Note: We are now in realtime. I repeat, we have attained realtime.
March 27th, 2018
In case you didn’t read my previous post, here’s what’s up. Yesterday I flew across the entire country, drove an hour in a rental car in California traffic, and will repeat that entire process tomorrow, with the sole purpose of talking to a dentist for an hour today.
Luckily, it was the best dentist appointment ever, and Dr. Lockhart is fantastic, so it was worth the trip!
(Edit 9/6/18: My opinion of Dr. Lockhart has somewhat changed. Read the update here.)
To be honest though, this isn’t even unusual behavior for me. At least 75% of my life consists of doing things that people find very strange in order to fix obscure problems with my body that almost always sound made-up.
Okay, recap of the appointment. Dr. Lockhart agreed with my assessment about what’s wrong with my mouth, and what needs to be done: upper palate expansion, primarily pre-maxillary development (aka forward development of the dental arch/facial bones). He liked the progress I’ve already made developing laterally with my current expander, and said I’ve already created about 6-8mm of space. I’ll need at least 12mm of space to accommodate the two implants, so that’s great progress for only a couple months!
We both agreed that my current rudimentary expander has served it’s purpose – essentially as a proof-of-concept for both me and my ortho. Y’know, as proof that all of this isn’t completely impossible and totally ludicrous to even attempt. *eye roll*
His plan for me going forward is to put me in a y-split DNA appliance (edit 2/2/20: he ended up putting me in a Meridian, not a DNA; see footnote*), which has three plates instead of two, enabling expansion both laterally and forward. Below are a couple pics of the order form he gave me, which my ortho can complete and send to the lab.
I’ll use a little metal key to expand it like I’ve been doing with my other expander – every 3-6 days, depending on how often I’m able to wear it. It’s not as low-profile as my current expander, and has acrylic plates covering the biting surfaces of the back teeth, so it will probably affect my speech more. And since I just got a new job…it’s possible that I’ll decide to not wear it at work, and just wear it for the other 16 hours of the day.
Luckily, he said it’ll still work (albeit slower) as long as I wear it at least 12 hours per day, so I’m not too worried about it! I’ll just wear it as often as possible. Maybe once I’ve irrevocably ensnared my new coworkers with my delightful personality and unencumbered enunciation, I’ll flip the switch and subject them to my acrylic-induced lisp. We shall see.
The other extremely appealing device we’re going to use is called a face mask, but it looks more like creepy face-jail. I promise I’ll post a pic of me wearing it later on, but for now, here it is not on my face:
Yes, those pads go on my forehead and chin. And rubber bands connect the middle blue bar to the DNA appliance. And the metal bar goes smack dab down the middle of my face. It’s horrifying.
But I only have to wear it at night, so don’t worry. I’ll still have friends.
(Fun fact: I came across a picture of one of those “face masks” on the internet not even a month ago, and thought holy heck, that’s exactly what I need! I wonder if Dr. Lockhart will recommend one. But he didn’t mention them on his website, so he probably doesn’t use them. Heh.)
After I’ve achieved enough expansion (thanks to the aforementioned devices), my gaps will still be all over the place, so I’ll get braces (third time woo) to consolidate the gaps into a space behind each of my canines. Once that’s done, I can get implants! Easy peasy. And the whole process should only take about a year!
If you’re in Cali and need a dentist or orthodontist…go see Dr. Lockhart.
Fo real. He was super helpful, and is more than happy to be in contact with me and my ortho as we have questions throughout the process. He also taught me how he adjusts appliances by testing for pressure points on the palate and shaving off parts of the acrylic. So now I can teach my ortho!
He also told me that I’m very in tune with my body, which is lovely to hear, considering that I’ve spent most of the past ten years trying very hard to be in tune with my body.
And he said I should go to dental school, because I’d be awesome at it. He’s now the second professional to tell me that, so maybe I’ll file that idea away for my next midlife crisis.
Alright, I think that about covers it! I’m super glad I made the trip, and so excited that I have an expert on board. I’ll be sure to update you guys very soon once I get my DNA appliance!
P.S. I just remembered that “DNA” stands for “daytime-nighttime appliance.” So by calling it a “DNA appliance,” I’m calling it a “daytime-nighttime appliance appliance,” and have thus become one of the people I hate. But I’m leaving it, because just calling it a “DNA” sounds dumb as heck and is confusing because I already have DNA. And so do you. Curse you, namers of the DNA appliance.
*Edit 2/2/20: Dr. Lockhart initially told me that he was putting me in a DNA appliance, but later (almost as an afterthought) said that due to lab/certification restrictions, what I’d actually be getting is a Meridian, which he said is essentially the same. But a couple astute readers have pointed out that there could very well be material differences in the two appliances, so for the sake of clarity, I’ve tried to update my posts to make that distinction!