My DNA appliance has arrived! It’s technically a “meridian” appliance, but it’s essentially the same as a DNA – I think only certified practitioners are allowed to use the name-brand DNA appliance, so we’re using a knock-off. (Edit 10/18/18: To be clear, I was taking Dr. Lockhart’s word that the meridian is functionally the same as a DNA. There could certainly be differences that I am not aware of!)
It’s definitely far bulkier than my old expander, and required a lot more adjustment to fit to my mouth. The acrylic plates that cover the biting surface of my molars (occlusal plates) had to be shaved down to balance my bite (similar to a nightguard adjustment), which is always difficult in my case since my bite is so uneven (when my right molars are touching, I still have several millimeters of space between my left molars).
But it’s all adjusted now, and I’ve been wearing it for about two weeks. The verdict so far:
- Way more comfortable than previous expander. Thanks to the occlusal plates, there’s no plastic rubbing up against my palate or gum-line, so no more sores. Yay!
- The tightness after turning the expansion screws doesn’t seem to last as long, so I can consistently turn it every 3 days. Not sure why this is…I guess it just works better!
- Teeth don’t get as sore after a screw turn. Again, not sure why.
- Since the teeth are secured at the biting surface by the occlusal plates, there shouldn’t really be any teeth tipping, unlike my previous expander where all the force was coming from the inside of the teeth.
- Bulkier, so less room for tongue. Which means…
- …I have a killer lisp now. It’s so hard to talk with this thing in and I hate it, especially since I’m still new at my job. But what can ya do? I decided it’s not worth not wearing it at work, so I just deal with sounding like an awkward teenager.
- I clench and grind a lot, especially at night, so the right side of the appliance (which was already thin to begin with b/c of how much we had to shave off to let my left side make contact) already has hairline cracks in the acrylic and a little pinhole. Hopefully going to get that repaired tomorrow, but it doesn’t bode well for this thing lasting me the full ~9 months.
I also promised a pic of me wearing the scary reverse-pull headgear, so…here ya go.
I’ve actually stopped wearing the face mask, because I was waking up in the morning with my jaw joint sore. Since the face mask is anchored by the forehead and chin, it pushes back on the mandible (aka jaw), which creates a pretty unhealthy joint position for the entire night. I’m definitely not comfortable with that, so am in the process of seeking out alternatives that will still provide that face-pulling force. I’ll keep you guys posted on that, but for now, I’m just wearing the DNA/meridian appliance all day and night (except for eating).
Stay tuned, and comment if you have an alternative facepulling device to recommend!