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!
I’m kind of surprised you opted for a meridian expander instead of a DNA/Vivos Appliance. My understanding is the 3d Axial wires and DX/TX protocols developed by Dr. Singh play a significant role in the appliances effectiveness, and those are a patented/proprietary aspect unique to the DNA/Vivos. Still, I look forward to seeing your progress updates and hearing more about your experience in general; the bit about how the face pull gear can place strain on the TMJs is some useful food for thought.
Also, if the meridian isn’t able to hold up to the bruxism maybe consider trying to combine it with an aqualizer at night? The low volume is probably best as the acrylic material is already increasing the vertical dimension of your occlusion. Though a medium volume may also be alright. Personally I use a high volume because they decrease in size over time and when that happens the high volume still has enough fluid to work quite well.
Alyssa Luck says
Hey Sean! To be honest, getting the meridian wasn’t exactly a choice. Because my local NC ortho isn’t a certified DNA appliance practitioner, Dr. Lockhart (my CA dentist) couldn’t have us order that one, so that’s why he wrote the lab order for the meridian. He’s been doing this for ages in adults and didn’t seem concerned about it being less effective, so I’m hoping it won’t be an issue! But I’d be curious to hear what your understanding is about how the DNA might be more uniquely effective. When I’ve read about it in the past, a lot of the explanation for how it works sounded like it could just be nice-sounding BS. Like, isn’t it just a matter of applying consistent light forces over an extended period of time?
In an ideal world, I would have a local orthodontist who is certified with all the new-fangled orthotropic appliances and could create a custom ideal treatment plan for me, but unfortunately that’s not the case xD
Huh, I’d never heard of the aqualizer! I’ll look into it, although I got the acrylic repaired and it’s hanging in there for now. I honestly can’t imagine having more material between my back teeth right now though!
you’ll destroy the aqualizer if you are bruxing.
Hello! I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on Dr. Brad Lockhart? I found your post where you said your opinion of him had changed, but the link to your article didn’t seem to work. Did the meridian not work for you?
I am also aiming to expand my palette to replace my extracted bicuspids… haha. I had both wisdom teeth and bicuspids removed and I really regret it 🙁 . Not sure where to start and I found Dr. Lockhart online.
Alyssa Luck says
So sorry for my delayed response, and for the broken link! This is the post I was referring to: https://alyssaluck.com/palate-expansion-update-concerning-cbct-scan-results-2/
I’d say what I wrote there is still accurate for my thoughts on Dr. Lockhart.
Good luck with your journey, and feel free to comment if you have any additional questions once you read through more of my posts! I’ve tried to be thorough about documenting my experiences, but I know how overwhelming it can be trying to figure out what to do.