day before, surely they should have had priority, but they were seen after us!! Emma noted that they were dressed … she plans to be in her pyjamas for at least a week after the op (we will see about that hahaha)

Mr Von Arx was in today and he and Dr Ali, measured and discussed Emma’s jaws, talking millimeters here and millimeters there. Emma will have her top jaw moved forwards 6 millimeters and up 2 millimeters, the top teeth are also sloping to one side but it is only one millimeter so they may not worry about that. I didn’t hear the movement on the bottom but Emma thought it was 8 millimeters backwards. The bottom jaw is also off centre slightly so it will be twisted too to correct it. They will take out her wisdom teeth on the bottom as they will be cutting through the bone and they will be in the way. They may take out the tops ones if they are in the way but they won’t know that until they are in the area!

Photos: Dr Ali held a ruler to her mouth and chin to measure, a piece of dental floss over her face to see the alignment, a white flexi thing to look at other factors which I am not sure of. Dr Ali also took photos of Emma’s teeth. The moulds of her teeth from last time are put on the frame to see where the jaw has to be moved to. There is also a photo of her X-ray which was on the screen (the thing at the side is a piercing in her ear and not a screw in her head!!!)

13 January 2014: We had to go for the pre-op assessment where Emma had to have her blood pressure done and sign consent forms for the op, the taking out of the bottom wisdom teeth, the possible taking out of the top wisdom teeth, a blood transfusion (a very very very small chance she will need this but they have to get consent)

Emma also had to have blood taken for various reasons; liver function test, clotting, blood group etc. We had to go downstairs and have this done straight away. She had the needle put in and 3 little tubes taken for one form and one bigger one for another form. Emma wasn’t impressed as she wasn’t prepared for this as she doesn’t like having blood tests. She has to go back next Monday for one more so she will call in on the way home from work.

What a difference!!!

Here are a few of photos showing the difference between the first photo we took on 11 April 2012, one on 16th December 2012 then 22 August 2013, there is also a recent photo showing the gap between the top and bottom teeth which is what the hard work has been for.

Emma’s teeth did actually touch as top and bottom were pointing towards each other, so the top ones have been pulled in and the bottom ones pushed out, that’s why there is a gap now, but of course this will look correct once the bottom jaw has been moved backwards and the top jaw moved forwards during the op next year.

11 April  2012

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16 December 2012

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22 August 2013

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The Countdown Begins!

On Emma’s last appointment, 25 September 2013, we were told that her teeth can move no more and it was the last wire that they were putting on. Dr Ali also took a mould and x-rays of Emma’s teeth so they can compare it to the original mould and x-rays. It also meant that the operation would be in about three months. That worked out to Christmas day and we were sure it wouldn’t happen then and assumed it would be the beginning of January. They said they would ring me in a couple of weeks and they did.

The operation will be on Tuesday 21 January 2014. Between then and now we have only 4 appointments to attend before the big day. Emma has a pre-op check on 22 November then she has appointments on 19th December, 27th December and 8th January. We will find out more about how long she will be in hospital for etc so we will keep you posted.
Emma will go down to the orthodontic department the day after her operation while she is still in hospital then she will have an appointment a week after then 2 weeks after.

Emma is being very brave about the whole thing and doesn’t seem nervous although I’m sure she is as I certainly am! She has watched the operation online and looked at loads of before and after photos of people who have had it done before!

I have been looking at recipes for high calorie foods but with quite a small quantity as if she is anything like she was after having her tonsils out, she didn’t want to eat. She will have her mouth wired together with only a small gap so soft easy to swallow foods will be the order of the day. That’s one of the few things Emma is worried about - not being able to eat! It’s surprising how much food is needed to keep her little body going ha ha!

Edited on 16 Jan 2014: I forgot to add that Emma will not be having her teeth wired together as they don’t really do that any more so she will be on a soft diet as opposed to a puree diet which will be much easier for her (and me)

My shiny Teeth and Me is back!!

Well I know it has been absolutely ages since I updated this blog and I apologise for that. I kept meaning to update and didn’t get round to it, I had an email from Posterous (the site I did use for our blog) saying that they had been taken over by Twitter, I didn’t the get another email saying that if I didn’t save my pages before a certain date then they will disappear!! So hey presto … they disappeared!!!

I then had the task of trying to remember what I had written and did start again, but then my sister came to the rescue as she had all the emails from the previous blog still on her computer (thank goodness we are a family of hoarders and that emails are included in the hoard) so a big thank you to Maxine and we can now carry on …..

As you can see I have just copied the previous entries so that any new viewers can start at the beginning, and the rest of you can have a refresh if you wish. I have put the date in brackets that the original post appeared but from now on the date will be correct for each post.

A big update will appear very soon!!

We’re gonna do the twist and it goes like this … (22 November 2012)

Emma had an adjustment appointment today and although her top teeth are looking nice and straight, the bottom ones had twisted so Dr Ali applied some different kind of bracket over 5 of Emma’s teeth and then put some wire on each one and twisted the wire with what looked like a pair of pliers. Emma said it felt like the teeth were actually being twisted in her mouth! It was quite painful and I got up to hold her hand, which was all clammy (yuk!)

Emma chose to have purple bands on the brace today as she had pink for the last two times, I suggested red and green for Christmas but Emma wasn’t up for it.

Emma really felt the presure on her teeth during and after the appointment today so she had more pain killers later in the day to ease it. She asked about her front tooth as it had been sensitive for the last couple of weeks but he said it looked fine, with no decay etc so to carry on putting sensitive toothpaste in the area. That tooth is now fine. The pain lasted a few days but has eased now, but there is always an aching feeling as the teeth are moving allbeit a small amount, all of the time.

Emma has found eating difficult again with the pressure on the teeth but is now back to normal. She was quite poorly with the flu a month ago and didnt feel like eating so I bought some Complan so she could get some goodness in her, this was also to see if she liked them as these will be a good source of vitamins and calories for when she has her surgery and can’t eat solid food for 6 weeks. Just for the record Emma likes the Chocolate and Strawberry ones!

The wire on the top teeth has moved already so we will keep an eye on that as it is already poking out at the back. If it moves much more and the wax on it doesn’t stop it sticking in Emma’s gum, we will ring the hospital and go in to get it cut down as Emma’s next appointment isn’t until February 2013. She also had a double wire put over the gap that is still on the top teeth and that has moved quite a bit already too.

You can see the difference from the first photo on 27 October (I apologise as it seems we have also captured some of Emma’s lunch in this photo, I must make her clean her teeth beforehand) to the last today, 22 November, that the brackets on the two ‘outside’ teeth of the bottom front 6 have moved quite a lot and the rubber band is now fully on the bracket and not appearing to hang off, also the bottom teeth are starting to cover the top teeth. (remember this is correct as it is for the positioning after surgery)

27 October 2012

03 November 2012

16 November 2012

22 November 2012

THIS SHOULD BE THE BEGINNING OF JULY 2012!!!

I have been really lax in updating this blog so apologise for that! I was good in the beginning and I took a photo of Emma’s teeth every week until she had the first adjustment. It was then holiday time or Emma was at work or I wasn’t here so for the next six weeks or so, I think only one photo was taken!

It’s surprising how the teeth do move, and you think its only a little bit and sometimes not very noticeable but on the whole it is a big change, you can see the wires on previous photos are all up and down, but now the very front bit is very straight.

It is also hard to photograph Emma in exactly the same place with the same amount of gums/teeth/lips showing, I may have to get hubby in the workshop making some sort of camera stand/head clamp sort of affair, but I don’t think Emma will be up for that, ha ha.

Here is a series of photos that show the change.

18 September 2012 - It takes two baby, to make a dream come true (are these titles getting worse?)

The second of Emma’s braces was fitted this morning. It was much the same as when the first one went on, but she has had slightly different brackets on some of the teeth as these will be used to bring the teeth outwards and forwards. This will make the gap appear bigger between the two sets of teeth and may look a little odd but it will be absolutely fine once the surgery is done, as the teeth are being moved so they are in the correct place for after surgery.

Emma took some Ibuprofen when we arrived at the hospital to take the edge off the discomfort that she expected afterwards. Emma was in the chair for about half an hour this time as everything had to be properly dry and the top wire had to be replaced too. There are a couple of loops in the top wire which will be used a bit later, but at the moment aren’t actually connected to anything.

Dr Ali said Emma’s brushing was still good (see, I knew my constant nagging would help) and to keep it up. I was asked to fill in a questionaire about our visit today and gave them all top marks as they deserve it as they are all lovely people in that department.

Our appointment was later today, 11.30 am and it seems everyone was at the hospital at this time, we drove round the carpark twice until we spotted a man coming out of a space, I said “mine, mine” in the style of Finding Nemo and glared at any car who looked like they would try to steal my space, I think the carpark shouldn’t let you in if there are no spaces!!

Teeth after today’s appointment, we think the white stuff is something to do with the UV light that sets the cement! It wouldn’t come off with brushing so we are not sure what that’s all about!

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Brace Yourself (10 May 2012)

Emma had her top brace fitted today. We left the house a little later so we didn’t get there too early but there were only a couple of spaces left in the car park, which made us panic a little.

We were only in the waiting room for a few minutes before being called in. Dr Ali gave Emma’s teeth a bit of a wash and brush up before they started to put the brackets on the teeth which the wires and bands would be attached to. The brackets were set to her teeth by a UV light. The wire was then attached to the brackets and Emma chose pink bands to go on the brackets (or squares), someone in the next bay was having red and green bands.

Emma rinsed her mouth out then the nurse explained the cleaning process to us. Emma now has to clean her teeth after every meal, using her usual toothbrush first then using a smaller brush to get behind the wire and interdental ones to get between the teeth. Emma has some marks on her teeth which she got from not cleaning her teeth properly previously, but Dr Ali said it had improved greatly since he saw her first, so this needs to carry on.

I have put together a ‘tool kit’ for Emma to take to work and anywhere else she goes so she has no excuse that she can’t clean her teeth at any given time. This will be for her benefit in the long run anyway (nagging now over!) It includes, toothbrush, toothpaste, interdental brushes, painkillers and the wax to put on the wires or brackets if they irritate the inside of the mouth.

We will take a photo every week of Emma’s teeth and put it together as a little movie to show the progress made, I am not sure how often we will have a movie, we will decide that as we go along.

Emma’s next appointment to have everything adjusted is not until July, I asked if this was the time scale of the visits and they said it was, patients are usually seen every 6 - 8 weeks. Emma will have her bottom brace put on after a couple of adjustment appointments for the top teeth as there is more work to be done here. We can call the hospital if we have any worries and if the wire breaks or it sticks out too much as its moving and hurts or irritates, then we can go back as an emergency appointment to get it sorted.

Ring a Ding (19 April 2012)

Today Emma had the elastic bands taken out and metal rings put round her back teeth. These are fitted to the size of the teeth, sometimes trying one or two different ones before the correct fit was found. They were then all taken out one by one and cemented in place. Emma wasn’t allowed to rinse her mouth which is usual at the dentist or orthodontist as this could dilute the cement. She said it didn’t taste very nice. Emma was given some wax to put on the rough edges of the rings if they rubbed her gums or inside of her cheeks.

Her mouth was a bit tender after the appointment but she cheered herself up by going into town to have her nails done. Emma was hungry as she had been at work from 5am until 9am, then straight to the hospital so we had a bite to eat in a tea shop in town, Emma had a jacket potato with cheese and beans and managed to eat it all!

Later on in the day the rings had started to cut into the insides of her cheeks so she applied to wax to help. We also got some Bonjela to put on for a few days and this helped too. Emma’s mouth seemed a little swolen, so this was probably due to the cuts on the insides.

A week later and Emma feels much better, her gap has healed very well and the Bonjela and wax combination is helping. The swelling has gone down too.

Emma Gets Elasticated (17 April 2012) Cont.,

Emma did take a sneaky picture of the tray of tools and blue bands, although I’m sure Dr Ali wouldn’t mind. The bands were picked up with one pair of the scissor type things and stretched with the other and placed between the teeth.