Monday, May 2, 2011

Clarifications, Progress, and a New Phase

Clarifications: As it turns out, I indeed had a wrong impression in the previous blog entry (April 18 2011). We are not permanently finished expanding the appliance laterally. It is only a temporary halting. Her explanation of pleasant surprise was genuine, however. She said I have made unusually fast progress. The temporary halting of lateral expansion has been ordered so that we can allow other growth areas to 'catch up' with the lateral growth that has occurred.

Something else that can use some clarification: I had mentioned the 2mm lateral expansion that has occurred at the C5 position such that there is now a (self measured) 34mm gap between those molars (see December 19, 2010 and April 18, 2011 posts). However I learned today that in my case, since I had my premolars removed as a child, C5 as shown in the diagram is not necessarily my proper measuring position. Again, I say in my case. Others should not extrapolate what is correct for them in this regard. In the future, I will not report any self-measuring, and I will just rely on the doctor to measure and judge the growth.

Progress: While we have not increased the width of the appliance for a few weeks, we have continued to advance the fore (anterior) portion of the appliance once a week (today being one of those days), thus moving my front teeth ever so slightly more in line. Today the doctor took photos of my bite (revealing quite a mismatch between my uppers and lowers, since my uppers have moved so much by now). She is sending the photos to Dr. Singh, and has ordered that next week, we are going to take new impressions of the uppers and lowers. All of which leads us to......

A New Phase: It is no longer a matter of guessing. I will be getting a lower appliance. I don't know a thing about it yet, so I'm not going to speculate. But the overview is, as I understand it, that we must get the lower teeth to 'catch up' with the position of the uppers, just as we are currently getting the upper front teeth to catch up with the lateral expansion. There may be more lateral expansion of the uppers later, but we need to work on the lowers first, so that the bite does not become wildly mismatched in the process.


  1. Coincidentally, I started with the DNA appliance around the same time as you - the first week in February. Compared with my case, you seem to be making much more rapid progress. My dentist told me that children can expect 1mm/month of expansion and adults should expect to see 0.5mm/month, so you are clearly ahead of the game.

    I am just starting to see an ever so slight gap in my front teeth, where there is little to no friction when I floss, compared to tightness before. I am getting fitted for the lower appliance this Saturday and will find out for sure from my dentist if this is actually expansion taking place.

    I got the appliance mainly to treat a mild form of sleep apnea, and in my case it is covered under medical insurance, which I believe was based on the results of a sleep study. Perhaps if your narrowed jaws are causing sleep breathing issues you may be eligible for coverage under your medical insurance. And, yes, you are correct that there are no braces after treatment.

  2. Thanks for your comments Andrew. I assume the explanation for my progress is that I am pretty diligent to try to wear it for as many hours as I can.

    Interesting what you say about the insurance. Mine does not cover dental at all, but for apnea, who knows? The dentist did recommend I get a sleep study but I didn't because I don't have apnea symptoms.

    In any case, I am told the timbre of my snoring is changing, becoming less muffled and more airy or crisp. I am assuming this is tissue tightening. Maybe with more progress it will go away altogether.

  3. My dentist also recommended a sleep study for me, and told me they would submit claims to both dental and medical insurance plans. Sometimes one pays, sometimes the other; it depends on your insurance plan.

    My dentist also said I would need to wear the appliance(s) for 15 hours a night/day, and that was especially important as I am 52 years old. He also told me I would need orthodontia work after finishing with the DNA appliance to 'cement' the gains, and I would need to wear a night retainer forever, also.

    Only my lower teeth are misaligned, but all my teeth are tightly 'packed in' as I have difficulty using dental floss if it isn't the thinnest/strongest available. I'm trying to decide if it's worth the time and cost of the DNA sleep appliance to help me with deeper and more refreshing sleep, and whether or not that will help other medical issues. Have you read the book, "Sleep, Interrupted" by Dr. Steven Y Park, an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor? He argues that lack of enough oxygen (Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea, or something called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome) can contribute to a host of medical problems (anxiety, persistant pain, fluctuating hormone levels, etc.)