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It often surprises people how easy it is to fracture your jaw. The structure of the lower jaw, in particular, makes it very susceptible to fractures even from a light blow. These jaw fractures can be painful, however, most of the time patients find the rehabilitation period even more difficult to bear than the initial pain and discomfort.
The average healing time for fractures of the jaw is around six to eight weeks, providing patients follow all the post-procedural instructions closely. Otherwise, there is a real risk of causing complications and delaying the time taken to complete healing.
Take Your Medications As Instructed
It seems obvious and something that almost everyone would do, but the reality is very different. Depending upon the nature of the injury, it is likely that the patient will be prescribed a combination of pain medication, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication and other drugs added as necessary.
This combination of drugs, along with the fact that eating will be severely compromised until the wires fixing the jaw are removed can be quite troublesome for some patients. Doctors will make every effort to include medication that can be taken as a liquid.
For a large majority of fractures, the teeth will need to be ‘fixed’ together through the use of wires. This process is called as intermaxillary fixation and can be quite uncomfortable for the patients. The purpose behind wiring up the jaws is to prevent them from moving and thus allowing uncomplicated fracture healing to take place.
During this period, the kind of food that a patient can eat is limited to liquids or food that has been blended into a liquid. The initial healing period requires that patients to limit themselves to watery liquids that will be easy to take in until the swelling subsides, while the latter period can involve thicker liquids to be ingested.
The lack of fiber in this kind of diet often results in patients developing constipation and so high fiber foods or supplements are advised to be included in the diet.
Even if the wires keeping the jaw together come off before the entire duration of healing is over, it is advisable for the patients to stick to a semi-solid or liquid diet.
Getting Used To The Wires
There is no way of getting around the wires holding your teeth together if the fracture demands it. There are instances of patients deliberately cutting off the wires out of frustration and that usually results in a lot more pain, discomfort and lasting damage than they had bargained for.
One of the problems with the wires is that they injure the gums or insides of the cheek and cause ulceration. Your dentist will be able to make you more comfortable by applying a sticky wax on the surface of the wires as well as prescribe medication to help with the ulceration.
Some of the wires can become loose or come off without compromising healing, but the mouth should remain immobilized. If jaw movement becomes possible due to wire breakage then you should get in touch with your dentist to have them reapplied.