Archive for May, 2010

What do May Showers Bring? (Hint: Sniffling and Breakups)

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

Allergies!  That’s what May Showers Bring!

I have never had such a time of allergies before!  I’m even doing the sneezing thing!  Anyone else been hit with all this sun, no–rain, no–sun, no–rain the world is my histamine way of things?  *sniffle*  On the up side, one would think, based on my history that my sleep would suffer immensely with all this upper respiratory aggravation, but it seems Dr. Li’s UPPP (leaving the U of course) is still working on keeping that airway open.  Hooray!  Now on to the non-hooray-type things you love so much.

I’ve been dumped.  The short story is I’m a people pleaser and I guess I didn’t communicate enough that I was not happy…or that I was actually in physical pain…  Alas, when it finally got to the point where I could not bear it anymore and I didn’t feel heard or even genuinely cared about, I went to the only man who has been able to help in the past…Dr. Li.  I didn’t even run to him in person.  I ran to him on email…and he wrote back with a solution.  But that solution had consequences.  And so I give you, the not-as-long-as-it-could-be (but most likely longer than it should be) version of my breakup — with my orthodontist.

As you know (or can pretend to have known going forward), I have been kind of unhappy with the whole non-touching of my back left teeth phenomenon and have been trying to get my ortho to fix it.  As I may or may not have mentioned previously, my jaw, post surgery, has not returned to pre-surgery opening-ability, but I figured that was a small sacrifice for the whole ability to breathe thing I gained.  I also figured that over time my jaw would stop hurting when I tried to bite high-resistance food…  At one point in time my ortho recommended physical therapy, which I went to once and was given home exercises that made things even worse.  That was a couple years ago.  I eat Naproxen like mints (sorry, future ulcerated digestive tract) and had been managing under this CRAZY theory I had that once my teeth touched in the back, the pain would go away.

Every 3 months I would dutifully drive to my ortho exam, happily chat with the lovely people who work there, and mention that I was experiencing discomfort biting and chewing and ask if anything was going to be done about the teeth touching thing, and I’d be told one of these things: 1.  Your dentist should deal with this.  2.  Maybe he can cap your teeth.  3.  Maybe he’ll file down the teeth that are touching soon.  4.  I think you need PT.  And every 6 months I would talk to my dentist who would say: 1. No way.  We wouldn’t add THAT much height to a tooth.  2.  No way,  We won’t file down your teeth.  3.  Maybe in a few years when you need to replace that filling we could do something back there.  Honestly?  Nothing ever sounded good so I just didn’t press it, and dealt with the pain…WHICH I SHOULD NOT HAVE DONE.  Here are my words of wisdom to you who may be afraid to say to your doctor, “I don’t think what you did (or are doing) works”:  SAY IT.  By the end of November I could no longer chew.  I was back to baby food and mashed potatoes.  It was too much to bear.  Was I really never going to be able to eat pain-free?  This time I was adamant that things were not right when I saw my ortho.  Response?  PT.  I wanted to cry.  I asked, “Don’t you think this would go away if my teeth touched in the back on the left? ”  Got the usual response.  So I emailed Dr. Li.  I asked, do you know any good PT’s?  Because I figured he must have dealt with this before.  He wrote back immediately and told me to come in.

This post is already too long so I’ll nutshell the rest:

Dr Li sent me to a guy he thought could help me.  The guy ordered XRays (3-D x-rays that cost about $100 per dimension).  I went in to see him and he made me a splint for my teeth that basically looks like invisalign but is actually a wedge on the left giving my back teeth contact.  I have to eat with this thing in and it sucks…but within 2 days I COULD EAT NORMAL FOOD.  This guy happens to be an orthodontist but he wasn’t working on  my teeth, he was working on my jaw.

I went to my next 3 month appointment where I let my ortho know I was working with this other guy for my jaw.  She repeated she thought it was just that the disc in my jaw had slipped and I thought to myself “yeah, and how did that happen?  Could it be because my back teeth on the left weren’t touching?”  I’m being snarky now, but that’s just because I didn’t think there would be a problem since she was still working on my teeth (though she had told me she thought we were just in “maintenance mode” which was about when I flipped and wrote Dr. Li)…and last time I went to see the guy taking care of my jaw, he had to tell me I’d been dumped and that if it was okay with me, he would be my new orthodontist…oh, and could he put braces on me?

So there it is.

And my new ortho had to build my teeth up even more last week since my jaw started to calm down and we have started to see what my real bite looks like.  So here is what I look like now.

This is the bite wedge I wear 24/7.  Can't eat without it.

This is the bite wedge I wear 24/7. Can't eat without it! That's my bite. Good times.