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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
You will need to care for your mouth several times every day. You will also need to protect your jaw while the bones heal or teeth move into the correct position. Your healthcare provider will teach you when and how to cut the wires in case of an emergency.
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. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him 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.