3 FAQs About Being Wired Shut After Jaw Surgery

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If you need to have corrective jaw surgery, you'll need to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Every surgeon has his or her preferences when it comes to wiring patients shut after the procedure. If your bone density is good, your surgeon may opt out of this step. However, some surgeons would rather be safe than sorry and require wiring the mouth shut so that the bone has the best chance of healing correctly. If you need to be wired shut, here are some questions you may have.

1. How do you eat when you're wired shut?

Your surgeon will provide you with syringes and tubes; you can fill these up with blended food and inject them at the back of your mouth, where there is a gap between your cheeks and second or third molars. Some people have a hard time with the syringes, so they may find it easier to just sip thinner soups/beverages through the contacts of their teeth with a sippy cup.

Although eating can be a challenge at first, it's important to take supplemental shakes and eat frequently, as the nutrition from your meals will help you heal.  

2. What happens if you throw up?

Some people get nauseous due after coming off the anesthesia and worry about throwing up. Although it's gross to think about, it's important to go over this emergency with your doctor, so you don't panic. The good news is that you don't necessarily need to cut your wires if this happens. Lean forward, so you don't choke, and pull your cheeks out with your fingers, and the vomit will go through the sides of the tooth contacts.

Your surgeon will provide you with wire cutters, so if you do need to cut them off, you can. After throwing up, be sure to rinse out your mouth with water. Make an appointment with your surgeon, and he or she can rewire the jaws together.

3. How do you keep your teeth clean?

Your surgeon will prescribe an oral antibiotic mouthwash that will get rid of bacteria and help keep your sutures clean. This mouthwash will act as your toothbrush and paste until your wires are removed. However, it's important that you do brush the areas of your teeth you can reach after each meal.

Your surgeon may give you a special toothpaste and toothbrush, like an interproximal brush that can go through the wires and loosen debris. Because many people are sore, they find it easier to buy a baby or child toothbrush to reach their back teeth.

Although this is a challenging step in your oral surgery, it can be done. Talk with your oral surgeon for more information so you can prepare yourself.