Author Topic: Story: This is extremely lucky  (Read 10884 times)

Offline bfat

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Story: This is extremely lucky
« on: 30. April 2019, 19:36:57 PM »
A story:

We're at the orthodontist's office, late in the afternoon, after school.

It's me, my dad, and my younger brother and sister. My brother is 9 and my sister is 12.

I'm 16, and I'm in the clear. I did my time here a few years ago, from when I was 10 until I was 13. I wore a bionator for about two years and then another couple of retainer things which I still wear a few nights a week. It sort of sucked, but I didn't really care when I was 10, and now my teeth are amazing.

The assistant comes out and says we can go in. My brother and sister came in last week to have impressions and photos and stuff, and now Dr. Patel is going to talk to my dad about the plans for them.

We all go in and sit in the office, and Dr. Patel brings up my little brother's images on his screen.

"Robbie's teeth are coming in pretty well," he says. "It seems like this won't require much interceptive treatment, just some straightforward alignment once he's a bit older.

"There are still a few teeth that haven't fully grown in, so I actually don't think we need to do much now but keep an eye on things. I'd like to have a look every six months or so for now."

My dad asks him why it's different than me.

"Quite simply, Ainslie's jaw and bite aren't the same as Robbie's, so it will be a different treatment for him," Dr. Patel says.

I'm distracted but I tune in again when he says my name. I run my tongue over my teeth, feeling their smooth, straight arc.

"Now, Emily actually has a similar jaw relationship to Ainslie," the orthodontist says. He brings up her pictures.

My sister squirms a bit. I remember this part. It's weird when they talk about you like you're not there.

"Given they have the same parents, this is simply an instance of some genetic elements being passed on in similar combinations, which is why Ainslie and Emily look quite alike – very similar lips, jaw angle, and teeth size."

My dad's a bit of a nerd, so he's fascinated by this.

Dr. Patel pushes back from his desk in his chair, wheels around to Emily and very deftly begins poking around in her mouth with his gloved fingers, getting her to bite and showing various things to my dad. He was always hands-on, but somehow it never felt obtrusive, just like he was doing his job.

"So Robbie got a different set of genetic info for his mouth, basically," my dad says.

Duh, Dad. Obviously.

"Yep," says Dr. Patel. "So for Emily, the first phase will be much like Ainslie's treatment. We'll use a bionator to bring the jaws into a better alignment and to restrict lower jaw growth slightly."

He snaps the gloves off and immediately puts on another disposable pair.

"A bionator? Is that what you had, Ainse?" my sister asks.

I nod my head. It's a bit of a bummer for her. She's two years older than I was. She sorts of blushes.

"Emily is a bit older than Ainslie was," Dr. Patel says, as though he just read my mind. "But her bone growth and overall development are still in a good place for an appliance like this, so we should get a very efficient result.

"I may add an extra-oral device that will attach to be worn at night in Emily's case, but we'll decide about that later. And once that phase is over I expect we'll need 12 to 18 months in braces."

"Sure," my dad says. "So what needs to happen now?"

"I need to do another, more detailed set of impressions to make the appliance, as well as a few more X-Rays, all of which we can do now," Dr. Patel says. "You can also deal with the paperwork with the treatment coordinator."

Oh God, we're going to be here forever. Why did I tag along? I poke my dad – I think I'll go to a store around the corner rather than sit around waiting for this.

"Hey Dad–" I say, just as Dr. Patel says, "and how are you, Ainslie?"

"Oh, I'm good!" I say. "I think I'm going to jet while you guys do this stuff. I've seen enough impressions in my life."

"Let's see that smile," Dr. Patel says, and I give him my best Hollywood grin.

"Looks great," he says, and then he wheels over from Emily and super quickly has his hands in my mouth, pulling my lips around and looking at my teeth.

"Bite down for me?" he says, and I roll my eyes and bite down.

"And open?"

I open. He does this a few more times and then slides back to his desk.

"Some of your best work," I say, grinning, as I stand up.

"Actually, it looks like there has been some overall jaw movement that was not forecast," Dr. Patel says, and types a few things on his keyboard. My case file comes up. "Your alignment on your lower arch is still excellent, but your bite isn't quite where it was and your upper arch has shifted in a few places."

My dad and Emily look at me. I'm a bit dumbfounded, to be honest.

"So what can we do?" my dad asks.

"Well, the answer is pretty clear to me," Dr. Patel says. "We can use braces to deal with the alignment issues, and we're likely in the last window of bone development where I can use headgear to encourage or restrict growth to restore the natural bite relationship without us needing to pull teeth or consider surgery."

Pull teeth? Surgery? Headgear? Five minutes ago I was going to the store.

"That's a pretty detailed diagnosis!" my dad says, taken aback.

"Well, yes, that's a good point," Dr. Patel says. "I'm quite familiar with Ainslie's case, of course, and what's happening here broadly is quite clear and well documented in similar cases. I didn't recognize Ainslie's case as a case of this nature, but now that is apparent. We will still need to take impressions and X-Rays to understand exactly how to proceed, but in general I'm confident about what is needed. You can see the positioning of the bite in these post-treatment photos here" – he points to the screen.

Then he wheels back around and has his gloves in my mouth again – "and you can see for yourself here how that has evolved."

My dad looks carefully and nods.

"Huh," he says. "So what's next?"

I'm definitely blushing right now. Robbie has Dad's phone and is playing some game. Emily is paying close attention to what's happening.

"As I said, we're in that last window of bone development, so it's literally a case of the sooner the better," Dr. Patel says. "It's quite lucky you were here today, Ainslie."

I try to smile. My mouth feels a bit dry.

"I would actually suggest that we start Ainslie on headgear wear today so we're sure to take advantage of this critical period," Dr. Patel continues. "We can fit the appliance now and also do her impressions and X-Rays so we can figure out the details of the rest of the treatment."

"OK," my dad says, decisively.

"Ellen," Dr. Patel calls, and an assistant comes in from outside. "Can you take Ainslie for impressions and the full-set of records, with X-Rays? Then please prepare her upper and lower rear molars for banding – there should be adequate space without spacers, but we can see. Upper molars with extra-oral guides."

Ellen smiles at me – she's wearing a retainer, I see. "Sure, come this way, Ainslie!"

I get up and follow.

"How's your day going?" she asks.

"It's a bit of a weird day," I say. I'm a bit stunned.

Ellen has me brush, floss, and rinse, and then she scans my mouth with some weird wand. The last time I had impressions it was with all this goop, but she shows me that the wand is creating a detailed 3D model of my mouth.

Then we walk into a room and do a bunch of X-Rays, and then photographs.

She takes me to another room with a normal chair, clips a bib around my neck, reclines the chair, gets some stuff out of a drawer, and starts cleaning my back molars and applying various substances – I don't know. Then she tries a series of different rings around my teeth until she has some she likes, and then I bite on a stick a bunch of times to put them in place, and then she pops them off again and walks out of the room.

Dr. Patel comes in a few minutes later, with Ellen.

"Ainslie, great to be working with you again," he jokes.

"Honestly, I'm not really sure what's happening here," I say. "This is all really fast."

"Yes, I'm sure it feels that way," Dr. Patel says. "But this is extremely lucky. If you'd come in six months from now, it might have been too late. Or later than that. More likely your bite would have gotten worse without any intervention, and you'd develop bigger problems when you're older."

Dr. Patel tries the four bands and shows something about one of them to Ellen, and then puts some goop in one, puts it on my upper tooth and has me bite the stick again. Then he shines a light on it, and then repeats that on the other side.

He gets out some other thing, puts it in my mouth, and then asks Ellen to go get a "number 4 facebow." In the meantime, he does the two bottom bands.

Ellen comes back in with the facebow, which is a metal headgear thing. Is this happening?

It is. Dr. Patel puts it in my mouth, takes it out, adjusts, puts it in, takes it out, adjusts, several times. Then he leaves it in. He has me open and close my mouth, purse my lips around it. He takes it out, adjusts it again, and puts it in again.

Ellen leaves again and comes back with some plastic-wrapped black thing, unwraps it, and it's a padded strap that Dr. Patel fits behind my neck and attaches to the arms of the facebow. I have headgear. I now have headgear.

"So Ainslie, based upon what we've observed about your growth, we're also fitting your sister with a similar appliance," Dr. Patel says. "I thought it might be necessary later, but your case demonstrates the need to take precautions earlier. I'm going to see to her, and Ellen will help you with putting your headgear on and caring for it."

He walks out, and Ellen brings out a mirror, which I hold up in front of my now-headgear-wearing face. She has me put two fingers from my other hand on the facebow at the middle of my lips, and then she unclips the strap ends from the facebow.

"Now, Ainslie, use your thumb and finger to hold the facebow inside your mouth and squeeze it slightly," she says. I do.

"Now pull it out?"

It comes out.

"Now try the reverse process."

I put it back in. She takes the mirror from me and hands me the strap.

"It's easy. Just behind your neck, and then the third hole on each side," she says.

I attach the strap.

"Great. Now you just need to brush those molar bands frequently, and floss in there as well," she says. "That will be harder once your braces go on, but for now you should take advantage. You can clean the facebow with a washcloth, and the strap can go in the laundry. Here's an extra strap."

She hands me another strap, and then a small stack of papers. "This is a time chart to track your wear," she says. "Dr. Patel has you down for 16 hours per day. For older patients we often see the wear go down a bit on weekdays because of school, and then they wear it all weekend to make up for it.

"Any questions?"

I don't have any. 16 hours!?

She takes off my bib and then we walk back out to the reception. My dad is standing at the counter. He seems nonplussed by the fact that I am now wearing headgear, but I can feel a bunch of other eyes lock on me. I blush.

"Ainslie, is the afternoon a week from today clear for you at school?" he asks.

"I think so?" I say. "What for?"

"This is for your braces fitting," the receptionist says. "I could also fit you in the next morning or ... maybe the morning after. It will take about three hours."

"I think that afternoon is fine," I say.

Then Dr. Patel comes out with Emily, who is wearing exactly the same headgear as me. She is blushing intensely and also glaring at me like this is my fault, which it sort of is.

"Dr. Patel, we have Ainslie down for a week today for her braces," the receptionist says. "That's the soonest availability."

"Great," Dr. Patel says. He turns to my father. "So we were fortunate to be able to fit their appliances quite efficiently today," he says. "I was considering using an extraoral force as a removable attachment to Emily's bionator, but Ainslie's growth made it clear that a stronger and earlier response will be meaningful. We'll fit Emily's other appliance next week – it can be worn at the same time as the headgear, but they will not be a combined appliance."

"Got it," my dad says.

"Emily is to wear her headgear 12 hours a day. Slightly less time is OK for the next few days as she gets used to it, but then 12 hours will be the minimum.

"Ainslie should wear hers 16 hours per day. Ainslie, I'd like to see at least 100 hours of wear by next week, please. We've started with a cervical force – a neckstrap, but the records we've taken today will determine whether we need to adjust the direction of the force, which we can do next week."

"How long will I wear this?" I ask, finally finding my voice.

"It's very early to say," Dr. Patel says. "If we can get 12 months of this growth window, or more, that would be a very great outcome. I feel that six is more likely, but as long as there's any development happening, we can and should use this appliance. Any other questions?"

We all look at each other. Nobody has questions.

"All right," Dr. Patel says. "We'll see you next week."

Offline Braceface2015

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #1 on: 01. May 2019, 09:20:47 AM »
I enjoyed reading this story very much. I hope that it will be continued as I think that there is plenty of opportunity for more parts.

I have added it to TheArchive as I feel that it should be shared with more people.

Offline carking

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #2 on: 01. May 2019, 16:40:33 PM »
Great start to the story!

Offline libtech

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #3 on: 02. May 2019, 02:50:05 AM »
Diggin it so far! Keep it up we would enjoy reading more of this story and see where it goes...

Offline xxxforce

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #4 on: 02. May 2019, 13:09:19 PM »
very nice beginning!
please continue in that quality!

It would only be nice that you introduce "Ainslie" as Character a bit more.. Until the Middle of the text i did not know if the Main Character is a girl or a boy.

Offline libtech

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #5 on: 02. May 2019, 13:12:28 PM »

It would only be nice that you introduce "Ainslie" as Character a bit more.. Until the Middle of the text i did not know if the Main Character is a girl or a boy.

I was in that same boat lol. I thought it was older brother until the story read 'her' I believe. Maybe elaborate a bit on main character but other than that please continue this story!

Offline ortho218

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #6 on: 02. May 2019, 19:32:40 PM »
really great start, I enjoyed this :)

Offline heilo

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #7 on: 02. May 2019, 22:32:56 PM »
Very nice Story! Trank you for sharing.

Offline bracesfanza

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #8 on: 04. May 2019, 05:57:06 AM »
Loved it!
Please continue

Offline Jimmy m.

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #9 on: 06. May 2019, 15:01:25 PM »
Really enjoyed reading this story. Looking forward to the next post!

Offline Spangi

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #10 on: 04. June 2019, 21:43:29 PM »
Very cool Hope for a next chapter

Offline henkbyblos

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #11 on: 08. June 2019, 16:32:45 PM »
Nice! Looking forward to the next part!

Offline Hops

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #12 on: 09. June 2019, 13:12:10 PM »
Good story! Can't wait for more.

Offline Alignme79

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #13 on: 22. June 2019, 20:13:26 PM »
Enjoyed this very much. Interested in how the 16 hours per day will work out.

Offline bfat

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Re: Story: This is extremely lucky
« Reply #14 on: 05. August 2019, 08:22:38 AM »
Part Two.

It's Saturday, three days after the appointment. I'm in my bedroom, wearing my headgear. MY headgear. I'm 16 years old and I'm wearing headgear.

I seriously thought I was done with orthodontics forever. I wore that bionator like a champ, mumbling and slurping my way through a couple of years of primary school. And then the retainers, which are sitting right here on my shelf, in their case, which I wore all the time for a year, and then at night for a year, and then every other night ... and which I actually wore the night before the appointment.

I guess maybe that was a waste of time.

I look in the mirror. There it is, the most obvious thing about me. It's a pretty standard headgear, I guess. Metal bar coming out of my mouth, attached to a fat padded neckstrap by two white plastic strips with a line of holes along them. I've managed to get pretty close to the 16 hours a day Dr. Patel suggested, but only by wearing it until 8 a.m. (taking out for five minutes to shower) and racing straight home after school to put it on at 4 p.m. I don't think it's actually very tight because my teeth don't, like, hurt or anything.

I can feel some tenderness, but nothing bad.

I didn't do anything after school on Thursday or Friday, just came home to wear my headgear.

My sister knocks on my door and I say come in.

She walks in, also wearing her headgear, which is identical to mine.

"This sucks," she says.

"Yes, it does," I say. "But you really only have to wear yours at night."

"Yeah, but in like four days I'm getting a bionator that I have to wear ALL THE TIME."

I don't even have anything reassuring to tell her. The bionator does suck. She's going to be be wearing that thing all the time, and then half the time she's also going to have headgear. Then when that ends she's probably going to wear braces and headgear for a couple more years.

Oh God, I briefly forgot that in four days I'll be wearing braces and headgear.

"When it's all done you're going to have perfect teeth," I say, remembering the one reassuring thing, courtesy of my friend Brittany. "So am I. We just have some suffering to go through to get there."

I'm trying to be a good big sister but I don't know how convincing I sound. I'm dreading Wednesday.


And now it's Wednesday and school is over.

My friend Brittany squeezes my hand and says good luck. She has clear braces and is probably almost done with them. She knows the whole story. She came over for dinner on Sunday, and so she saw me wearing headgear the whole time, and she was the first person I texted when I left the appointment.

But now I'm walking into the ortho office for another appointment that is surely going to become the new one that sucks. I stopped down the hall just before to brush and floss and put my headgear on, and now I'm here, right on time.

Ellen, the assistant or whatever, is standing at the reception desk talking to the receptionist and sees me.

"Hi Ainslie, you can just come right back with me!" she says, smiling, her retainer still in. I look closer and see that she has bottom braces. Did I miss those last time?

"Did you have braces last time I was here?" I ask.

"Good observation, Ainse," she says. "Just got these on last Friday. Uppers go on next month."

"I thought you must have been finished," I say. "Because of your retainer."

"I wish. This is a removable expander. Just trying to widen my palate a bit first. Anyway, you ready for your braces?"

I blush. "Sure," I say. "As ready as I'm going to be."

We're in the same room as last time. There's a model of my teeth sitting on the counter, and a bunch of other equipment on trays.

She has me take off my headgear and asks me to brush my teeth. I tell her I just did, and she says great, we can get moving.

Dr. Patel walks in just as Ellen is reclining the chair.

"Hi Ainslie," he says. "How did your first week of headgear work out?"

"It was OK. I made 100 hours," I say.

"Fantastic," he says. "We got all your records in last week so we've been able to create a more precise treatment plan for you. But the records confirmed my suspicions almost completely, so we're on the right track. Let's have a look?"

He pokes around and has me bite down a few times, then looks at the model and the photos on the screen.

"So today we're going to try to add a few more bands and then place brackets on the rest of the teeth, and then make some adjustments to your headgear," he says. "Ellen will get you started and I'll be back with you again soon."

He walks out again and Ellen goes through the same process as last time.

"I guess your treatment plan calls for additional molar bands, but we didn't put any spacers in because everything was a bit sudden, so we're just going to see if we can make them fit," Ellen says.

There's a lot of biting the stick and slight adjustments but she eventually gets another four bands on my teeth, two on top and two on the bottom. There are two more for the top that won't fit. Ellen walks out and returns with Dr. Patel. He tries the other two but also can't get them, so he puts them aside and then adds the glue or whatever to the other four and there's more biting stick and then he uses that light thing to fix them in place.

Then he leaves again and Ellen puts a lip spreader in my mouth and adds a contraption that keeps my tongue out of the way and holds a suction tube in place. She does more weird cleaning stuff to my teeth and goes to get Dr. Patel once more.

This time he comes in and they start putting the braces on all of my teeth. It takes a while and seems very finicky. But after several endless minutes or hours, I don't know, every tooth has a bracket.

They then get out the facebow and begin adjusting it, putting it in my mouth and taking it out.

At one point the receptionist comes and says my dad and Emily have arrived and he says to bring Emily to another treatment room.

The finish with the facebow and Dr. Patel tells Ellen to fit spacers around the teeth they couldn't fit bands on and to install my archwires.
He gets up and leaves and Ellen stretches some weird blue elastics and pulls them up into my molars somehow, and then removes the lip spreader. My lips feel stretched and ragged. The braces feel like I've got little rocks attached to my teeth.

Ellen pulls a curved wire out of a packet and feeds it into my (MY!) lower braces.

I find the idea of picking a fun colour for the ligatures that hold the wire down depressing. I choose grey.

I can hear Dr. Patel and my dad walking out in the hallway and talking.

"Ainslie is going great," Dr. Patel says as they walk past the door. "And Emily's appliance has been fitted. There's one change of note that has come out of having actual precise digital records for Ainslie, and that's a ..." but then I can't hear the words, just their voices.

Ellen is just finishing the upper archwire when Dr. Patel and my Dad and Emily walk in. I notice immediately that Emily is wearing a very different headgear, with a strap over her head added to the one around her neck. She gives me a look. I'm not sure what she's trying to tell me, but I have a bad feeling.

Dr. Patel inspects Ellen's work and declares it satisfactory.

"Ainslie, the X-rays and impressions allowed us to take a closer look at your bite and your facial and cranial bone development. One thing that stood out was that the direction of extra-oral force needed to be changed from our initial guess, so we're going to fit you with a combination headgear today, as we've done with your sister."

He sends Ellen and my sister somewhere to show Emily how to take care of her bionator, I guess, and then he takes the facebow from the counter again and fits it into place.

"Now, it's going to be crucial that Ainslie wears this as instructed," Dr. Patel says. He fits my neckstrap and then gets another set of straps from somewhere on the counter. "It's really going to be the difference between an excellent result that ensures a bite relationship that will last through Ainslie's adult life ... or a lot of dental hardship. We just need to control this last bit of growth, and that means a bit of sacrifice and some extensive headgear wear. We've used a wide bracket on her teeth to ensure we can move the teeth exactly as we want, but the headgear is the key. If she hadn't come in last week we might have missed all of this. You're a lucky girl, Ainslie."

Oh my God. He has Dad in here to get him on his side. And I know it's going to work. Dad is looking at me very seriously as Dr. Patel attaches the headstrap to the facebow.

"Ainslie, I want you to think of 16 hours per day as an absolute minimum," he says, looking me in the eye. "We're going to do good things with these braces and this headgear, but you've got to work with us, OK? Wearing it all the time on weekends is a good goal."

I nod, and blush. He adjusts the straps a few times, uses some device to measure the force.

Ellen and my sister walk back in. My sister's lips are kind of pursed over her new appliance.

"Right, Ellen, please take Ainslie back to show her how to care for her braces and headgear. Ainslie, we'll need to see you back here in a few days to get those last bands on and to see how your combination appliance is working out. All good?"

How do I answer that? I stand up and follow Ellen down the hall.