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What is a Wired Jaw?

By M.R. Anglin
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A wired jaw is a jaw that has been wired shut after being broken or dislocated. The jaw is wired in these cases to promote healing. Sometimes, in rare cases, a doctor will wire a patient's jaw shut so he or she can lose weight. The procedure is usually done by putting brackets on the back teeth and lacing wire between the top teeth and the bottom teeth. Doing this can help keep a person from opening and closing his mouth while healing is taking place.

In the case of a broken or dislocated jaw, a wired jaw is one method of treatment a doctor may choose to promote healing. Just like a cast will keep the bones of an arm or a leg still so they will heal straight, so too does wiring a jaw shut. The person with a wired jaw will have a limited amount of movement, so the bones are better able to be kept in alignment while the body repairs them.

Healing is not the only reason for wiring a person’s jaw shut, however. Some doctors will wire a jaw shut in order to help a person lose weight. Without being able to open his or her mouth to chew, a person with a wired jaw is often forced to reduce his or her calorie intake. In response, the body typically will take the energy it needs from other sources, such as fat stores. The patient's diet should be planned under a doctor's supervision to ensure he or she is getting adequate nutrition. The patient should also be sure to carry wire cutters with him at all times, so he can free himself in the case of an emergency.

One of the biggest problems a person must deal with when their jaw is wired shut is how to eat. Without having the option to open his or her mouth, a person is usually resigned to a liquid diet. The foods that are normally chewed and swallowed would have to be pureed until thin enough to drink through a straw. Some diet possibilities include tomato soup, broth, fruit smoothies and protein drinks. The individual's diet generally must be carefully monitored and planned, so the person will get enough of the proper nutrients. This is especially important for those who have a wired jaw as the result of an injury because the body will require certain nutrients to heal properly.

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Discussion Comments
By anon995550 — On May 09, 2016

Jaw wiring to lose weight may be drastic, but is safer than risky surgery. They should at least offer this to people.

By anon937917 — On Mar 07, 2014

@anon228601: The vomit just goes out the mouth like normal. people who have their jaws wired shut can still open their mouths a little. I had a jaw operation sometime ago. I got sick from all the meds I was given and threw up a few times!

By anon228601 — On Nov 09, 2011

what happens if they throw up?

By andee — On Jun 09, 2011

Wiring your jaw shut to lose weight seems like a pretty drastic thing to do. I would rather exercise any day than follow a wired jaw diet to lose weight. I know that for medical reasons, some people must have their jaw wired shut, but I cannot imagine doing that for the sake of losing a few pounds.

By julies — On Jun 07, 2011

Having your jaw wired shut is not fun, no matter what the reason is. When my sister was in high school, she was in a car accident and broker her jaw. She had to have her upper jaw wired shut for six weeks.

That meant being able to eat only what would fit through a straw. Everything went into the blender and that was how she had to eat for the entire six weeks. She could still get vitamins and nutrients this way, but not something that she would ever want to repeat.

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