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:
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“.