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Jaw Wiring

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Dec 2, 2022.

What do I need to know about jaw wiring?

Jaw wiring 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. Before you go home after surgery, you will be given a pair of wire cutters. Keep the wire cutters with you at all times. You will need to know when and how to cut the wires in case of emergency.

How do I 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 should I 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.

What are the risks of jaw wiring?

Your teeth may be damaged during the procedure. Fractured jaw bones may not heal properly, even with wiring.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.