Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I have closure!

I have always had gaps in my bottom teeth-one on each side between my front teeth and my molars. Part of the process of realigning my jaw is to close these gaps. I was not thrilled about this; I like my gaps-they are part of my smile and have been for a very long time. It just felt like too much change all at once with getting braces coming on the heals of James' death, which still has me questioning who exactly I am.

When I had my last appointment in May, the gap on the left side had pretty much closed but the gap on the right had not moved at all. This was my last visit with my old orthodontist, who had been let go in April due to the economy, but still had to work the last 90 days of her contract cycle. She told me she would leave a note for my new orthodontist that if the gap on the right side had not closed by my next appointment, x-rays were needed to see if there is an underlying structural problem that is not allowing the teeth to move. I didn't ask what that could mean-I didn't want to know.

Since I always just assume the worst, when I got back to work, I thought that if there was an underlying structural problem, I could end up needing reconstructive jaw surgery to correct it. I wondered who would take me to the dentist, who would drive me home and who would go in to the store to get my pain meds and come out with my favorite Ben and Jerry's like James did when I had exploratory surgery in December 2000. He went in to get my prescription and asked if I wanted anything else. I said no. As he was walking across the parking lot, I thought "I should have asked for some Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie ice cream." When he got back to the car, he handed me a bag and said, "Here, I got you something." Inside was a pint of Ben & Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie ice cream. This is when I truly realized that we really were connected. Anyway, thinking about the possibility of having to have reconstructive jaw surgery on my own caused the tears to start falling and of course, they wouldn't stop. Later, I was "yelled" at by my friend and co-worker for thinking that way because of course, they would take care of me. The thing is though, that I don't want to have to rely on others-I am so not good at asking for help. I am alone and I feel that because of that, I have to and should be able to deal with everything on my own.

The next night, I had my monthly widowed people dinner and told my friend about the appointment, but just that my teeth had 6 weeks to close and I was willing that to happen. I then tried to change the subject but he stopped me so we could discuss it further. I really appreciated that because I really did want to talk about it to someone but I didn't tell him how freaked out I had made myself over it. I admitted to that a few days later.

Over the past couple of weeks, I noticed in my totally unprofessional opinion, my gap was closing. I had my appointment with the new orthodntist today and sure enough, there has been major movement and the gap is mostly closed. I am not sure about this new doctor. Like everything else, there is more than one way to fix misaligned jaws and her approach is not like my old doctor's was. I do not like having to start over with a whole new ortho team halfway through-I do not like change, and I especially do not like knowing what this means for my course of treatment. Hopefully, she's more aggressive and I can get these off sooner. Today, she decided that I no longer have to wear the retainer at night and to start me with the rubber bands (I am so bringing sexy back with this look), which was supposed to be the last step, but she plans to remove and reposition two brackets next time, so apparently, this last step is going to take awhile. At my next appointment 5 weeks from now, she should be able to give me a better timetable of what we are looking at.

For now, as much as I didn't want to lose my gaps, I am doing a major happy dance that they are closed.


Rick said...

Great news!!!

I know I am the same way. I hate asking for help, but sometimes we need to ask for it. In turn, we all help each other out.


Sari said...

Yay for closure! You give me hope, Heather. I'm still thinking about getting braces.