Monday, May 21, 2012

The Long Awaited Palate Expansion Update, 5/21/2012

I often receive e-mails from folks asking how my Homeoblock experience is going, and rather than continuing to respond to individual queries, I finally decided to get off my butt (metaphorically) and create an update post. So here it is.

It's been many months since my foray into the world of palate expansion.  After finding an affordable option for my palatal expander of choice, the Homeoblock, I diligently used the device as instructed -- one quarter turn each week, if possible.  A few months later, I had created almost a 1/16 inch gap in the device.  Pretty impressive movement!

I visited Dr. Darlington in Flagstaff for a check-up, and he was surprised how much I had expanded my palate. Actually, "surprised" isn't the right word.  He actually seemed a little concerned.  As I was among the first of his patients to request the Homeoblock, his experience had been limited and there was cause in his mind to slow down the expansion.  In fact, he told me I might want to back off some.

I found this unexpected, as I had not experienced any uncomfortable symptoms, and the Homeoblock seemed to be doing the trick.  But Dr. Darlington explained that the device appeared to be kind of slipping and not fitting as well, so in the long run it would not have the desired effect.  He went on to say that it might actually tip the teeth instead of expanding the palate if I continued applying the quarter turns daily.  So I left his office that day with instructions to reverse the quarter-turns until the device fit again and then apply very small 1/8 turns or less for a few months.

As instructed, I backed off the expansion of the Homeoblock to where it fit better.  Still, it seemed to me like it wasn't optimal, as I could easily slip off the device with my tongue, where it's only supposed to come off with a firm double-handed loosening.  I decided to just let it be and use it like a retainer until I saw Dr. Darlington again.  Perhaps I would even have to get an entirely new Homeoblock created.

My last appointment was almost a year ago now. (Wow, that's a long time without an update ...)

So now I use my Homeoblock like a retainer and it keeps my teeth from relapsing to pre-expansion position.  I notice that I can now go days without putting the device in and only feel a slight pressure upon reinsertion.  That indicates to me that my palate is holding the teeth in place quite well.  I do intend to visit Dr. Darlington again in the near future, and I will give an update if that happens.

Well, the story ends there for now.  I have been focusing on many other things in the meantime, including explorations in outdoor education work, music production, building community, and researching politics.  That's my nature -- I have a great many interests, and often some take precedence over others, as there is only so much time in the world.  But I do want to refocus my efforts on blogging and integrate some of the interesting things I am up to.  Until then, I wish everybody out there happy expansions!