The absence of blogging posts in the past several weeks in no way reflects on my progress and attitude about my orthodontic journey. My usual Tuesday morning routine for creative writing was interrupted by a series of Grand Rounds presentations by the D1 (first year) students at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. As many of you know, I am an Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry on Tuesday and Friday. My primary responsibility is to oversee the clinical care provided to patients by students. Occasionally, adjunct faculty are invited to attend special presentations and lectures prior to the clinic session. This is what happened to my Tuesday mornings. I always enjoy watching the students' presentation skills progress from their D1 introduction researching a CAT (Critically Assessed Topic) to their final D4 Pathways Project. To miss one of these is like not being present for a son's or daughter's fine arts or sporting event. Consequently, the time I set aside for blogging was absorbed by other professional pursuits. As we begin settling into the summer routine at work, school and home, I can reclaim my blogging time and keep you posted on my progress.
Today was 'appointment day' with Dr. Jusino. As always, I looked forward to this visit to hear the measure of my progress. The past three months have focused on little more than wearing my elastics and keeping the appliances clean. Admittedly, the nightly flossing routine is getting old and I look forward to the day when the dental hardware is gone and I can easily access every tooth with dental floss. For those of you skeptics out there, I have lived up to my commitment to full daily flossing between every tooth, feeding Superfloss under the wire to access each area. I have not missed a single day. Even when exhausted, the 'hours of practice' early on developed an efficiency that plays out when I'm tired. I can still do the entire process in less than three minutes.
The report today was Great! Dr. Jusino is pleased with how well my teeth have moved and can tell I have been compliant with the elastics. I graduated to new archwires which takes me into the next phase of treatment: to establish an ideal Class I bite relationship. The only thing you need to know here is that there are three general classifications to bites; Class I, Class II and Class III. You want end up with a Class I bite when your orthodontic journey is over. This is a photo I took while Mary Margaret was adapting the new archwires. I also received a different size and weight of elastics that require them to be placed in a new configuration. The new arrangement was not hard to replicate on my own and gives me a little more room up front to sneak in my morning snack without having to remove the elastics. In theory, the ability to snack easier sounds like an improvement but in reality, I always brush and change out the elastics after a snack so I'm not sure why the new configuration excites me....... I guess it's something different.
Mary Margaret asked Dr. Jusino to reevaluate his estimated time of treatment for my case and at first, he gracefully sidestepped a real answer. To be honest, it's not a really fair question to ask only 8 months into treatment but.....I quietly chuckled about his "evasive" answer so she asked the question again....ever so nicely and very professionally. He gave me an ever so nicely phrased and very professional response...'at least six to eight to ten months for sure; maybe 12, depending on how stable the bite remains in the Class I position'. I took that as good-enough because it places me at a total time of less than 24 months from start to finish for which I would be happy!
Here is my report card from today's visit. Alas, only 4 stars for my oral hygiene.
One final note directs you back to the top of this blog page and first photo presented. This is a group of D1 students at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry on the occasion of receiving their White Coats. These are some of the same D1's that drew me away from blogging to listen to their research presentations during February, March and April. Don't they all have beautiful smiles? One of them, my daughter in navy, second from the right, was treated by Dr. Jusino and completed active care in 2008. Such a great smile many years later! She still wears her retainers faithfully! Thanks for the good work, Dr. Jusino!