Winter Break

I haven't been blogging in a while, but I have been crazy busy! I went to an amazing day before Christmas Eve wedding for my uncle and his new wife, Jeanne, followed by a great Christmas Eve and Christmas with the family! I then took off Christmas night for Denver to meet up with my best friend Aliey (from Australia) who is visiting my friend Geoff in Colorado! After a few days with them, I took off for Australia! My trip didn't go quite as expected, but it ended up turning out wonderfully. For those who haven't turned on the TV in the last few weeks, there was historically high flooding in Queensland, RIGHT where I was visiting. I experienced some pretty bad weather with about 2 weeks straight of nonstop rain, was evacuated from my hotel on the river which was eventually under water, and ended my trip with sunshine and an incredible last few days on the beach :) In the one month that I was gone, my little nephew learned how to crawl, stand up on his own, and is getting his first two little chompers! I've chronicled my winter break into a photo blog.. enjoy!

My cousin Samantha and I at her dad's wedding.

Me and my monkey on his FIRST Christmas :)

Jackson likes gossip mags just like his Auntie !

Overlooking Vail

Showing off my grill.

Me and Aliey!

Me standing on the median of the very flooded highway.

The spider we found in my friends apartment. They all failed to mention to me that this was the FOURTH one they'd found and killed since I started staying there..

:) at Gold Coast

Mikey and I.

Feeding an elephant at Australia Zoo!

Bindi, Terri and Bob Irwin (Steve Irwin's family) at Australia Zoo

I budged in front of someone to take this picture of Bob Irwin with a lizard.. Little did I know it was Terri Irwin standing right next to me (see reflection...)

Seaworld in Gold Coast.

My last full day in Australia, getting a new tattoo :) It says 'no worries' -- a very common Australian saying, and is written in my mommy's handwriting.

I have an ortho appointment next Monday, so look out for another update then!

Profile Pic

A candid picture of my profile! I am jutting my jaw forward in this picture to be able to make a kissy face, so it's not a very good representation of my actual profile. I was laughing because my nephew was being goofy, hence the failure at actually making a kissy face. As you can see, there is a lot of tension in my chin from bringing it forward.

I hate my profile, but I love this picture too too much :)

Fourth Checkup

I went in for my fourth (scheduled) appointment at the ortho today. I actually had to drive home from school on Friday because the wire on my upper right was poking into my cheek and driving me crazy. I didn't want to be stuck dealing with it through the weekend and the week, until today's appointment.

Today I got my wires changed! On both top and bottom, and they're bigger! I always get excited with wire changes, because I feel like leaving the same wires on is just keeping me in limbo and I am not making any progress. Well, they bumped me up to 20's! Does anyone know the actual sequencing of wire sizes? I am not sure what I would have started at ?
I am in the midst of finals week, so wish me luck! I have two on Monday (Genetics and Zoology) and a presentation on Tuesday. I am trying to spend a lot of time at home in the next few days between my finals, as it feels more 'Christmas-y' here than it does in my sorority house. I will be jetting off to Australia right after Christmas, so I am thinking it won't feel much like the holidays once I land in 85 degree weather. I am trying to soak up as much of it as I can now!

It's Jack Jack's first Christmas, and we are all SO excited, so expect a few pictures after the holidays :)


a little reminder

This is my favorite commercial of all time.

I think that, for the most part, jaw surgery patients deal with a lot of issues with their appearance. I know that growing up, I struggled a lot with the way that I looked, and continue to do so. I always had a massive overjet, big front teeth and a little jaw. I was not happy at all with the way I looked. Although I now am aware that it is a medical condition and there are things that can be corrected, it isn't going to solve all of my problems. This video is just a little reminder that appearance is not everything, that every single person has issues with the way they look, and that regardless of changes in my appearance post-op, I am still the same person :)

Happy Thanksgiving

I finally, finally, FINALLY had my first break off university... and it went WAY too fast. I have about 3.5 weeks left of the semester, and am off to Australia in just under 4 weeks!

Thanksgiving was fine, not much to report. I did meet up with a longtime friend today, whose life has changed DRASTICALLY since high school, and hearing her update me on her life just made me antsy for the surgery to come sooner. She went from dancing ballet on a scholarship, to cheering for the Philadelphia Eagles, and traveling all over the country. She is here and there and everywhere, and her life is so thrilling now. The thing is, I have been desperately wanting to get out of the Midwest for nearly two years. This surgery is just one more thing that is keeping me here, and keeping me from exploring what else is out there. The sooner the surgery comes and goes, the sooner I am outta here!

Me and my little monkey on Thanksgiving :)

I know that most of my followers can't entirely relate to this one but ... one thing I truly was worried about through the whole braces ordeal was dating. I am not talking about finding a boyfriend, but just having guys judge me in general. I realize it's silly, but I am 21 years old, my mind is on that type of thing. For anyone going through this at my age, one thing I have learned thus far is GUYS DO NOT CARE. Nobody cares, for that matter. I was really nervous to talk to people initially, but when I just act normal and don't draw attention to the fact that I HATE them, no one seems to pay any attention. I honestly think I have more game with braces than I did without. Success :)

Pointless post. Just trying to keep you all updated on my life :)

p.s. I apologize if all of my posts fill up your 'new post feed'.. I had to increase the font size of them all so that people could actually read what I was writing!

Third Check-up

Yesterday I had my 3rd check in with my OD. It was a longer scheduled appointment, because they had to reposition a few of the brackets. My teeth were initially so crowded that they're goal was just to get a bracket on the tooth, wherever it would fit! I had read a lot about ceramic braces removal and heard that it was really painful, so I was SO nervous going in. I am not sure if my braces are different or what not, but it took the OA a matter of seconds to pop off all of the brackets that needed to be replaced. There were two on the front bottom, and one on the top left front tooth. My absolute biggest issue with anything having to do with braces is the polishing part. I am not sure why, but the grinding/vibration of my teeth is absolutely nauseating to me. I may be a bit dramatic, but it's worse than nails on a chalkboard / silverware scraping on a plate / whatever. I asked if I could listen to my iPod as a distraction, because I really just can't handle it. Anyway, I turned up my music really loud and did my best to stay distracted. The polishing of the front little tooth was excruciating though, YUCK!

They also decided to place brackets on my back four molars. I realized that they didn't have brackets initially, and was totally confused as to why this would have been. I asked them about this and they told me that typically the back molars don't need to move a lot, and that not bracketing them gives the front teeth more of an ability to straighten out. Well, now my back molars don't line up with any of my teeth on the top or the bottom, so they've got some serious movement to do. I absolutely hate the feeling of having brackets way back there, and my jaw is aching from the pressure on the molars now.

They didn't change the size of either wire, once again, although they did replace both wires. My OA said that a larger wire wouldn't possibly fit through the brackets. I asked her if that meant I would be wearing the same size wire the rest of the time, and she said no, we would increase it later. Not sure how the wire doesn't fit now, but will fit later? Odd.

That's all of an update I have for now :)

A Broken Bracket

Sunday night I realized one of my brackets in the back near my upper molar had popped off. From that moment, the thing became like a loose tooth, I couldn't stop playing with it and thinking about it! I wasn't able to get to the orthodontist until today because my life is insane and Thursday is the only day I have time to do anything other than school work. I went in this morning to have it reglued on, and my tooth must have really moved because uhhh it really hurts now! That one single tooth is making my whole lower jaw and head hurt. SO, moral of this story, if a bracket breaks loose, get it fixed asap, save yourself the pain of your braces yanking on one single tooth to get it back in line. I still can't believe how quickly that sucker moved!

As I was heading out of the orthodontist office, I saw a few familiar faces in the lobby, although one of them didn't look as familiar as it should! A woman who lives just down the street from me, whom I have known for years and years, was there with her oldest daughter, whom I used to babysit! Ali is turning 16, and is just as tall as me, if not taller (and I am 5' 8''! ). I have seen her around but just not often enough to really recognize her at first. Anyway, we got to chatting, and she is in the process of getting jaw surgery as well! It was so insane to come across someone who I know personally who will be dealing with all of the same things I am now. This will be her second time in braces, but she is lucky that her teeth are so straight already, she will only need them on for about 6 months prior to surgery. My lovely ceramic braces caught her attention and she instantly asked her mom 'Can I get clear ones too!' . Anyway, the whole experience made me feel really old. For one, being in an orthodontist office makes me feel old because there are kids half my age rolling in and out at all times, and now the little tiny girl I used to babysit is catching up with me in life. Crazy.

My next appointment is November 17, and it will be longer than normal because they need to pop off a few brackets and reposition them. My bottom teeth were so crowded when I got the braces on that they couldn't be too picky with positioning the brackets, they just needed to get them on the teeth.

Brent- I can't seem to find a 'Follow' button on your page. Any idea where it's located or if you've enabled having followers?

Tara- My little 'blogs followed' news feed says you've posted something new after your post about ceramic braces, but when I go to your page, there's nothing there, and it is also not allowing me to comment because it says it's restricted only to the owner of the page.. Just a heads up in case something changed with your settings-- unless it's something from my side of the system!

20 days until Thanksgiving. 51 days until Christmas. 54 days until AUSTRALIA. =]

Orthodontist Photos

My orthodontist has an online patient access thing that I signed up for, in order to keep track of all of my photographs/x rays, etc, and am also able to schedule appointments, receive reminders, and things like that-- handy, right? I signed on for the first time today, and I literally burst out laughing (while at work, btw) at a few of my pictures. I typically schedule all of my appointments for the mornings, and therefore there has been many times that I literally roll out of bed and drive the 1/2 mile to my orthontist's office, sans makeup, brushing my hair, anything.

This photo is particularly flattering, isn't it?

Gosh, I look horrendous. Like a night of binge-drinking, or like I got hit by a bus, or something along those lines... There are a few others from the same day, but I think I'll save myself the pain and pass those ones by.

You can even see my lovely leftover makeup from the night before. I can't believe I looked like this. Not
exactly sure why I've decided to post it, but hey, we're kind of like family, right? A weird, dysfunctional, constant life-meltdown, braced family.

These pictures were my most recently taken, right after arriving home from Australia.

Uh. I just hope that no one who
isn't an ortho-blogger comes across these pictures.


Second check-up

I had my second orthodontist appointment yesterday since getting my braces on. My orthodontist is located in my hometown, which is about 30 minutes away from where I attend university. My appointment was at 8 am, so I decided to head back to my parent's house after I got off work Wednesday night so I didn't have to deal with traffic in the morning.

My sister had to work on Friday, so I was SO lucky to be able to spend the morning with my little nephew, whom my mom was taking care of for the day.

Running errands with his Grandma and Auntie :)

When I got to my appointment, my Orthodontist, Dr. S came over to check things out. He decided that once again, we were going to be leaving the top wire on and not changing it out. For some reason, I was a little bummed. I have this idea in my head that if I am not constantly getting things changed, that it means things aren't going to be moving anymore. BUT, Dr. S assured me that things were still rotating with the current wire. He said that once things were lined up, which they are on the top, the bit of movement gets more difficult to notice, but it WAS still happening! So that was okay. I was able to brush and floss my teeth without the wires on, which I love to do! I think that having braces and dealing with flossing will cause me to floss much more post-braces than I did pre-braces, just because it is so quick! My OA changed out my bottom wire, and it got pretty sure last night, but seems to be fine now.

Dr. S wanted me to set up an appointment for 5 weeks later, but my mom reminded me of my trip abroad (HOW could I have forgotten) and that I need to be factoring that in to my scheduling. If I were to make an appointment in 5 weeks, I would have 3 weeks and then leave for Australia, and be gone another 4, and 7 weeks with no adjustment was just too long. So, we decided to plan two appointments, 4 weeks and then another 4 weeks out, so that I am able to get one adjustment right before I leave! Dr. S also told me I am definitely on track for surgery in June! I am almost hoping I can get it done mid-May, right when I finish finals, but we will see.

After my appointment, I decided I didn't want to deal with hurrying back to campus, so I skipped my first class of the day which was at 9:30, and my mom, nephew and I went to one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants for some amazing breakfast. Afterward, I took a HUGE nap in my bed at home, I was too exhausted from waking up at 7:30! Haha. I had to make it back in time for my second class, but I really wish I were able to have spent the whole day at home with my mom :)

OH, and OBAMA is at my University today! I unfortunately didn't make it to see him, I wasn't sure I could handle the rally + speech and miss that much time when I had so much studying to get done, but still, how incredibly exciting is that-- he is standing less than half a mile away from me!

That's all for now :)

Spirit Day

Today is Spirit Day, which is a day that was created by GLAAD to bring awareness to anti-GLBT bullying. I gladly wore purple in support of all of the GLBT teens out who are struggling, and hope that because of this day, even one less person will take their life due to being a victim of gay bullying. I also hope that those who participate in bullying others because of their sexuality take a step back and realize how hurtful they are truly being and stop what they are doing.

My lovely, adorable friend Jeff and I, today, showing our support! iPhone pic, so the quality isn't great, and it was so windy out so I look a bit silly, sorry!

Just another personal post :) Expect these once in a while, it gives me the opportunity to let all of you get to know a little bit more about me!

Also, I really despise this blog layout, and I apologize if the font is difficult for anyone to read. I am working on coming up with something that looks better!

Profile Pictures

I have quite a few 'candid' profile pictures that I will toss in blogs as I go, but here are a few that I have taken myself with the overbite in full effect.

It's pretty rough to post these. Blah. It's weird to see my side profile, because when I see myself in the mirror I think I look so much different than that. It is frustrating to know that those pictures represent how so many people see me everyday, when it isn't the way I think I look!

I have another check-up appointment with my Ortho on Thursday, so expect an update then!

Today is my 2 month mark of being braced! It feels like I have had them forever, and that I just got them, all at the same time.

All of my pictures for this progress blog are of my bottom teeth. My top teeth are pretty straight and they haven't changed the wire yet, so there's not much change to see. The only issue with my top teeth is there is a slight overlap of my left front tooth over my right, and the second tooth (smaller tooth NEXT to the bigger front teeth) didn't touch either tooth on either side of it, and that has closed up slightly. Nothing as exciting as THESE!

8.13.10 - The day I got my braces on

9.2.10 - Just over 2 weeks in braces

9.13.10 - One month in braces

10.13.10 - TWO months in braces

I had braces once when I was younger, and because I didn't really pay attention, or maybe because everyone else had braces too, I never noticed the progress like I do now! It is amazing how quickly they moved, and I am already so happy to have taken this step and am moving quickly towards a much more perfect smile!

p.s. for the most part, all of the teeth photos I will post will be in black & white. Everything just looks so nasty when it's in color-- haha :)

Heading Down Under

Well, I realize this blog is titled 'a braces and jaw surgery blog'... but I don't have a personal blog, so you may get stuck reading some non-ortho things going on in my life to, like...


I studied abroad in Brisbane, Australia for 6 months between February and August of this year, and I truly had the best experience of my life. I decided to save up all of my money in order to go back this upcoming January during my winter holidays from college, and I finally purchased my flight the other day. I think my friends will get sick of me talking about it, so be prepared, you guys may have to do a bit of suffering too :) I am spending 3 days in LA and then making the 24+ hour trek to the other side of the world. I will be gone a full month total, so I am hoping this doesn't impact any of my ortho appointments.


My two months in braces mark is coming up quick, so I will make sure to post pictures when that day comes for everyone to see my progress so far.

Twenty One-- In Braces

Last weekend was my 21st birthday! It was on a Sunday, so it certainly wasn't the typical 21st, but I had a blast. There was a Gopher Football game on Saturday, and my birthday on Sunday.
I went home Sunday morning to have brunch with my family, and then a group of friends and I went to a restaurant called The Cafeteria for dinner, so good! I came back to my sorority house for a bit, relaxed, and then went out to a campus bar with a small group of friends. Although it wasn't a lot of people, we had a really fun time :)

Some friends and I at the football game!

Me and the love of my life, my nephew :) My sister dressed him up in his 'My Auntie is the Best' onesie for my birthday brunch!

My first legal drink!

I wanted to make a post about this because age has certainly played a HUGE role in this whole process for me. I was originally told to do braces in high school, but due to major self confidence issues, I put it off. Then, come college, although I was a bit more comfortable with the idea, I was starting college, and was worried about the new people I would meet would think of me. Well, now I am celebrating my 21st birthday in braces, and am HOPING they will be off by my college graduation next December (wishful thinking)! It was certainly weird showing my ID at both the restaurant and the bar, because these braces make me look at least a few years younger!

This surgery is something that is very dependent on age. It's not something that can be done at an age where none of us cares about our appearance (that awkward stage that we have ALL had) because we haven't stopped growing. By the time we do stop growing, we have finally made it out of that awkward stage, and these braces seem to just throw me right back into that place I never wanted to go back to. I know that going through this, I am certainly not the only one who is having trouble dealing with having braces at an elementary-school-seems-like-ages-ago age. I do feel like many of the blogs I have read with people my age seem to have a more positive attitude about the whole process than I do, but compared to my thoughts on having braces a few years ago, I have done a complete 180. I can honestly say I cried at 18 when I was told I definitely needed braces. I have come to the point where I KNOW it is necessary, and there's nothing I can do about it. I have found that most people I meet don't bring it up, and anyone who does is typically a friend and is just curious about the process I am going through.

So to anyone who is really struggling with the age and appearance thing, you're certainly not the only one!

first appointment

I just had my first orthodontist appointment after 5 weeks of first getting my braces on. The OA told me we would only be changing my bottom wire, and the top wire would be changed at my next appointment. I was able to brush and floss my teeth without either of my wires on, and it felt so good! I also finally asked my orthodontist when he predicts I will have my surgery. I have been in a pretty big panic about it, because I have two summer field courses that I have to take up in northern Minnesota, and will be gone for three weeks to complete them in August. If I had the surgery too late in the summer, I couldn’t do the courses, delaying my graduation a year! Otherwise, I would have had to delay my surgery by 6 months! Anyway, Dr. Sletten told me that it was ‘very, very, very, very, very likely’ that I would be having my surgery in JUNE! Ah! I don’t have a date but at least I have a month! He said something big would have to go wrong for this to change, and he said I am right on track with my progress. I can’t believe it is only 9 months until my surgery, I anticipated it being much longer than that!

One thing that I think is helping speed up my progress is the system of braces I am using. I have self-ligating braces, which don’t use the ties around the brackets, but rather open up like a door to let the wire in and are closed behind it. I have read a lot about these, and have found that they are much less painful and are also a more accurate system. Dr. S also uses a new technology called SureSmile. This technology allows you to input all of your xrays and information about your teeth, and it creates the wire for you. This eliminates any guess work for the orthodontist, which allows him to be much more precise with keeping me on track! My next appointment is in late October, but I may post a few pictures before then.

and so it begins...

I can’t believe I have officially started this LONG, LONG, LONG awaited journey! I began looking into orthognathic surgery when I was in 10th grade. I went through an expander, Herbst appliance, and braces between the grades of 5-8. After getting the braces off, I wore my retainer ALL the time. I was very anal about it and did NOT want my teeth to move. When I got to the point of just being able to wear it at night, the problems began. I was always really thin, and it wasn’t until late junior high that I actually started to grow. I think that this caused my teeth to start moving fast, because I had problem after problem with the wire they placed behind my bottom teeth. It kept popping off and the orthodontist continued to glue it back on and it just kept popping off. It got to the point that my teeth were shifting, and when I would just wear my retainers at night, they got so tight that they were cutting into the inside of my mouth. I kept going back to get the retainer to shift to where it would fit again, but the problems persisted. I finally just kind of gave up, and it wasn’t until 10th grade that I really noticed how much my teeth had shifted back. My overjet from my front teeth had moved back to it was before, and my bottom teeth were beginning to overlap.

I went to see the orthodontist again when I was 16, because I was worried about the overjet not having been corrected. I was told that my lower jaw was underdeveloped and a bit misaligned, which finally gave me an explanation to what the cause of the headaches I had been experiencing for basically my whole life. Since I was a child, I have been getting such bad headaches to the point of migranes. I missed 42 days of school my junior year of high school because I just couldn’t deal with them. I tried strong migrane medication and got glasses to see if either of these would help get rid of the headaches. I now knew at this point that due to my upper and lower jaw not sitting together right, I was causing great strain on my jaw to force fit them together, causing these horrible headaches. I was unable to get the surgery at this time, as I wasn’t done growing. I continued to speak with surgeons and orthodontists, yet kept making excuses as to why I couldn't get braces. First it was because I was in high school, and HATED the idea of being judged because I was in braces. High school kids can be mean, and I just wasn't up for it. THEN I was beginning college, and I didn't want to begin COLLEGE wearing braces! A few semesters later, and I had finally made the decision that this was going to get done. BUT I was off to Australia for a semester! I arrived back from Australia on July 28th, and the braces were put on August 13th. I am now a senior in college, and have come to terms the best that I can with the fact that this surgery is necessary, including the braces, I am still under my parents medical insurance, and have decided that I am OK with having braces at 20. Trust me, I am not thrilled about them, but I am trying to keep a positive attitude and not worry about what anyone thinks. Like someone close to me said, anyone you care about won't care about your braces, and anyone who does care isn't worth caring about :)

I have been reading many blogs since I have started looking into this surgery, and they have been so incredibly helpful, I thought I could possibly help someone too! Something I didn't read much about was the beginning aspect of braces. I searched desperately for some answer as to when they were going to stop sucking so much! It took at least one full week to get rid of the mouth ulcers, and then another two weeks to get used to them being in my mouth!

I have my first orthodontist appointment tomorrow for my 6 week check up. I think they will be changing the wire and checking my progress. I will post again soon!