Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Free (Partially)

When I first saw the orthodontist in August 2007, he told me to expect to wear braces for about two and a half years. If his plan had materialized, I would have been free in January or February of 2010, but here I am almost six years later - still wearing braces. One of the nurses told me that I've reached the surrender stage of wearing braces, like in Alcoholics Anonymous. "Let go and let God," she laughed. The doctor joined in the hilarity when he told me that I am just too "hard-headed." While the professionals laughed, I reached the point of despair and suggested that they needed to hire a psychologist in the office just to keep me on track. 

Well today I got a partial reprieve from my orthodontic suffering when the doctor removed one of the posts from my upper jaw. Installing the post was a surgical procedure that required a general anesthetic, but for some reason, he was able to simply unscrew the device and remove it from the bone. I felt a moment of  pressure in my jaw and then it was gone. It hardly even bled. I may be on the six-year plan, but today I am feeling free.  

In the photograph above, you can see that I am no longer wearing the post, but you can also see the hole in my gums that has not yet healed. 

This close-up shows that the post was actually a screw that was drilled directly into the bone of my upper jaw. It also shows that the screw was about 9/16 of an inch long. If you look closely at the head of the screw, you can see a set of small holes. They strung elastic bands through these holes and tied the elastics around the braces. This moved my teeth up as a way of reducing what the doctor called "excessive gingival display." 

It's strange to think this thing was attached to my skull. In any case, I am glad to be rid of it. 

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