Keeping a wired mouth clean

If you have to have your jaw wired shut for a while, it’s likely to be a challenge to keep your mouth clean. Not only will your ability to brush be severely restricted, but you won’t be able to floss, and stuff will probably be getting stuck in the wires all the time. With the right tools, though, it’s possible to keep a wired mouth reasonably clean. I had my mouth wired for three weeks without developing any cavities. Your results may vary, but here’s what I used:

  • Children’s toothbrush – When your jaw is wired shut, there won’t be as much room for a toothbrush as you’re used to, so you may have better results with a smaller toothbrush. The first couple of days, my mouth was so swollen that I couldn’t even really brush with the children’s toothbrush, but it got better pretty quickly after that.
  • Water Pik – I bought one at my local pharmacy, and it was pretty essential to keeping my mouth clean. However, you should probably ask your oral surgeon whether you can use one of these. I know that they’re not recommended after certain procedures (particularly open procedures). For the most part, I would fill the Water Pik with water and use it to clean my wires and the spaces in my teeth. After it seemed like I had gotten the chunks of food out, I would go around the mouth again, this time with a little bit of mouthwash (I used Tom’s of Maine brand) mixed in. I’d do my best to swish the liquid around and then spit it out.
  • Brush picks – I picked up a package of these at the pharmacy. There are a number of different kinds, and it probably doesn’t matter which kind you use, but here’s what my package looked like:
    Brush picks
    As you might notice, there are still several left in the package. I bought one package, which came with eight, and that was more than enough for three weeks.The brush picks were useful when I had something stuck between my teeth or in the wires that the Water Pik couldn’t dislodge. The brush ends were particularly good for fitting in the spaces between my top and bottom teeth or between the arch bars and the teeth.

Also see posts tagged “oral hygiene“.

    12 Responses to “Keeping a wired mouth clean”

    1. OkieAtty March 28, 2011 at 11:56 am #

      I agree with all of the above, but I’d add in some Orajel Mouthwash. It helps the sores from the arch bars heal more quickly and helps maintain gum health. I interchanged it with warm salt water throughout the day. Also, keep the wax handy in a small pack with you throughout the day. Abrasions from not having enough wax on the wires can cause infection. Whatever you do- do not use the crap from the store. It has mint in it and will burn. Plus, it’s cheap and falls apart way too easily and then you have to pick it out of the bars/wires.

    2. Cattrina Rosenbush October 3, 2011 at 12:26 am #

      What about the back of your teeth?

      • Adam Merberg October 12, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

        You just kind of have to do what you can. For me, the Water Pik was the best for the back of my mouth, particularly early on when my mouth was still swollen.

    3. Nate February 24, 2012 at 2:03 am #

      Well, yes about this. I am so scared about my oral hygeine after this! Ive been wired for about a month now, and my nxt appt isnt until Mar. 6 :s I brush what i can and reach as deep as I can around the molars. But my jaw was broke in 2 places, on the left, and at my chin. Now bc the doctors had to restitch my lip and gums it is nearly impossible to get a brush in there. Even still! Just wondering though, did the docs give anyone here any prescribed mouthwash, called chlorohexadine by chance? Im using that stuff but it doesnt seem to be xoing the trick :s anyways, i was looking into a waterpik but they are so darn expensive :s anyways, thanks for the vent! Happy healing ;)

      • Adam Merberg February 26, 2012 at 9:11 am #

        I didn’t get any prescription mouthwash. As for WaterPiks I recall mine being about $40, which wasn’t extremely cheap but was still much less than the doctor bills. Of course, if you live in a country with a functional health care system, you don’t have to deal with that. But in any case, I found the WaterPik to be essential.

    4. Devin O'Neal August 13, 2012 at 3:25 pm #

      I can’t fit water picks in between my teeth. Not even the small ones. Do they have extra small ones?

      • Adam Merberg September 11, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

        My apologies for the very slow reply. I think if you’re trying to fit something between your teeth, it isn’t a Water Pik. A Water Pik is a device which squirts a fine stream of water. You don’t need the device to fit in between your teeth to be able to use it to clean your teeth.

    5. Adam February 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

      Curious if you still read this. I brushed the outside and used my mouthwash pretty consistently at least twice a day while I was wired. I had my wires removed today and replaced with rubber bands, when I went to brush for the first time, I noticed dark staining on a few lower teeth as well as on my tongue….yuck. my toothbrush actually turned black from it. Did you experience this? I’m hoping it will fade away, as I keep brushing.

      • amerberg February 3, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

        I didn’t experience anything like that. I hope you see improvement, though.

    6. Kathy Tanner July 10, 2014 at 5:52 am #

      Thank you for these helpful suggestions! I suffer from nerve damage following a wisdom tooth extraction and cannot open my mouth wide enough to brush my back teeth. My dentist told me to get an electric toothbrush (his only suggestion), but I can’t figure out how that would work any better than my regular toothbrush. I already own a water pik and can’t wait to try it again! Thank you!

    7. ciara August 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

      when your jaw was wired shut, was there any gum inflamation between the areas that the wires went into your mouth?

      • amerberg August 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm #

        Yeah, lots of it. It got better after the wires came out, though.

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