After Jaw Surgery/Facial Trauma
What to Expect After Surgery
As a result of your accident or because of jaw surgery, the surgeon has had to wire your jaws together. This was done for the special reason of allowing the jaw bones to be held in a particular position (without movement) so that they can fuse back together (much like a cast on a broken leg). Depending on your type of injury or surgery the jaws can be wired shut for a period of 2-6 weeks. The adequate time will be determined by Dr. Bhatti & Associate(s) but the goal is allow the bones to heal in a good, strong union in the best position possible. During the time your jaws are wired together, you will find eating, talking and other daily activities more challenging but manageable. This manual will provide some solutions for you to better cope with the wiring of the jaws and to help make things more comfortable. The following is a guideline of some of the things that you can expect. These are only guidelines. If you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask Dr. Bhatti, one of associates or the staff at Parkview Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.
- Take the antibiotics as prescribed until they are all finished.
- NO SMOKING (smoking drastically slows your healing process)
- NO ALCOHOL until all medication is finished.
- DO NOT CUT THE WIRES – Keep wire cutters with you at all times. Use wire cutters provided only for emergency situations, such a difficulty breathing or respiratory distress. Only cut the wires holding your mouth closed, not the wires holding the arch/braces. Do not cut wires if you are tired of being wired, hungry, nauseated, or vomiting. If you throw up, just bend over; open your lips and allow the liquid to flow out. Then brush your teeth and rinse your mouth thoroughly.
- Use wax to cover wires that may be causing discomfort (i.e. poking your cheeks, lips, or gums). Do this by taking a small piece of wax and covering the wire at the site of discomfort. Remove the wax before brushing teeth and eating or drinking.
- Use Vaseline/lip balm to keep your lips moist and to prevent dryness.
- Please take the prescribed pain medication(s) (which may be in liquid form or may need to be crushed) for pain relief. Follow the instructions on the bottle for dosing and timing of the medication(s).
You will have bleeding inside your mouth after surgery. This will gradually decrease over the first 2 to 3 days. A small amount of bleeding after that is normal for the first 4 weeks after surgery.
- Swelling is natural following surgery or injury. This usually disappears in 2-4 weeks. Swelling often reaches its greatest amount on the 3rd day following surgery and then gradually decline.
- When at home please use cold compresses (20 min on and 40 min off) for the first 3 days. After the 3rd day please start using heat to your face instead of cold compresses. Following this regimen will greatly reduce the amount of swelling you will get and speed up your recovery process.
After General Anaesthesia
It is normal to feel drowsy or confused for 12-24 hours following general anaesthesia. It is also normal to experience nausea following general anaesthesia/IV sedation. Nausea can persist for several days after your surgery. Medications can be prescribed if nausea persists.
- Use meal information provided to select foods to eat and use a blender to pure the food (good nutrition is important for proper healing)..
Keep physical activities to a minimum immediately following surgery.
If you are considering exercise, throbbing or bleeding may occur. If
this occurs, you should discontinue exercising. Keep in mind that you
are probably not taking normal nourishment so this may weaken you and
further limit your ability to exercise.
- Mouth care is extremely important for everyone. Now that your jaws have been wired together you must be especially concerned about good oral hygiene. You must keep your mouth clean to avoid infection and tooth decay. Food caught in the wires is not only unsightly, but it can produce an unpleasant odor. You should brush your teeth after every meal and before bedtime. A small, soft, child size toothbrush is easier to use while your jaws are wired together.
- You should also rinse your mouth with warm salt water at least 6 times per day to help reduce the chance of infection. If you have a Waterpik available, it may be used to rinse the food out between your teeth.
Please contact our office to arrange a follow up appointment prior to leaving the hospital. Our office telephone number is 905-456-7770.
Return to the clinic for any problems such a fever, and purulent drainage/pus from inside or outside your mouth, swelling, or wire breakage or cut(s). After hours and on weekends you make contact the oral surgeon on-call by calling our answering service at 905-570-9050.