Just as a cast immobilizes other bones for healing, immobilization of the jaw bones is necessary when broken or surgically repositioned. Wiring of the teeth and immobilization with splints and rubber band traction may be used to position the jawbones for healing
The usual healing time is 6 to 8 weeks
Initially you will have pain. Take prescribed medicine as needed. The pain will gradually diminish. Do not attempt to move or open your jaws. This action only increases the pain, may delay healing, and may cause muscle spasms in your jaw muscles.
Adequate nourishment is important during this period. Your diet will consist of milkshakes, soups, and juices. Many liquid food supplements are also available such as Sego, Metrecal, Sustagen, Boost, and others. A blender or food processor is useful to puree solid food for intake. Five or six small feedings each day are usually easier than three larger ones. Your oral intake should be at least 8 to 10 cups of fluid each day.
A general rule is to maintain a minimum of 2,000 calories per day. It is important to keep well hydrated as well. You may experiment yourself. Liquid pureed baby food may be used. If you use blenderized food the majority of the time, two to three 8oz. servings of the supplement are still recommended daily.
It is not uncommon to lose up to 10% of your original weight. If weight loss becomes greater than this, an added high protein/high calorie supplement should be added which can be purchased at any health food store.
Some patients are concerned about nausea and/or vomiting while wired together. Under normal circumstances this is not a great concern. Your diet is liquid so any emesis would be liquid and easily passed around the wire/bands. Alcohol and drugs MUST be avoided.
Oral cleanliness is of the utmost importance while the teeth are wired together. Rinsing the mouth 4 to 5 times daily, especially after eating, is a necessity. A small child’s toothbrush is also handy for cleaning. The following mouthwashes should be used separately at each cleansing period:
- Chloraseptic, Listerine, or Cepacol mouthwash – ½ strength
- Peridex oral rinses
Frequent office visits and periodic post-operative x-rays are necessary.
Following initial recovery (1 to 2 weeks), a moderate schedule may be resumed. No swimming or contact sports are allowed. You may bathe and wash your hair.
If wires begin to irritate cheeks or lips, wax can be placed over these sharp areas temporarily. Vaseline or other lip lubricants will aid in comfort. If any problems arises such as a shifting of your bite, fever, excessive swelling or bleeding, call the office immediately.