Hey friends! It’s been five months since I began my journey with my first palate expander, and two months since I started with the DNA/Meridian appliance. I had them take some progress photos at my appointment this week, so I figured I’d share with the internet!
Full disclosure: I think the fact that my hair was wet and my eyes were kinda starting to close in the “before” photos makes the progress photos of my face look a bit more dramatic than they otherwise would. But you can definitely still see that there’s been progress! Also, these are definitely the most hideous photos of me to grace the internet thus far. Hooray.
Important note: a key indicator of actual bone growth (vs. movement of teeth within the bone) is a gap between the two front teeth. I had a gap with the initial expander, but it closed when I started using the DNA/Meridian. I imagine this is just an effect of the forces from the front plate, which my initial expander didn’t have, and I assume I’m still getting actual bone growth like I was at the beginning!
The goal (or my goal, anyway) is to continue expanding in all directions. I’ve gotten pretty decent lateral expansion on the right side, but not enough on the left, and since you can’t selectively expand one side, we need to keep expanding both.
I also need much more forward expansion, both for facial aesthetic reasons and having-enough-room-for-my-tongue reasons. This will ideally consist of pre-maxillary development, which is achieved by the front plate in the appliance, as well as advancement of the entire maxilla, which is achieved by…some kind of reverse-pull headgear that I haven’t quite nailed down yet. (Back to that in a second).
HOWEVER, my local orthodontist is concerned about the “washboarding” she sees above my upper gumline. This is basically the bony ridges that you can feel through your gums where your teeth roots are. She thinks they seem quite prominent, and is worried about the possibility of pushing the teeth out of the bone (which is, of course, one of the primary concerns that conventional orthodontics has with adult palate expansion to begin with).
Unfortunately, we didn’t really take notice of how my gums looked prior to beginning this process, and we can’t see that far up the gums in any of the photos, so it’s very possible that nothing has changed and my orthodontist is just concerned due to the conventional wisdom that growth of the palatal bone in adults is not possible.
But obviously this comment made me nervous, so I consulted with Brad Lockhart, who has been helping with my case remotely. He says that he’s never had an issue with pushing teeth out of the bone, but agreed with my local ortho that getting a CT scan of my mouth is a great idea for peace of mind. So I’ll be getting a CT scan on Friday, and hopefully will get the green light to continue expanding as planned!
Now, back to the face-pulling issue. Since I had to stop using the face mask, I’ve been trying to figure out the best alternative, and finally settled on the Crane. I gotta say, I’m not overly impressed with the company – it took at least 10 phone calls from both myself and my orthodontist’s office to get a hold of them to order it, and it costs $450 with no return policy (or exchange policy if the size you get doesn’t fit). And when we finally got it ordered, it took several weeks for it to arrive.
Of course, all that is a small price to pay if it actually works, but thus far, I haven’t been able to fall asleep with it on. For three nights, I’ve put it on, laid in bed for about 1.5 hours, then finally taken it off so I could fall asleep. So I’m a little sleep deprived, and a little frustrated, but am hoping I get used to it eventually so that I can actually wear it! So cross your fingers for me, and if you have any tips for how to sleep with a neck brace, I’m all ears!