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is a procedure used to hold your jaw in place. You may need this to help your jaw heal from a fracture. It may also be used if you have a disease that affects your jaw, or you will have surgery to correct a jaw problem.
How to prepare for jaw wiring:
- Your healthcare provider will do tests to show how your teeth usually come together. This will help the provider set your jaw in the correct position during the procedure.
- You may be given local or general anesthesia. With local anesthesia, you may feel pressure, but you should not feel pain. General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain. You may also be given an antibiotic through your IV to prevent a bacterial infection. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to anesthesia or antibiotics.
- You may need to arrange to have someone drive you home after the procedure. The person should stay with you for 24 hours in case you develop problems.
What will happen during jaw wiring:
- Your healthcare provider will move your jaw into the correct position. If you have a broken jaw, the provider will guide the broken bones back together.
- A bar called an arch bar may be attached to your upper and lower jaws. Thin wires may be threaded through and behind your teeth. Elastic bands may be placed to connect the upper and lower bars. The bands will prevent you from being able to open your mouth.
- You may also need screws placed in your upper and lower jaws. The wires are used to hold the right and left sides in place when attached to the screws.
What to expect after jaw wiring:
- You may have some pain or tenderness after the procedure. This is normal and should get better within a few days.
- It may be difficult to talk or be understood. You might find it easier to write on a pad of paper or type on an electronic device.
- You will need to eat foods that have been blended with liquids. You will have to eat these foods through a syringe or straw. Your healthcare provider will tell you which foods you can eat and how to blend them.
Risks of jaw wiring:
Your teeth may be damaged during the procedure. Fractured jaw bones may not heal properly, even with wiring.
Seek care immediately if:
- You have trouble breathing.
- You suddenly feel lightheaded and short of breath.
Contact your healthcare provider if:
- You have a fever.
- You have a bad headache.
- You have numbness in your face.
- You have jaw pain that does not go away with medicine.
- The wires in your mouth are loose.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
You may need any of the following:
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
- Antibiotics help prevent or fight a bacterial infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Care for yourself at home:
- Do not put pressure on your jaw. Do not push on your jaw or let anything push on it. Sleep on your back.
- Use a warm compress to relieve jaw muscle pain. Your muscles may become sore from not moving. A warm compress can help relieve pain. To make a compress, soak a small towel in warm water. Wring out the extra water before you apply the towel to your skin.
- Put dental wax on the ends of the wires if they poke your cheeks. Dental wax is available without a doctor's order. Always remove the wax before you brush your teeth.
Clean your mouth 4 to 6 times each day:
You will need to clean your mouth 4 to 6 times a day. Healthcare providers will show you how to do this. Rinse your mouth each time you brush your teeth. Your healthcare provider will tell you what to use to rinse your mouth. Apply petroleum jelly to your lips. This will help prevent dry or chapped lips.
Eat soft or blenderized foods as directed:
You will need to eat foods that have been blended with liquids. You will have to eat these foods through a syringe or straw. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about the type of foods you can eat.
Only cut the wires if you are having severe trouble breathing or you are choking. Your healthcare provider will give you a pair of wire cutters before you go home. The provider will show you how to use them. Keep the wire cutters with you at all times so they will be available in an emergency. If you do have to cut the wires, go to the emergency department immediately. You will need to have your jaw wired shut again.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You may need to go to a specialist if your upper and lower teeth are not lined up properly. Write down your questions so you will remember to ask them during your visits.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.