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Category Archives: Epigenetic Orthodontics & Orthotropics

Video: Why I chose AGGA over mewing alone

I guess I make videos now, so here’s one addressing the question: why did you choose AGGA rather than just mewing? 

I already talked about this in this post, plus the rest of my AGGA-decision-making rationale and concerns, so check that out if you haven’t already. (I really am so much better at writing than talking, you guys.)

Review: The Crane Reverse-Pull Headgear

This is a slightly disorganized review of The Crane, which is a reverse-pull headgear / facepulling device that I tried a couple years ago when I was first embarking on my palate expansion journey with the Meridian appliance.

I found it in my closet today, and since there was little to no information online about this thing when I was trying to decide whether to give it a shot, I figured I’d at least share my experience.

This is their website.

This is a thread I found on The Great Work forum where people talk about it a little.

These are the other three blog posts on my site that mention it: 1, 2, 3

And here’s the video I just recorded! If you have any questions about it, ask away – I’ll answer as best I can.

Video: AGGA update, pandemic edition

Hey friends! For your viewing pleasure in the midst of global social distancing/quarantine, here’s another ~8 minutes of me rambling. I’m going to try to get my progress photos/measurements soon to post, so you can actually see changes.

Sending much love to you all! And I meant what I said in the video – if you find yourself in a place where you’re struggling with the current events and don’t have the strongest support network, please do reach out (alyssa@truthbutter.com, or alyssa.luck on insta). I’m exactly as friendly and nonthreatening as you’d expect.

9-month AGGA update

Thanks to my increasingly chaotic life, I have not been able to bring myself to sit in front of a computer and type a coherent update, but this evening I did manage to sit on the floor and speak an incoherent update, so hopefully that counts for something.

So behold – my first ever video appearance on the internet. (Outside of social media, y’know. Who wants to follow me on insta?! I know you all do, after seeing this masterpiece.)

I forgot to mention in the video that I did have a one-month ‘holding period’ of sorts, since my first AGGA broke and I had to be in a retainer for most of December while the new one was made.

Also, I highly recommend peeping the “Recent Comments” section of the sidebar for more of the latest. Because although I suck at posting regular updates, I do reply to everyone who leaves a comment. Eventually. And usually my commenters have far more valuable contributions to the broader conversation than my blog does.

Enough preamble. Here’s seven minutes of me talking.

 

Why I Decided to Try AGGA (plus some lingering concerns)

You guys. I wrote this post in MAY, and somehow managed to not hit publish. So here it is, almost six months later, which means I’m six months into my AGGA treatment, which means I’m way overdue for more updates. Given my track record, I’d say you should expect another update in April, but I will do my absolute best to exceed expectations. 

Ever since I halted my last palate expansion attempt due to bone loss concerns, I’ve been exploring other options and deciding on the best course of action. Now, almost a full year later, I’ve started treatment with a new dentist (Dr. Ed Suh) doing AGGA and CAB.

It wasn’t an easy decision-making process, and it’s not a perfect solution by any means (not that a perfect solution exists), so I wanted to share all of the factors I’ve taken into consideration, and why I ultimately decided that AGGA is the best route for me.

I’ll also share the remaining concerns that I have about the treatment, and how I’m dealing with them (aside from sporadic mild panicking. Only slightly joking.).

Read more →

Everything You Need to Know about AGGA (Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance)

Last updated 4/8/2019

Hey folks! This is my first post in what will hopefully be a series about the various orthodontic appliances used for non-surgical palate expansion and facial growth in adults.

You should all know by now that I’m not a dentist or orthodontist, so unfortunately, I won’t have any groundbreaking contributions of knowledge. But at least I can put all the info in one place, right? I’ve linked all of my sources throughout this post, so you can go link-diving if you want to read other people’s words and learn more.

If you want info and experience from an actual AGGA patient, definitely check out Ronnie’s website. He was my first source of information on AGGA, and is the true AGGA MVP for documenting his journey so thoroughly.

Table of Contents

What is AGGA?

Who came up with AGGA?

What is involved in AGGA treatment, and how long does it take?

How does AGGA work?

Is it legit?

Are there any dangers or downsides to AGGA?

How much does AGGA cost?

Where do practitioners learn how to use AGGA?

How can I find a practitioner who uses AGGA?

Before and Afters

Where can I learn more about AGGA?

Read more →

Everything You Need to Know About Mewing

This page is a work in progress! Last updated 4/8/2019.

What is mewing? 

“Mewing” is a term coined by followers of Mike Mew (and his father, John Mew) to describe all of the actions/exercises involved in developing and maintaining proper tongue (and to a lesser extent, lip/cheek/jaw) posture. In addition to keeping the tongue in its rightful place on the roof of the mouth, this also includes things like proper chewing/swallowing technique and various tongue exercises.

(That’s the broader definition. Alternately, “mewing” can sometimes simply refer to maintaining proper tongue posture on the roof of the mouth.)

Mewing has started to pick up steam as an underground/fringe movement, and is notably popular among incel communities. (If you aren’t familiar with the term “incel,” I’ll let urban dictionary educate you.)

Read more →

A Non-Update Update

Hey friends! Quite a few of you have been asking for updates on my palate expansion journey, so I figured I’d post one even though I don’t really have anything new to share.

Current Status

Treatment is still paused, due to a CBCT scan showing that we appeared to be pushing the roots of my teeth outside of the palate bone. (Not good for long-term tooth stability.)

I have continued wearing my Meridian appliance/expander at night, for two reasons. 1) To make sure it will continue to fit, so that I can use it with my Crane (once I decide to start using that again; more on this below). 2) I grind my teeth a lot at night, and the occlusal plates of the appliance provide some protection.

Once I stopped wearing the appliance during the day, my teeth immediately started moving back (un-expanding?), to where the appliance would barely fit at night. So each night before I put it on, I would do one or two reverse quarter-turns until it didn’t feel so tight anymore. I lost quite a bit of expansion progress that way, but clearly it wasn’t true/healthy expansion, so I thought it would be best to just undo some of it.

I’ve also been trying to maintain better tongue posture during the day (à la Mike Mew), but geez – it’s HARD! My tongue doesn’t fit well in my mouth to begin with (hence the need for all this palate expansion nonsense), but between eating and talking and breathing…man, tongue posture is NOT an easy thing to re-train. So that’s a work in progress.

 

The Crane

I still have the Crane, which is the horrifying-looking neck brace that I attach to my appliance with rubber bands to get a pulling force on the maxilla. I haven’t been wearing it because it disrupts my sleep, and I’ve had too much else going on in my life recently that was already disrupting my sleep, so I didn’t want to add to it.

HOWEVER, things are finally beginning to calm down, so I’ll probably start experimenting with it again in the next few months. Because the Crane puts forward force on the entire upper arch, I’m hoping that it will prompt some forward movement/growth of the maxilla without shifting the roots of my teeth too much (which I want to avoid for now, due to the aforementioned CBCT scan-related reasons).

There’s also a segment of the adult palate-expansion community (that’s a thing, right?) that advocates for using stronger “face-pulling” forces, but for shorter periods of time. This info used to be on facepulling.com, but it appears that domain has been recently overhauled, and I don’t see it there anymore. I don’t remember the exact guidelines, but I’m thinking it was something like 10-20 min of constant pressure, usually by wearing some kind of appliance (or braces) and just pulling on a string or rubber band that you’ve attached to it.

Do any of you remember seeing that info? The short-duration approach would be much easier to incorporate than wearing the Crane all night every night, so I might experiment with that over the next few weeks. Can’t hurt, right?

 

Anyway, that’s where I’m at. Stay tuned. I’ve loved hearing from all of you who are experimenting with this stuff, so please feel free to plug your own blog below (if you have one), or just post your own updates in the comments so others can follow along with you too!

 

For reference, here are all the other posts I’ve shared so far on the subject of orthodontics/orthotropics:

Palate Expansion Update: Concerning CBCT Scan Results

I am long overdue for a progress update! Last time I posted, I shared some progress pics, and was about to get a CBCT scan to reassure myself and my orthodontist that we weren’t pushing my teeth out of the bone.

Well…unfortunately, the CBCT scan was not reassuring. In fact, it was pretty concerning. At some point I’ll get around to posting screenshots from the scan, but for now, I’ll just share a snippet from the radiology report:

cbct scan results

In layman’s terms? Although the CBCT scan isn’t precise enough to tell us whether the roots of my teeth are fully poking through the bone, it can tell us that the bone outside of the roots on my upper teeth is extremely thin. And that’s not good.

Side note: Did you see what they said about my airway? Reduced airway space is one of the main risks of retractive orthodontics, and another reason why I need my maxilla expanded and pulled forward!

Anyway. Needless, to say, the CBCT results were pretty soul-crushing. I mean, I had spent a lot of time and money covering my bases and making sure I was doing this the right way, and I felt so confident that I was on the right track. Not only did this scan derail me completely, it also showed me that once again, all of the “experts” I had put my trust in might have been wrong. Read more →

5-Month Palate Expansion Progress Photos

Hey friends! It’s been five months since I began my journey with my first palate expander, and two months since I started with the DNA/Meridian appliance. I had them take some progress photos at my appointment this week, so I figured I’d share with the internet!

Full disclosure: I think the fact that my hair was wet and my eyes were kinda starting to close in the “before” photos makes the progress photos of my face look a bit more dramatic than they otherwise would. But you can definitely still see that there’s been progress! Also, these are definitely the most hideous photos of me to grace the internet thus far. Hooray. Read more →