Macro Shots of Residual Attachment Material

Finally!  My better half surprised me with an Olloclip for my iPhone, and of course one of the first things I did was zoom in on my attachments with its macro lens.  I am now able to see how much of that junk is still on my teeth…  and I’m not crazy.  There’s a lot of it!

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Above is my upper right lateral.  The attachment material goes all the way up to my gum line.  At first, it drove me absolutely nuts.  I wasn’t used to my teeth feeling disgusting day in and day out.  I’ve almost gotten used to it.  I hate how my front teeth appear lackluster and dull and constantly feel like I’ve been sucking on Jolly Ranchers all day.  Below (my upper left lateral incisor) is a better example of how big of a difference in appearance it makes when your teeth aren’t smooth.  Not that big of a deal since my aligners are on almost all the time, but for those times when you’d like to go “aligner commando” it definitely sucks because it is visible to the naked eye.  Plus, now I’m going to have to endure needless grinding and polishing.  Again though, the lateral tooth below has never been straight, so I’m unsure of how smooth it was to begin with. Never mind, I discovered other pictures proving that it definitely used to be smooth.

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Also, as much as I hate to point it out, notice the decalcification spots.  I think that’s what they’re called.  Anyway, take note kids.  That’s what happens when you have crowded teeth and don’t give a shit about flossing.  Here is a permanent reminder of my laziness from my younger years.  Another pointer:  Your dentist is very aware if you lie about poor flossing habits.  I don’t even know why they ask you if you floss when they already know damn well whether you do or not.  It’s like seeing red and blues in your rear view mirror… you get stopped for speeding and the cop asks you if you know why he pulled you over.  You and him both know the answer to that one.  He finds amusement in watching you dance.

Even though I’ve been flossing religiously for about six years now, I still walk around with reminders of my past.  Since we’ve moved around during that time, I feel as though I’ve had to convince my new dentists (and their hygienists) that the spots they see in the x-rays between my teeth are in fact very old and that I DO floss.  I floss like a mad person!!  Maybe it’s because I still feel guilty for lying to Dr. P. for all those years when I was a kid, but I sense that they’re thinking, “Sure you floss.  And the tooth fairy is real too.”  Ugggh.

I used to be able to hide all this up until the past couple weeks.  My recent aligners are doing their job and my lateral incisors are finally rotating into place.  I was very surprised to see these ugly spots, but it is what it is.

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Above is a shot of my lower right canine and like the laterals up top, its opposite is in the exact same condition.  The excess attachment material goes all the way to my gum line… again.  The last time they put attachments on these teeth (I made a video about this in a previous post), they were sloppy as well and the stuff that squeezed out from the attachment template’s bubble wasn’t removed before they sent me on my way.  I really don’t like jackhammers vibrating on my teeth so, until the other day, I was somewhat content that they just left it.  I’d have preferred that it was never there in the first place though!.  I mention “the other day” because I had my teeth cleaned again.  This time by a different hygienist.  She was floored that they had left my teeth like that which leads me to believe that this isn’t the norm.  Hell, who knows.  Maybe it is, and she’s just never seen teeth like mine.  Anyway, she had some extra time so rather than kicking me out of her chair, she was kind enough to file away a bunch of that junk with a super fine bur that I’d never experienced before.  How nice of her!  It’s still there but much less annoying.

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And lastly, the above picture is the the final state of my poor incisors after my interproximal reduction debacle.  Whatever.  Even though it still pisses me off, there isn’t much I can do about it now except to accept it and remind myself that things could always be worse.

Pregnancy, A Needy Baby, and Invisalign

Newborn Photo Shoot Fail

Newborn Photo Shoot Fail
Kitty popped up in front of my lens just as the shutter went off… and then not even two seconds later, my kid peed everywhere. That was the end of that shoot.

I did it.  I survived exactly 4o long weeks of pregnancy and ended up doing what only 5% of women do which is go into labor on their actual due date.  No big feat, but kinda cool I guess. All was great until my kid decided to tap out last minute.  After six hours of hardcore labor, they determined that her grocery tube was choking her out.  She was tangled up and before I knew it, I was rear-end-up on a gurney flying down a hospital corridor where I found myself on a cold operating table, spread eagle.  In those moments, I was rationalizing aloud as to why a cesarean was better than a regular birth- and of course decided to verbalize the first and only one that came to mind.   I specifically remember looking up over my head and slurring to my husband: “Well, at least my vag ain’t gonna be all blown out.” Super redneck, just like that.  The anesthesiologist snickered and my husband’s face flushed red.  In my lack of couth, I thought, “Whatever, if that’s the worst these people have heard, then they’re in good shape.”

During the craziness and beeping sounds, I didn’t pass go or collect $200 – they just sliced her out real quick-like.  Her cry was the most beautiful sound I’d ever heard.  After all… this was the day I’d dreamt of for years.  Truly surreal.  The doctor cut me crooked in his haste to pull my baby to safety.  Now I’ve got a diagonal line on my tummy and I kinda like it… it is an ever-present reminder of my healthy daughter and how bad ass doctors can be.  It’s pretty neat how they can make saving a life look so simple.

Throughout my pregnancy I cursed my aligners not just because I was pregnant and bitchy, but also for the same reason everyone else curses them:  they want to be done!  There wasn’t much of a difference with Invisalign, pregnant or not pregnant,  except for the first couple months of course when every evening I experienced a new bout of “morning” sickness.  Luckily I didn’t get sick very often but my nausea was out of this world.  I have this thing where even the idea of throwing up makes me uneasy.  It’s something I’ve always avoided at all costs, and of course I carried that hindrance over into my pregnancy.  So rather than letting myself get sick, I sat around in misery with that disgusting watery mouth feeling.  Aligners made that so much worse.  For a while there, I popped Zofran the very minute I could take another dose.

In hindsight, I think the nausea was my only real peeve about Invisalign throughout my pregnancy.  I remember reading somewhere that teeth move easier when a woman is pregnant but later verified that Dr. Google was full of shit.  One huge benefit of having Invisalign while pregnant though is that if you take care of your teeth like you should, you won’t have to worry about bleeding and swollen gums.  If your typical oral hygiene routine entails flossing at least twice a day, you can probably avoid all that nonsense that happens to pregnant women who don’t.  But then again, everyone is different and I’m no medical professional so take what I write with a grain of salt.  I’m just going by experience.  My verification for the whole flossing thing was how impressed the hygienist was when I went in for my teeth cleaning.

The whole nine months seemed to crawl by.  My aligners were fitting terribly toward the end which was super annoying but I had no other option except to just deal with the situation.  I was trucking through the second month (of three) of patiently waiting for my refinement to show up.  I had planned on just taking the damn things out during the whole ‘having the baby’ process, but when labor set in and my contractions started feeling like electrocution, I found a new love for my squishy aligners.  Every time I’d clench my teeth in agony, the cushiony feeling of my crooked trays seemed to help a lot.  It was like a stress ball for my jaw.

Me: 1  Invisalign: 0.    That round at least

And THEN, the baby.  She’s five months now but it feels like she was just born last week.  My days and months seem to have bled together which is just one more reason why I haven’t made the time to write lately.  For a while there, I felt like a legitimate zombie.  Before she arrived, seasoned “mommy martyrs” smugly warned me to “sleep while I can” which would’ve been great advice if only I had the magic fucking ability to accumulate sleep!!  Seriously, some people are ridiculous.

They were right in their predictions on how I’d yearn for more sleep though.  Last month I accidentally dumped denture cleaner into my coffee mug instead of my aligner cup.  The baby was crying in her room as I was doing my half-conscious hurried zombie shuffle down to the kitchen.  On my way back up, I did a quick pit stop at the sink to remove my aligners before I could rush to scoop her from her crib.  Clink!  That’s the sound that broke me from my trance.  Reality set in as I focused through puffy eyes down at my fizzing coffee and mouthed the words “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”  We have a Keurig coffee maker and that was my last K-cup.  I was dangerously low on fuel and I really needed that coffee!  I just about cried.

My zombie days are coming to an end, for the time being at least.  I’m no fool. I’m sure the kid’s got plenty more baby tricks up her sleeve.  She’s been consistently sleeping twelve hours straight for the past three weeks now which is big!  I attribute that to our strict schedule… my fingers are crossed that it’ll last.

Now that she’s a little older, I no longer have the difficulty I did in the first few months with laying her back down to sleep after a feeding.  That was my only problem when it came to aligner-wearing issues. I’d often find that the best time for me to have breakfast… or lunch… was while she was being fed too.  Little Miss “OnlySleepsWhenHeld” would finish eating and pass out.  I’d be stuck right where I was sitting while my aligners soaked in a bath of denture cleaner upstairs.  I was basically rolling the dice if I wanted to get up to put her in her bouncy seat.  Do I want to risk waking her up to put my aligners back in?  OR would I rather sit here – in peace – and dick off on the internet a little longer.  Sometimes, if they were next to me, I’d just put them back in until I was ready to move her.  After using Invisalign for so damn long, I’ve figured out a system where I allot a certain amount of time for each meal without thinking twice.  During those months, I had to eliminate any leisure “aligner-free” time later in the day.  Not a big deal, but still notable.

I still have plenty of moments where I slightly envy people who can eat a meal, enjoy coffee or whatever, and tend to their kid without that looming, nagging voice in the back of their head saying, “Stop everything you’re doing, go upstairs and put your aligners back in!”  At this point, that seems like something that’s a long ways off, which saddens me.