Monday, September 5, 2011

Update and Some New information

So here we are seven months since the first appliance arrived, and two months since the last update, when the lower appliance arrived.

Progress so far: I've got a nice straight set of uppers, but I am told we are not near finished with them. We still need to widen the arch "x"millimeters, until the the width of the arch is at least as wide as the width of the (relaxed) tongue (the dentist measures these things).  So, I am not close to being done with the wearing and lateral adjusting of the upper appliance. However it is very nice to have the upper teeth straight already. It provides a real psychological boost. I agreed to do DNA orthodontics for health/quality of life in old age reasons, but I can't deny it is very nice to lose the self-consciousness about the messy rows of teeth.

I have also been told that once we are done moving the uppers, I will still need to keep using the appliance overnight as a retainer, permanently. The gaps in the appliance will be filled in, so I expect it to be a bit less awkward feeling. Will my speech (while wearing the appliance) improve also? I hope so.

In the meantime, the dentist wants me to temporarily halt adjusting the upper appliance, and give the lower appliance some time to help my lower teeth to 'catch up'. That is how things stand as of this writing.

You can see some visible gap in my lower appliance now, even with the low res of the photo. My bottoms are still pretty crowded and snarly, but I can definitely detect slow changes occurring. Since this appliance has little effect on my speech, I am able to wear it quite a few more hours per day than the upper appliance. As such, the dentist has just advised me to adjust it more often now. I am comfortable now adjusting it twice a week. This will hopefully speed things along.

However, once my bottom teeth have reached a certain point, the current lower appliance will be sent off for modification to add the ability to adjust it in the forward (anterior) axis, like the upper appliance. But this is unique to my mouth- the reader (or another DNA patient) will experience their own unique course of treatment.

Another piece of information I just learned which ties into a question a reader asked me previously: Sometime later, it is likely I am going to receive Invisalign appliances to wear. The DNA appliance will take me to a certain point, but then we will need to fine tune things a bit with Invisalign. This has something to do with "rotation". But I am also told it is included in the price of the DNA treatment. Which is good, because the expense is already quite a significant burden on my budget.

There are a few other details I have learned about what the dentist would like to do to my teeth, but they are unique to my situation and would not be relevant to readers, so I will decline to bore you with those details. I'll just say, my teeth have a lot of wear and tear on them.


  1. Hi Rick, I'm another one impressed with your progress; and I am very curious about a bunch of things. Hope you don't mind all my questions.

    Has the front wire interfered at all with your keeping your mouth closed, or have you continued, easily, to nose breathe?

    Do you exercise much & eat lots of fruit & veggies or just a regular American diet?

    I remember Singh saying something about the cells needing to rest. About how long do you figure you're wearing the bottom appliance?

    Also, did your dentist say how many hours you'll need to wear the device after treatment is complete? (top, only?)

    Is the additional treatment such as with Invisalign common, do you know? I had thought the DNA treatment was supposed to be complete.

    Thank you much. I find your blog very helpful.--Marcie

  2. Your teeth are looking great! Very speedy progress - it's very impressive. I hope mine look half as good as yours do in a few months time.

    I know in a previous blog entry, you said you didn't feel any pain (apart from where a wire was rubbing a part of gum it hadn't touched before). Has the process still remained pain free, other than that incident? I'm curious, as my dentist advised the process would be completely pain free... Yet a crooked tooth that I can feel is slowly moving into position is incredibly painful, and I am unable to eat solids at the moment. The day of adjusting the appliance is quite painful too, due to all the pressure. Not nearly as painful as Invisalign or traditional braces would be though, I'm sure.

    Marcie - from my understanding, Invisalign after treatment with the DNA Appliance is common (my dentist says if my teeth become straight, it will be a 'bonus', but this isn't the main reason for treatment in my case and he's not guaranteeing straight front teeth). I will need to get Invisalign after my treatment as well. While the device can straighten the 6 front teeth (where there are springs at the back to move them into place), the back teeth are completely encased in the plastic mould (as you can see from the photo). Thus, if you have particularly crowded or misaligned back teeth, the device will push them out through the jaw expansion, but not straighten them up as the mould shape of the device for your teeth to fit into stays the same. Hence the need for fine tuning later. That's my fairly basic explanation from what my dentist has explained.

  3. I am glad you find the blog helpful Marcie. Taking your questions in order:

    1. No problems keeping my mouth closed. I breathe as I always have.

    2. I'm not sure about the relevance of this question to DNA orthodontia, but assuming there is relevance I would say I'm physically active but not a serious sweat-making exercisor. And I am in between the very healthy-very unhealthy diet extremes. Not a total veg (not shy about them either) and certainly not at the habitual McDonald's, soft drinks and chips end of things either. My usual snack food is nuts and I drink OJ every day and lately carrot juice as well though not every day.

    3. I have heard this about the resting. I aim for 16 hrs/day with the bottom appliance. Sometimes I fall short.

    4. I believe I was told that "maintenance" will just be while sleeping. I don't know if that will be top only.

    5. Another reader was told she would get Invisalign. I don't know how common it is or whether Dr. Singh is part of that decision process. But I would assume it's going to be based on individual needs rather than systematic.

  4. Berry,

    Yes it has remained pain free for me. Though for accuracy's sake I will clarify that I have had multiple instances where the acrylic plastic began to slightly irritate soft tissue as the mouth cavity changed shape and the appliance had to be adjusted by the dentist (by abrading the plastic down at the point it touches tissue). The dentist always took care of this right away, upon getting the complaint. It's normal. If it doesn't happen, then the shape of the mouth isn't changing. By the time the treatment is finished, the various modifications made to the appliance will result in it being a significantly different shape than it was at the beginning. That is to say, it gets modified to mirror the changes in your mouth, in order to keep it comfortable.

    If you have not reported the pain to your dentist, you may want to do so and get her professional opinion. I don't believe it's supposed to go like that. Something may need adjusting.

    With the new bottom appliance, when it is freshly adjusted I have experienced pressure that I would say is a little uncomfortable for the first minute or two of wearing it, but then it is not uncomfortable. It feels tight but not uncomfortably so. This experience repeats when it is first put in for a few following days.

    I'm not sure if you are suggesting you are eating while wearing the appliance, but I was told to take the appliances out for eating.

  5. Thank you for the response. It sounds like I should mention it to the dentist if it doesn't ease up within the next few days.

    I reported the usual pain after adjusting and the dentist didn't seem too concerned. It's usually only after I adjust and only for the first day (it's more of an uncomfortable pressure than anything). I'm adjusting it once a week, and I turn the key all the way from the front to the very back each adjustment (which opens the appliance a fair amount) so I understand it will be a little uncomfortable.

    However, the real pain only started after I went to the dentist for the routine monthly check-up. The dentist adjusted a spring and it has been since then that the pain in one tooth has been very bad (the one that is crooked, which has been behind my front tooth). I do take the appliance out to eat, but I mean that when I do, my toothache is painful enough to prevent me from being able to chew or eat hard foods with that tooth. I know the tooth is moving and it's quite crooked, so perhaps more pressure needs to be applied in order for it to straighten up. I feel that my check-ups are really rushed so it's hard to ask questions, and when I do I get a different answer each time.

  6. I much appreciated your replies, Rick & Berry.

    I'm wondering how often, Rick, would you say you've been seeing your dentist? I know it was once a week at first, & then bi-weekly, but with the various adjustments, has that schedule stayed about the same? (I would be traveling to do this therapy.)

    And thank you for answering my question about diet & exercise, even though you questioned the relevance to this therapy. I just assumed they would be important for new bone formation & wondered where you were on the spectrum. The detail was interesting & useful.

    I'm curious if you're aware of any difference in your airway as yet? Also, I did notice, like you, that your face seemed a little more filled out in April. Have you seen any more change, & have others noticed it, too?

    Again, thank you immensely for this blog!

  7. Marcie,

    I see what you mean about bone formation. I am unfamiliar with what type of diet should promote it (other than calcium intake), but that is something worthwhile to look up. I was not making any conscious effort toward a bone-promoting diet.

    I am still on a biweekly checkup schedule, but I don't know if people should make any assumptions about their own course of treatment based on mine.

    I have not experienced any difference in my airway. I am reported to still mildly snore (not sleep apnea).

    I have not noticed further change in my face contours, but as I mentioned we are also 'on hold' for a while with the upper appliance, allowing the lower teeth to catch up.

    As to the existing facial changes, it's subtle. Someone who doesn't look at me a lot (and why should anyone do so?) might not notice. One person who does see me a lot did comment he thought it was a flattering change. A couple others made "there seems to be something different but I'm not sure what" comments.

  8. Appending the above: I do drink a lot of soy milk (keep your comments to yourself, Lewis Black!). The label says it's very high in calcium. Whether or not that's usable calcium, I don't know.

  9. Soy juice, huh, Rick! (I hadn't heard of Lewis Black before.) Actually, I drink soy milk, too. I also read Andrew Weil, who says soy's calcium, tho less than in cow's milk, is useable. For bones, he also recommends vitamin D (& K); you're lucky you can get D from your southern California sun.

    I appreciate your responses.

  10. Hi Rick,

    I'm considering the DNA for sleep apnea,head neck and jaw pain. I have a couple of questions if you wouldn't me asking.

    1) Have you noticed a distinct improvement in sleep quality since you have worn the appliance.

    2) when you wear upper and lower appliance, does all that acrylic on the inside of your arches, restrict the room in your mouth for your tongue and cause you problems at night?

    Appreciate your feedback.

  11. i am really impressed to your blog thanks for sharing.
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