Sunday, February 27, 2011

Palate Expansion Update, 2/27/11: Finally Got It!

The Homeoblock appliance with case and advancement tool.
On my way home from Arizona, I swung by Dr. Darlington's office for an appointment to fit my Homeoblock and take it home with me.  Dr. Darlington, as usual, was very kind and accommodating to my needs as a patient living six hours away, scheduling the appointment for when it was most convenient for me.  The Homeoblock fitting and insertion procedure took about a half-hour due to the upper palate device not fitting very well.  It was a back-and-forth scenario with Dr. Darlington inserting the appliance and then me giving him feedback on how it felt.  There was some discomfort around my gums, and he adjusted the Homeoblock with small pliers to fix it (similar to what is seen in this training video by Dr. Belfor).  I was pretty surprised how easy and painless it all was.  I was also relieved to find out that I would only be wearing the appliance at night, rather than all day and night for a few months as I initially thought.

The upper Homeoblock fit well enough, although I still felt that it wasn't optimal.  Dr. Darlington said I could adjust the wiring as I needed to when I got home with my fingers, so I wasn't too worried about it and decided to get back on the road.  The Homeoblock was given to me in a retainer-like case with an adjustment tool to advance the appliance a quarter turn each week.  It's a pretty slick system.

At home, I made sure to take some "before" pictures to compare later down the line when I finally look like the Neanderthal that I've always wanted to.  Kidding.  But it will be interesting to see what changes occur, however subtle.  Here's some of my mug shots to show you all what I'm working with.  Please understand that I sacrificed a great beard so that my facial structure can be seen for what it really is -- all in the name of science.  First face pictures:

Note the yellow line above that I drew on my face to illustrate its lack of symmetry.  The left side appears to droop down, particularly noticeable by observing the eyes and lips.  In the picture on the right, you'll notice that while smiling there is a definite natural face lift going on for me, but there is still marked asymmetry around the nose. Now let's take a look at my glorious upper and lower palate as they are now.

On the far left, you can see how my teeth come together off centered.  My lower palate (center) is pretty narrow and my front teeth are slightly overlapping due to years of shifting (I got my braces off at age 13).  On the right is my upper palate and a similar process is underway with one tooth in particular poking out a bit.  Of course, also note that neither palate has the wisdom teeth courtesy of my high school orthodontist.

After analyzing my facial features and chompers, I was excited to try the much-anticipated Homeoblock out that night.  I inserted it right before bed, slept through the night fine (besides a little excessive drooling), and woke up to fairly sore teeth.  Things were definitely moving!  My jaw felt like it had a bit of a workout.  I could still eat solid foods and the soreness went away after a few hours in the day.  The next night, I decided to try to adjust the upper Homeoblock to get it to fit better.  I toyed around with it a bit much, apparently, as one of the wires snapped!  "Well, it was an interesting $1700 experiment while it lasted," I thought to myself.  So I wore only the bottom palate that night.  I called Dr. Darlington the following day to inform him of what had happened.  He said to just send it to him and he can get it fixed, and since it still seemed to not fit well, he would replace the broken wire with a "ball joint" to see if that helped.  If it didn't we could just have a new upper palate Homeoblock made from a freshly formed cast of my mouth.  Great!  I really feel supported by Dr. Darlington, and I'm grateful that this is all covered under the initial cost that I paid.

So I should get my upper Homeoblock back next week sometime.  Until then, the doc said that it would be fine to wear my lower palate appliance.  I will update everyone once I pass the two or three week mark with that.  Also, I would like to compare the Homeoblock with Damon Braces at some point.  I am awaiting Dr. Belfor's thoughts on this subject when he returns from traveling.

One more thing.  Those of you interested in the subject of adult facial enhancement should drop by Nourishing Nancy's website to keep up with her updates on the Damon Braces system.  She has already seen very significant results!

Return From Wintercount

It was another great time at the Wintercount Primitive Skills Rendevous this year.  Beautiful weather and beautiful people; primitive skills galore and amazing speakers and discussions; and, as always, a wonderful sense of community in the Arizona desert.  Now that I'm back in freezing cold Utah, I'm kind of kicking myself for not getting more sun while down south.  Oh well, I guess I'll have to keep up my vitamin D stores through food.

My class on Primitive Nutrition and Health was a blast to teach.  The folks in attendance were very engaged and had lots of insight and knowledge to share.  I'm always amazed by the collective wisdom of a group of people, and the discussions that came about from this particular group were quite thought-provoking, to say the least.  I'm especially grateful for the folks that were well-versed in some of the finer details of human evolution, which really added a lot to the class.  It was also fun hearing others' stories about diet and health and their response to some of the material I provided.  One man, who had been on a diet of donuts and soda, expressed his relief that to eat healthy doesn't mean that you have to munch on baby carrots and celery all day long -- and that a diet of steak and potatoes is a viable way to achieve wellness.  He liked that idea very much.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wintercount Primitive Skills Rendezvous 2011

I'm off to Arizona for the yearly primitive skills gathering, Wintercount.  I'm looking forward to going "abo" for an entire week and teaching a few classes.  This year, I'll be covering the history of the human diet -- from paleolithic to modern -- and the studies of Weston A. Price once again, along with an edible Sonoran Desert plants walk.  I'm hoping to learn more about the atlatl, as well, as I want to set up a range at the wilderness rehab I work for.  Should be a good time.  If any of you blog readers out there are planning on being there, I'd love to meet you!

I'm also planning on picking up my Homeoblock on the way back, so I'll update everyone on the details on that upon my return.  See you in a week or so!