17 October 2012

It's like that awkward adolescent phase, without the acne

I'm building a relationship with my orthodontist, and not in fun way. Today I had an appointment to start the redistribution of my teeth into what will hopefully be a straighter smile. I have spent all of my masticating life with "Hale teeth," a condition instantly recognized by others in the bloodline and one that will take some time to correct.

I wouldn't say that I have "bad teeth." I'm not British, after all, and I've never had any real cavities, although I have had one root canal and all of my wisdom teeth extracted. I just have crooked teeth and no room to spread them out to straighten them. If you look at the two bicuspids on the left side of my jaw (right side of the image), you'll notice they are rotated 30°-40° clockwise from their normal positions, and my front teeth have started to overlap from crowding. This makes it hard for me to brush effectively and nearly impossible to floss.
Look at those crooked, overlapping teeth--proof that I am my mother's daughter. 
My initial consultation was some months ago. It was explained to me then what was in store, but I had no idea when all this would take place, since booking appointments for ortho work is not as easy as for cleanings and regular checkups. I had my first post-consultation appointment last month. They took a bunch of x-rays, including a panoramic, and made molds from my teeth. By the time I left, my mouth tasted like I had been chewing on a rubber glove all morning.

Today's appointment was all business. I was fitted with 8 brackets, a wire, and turquoise O-rings.
You can just call me Jaws.
The whole setup is less than comfortable. It kind of feels like my jaw has been placed into a vice grip and then tightened by a blind masochist. The wire has shredded the insides of my cheeks already and I have a continuous headache that radiates from the top of my neck to my forehead. But it's all worth it, right? I hope so.

As my teeth shift, the sides of my front teeth will be shaved down to make enough room for them to be aligned side-by-side correctly. My molars can't be moved because they already fit together so well, it would mean realigning my whole mouth, which is far more work than is necessary. The estimate on the amount of time it will take to complete my smile is 6 months, but we'll see. Let's just say I'm not going to hold my breath.

At this point, ice cream and Tylenol help considerably. The dental wax I was given to coat the sharp parts is kind of like trying to fix a bent fender with silly putty. All I really want is to turn off the lights and let my face rest. It's been a long day and it started with attaching all this metal to my mouth. I'll keep you updated on how things progress. I'm thinking the comparison of before, during, and after photos will be interesting.
Gotta keep on smiling!

08 October 2012

We have a winner!

Alaska Day is a pretty big deal in Sitka. There are right around two whole weeks of festivities planned each year to commemorate the transfer of Russian claim of Alaska to the U.S. on October 18, 1867, which all took place right here in Sitka. One of these events is a community essay contest and this year's theme is "Celebrating 100 years of Alaska Native Brotherhood." The prizes for the contest are $100, $50, and $25 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, respectively, for each age group (Elementary School, Middle School, High School, and Adult) and the opportunity to read your winning essay to the community during the Festival.

Seren's teacher, Ms. R, is a member of the women's writing group that sponsors the writing contest, so of course she involved as many students as she could in the process. There were two topics to choose from: "Your Family's Traditions and Cultures" or "Human Rights." Seren chose the former and sat down with Stephen one evening and composed this:

I'm going to write about traditions my family has for birthdays and bedtime and when people die.
For birthdays, we give people treats like cupcakes and real cakes. The person that has the birthday gets to choose the kind of treat. That person shares with their class or their family or their grandparents. We also have birthday dinners and the person that has the birthday chooses the kind of dinner.
 When people die, we think about all of the happy things we used to do with them. We always put some stones on the gravestone when we visit the cemetery. We put the stones on the gravestone so that people know we've been looking there.
We have a bedtime tradition. We read a book if it's not too late and then we give hugs and kisses to everyone. (Not yourself, though, because that's impossible!)
Thank you for looking at this! I like fun traditions.

The contest results were released today and Seren won 3rd Place in the Elementary School division! She will receive $25 and will get to read her entry to the community on Sunday afternoon (October 14th).

We're very proud of her and she's excited too!

Photo courtesy of alaskadayfestival.org