40 Weeks with AGGA: Fastest Growth Yet
Is non-surgical maxillary growth possible in adults?
These photos were taken on 08/21/2018, 40 weeks into my treatment with the Anterior Growth Guidance Appliance (AGGA). You can see my week 38 photos here.
These past two weeks there was almost a whole millimeter of growth on both the left and right sides. Almost a millimeter in 2 weeks – that's ridiculous!
The even crazier part is that my sense is that most of this growth occurred in just the past five days, since my last adjustment with Dr. Kundel on August 16th. I think so because in the weeks leading up to this adjustment growth had slowed due to the AGGA spring being maxed out (see week 38 photos).
As soon as Dr. Kundel re-tensioned the spring I began feeling intense sensations throughout the front of my maxilla. It is common with AGGA for the front of the maxilla to feel sensitive, almost painful, in the days following an adjustment. This past adjustment was the most intense yet.
All gaps below were measured using feeler gauges.
Why Faster Growth?
I think the following 3 factors may be contributing to faster-than-ever growth:
- Carnivore diet - mechanical stimulation: You don't know Mewing until you eat meat and only meat 2-3 times per day. What better way to force yourself to Mew than by making your satiation dependent on it? The maxillofacial workout I enjoy with every meal has become my favorite aspect of eating, even more than flavor and quelling hunger.
- Carnivore diet - nutrition: I'm no expert on the nutritional science of carnivore eating. That being said, I really don't care that much about it. Ever since I began dieting (I began with paleo in 2010) my only litmus test for the quality of a diet is how it makes me feel. When it comes to choosing food, I value my inner sense of energy and well being more than any blood test or scientific study. And eliminating everything but beef, chicken, fish and other meats makes me feel great. It's that simple. Chemically something very positive is occurring within my body, and whatever that chemical change is may be boosting bone growth.
- More powerful tongue forces: As my mouth grows bigger my tongue is able to assume proper tongue posture more consistently and with greater leverage. Of course this means more maxillary stimulation which means faster growth. This is the feedback loop made possible by AGGA. It gives you the prerequisite tongue space needed to engage in efficacious myofunctional therapy in the first place. I have long said that myofunctional therapy is a bit hopeless without proper tongue space (I tried it). I believe this now more than ever.
AGGA and Maloclussion
It's obvious based on the smile photos below that my maxilla appears to be at a tilt, i.e. "rolled." What's going on here?
I don't know exactly but I believe that malocclusion is at least a contributing factor. In other words maybe at this stage in treatment I'm simply dealing with severe malocclusion (due to bite plates, constant movement of teeth, pre-existing malocclusion, etc.) which is causing my upper and lower jaws to not be symmetric with each other and with the rest of my face.
In support of this hypothesis, we must remember that I DEFINITELY have far-from-perfect occlusion right now.
Consider the following:
1) I began AGGA treatment with pretty severe malocclusion.
2) The bite plates allow me to bring the teeth together in many different positions because they convert my lower molars into more or less flat surfaces. This is meant to allow my mandible to gradually slide forward as the maxilla remodels forward throughout AGGA treatment. Without making the lower molars flat my mandible would not be able to remodel forward because the cusps of the upper and lower teeth would collide and prevent it.
3) Given that my mandible CAN bite in many different positions, in day to day life and from one photoshoot to the next, it does. Why? Because my body is transitioning right now. With AGGA my maxilla has moved forward almost a whole centimeter and all of a sudden my mandible can swing farther forward than ever before. But it doesn't just do so on its own, automatically.
It has to be trained to do so. And the training is inconsistent and far from perfect. It's a process.
When I'm mindful the mandible is up here. When my mindfulness slips its back there. Hence my bite is changing day to day, moment to moment. I don't even know if you could call this malocclusion. It's more like "vari"-occlusion, or something like that. But it's definitely not "good" occlusion.
Maybe this is an appropriate time for me to stress the following point: AGGA does NOT bring the mandible forward by itself. It just moves the maxilla out of the way and provides you with an opportunity to bring the mandible forward through your own efforts.
The same is true with tongue posture. AGGA doesn't CAUSE good tongue posture. It causes an opportunity to develop good tongue posture.
Of course, tongue posture and position of the mandible are one and the same, aren't they? After all the tongue and mandible are directly attached to each other. Can you move one without moving the other? Try it. I certainly can't.
That's why I've been realizing lately that the key to remodeling the mandible forward during AGGA treatment is actually training the tongue. When the tongue comes forward and up so does the mandible.
Anyhow, back to my main point: I'm definitely dealing with inconsistent, poor occlusion right now and this is very likely a contributing factor to the apparent tilt/roll in my maxilla.
And so maybe a canted smile is to be expected at this stage in treatment. Perhaps it's part of what my friend and fellow AGGA patient calls "the ugly duckling vampire phase" that precedes tidying up the teeth with the controlled arch braces in the next phase of treatment.
For kicks. And keeping an eye on incisor-tilting.