Going wireless

When I got to my oral surgeon’s office to get my wires off, I had a couple of rude surprises. I would not be allowed to chew for another three weeks, and my muscles would be so sore from disuse that I wouldn’t be able to open my mouth very far. Of course, everything was still easier than with my mouth wired, but there were still some adaptations that needed to be made.


When I ate dinner on my first wireless evening, I was filled with the disappointment of thinking that my culinary options wouldn’t be expanding much at all. But over the course of the next few weeks, I discovered that I could eat almost anything I wanted, so long as I was willing to adapt a little bit. If I wanted bread, I could shred it in the blender. If I wanted pasta, I could cook it until it was a bit softer than I ordinarily would. If I wanted a cookie, I could soak it, either in a glass of soymilk, or in my mouth before swallowing. In the end, I had very few of the smoothies and soups that comprised the bulk of my diet during the wired weeks. Here are some of the foods that kept me going in the post-wired time:

  • Hummus, with shredded tortillas
  • Peanut butter and jelly, with shredded tortillas
  • Refried beans, with shredded tortillas
  • Oatmeal
  • Couscous
  • Soy yogurt
  • Lasagna with overcooked noodles (with cashew ricotta)
  • Lentils
  • Kiwifruit
  • Bananas
  • Ramen with silken tofu
  • Applesauce

This might seem obvious, but it’s also important to remember to get enough to drink. In the first couple of weeks after I had my wires removed, I drank very little and frequently felt dehydrated. For three weeks, eating and drinking had been the same act, and I had some trouble remembering to do them separately now that there was a distinction to be drawn.

(see also posts tagged “no-chew diet“)

Oral Hygiene

The first few days after I got the wires off, I wasn’t able to fit even a children’s toothbrush between my top and bottom teeth, so my oral hygiene technique borrowed heavily from that of the preceding three weeks. I did also get some CVS brand Dental Flossers, apparently a store-brand equivalent of a product called Plackers, which allowed me to start flossing my teeth before I could fit my fingers in my mouth. It was a couple of weeks before I could fit my children’s toothbrush all the way into the back of my mouth again, and then things became easier. I think it was about a week and a half before I was flossing without the Dental Flossers, but it wasn’t something I tried every day. The Water Pik remained useful for cleaning the arch bars even after I was able to fit the toothbrush in my mouth.

(see also posts tagged “oral hygiene“)

208 Responses to “Going wireless”

  1. Lindsay September 12, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    Thank you for your blog! I was thinking about starting my own since there are not very many out there that have been helpful. I’ve had my jaws wires for almost 6 weeks. The doctor put me on elastics less than a week ago. I wasn’t expecting my face to be so sore the next day, but it was pretty bad. Obviously I’m still on a semi-liquid diet. I’ve been blending whatever I can, but it’s getting old. How are you doing now? Any change in how far you can open your mouth? I’m expecting to have the elastics for about three more weeks, but I’m really wondering how much progress I’ll make by then. I look forward to hearing from you, and hope that you continue to heal quickly.

    • Adam September 12, 2009 at 9:31 pm #

      My recovery has been going quite well. I still have some residual numbness on the left side of my face which I’m guessing is the result of either permanent nerve damage or swollen tissue. It seems to have gotten a little bit better just in the last few weeks, so I’m hoping it’s the latter.

      My mouth opens about 5 centimeters now (and for the last two months), which seems about normal. Of course, I didn’t think to measure it before my accident, so I’ll never be able to know for sure. I wore rubber bands for three weeks after three weeks of wires, and when I got the rubber bands off (and was allowed to chew for the first time since my accident), I still had trouble opening my mouth wide enough to eat a pita with falafel (my first meal after receiving clearance to chew). As I understand, though, the rubber bands are to help your mouth close correctly rather than help you open it, so I don’t think that lack of progress with the opening should stop your oral surgeon from freeing you from the rubber bands. In my case, though, the oral surgeon left the arch bars on my teeth for a few more weeks just in case they proved necessary (which they did not).

      I hope the rest of your recovery proceeds smoothly. Feel free to ask questions (although obviously your own results may vary) or leave suggestions from your own experiences.

  2. Jon December 2, 2009 at 9:55 am #

    I broke my jaw when someone abruptly punched me in the face. It was a very unfortunate incident. That was 6-7 weeks ago and I am recovering as we speak.

    It was tough with the wires, especially because food was something I cherished before the broken jaw. I believe my love of food has gone up ten fold now.

    I was going to write some of this stuff down for someone else as I picked up a few easy tips and tricks.

    I was curious though if the things I am going through now after my wires have come off are normal.

    Oh and I just went to the dentist yesterday and they cleaned my teeth. What a relief it was to finally feel my real teeth. The dentist did laugh at me for how gross my mouth was….. No big deal. They’re off now.

    Good luck to anyone who sustains a broken jaw.

    • Adam Merberg December 2, 2009 at 10:17 pm #

      Jon, that does indeed sound quite unfortunate! I’m glad you got the wires off and continue to recover. I’d definitely encourage you to record the things you’ve learned from your experience and share them in whatever way you see fit.

    • Ira June 28, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

      Wow I got punch in the face too and today I got my mouth un wired and it’s been 6 weeks . The doctor says that the jaw is still a little crack. Hopefully I will eat soft foods for a while.

    • Francis August 11, 2015 at 3:03 am #

      hmm. i remove my own wire just yesterday but i still can’t open my mouth wide enough for my finger to enter. am afraid that the jaw is still broken. what will i do?

    • James Croker January 9, 2018 at 12:13 am #

      Hay guys,jimi here, i had my jaw broken when some f’wit stabbed me accross the face. My archbars,
      Leonard buttons and clips only started to disintegrate and breakdowwn. It’s been a while, The operation only happened back in 20th 5

  3. radha February 2, 2010 at 9:35 am #

    did anyone experience (muscle/pain)spasms after getting wired & post removing wires in the rubber band stage?

    did your teeth feel different or not fitting together after unwiring?

    I just got unwired but have arch bars & rubberband on opposide of fracture(mandibular fracture). My front big tooth has become lower than it adjacent tooth & they were even before. Several teeth feel sore to touch & move a bit . did anyone experience this?

    • Adam Merberg February 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

      I didn’t experience an spasms, but there was definitely some pain in the rubber band stage.

      My recollection is that my teeth did feel pretty weird after unwiring. The first few days, there was sort of a mushy feeling when my top and bottom teeth touched each other. It went away before too long.

      My teeth were certainly a bit sore when I first got unwired. They did shift a little bit while I was wired, too. The wires on my teeth pushed them a little bit. Some of this movement was undone after I got the arch bars off and was able to wear my old retainers at night, but my teeth still aren’t in the same place they used to be.

    • Angie December 1, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      Yes i have a nerve spasm on left side where it’s wired. the most. I still have 3 weeks and 3 days to go, and it’s alot of adjustment that’s for sure! I was never a big eater, but when I can eat solids, I”m gonna eat!! Good luck!

  4. Larry February 24, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

    Hello All,

    I just got my wires off today. The Orthodontist did leave the arc bars on and I have rubberbands on my teeth as well. I do have spasms in my jaw as well. And i believe that it is because I haven’t exercised the muscles in so long. I’ve had my jaw wired for four weeks. Today I got my wires on, I’m still on the liquid diet for the remainder of this week and was told next week, I can eat soft food, and the following week, I go back to get the hardware holding the rubberbands in place removed. This overall has not been a painful experience for me.

    One thing differently that I have noticed is that I have an over bite that I never had, and I thought this was given to me so that I could drink threw a straw. But now I am under the impression that its permanent. A small area on the left side of my face and lip is numb and I feel a tingling feel as well.

    • Adam Merberg February 24, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

      Hi Larry,

      I’m glad to hear that you’re making progress in your recovery and that it hasn’t been painful so far.

      As for the overbite, I do recall my oral surgeon telling me that my bone wouldn’t heal back exactly the way it was before, but that it would be good enough to do the things I needed to do. I didn’t end up with an overbite, but my mouth definitely is different. Aside from the asymmetry I’ve written about, I used to be able to move my lower jaw so that my bottom teeth were in front of my top teeth. It was always quite uncomfortable, but now I can’t do it at all. Happily, of all the abilities I could have lost, this was not one of the more useful ones.

      In my case, the numbness improved over time, but it still hasn’t gone away completely. I’m approaching the 11 month anniversary of my accident, and at this point I’m just assuming that the lingering numbness is permanent nerve damage. If it goes away, it will be a nice surprise.

      Best wishes on your continued recovery.


  5. Karen March 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

    Thank you for this blog and all of the comments. It’s amazing how little “real” help is available and this has been terrific.

    I’m getting my wires off in about 3 weeks, hopefully. It’s been useful to know that I can expect not to dive into a burger and carrots (what I’ve been craving most) the first day afterwards. LOL

    What about talking? Or rather, being understood? In-person is currently hit or miss and on the phone is impossible. Does that improve right away after the wires are removed? In the rubber band stage or after the rubber bands are removed?


    • Adam Merberg March 17, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

      Talking improved pretty quickly for me. I was able to talk normally as soon as the wires were off. You don’t need to be able to move your mouth very much to be able to speak clearly. It’s possible, though, that if you’ve had your mouth wired for longer than I did, then your muscles will have atrophied more and that you won’t be able to open it as wide.

      I hope it goes well, and please do report back on the answer to your question after the fact. It could be useful to somebody else later on.

  6. Karen April 6, 2010 at 6:14 am #

    I got my wires out yesterday (hooray!). The jaw spasms seem to be pretty normal and decrease as you use your jaw more; I noticed this when I graduated from wires holding my upper and lower jaw together to rubber bands. My front teeth feel…loose?…that’s the best word I can think of to describe it. I hope it’s not that there’s a problem and goes away. I’ll see a dentist soon for a really thorough cleaning.

    This blog is very helpful; thanks!

  7. jon m June 9, 2010 at 11:03 pm #

    I got my wires off a couple of days ago. my mouth was wired for 7 weeks. i can def say that having my mouth wired shut was the worst experice ever..lol but i am having trouble opening my mouth wide enough to put food in. chewing is not that big a problem its just getting the food in there. my mouth barely will open big enough for me to put my finger tip in and it seems like everything i try and eat is to big. can anyone tell me if they are having this problem and how long it will last. thanks

    • Adam Merberg June 9, 2010 at 11:10 pm #

      It was the same for me. The muscles tend to atrophy if you don’t use them for a few weeks, but that gets better with time. In my case, it got better gradually over the course of several months, but I was able to eat most foods normally within about six weeks of getting the wires off. However, your experience may be different, particularly since your mouth was wired for longer.

    • Bob McL July 28, 2010 at 7:10 am #


      On June 15th I was mugged walking home from the shop where my car was being repaired. My nose was broken, a four-place (teeth) bridge was knocked out, and my upper and lower jaws were fractured. The upper was a multiple radial break, and the lower was just split in the middle of my chin. I take some comfort in hearing that you had the wired-shut situation I’m now experiencing, and are doing rather well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Today is July 28th. I got the mouth opened yesterday, after six weeks, and was looking forward to a more varied diet. It’s a let-down to find that even soft foods are tricky to maneuver into my mouth, but I’m eating soggy Cheerios and loving the flavor this morning. Things don’t feel the same as before the injury, but I’ve no numbness, just a sore and limited jaw. The wires on the arch bars bother me more, now that I have some movement in the lower jaw. I can open my mouth about one and a half centimeters. Doc says the bars and wires come off in two weeks, August 10th. I begin teaching (4th grade) the 11th, the day after! This will be an interesting start to the year.

      Have you had a steady increase in range of motion? Are your teeth and jaws up to the task of chewing harder foods yet? How has it been going?


      • Adam Merberg July 29, 2010 at 12:37 am #

        Edited to add: Oops, I realized you weren’t addressing me…
        Hi Bob,
        Sorry to hear about your injury. That sounds very painful!

        I’m not seeing that much improvement anymore, but it’s pretty much back to normal. I guess I haven’t posted any photos since December. I should do that again soon. Maybe tomorrow. Here’s my last post with photos, anyway.

        I’ve been chewing hard foods for more than a year (my accident was almost 16 months ago. It was hard and even a bit painful to chew hard foods at the beginning, but within a few months it pretty much returned to normal.

        If I haven’t posted much lately, it’s because I’ve been pretty fully recovered for a long time. My mouth will never be exactly the way it was before my accident, but it’s more than good enough for household use.

        Best wishes with your recovery.

  8. Karen June 10, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    Hi Jon. I concur with Adam; seems like not being able to open your mouth much post-wires is normal. Be really patient and go slowly. I had the added problem of multiple facial injuries and not breathing well, since my broken jaw was associated with an accident. I still can’t bite well; I need to visit a dentist again. And opening my mouth and chewing with my jaw going into spasms all took a long time – weeks to months, in fact. I still can’t chew hard things (carrots, nuts, etc.) on the side of the injury and not well on the injured side and it’s coming up on 2 months after my wires were taken out. I suspect how quickly you’ll recover is in part related to what happened to your jaw in the first place. All this being said, things do improve a lot over time. Hang in there!

  9. Sandy August 27, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

    Thank you so much for your blog and this post in particular. I got unwired after 3 weeks of being wired and now have bands. I can only open my mouth about the width of my pinkie. My doctor was all “that’s as far as you can open? She seemed a little surprised, which scared me a bit. Anyway, came home from the appt. in good spirits and tried to eat some fries…um no, not happening. I also thought I would be able to brush the inside of my teeth again, but no. Bawled my eyes out for an hour or so, I think my expectations were too high. I think I will take some ibuprofen and try to eat some oatmeal for dinner, perhaps that is a better choice for “first foods”.

    • Adam Merberg August 27, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

      Don’t worry about your mouth not opening too far now. That should improve with time. You’ll find things you can eat pretty quickly. After being wired for a few weeks, almost anything is an improvement. Good luck in the coming days.

      • Sandy August 28, 2010 at 10:02 am #

        Thanks Adam, I did eat oatmeal last night, I couldn’t really chew, but figured opening my mouth to put the baby spoon with oatmeal in was some jaw exercise. I’m also encouraged that you started riding your bike ~ 1 month after your accident. I had started training for a triathlon a few months prior to the stupid accident. My 4 year old son fell out of the hotel bed and got a minor cut above his eye while on vacation in South Dakota. I felt hot afterwards and went to the bathroom to splash water on my face, fainted, and fell on the sink, broke my jaw in three places. The doctor said the fainting was a vaso vagal reaction to my son’s injury…I have never fainted before in my life! Anyway, I am hopeful that I will be cleared for some sort of exercise at my next appointment.

      • sandy August 31, 2010 at 9:42 am #

        Hi Adam, I’ve started my own blog. It’s at http://jawfracture.blogspot.com/ if you would like to link to me.


    • Darci October 16, 2010 at 8:58 am #

      I to had to high of expectations and went home and balled my eyes out. It’s like when you get unwired it really sets in just how bad it is. On top of that it all sorta up in the air likes its anybodies guess on what’s to happen next. I am on day 4 after my wires got taken out. My teeth don’t touch at all on my right side or in front. But my surgeon says that its really good considering the breaks. I am just gonna do my best to stay strong. I hope things have gotten better for you. Best wishes to everybody this blog is a huge help. Thanks Adam and everyone for posting.

      • Karen October 16, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

        Thanks to everyone for posting their stories. I am now 8 months post-injury, and things are nearly back to normal after my last visit to the dentist several weeks ago. My bite isn’t where it was before the accident but it’s a lot better. My lips are still numb, though a lot less so.

        Now – this is 8 months!! The biggest lesson I hope to share with everyone is that patience will serve you well. You really will see improvement by the week. You really won’t be able to eat carrots the first week your wires are removed but it will get better.

        Lots and lots and lots of patience everyone! πŸ™‚


  10. Karen August 28, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    Sandy: Ditto what Adam said. I was wired for about 6 -7 weeks and it took a long time to get back to “normal” (my bite is still off but much better). Three weeks is still a long time. Be patient and take it easy. You don’t have to push; your mouth will just open wider with time and use. Good luck!

    • Sandy August 28, 2010 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks Karen, it’s good to know that I don’t need to push it. I was curious if I should try and push through the pain a bit to try and open my mouth wider. But now I’ll just relax and work on getting food in my mouth πŸ™‚

  11. Karen August 28, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    You can and should really listen to your body about both opening your mouth again and about training (goals that are sort of at two ends of the spectrum). My recovery was much slower and longer because I suffered multiple facial fractures. I am usually a high energy person, so it felt weird to slow down so much (including my workouts; I felt like I was about 90!) but I think taking it easy and not pushing too hard made a big difference in being as far along as I am now, 6 months later.

    Definitely don’t push through the pain to open your mouth wider! Your mouth will loosen on its own over the next several weeks/months. Be patient. I got my wires off just before my birthday in April, tried to slug down a piece of cake (which was a miserable experience; I gave up pretty quickly) and decided that nothing beats birthday chocolate pudding!

    • Sandy August 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

      Karen, I’ve been cracking up reading your blog. It’s only been the past few days that I can laugh and cry without pain (I had 2 plates put in my chin to internally fixate my worst jaw break) so this is good for me πŸ™‚ I was sorry to read of your additional injuries, I can only imagine how difficult that must have been.

      I can relate to having this happen away from home as you did. And honestly South Dakota is not the best place to have a medical emergency as it is so sparsely populated. Luckily we were 10 minutes away from the “Mid Dakota” hospital (you know no one lives there when the hospital isn’t even named after a city), but after getting a CT scan and some pain meds, we had to drive 2 hours to Sioux Falls where I was supposed to get surgery. Once we arrived they decided it would be better to just wire me temporarily (and very painfully) and fly back to Austin two days later to get the surgery done. Anyway, it was probably for the best as the doctor in Sioux Falls looked to be in her early 20’s and my surgeon in Austin was surprised at the weak pain meds and antibiotics they gave me. Either she didn’t feel comfortable doing my surgery or just didn’t feel like operating on a Saturday.

      Today seems a bit better with the jaw and definitely feeling better emotionally. I think the recovery from this type of injury (at least for me) has been more of a mental than physical challenge. I just don’t have the patience for this long recovery period and am just not used to having something wrong with me. I do wish doctors were a bit better about letting patients know what to expect.

  12. Karen August 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Sandy. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my blog. I found it was a lifesaver for me. I got so much support, for which I am very grateful. And I really enjoyed writing it (so it’s nice to hear your reaction).

    Having your injury occur so far away from home, much less a major hospital, sounds awful. You’ve been through a lot.

    No one who knows me well would say that being patient and not running around at top speed were my strong points, so it was very strange for me to learn to slow down. Fortunately, I had a very supportive family who was insisting on it. Plus, nasal fractures made breathing difficult and, as you know, it’s horrible to try to breathe through your mouth when it’s wired. So I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter.

    Glad you’ve found your way to Adam’s blog; there’s a lot of good information here. And thank goodness for the Internet because I found a TON of good (and of course not so good) information here. Btw, I found it frustrating too that some doctors didn’t really give me a lot of information but I also think there is a lot of uncertainty in this kind of recovery.

    You’re on the home stretch now!


  13. Jude November 21, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Hey all – glad I located helpful knowledge through this blog. I had a similar accident on the bicycle five weeks ago ending up with three mandible breaks – one in center at chin and two at either side near the condyles. Also ended up with three fractured front top teeth and two molars on the top one at each side. Was wired shut for three weeks and have been on bands for the past two weeks.

    Being 51 and previously very active, this has set me back tremendously. Enduring with patience is very tough. I made it through the liquid diet with syringe and tubing and wish anyone luck with that. Lost 20 pounds in three weeks and all food became disgusting to say the very least. Now allowed to eat soft foods provided I don’t chew but after just a little bit of food, I am exhausted and in tremendous pain. It’s also pretty hard to fit any food into the small mouth opening. On the good end of this all, I haven’t lost further weight since the wires were removed.

    With all the pain though, I haven’t been back to work for over a month and want to go back but am physically and emotionally exhausted most of the time. See doc tomorrow to decide if arch bars will come off this Friday and hopefully all is still on schedule.

    Just looking for a bit of advice regarding why my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-gone. I became a State Certified Firefighter at the age of 45 and have always been a very determined and strong individual but this broken jaw is killing me. I understand this is a new challenge in my life but I thought carrying a roof ladder up 30 feet in full gear and putting out a fire was the toughest thing I ever had to go through. I was wrong – for this requires more than the strength needed back then.

    There are times I am so guarded and fearful of being hurt when there is no reason to feel this way. I am overly concerned where I place my feet and worry another accident will happen at any moment. I am so anxious about even seeing a dentist to replace/repair the broken teeth and very hard to even see the oral surgeon without feeling tremendous anxiety.

    Guess I am looking for some hope that patience is all I need to endure this situation. Any other suggestions regarding the heightened anxiety, and the physical and emotional exhaustion would be greatly appreciated. Thanks much and good luck to all who have or are currently enduring a broken jaw.

    • Karen November 22, 2010 at 4:11 am #

      Hi Jude, and welcome to our “club.” Glad you’ve found help online here. I am also 51, very active, and fractured many facial bones last Feb. in a Segway accident. The weight loss, chronic pain, and being exhausted also paralleled my experience. I am very active and had no choice but to take it slow. I slept a LOT, was out on disability for over 2 months, in a lot of pain (especially when I tried to eat again). I am not a patient, “take it slowly” kind of person but this experience forced the issue. I strongly recommend you listen to your body. I’m not 100% now but 99% and that’s 9 months later. So just give it time and you will heal and appreciate that you can type all of this! πŸ™‚

      • Jude November 22, 2010 at 10:28 am #

        Hi Karen,

        You have no idea how much your note means to me. Thank you for your guidance and information regarding your combat with this injury. For the first time since my accident, I do not feel so alone anymore. While I would never want someone else to ever suffer through this pain and exhaustion, I’m glad to know that what I am experiencing is not so abnormal.

        Thank you also for giving me hope for a better future and providing the wisdom to actually listen to my body rather than fight it all the time. Sometimes it appears as though I am in a tug-of-war with myself. I just want NORMAL again and I want it NOW!

        Karen, do take care and know you have helped me and others tremendously with your wonderful words of wisdom. Maybe that’s why we go through this type of injury . . . so we can better help others and thereby also gain more strength to help ourselves. Thank you again – Jude

    • Adam Merberg November 22, 2010 at 11:49 am #

      Hi Jude,

      Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad you found this site helpful, although of course I’d much prefer that nobody ever have any use for this information.

      Serious injuries, such as jaw fractures, can certainly be emotionally difficult. For me, it was tough because I had just moved across the country and didn’t have close friends or family nearby. Unfortunately, I don’t have a whole lot of advice, but I can tell you that many people have recovered from a broken jaw, and I don’t imagine anybody found it easy emotionally.

      You’ve come a long way already. Stay strong and be patient. Things will get better.


  14. Karen November 22, 2010 at 11:04 am #

    Hi Jude. I’m touched to know I was so helpful; thanks for letting me know. Go to my blog (www.segwaysarebad.blogspot.com). You’ll find some good information and validation there and it’s somewhat entertaining as well. As you know, there is a lot of junk on the Internet but Adam’s and my blogs are two good resources.

    I NEVER slow down. So the fact that I did means anyone can too!

  15. Karen November 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

    Also, in terms of being nervous about accidents now…I used to bike ride and feel much more fearful of riding on busy roads now. But doing so isn’t instrumental enough to my happiness for me to bother doing anything about it (e.g., therapy). I just don’t ride on busy roads. I’m probably more nervous in cars too (only when I’m a passenger, which the drivers just love!). πŸ™‚

    • Jude November 24, 2010 at 6:14 am #

      Adam and Karen,

      Thank you for your kind words of advice. Strength and patience had been evading me until I located your blogs and helpful notes. Knowing I am not alone in dealing with this injury and the realization this moment and pain in time will subside has brought about an incredible awareness. My boyfriend had tears in his eyes last night when he overheard me singing – something I hadn’t done since the accident. I am blessed for I have made it through the worst part and must look at the achievements made – although some are very, very slow.

      Arch bars DO come out this Friday and next week begins consultation with dentist regarding all the fractured teeth. Could always be worse . . . could be back on the bike path holding my mandible in my hands and wondering what just happened!

      Thanks again for this blog and your thoughtful kindness in helping another get through this experience.

  16. Karen November 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    Hi Jude. Good to keep the “it could have been much worse” scenario in mind when you’re feeling impatient.

    I love to sing in the car; it took me a long time to be able to do that again.

    Cute story: I got my wires/arch bars out just before my birthday. So I thought I’d celebrate with chocolate cake. One bite, and I decided celebrating with chocolate pudding was a much better option.

    To that point: I STILL eat the same squash soup for lunch often as not and chocolate pudding is still a big favorite. Maybe I’ll have that tomorrow in fact. Turkey be damned. πŸ™‚

    Hang in there!

  17. Susan February 9, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Wow, glad I found this. I feel a lot less alone just reading the comments from folks who have been through this injury. I feel fearful doing ordinary things like walking to work. Glad to know that it not an uncommon reaction after this injury. And that it’s not just me going kinda crazy. So happy I found this site!!!!

    • Karen February 10, 2011 at 4:04 am #

      Hi Susan. Sorry you’re in this position but this is a very good site for what you’re going through. It takes more time than I expected to be able to open and chew again. Just be patient (something I’m not particular good at); things really will improve!

  18. Terry February 10, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    My wife passed out while sick with the flu due to a vaso vagal episode. (sp) She broke her jaw in 3 places and gets her wires off tomorrow after a full 4 weeks. My 9 year old son was home with her when it happened and called 911 like a champ.

    Anyway, I feel a bit more informed on how things will go for her tomorrow and what my expectations will be for her. She is also a very active person and it has been difficult for her (and us to watch) to have to slow down. She is often tired and takes naps during the day which was not in her vocabulary prior to this event. I wish everyone here the best.


    • Karen February 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

      Glad this blog was helpful (it was for me as well). I never slow down and, post-accident (thrown face first into the pavement on a Segway), I had to take off of work for three months and slept a ton. I’m sure your wife needs it. Best of luck to all of you!

      Btw, it took me weeks before I could really open my mouth and start to chew again after my wires were removed. If she takes in slowly and is patient, she’ll do great. She’s lucky to have such a supportive family!

  19. Bret Davis March 6, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Wow, so helpful to hear from others with a similar injury. Apparently I don’t have it near as bad as others. I broke my jaw falling on a wet floor in the Dominican (ya the hospital experience was interesting). I only received a single break on one upper side and possibly a hairline crack in my chin. I’ve been wired up for 4 weeks and go in tomoro to hopefully get them off. I was very surprised with the lack of information given by the doctors. I had no idea really when I left with the wires what to do or expect. I’m still not sure but in reading these replies it looks like elastics possibly?? I was expecting some pain with the wires coming off as it looks like my gums have covered them over in areas. I had braces as a kid so I know how painful it is having the spacers put in and removed. Anyway, hang in there people. I’m looking forward to not slurping my food off a spoon or through a straw!

    • Sandy March 10, 2011 at 8:16 am #

      Hi Bret, how did your appointment go? When I had my wires cut it didn’t hurt at all as they were attached to the arch bars that were sort of threaded through my gums. Once they were cut, my doc attached really tight rubberbands on the hooks of the arch bars. I know there are different ways of wiring the jaws shut though so perhaps your case was different.

      I was put under for the arch bar removal (after several weeks of wearing elastics) and it was a no big deal. Had it done in the morning, went home and rested a few hours and took my son to the park later that afternoon. My gums looked pretty bad after wearing the arch bars for 2 months, but returned to normal for the most part. I can still see lines where the wires were in a few places, but there is no inflammation and they are healthy. Hope that they eating/drinking is going well. It is not a fun recovery, but you’ll get through it!

    • Adam Merberg March 10, 2011 at 5:11 pm #


      I hope your appointment went well. Like you my injury was not as bad as some. Unpleasant as the experience was, I had to know that I was very lucky that it wasn’t so much worse. (I think the worst story I’ve heard so far, was from somebody who wrote to me by email that his oral surgeon was going to have to break his jaw again after it had healed completely.)

      Anyway, elastics are pretty common, but they’re not too bad once you get used to them. After a few weeks of wires, they were a real improvement, though it took a while before I could open my mouth far enough to really eat.

      For me, the wire removal was not too bad. There was some pain as they were removed, and they bled for a few days, but it felt pretty normal within a week or so. Of course, your mileage may vary.

      Best wishes, and thanks for sharing your story.


  20. Karen March 10, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    I find it very heartwarming how all of us sharing only this unusual medical procedure have been so great in helping each other.

    My wires removal was not fun, despite having a wonderful surgeon. I opted for Novocain, not realizing that I’d have to receive about 12+ shots. I was not doing so well after about #5.

    Fast forward to almost a year later though and things are great. All I can say for those of you still going through this is hang in there and be patient (something at which I wasn’t too skilled before my accident and about which learned a lot as I healed).

    • Adam Merberg March 10, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

      I likewise find it heartening to see people coming together here to offer our experiences and support to those who are going through this procedure. Of course, I’d much prefer that nobody ever had to endure a mandibular fracture again, but that not being an option, I’m glad that we have a growing support network here. I’d especially like to thank you, Karen, and others who have returned regularly, so that the experiences on offer have been more than just my own.

      • Jude April 18, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

        Bad news gang . . . I broke the mandible back in October 2010 in three places and unfortunately, lost too much bone. Therefore, I am now in braces for the next 14 mos and then oral surgeon rebreaks the mandible on both sides – adds plates and screws, and back into braces for another year. Anyone else experience this type of set-back?

        Also, has anyone ever arrived at the point of not having pain in the jaw, shoulders, neck? I am really tired of all this. I have lost the ability to chew properly since the teeth don’t meet and because the lower jaw is receding backward, I cannot verbally function properly. C’s and S’s are the pits! To sing and even say my telephone number is painful. What a winer, eh? Not looking for pity though – just helpful info that may give me a sense of hope for the future.

  21. Sandy April 18, 2011 at 9:24 pm #

    Hey Jude,

    Wow, that all sounds incredibly frustrating. I’m sorry to hear that you are going to have more surgery. I had a similar fracture pattern to you (one just off center in my chin and both condyles) back in August and my functioning is pretty good now. Yawning causes a bit of pain on one side and my jaw gets tired/sore when I chew something hard. But really its just a minor annoyance. I hope this gives you some hope. I suppose all you can really do is trust in your surgeon and try to have faith that everything will turn out ok in the end.

    The surgery you are having sounds similar to orthognathic surgery, except your jaw discrepancy was caused by injury instead of a congenital condition. You might want to check out the forums on archwired.com. It’s a website for adults with braces and they have a section for people with planned surgery. I know about it because I’m undergoing orthodontic treatment now for pre-existing crooked teeth/bad bite.

    I’m not sure how your mental state is right now, but if it starts to get unmanageable don’t be afraid to seek help. This jaw stuff is no walk in the park especially since you’re dealing with a setback.

  22. Karen April 19, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Jude: I’m also saddened to hear about your setback. Adam’s advice is good about other forums/support groups. And his suggestion about taking care of yourself mentally is prudent as well. Anyone facing chronic pain has the dual issue of how draining and exhausting it can be to face this challenge.

    I didn’t need surgery as extensive as what you’re facing. And, like Adam, what I’m dealing with are annoyances now, rather than the ongoing issues you’re experiencing.

    Vent away! We care. πŸ™‚

    • Jude April 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

      Thank you both for your words of wisdom, hope, and direction. I will check into the other forum as well and continue to hope this too shall pass and simply be an annoyance in the very near future.

      For those who crashed via bicycle or Segway or…how easy was or is it to get back on again? I am looking forward to summer and saving money on fuel by getting on that old bike, but then again my crash cost far more than a year’s worth of fuel for my car!

      • Adam Merberg April 20, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

        Hi Jude,

        I’m sorry to hear that you’ve encountered setbacks. That sounds really rough.

        For me, getting back on the bike wasn’t much of an issue at all. I depend on my bike to get around every day, and I had gotten tired of waiting for buses all the time. I think I ended up getting on my bike about a week after I was able to open my mouth for the first time.

        I think it helped that I was able to convince myself that the circumstances of my accident were very anomalous. At the time of my accident, I was riding with a cycling club, which was very different from my day-to-day commuter cycling. Although I get on my bike all the time now, I have never ridden with the club again. I’ve definitely become one of the most careful cyclists I know. I avoid busy streets, I watch out for doors, and I stop for stop signs.

        Best wishes with your continued recovery.


    • Adam Merberg April 20, 2011 at 11:52 pm #

      Thanks for your contributions to the discussion. To give credit where it is due, however, I just want to point out that it was Sandy who deserves credit for everything you attribute to me in this comment.

  23. Karen April 20, 2011 at 4:45 am #

    Glad you’re seeking online support. Consider in-person too if you need it. Chronic pain can be extremely difficult to manage, maybe mentally as much as, if not more, than physically.

    Everyone’s experience is different, so don’t read too much into any one person’s experience. I have no need to ride a Segway again and that has no impact on my life, since the one time was my first time, so I’m hardly giving up something.

    Different for bike riding; that I enjoy. The first time I tried it – maybe it was 3 months or so after my wires were removed – after being on a fairly busy road near our house, I burst into tears; I was terrified. So I opted not to ride unless I could drive the bike to a bike path and, unfortunately, there aren’t any particularly convenient to our house.

    Now, except for in our immediate neighborhood, I don’t ride but that’s more a function of not making the time to drive to a bike path. If I really wanted to, it’s very doable.

    Now, I *could* work on my issues of being afraid to ride on busy roads but, given the drivers in my neck of the woods, being afraid is probably a reasonable thing!

    • Jude April 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

      Thanks Karen…Guess it’s time for me to “COWBOY UP” so to speak and just get back on that old bike – within some safe parameters first. I like the idea of traveling on the bike path before I decide to take it to work and be pressed for time as well as nervous about the roads. Thanks again for sharing.
      BTW: The mental end of the trauma really does take a bit to get over. I truly appreciate your guidance. Here’s hoping for a safe summer for all and no more terrible accidents that change one’s life.

  24. Karen April 21, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    Hi Jude. That sounds like a great way to “test the waters” first. Also, I don’t know what your roads are like, etc., so I wouldn’t assume my trying the bike again experience will mirror yours (or anyone else’s, for that matter).

    Sandy – giving you credit where credit is due! πŸ™‚ (Different comment from Adam)

    The mental part is definitely a huge challenge, so it’s great that you’re aware of that. Take good care of yourself.

    • Jude April 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

      Thanks Adam for your kind note and sharing too. I suspect I’ll also be one of the most careful riders around as well once I get up on it again…
      it surely can’t happen twice!

  25. sasha May 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    I found this blog looking for answers. I don’t even know if anyone will answer this. I fractured the right side of my jaw and just got my jaw wired 5 days ago; I didn’t need any screws or plates and am scared of what’s going to be next. Like when they take off the wires and afterwards how’s it going to feel;I read most of the blogs and they sound scary; I’m a big baby when it comes to pain so I’m freaked out.This sucks because my dr said I can do this and go on with my life as this never happened but it don’t sound like its going to be that easy. Right now it feels like Im going to be like this forever.

    • Sandy May 1, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

      Sasha, my guess is that you’ve gone through the worst of the pain already. It sounds like your fracture wasn’t too bad if your doctor is telling you that you will be able to go on with life as if it never happened. The trick is to be patient and try not to worry too much. I know from experience that is easier said than done when you can’t eat solid food. You might ask your surgeon at your next appointment how he/she removes the arch bars. I was put under for that part, and I highly recommend that if you have the option. If not, others on this site had the removal done with local and they survived πŸ™‚ Otherwise, the pain you have should gradually lessen over time as the bone heals. When the wires were cut and replaced with rubberbands, pain was not my main issue. I was simply frustrated that I could not open my mouth wide enough to cram food in or chew for quite a while. Eventually though I was able to eat again and so will you. Good luck to you in your recovery!

    • Susan May 4, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

      Hi Sasha, I had a fracture on one side like yours. Since I had worked in a dental office for a few years I knew the importance of taking care of my gums. I figured out that I could floss between my teeth after the wires were changed out for the rubberbands. Keeping the gums healthy made the recovery a bit better. Take time to just manage your injury. It all takes time. I felt like I isolated, but that’s not entirely true, it just takes time to do all the prep work and eating, etc. Hang in there.

  26. Karen May 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    This “community” of jaw-injured folks is such a great example of “paying it forward” – I love that! πŸ™‚

    Sasha – you’ve come to the right place. We’ve all been through our own versions of this and are a good place to get advice (noting that everyone’s experience is unique, so don’t take it as medical certainty) and to vent and to get support.

    Now, if Sandy is telling you to be patient, then it can be done. As I recall, being patient when she wasn’t going through her version of this was not her strong suit. πŸ™‚ Nor mine. But it was a good lesson in learning to slow down and accept that there’s a lot you can’t control right now.

    I agree with Sandy – pain wasn’t really much of an issue. I had breathing difficulties, so that was the worst part for me.

    One of the most useful things I found out that improved my quality of life in spades was to request syringes at the drug store. The pharmacists will become your new best friends.

    Anyway, they can be used to squirt food past your teeth and that expanded the variety of foods I could consume exponentially. Favorites were yogurt, pudding, baby food oatmeal (regular wasn’t thin enough), butternut squash soup, and carrots from a blender.

    As for getting the wires off, if I had to do it again, I’d go for being knocked out. I didn’t have that option and opted for Novocain and found that pretty uncomfortable. Some folks have no trouble with just removing the wires drug-free.

    The biggest surprises were: how incredibly supportive family, friends, and work colleagues were; how creative I could become in finding things to eat; and how long it took to open my mouth very wide again even after the wires were removed.

    Hang in there!

    • Sandy May 1, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

      Yeah, I’m 9 months post accident so it’s easy for me to say “be patient”. Karen is right, I was so not patient and was really freaking out! So, that’s totally normal Sasha, at least from my perspective. But you know, try not to πŸ™‚

      Feel free to vent here too. I had supportive family and friends too, but I felt like they didn’t really get it (how can you unless you’ve been through it) and felt like a whiner. It was nice to go to blogs like this one and not have to worry about that.

  27. sasha May 3, 2011 at 9:01 am #

    I was hit in the jaw by a man that came to my house to fight my boyfriend. I’m 23 with 4 kids that are under the age of 5. So I’m overweight;I haven’t had no pain (thank god) and was wondering why some people have numbness. So far this jaw wiring experience hasn’t been painful at all. My teeth never did come together in front and there is enough room for the tip of my finger to fit in so drinking and things like that are easy. I went to see my doctor the other day and he gave me the choice to be put to sleep or novacaine when I get unwired; I’m terrified to be put to sleep all though it wasn’t a bad experience. I only have one silver lining in all this I get to lose weight but is there anything that I can drink that will take this hunger pain away because that’s the only pain I have. I tried to ask my doctor questions but he just seemed like he wanted to hurry and go to lunch. Any kind of input would help.

    • Susan May 4, 2011 at 10:46 pm #

      Just make sure you eat quite often. It takes longer to prepare food you can eat, so plan ahead so that you are eating every couple hours. You will lose weight even though it seems like your life revolves around prepping and eating food. Take care of yourself!

    • Adam Merberg May 4, 2011 at 10:50 pm #

      Hi Sasha,

      I’m sorry to hear about your injuries. When I was wired, the most filling things I found to drink were a meal replacer called Vega and smoothies with a bit of peanut butter. You might also look at my page on eating while wired. As for getting unwired, I was only numbed a little bit and that was fine, but I’d suggest doing whatever you feel most comfortable with.

      Best wishes in your continued recovery.


    • Jude May 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

      Hey Sasha,
      Sorry to hear of your accident and you have come to the right place for help and an opportunity to vent as often as you wish! There are wonderful people in this “club” who have been where you are and they are a blessing to offer such help when you feel rather set off on a deserted island by yourself. I know how frustrating and depressing this whole thing can be and so does everyone else here on this blog.

      So here’s a must do…the Waterpik! I think Karen mentioned this too. Great for getting out the debris stuck in the wires and good to use after wires are off.

      Secondly, here’s a do not…I was losing pounds very quickly with this new diet of being wired shut. I was so frustrated with all the effort it took to get food into my belly so chose not to eat much. That led to more frustration, dizzyness, further problems. At that point and while not in clear mind, I chose to get my favorite burger from Red Robin and blended the burger with some beef broth. This ended up being absolutely disgusting, but I ate it. From that time on, I chose to just deal with this temporary problem and stick with tasty smoothies – not too hot and not too cold due to fractured teeth. Anyway, safe to say, all pounds are back on six months later and I still love my favorite burger – cut up right now since I can’t open enough to really bite in to it.
      Soon enough – time will pass and hopefully this will all be just a memory for you and everyone else. One thing this has taught me … tremendous empathy for my patients who have had any traumatic experience. My heart goes out to you!

    • Sandy May 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm #

      My staples while wired were Ensure, Boost, Special K protein shakes, blenderized ramen, and ice cream/fruit/yogurt smoothies. You might also want to try carnation instant breakfast mixed with whole milk, much cheaper than ensure. I also ate a lot of soup, particularly the high cal cream/cheese based soups, and added olive oil to vegetable canned/jar soups, which are typically low in calories. Read the nutrition labels and pick things that have lots of calories, its probably the only time in your life that you’ll want to do that πŸ™‚

      Despite my high fat diet, I still managed to lose weight, its just unavoidable. You just want to minimize it as much as possible as significant weight loss after trauma is not good for the healing process.

      Good luck to you, I’m sure you have your hands full dealing with this injury and taking care of 4 young children. I have a 5 year old (then 4) and recall worrying about the effect on him seeing his mom sort of screwed up for a several months. He is scared of the dentist (which may or may not be related), but otherwise I don’t think it affected him.

    • Sandy May 5, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

      Since you have the option, I’d say get put under for the removal. There’s a reason they are offering it πŸ™‚ It was probably my favorite visit to the oral surgeon. Since you’re not under long it doesn’t take long for the effects of the sedation to wear off, I felt normal within a few hours and felt just a little soreness in my gums, no real pain. The soreness is nothing compared to the relief that comes from having the darn arch bars removed.

      The funny thing about that visit was that the surgeon’s assistant made a big deal about how redhead’s have low pain tolerance. So, I left with a script for 30 hydrocodone pills, of which I needed 0. I’ve since read the two articles I found that address this topic and am unconvinced that gingers are wussies.

  28. Susan May 4, 2011 at 10:42 pm #

    Hi, I posted back on February 9th and just found you guys again. This site was a lifesaver for me at that point in my recovery. I broke my jaw in a bike accident in November 2010. By February I was in despair over how screwed up my mouth was. The enamel was crumbling off one tooth too, because of the way they fit now. It still feels different but I can tell that some day I will lose the memory of what it used to be like, so I will have a new normal. Keep posting everybody, others are helped by reading all the posts!!

  29. Karen May 5, 2011 at 6:00 am #

    Couple of other things I now remember helped me.

    1) Muscle Milk – I happened to like it better than a lot of the high protein drinks because it was lactose and soy free. If you don’t have problems with either issue, you might not what to go with such an expensive brand. There is “diet” and “regular’. One is higher fat but therefore sticks with you longer. Both are high protein.

    2) A water pic. Can’t say enough about how great that device was when I couldn’t brush my teeth and had whatever stuck in the wires (especially when I was “eating” blenderized foods.

    3) I carried a wire cutter with me all the time, in case there was ever a REAL emergency and I had to quickly cut the things off. But only for a real emergency; otherwise, I’d just re injure the spot and have to do this all over again. No thanks.

    Best wishes…

  30. Karen May 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    I’m a redhead too (though, these days, there’s a box that helps force the grays out of the picture). Yep, we’re a strong people! πŸ™‚

    I didn’t need pain meds after the wire removal and hadn’t really heard of other folks complaining of pain either. Also, I got violently ill on the meds, so I happily avoided them.

    The only reason I might have needed pain meds after the wires were removed is if I was rash enough to try to then eat real food right away. That’s a slow process but it gets better by the day/week. In fact, that’s true while the wires are on too.

  31. sasha June 6, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    Today is 6 weeks and I got my wires off but still have the arch bars on. I was scared to open my mouth but finally the doctor got me to do it and its has been a couple of hours now and I can open pretty wide. I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to open that wide but I have been able to put 2 fingers in my mouth and hold open. And still no pain. I get everything off wednesday. I decided to get the shots in the mouth so hopefully that goes well. This blog has helped me a lot thanks guys.

    • Adam Merberg June 9, 2011 at 12:55 pm #

      Thanks for the update! I’m glad to hear you can open your mouth wide already. When I first opened my mouth (after only three weeks wired shut), it was several days before I could fit a child-sized toothbrush in my mouth to brush normally. I hope your arch bar removal went well.


  32. Karen June 7, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    Glad to hear that things are going so well Sasha. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  33. Chaleis June 29, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    I am nearly crying tears of relief to find a group of people going through what has been a pretty terrible experience and that even my wonderful, supportive friends and family can’t fully understand. I am 3 weeks into wiring. I am suppose to get my wires replaced by bands in a week. I suffered a complete break of the jaw bone near my ear after fainting after cutting my finger slicing watermelon while home alone (that was one expensive, painful fruit!) I can so relate to every word and I am reillieved beyond belief to see that I am actually normal! I have a question: I went out for my first extended trip out of the house since my injury and missed a step while walking down a flight of stairs (I really am not so clumsy, but feel like a SNL skit lately). Anyways, I gave a good jar, although my jaw only moved straight down when I stumbled, but I am so worried that I reinjured that area. It is sore and more achy than it has been in days. Has anyone else had a minor trip up and how likely is it that I rebroke the area? I have a feeling I am being paranoid and the body is tougher than I think- but can’t get it out of my mind. I would appreciate any imput as far as reinjury. Thanks again for sharing!

    • Adam Merberg June 29, 2011 at 7:30 am #

      Hi Chaleis,

      I can’t tell from your comment whether you actually hit your jaw again when you stumbled or whether it was your muscles reacting to stumbling. Either way, your best bet is to ask your oral surgeon. However, I’m guessing that if you didn’t hit it again, you’re probably fine. You’ve already been wired for a few weeks, so your muscles have probably atrophied quite a bit. My guess is the soreness is just in the muscles, which have moved a little bit for the first time in a few weeks. This is just speculation, though. Like I said, your doctor should be more helpful.

      Best of luck with your recovery.


    • Sandy June 29, 2011 at 7:33 am #

      Hi Chaleis,

      If you didn’t directly hit your jaw, I doubt that you broke it again. More likely that your jaw muscles tensed up during the stumble which made it sore. Couldn’t hurt to ask your doctor though.

      Sorry to hear about your accident, fainting was the cause of my broken jaw too. I’m sure that you’ll never see watermelon the same way again. Good luck in your recovery!

  34. Chaleis June 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    Thanks for the replies. I did not actually hit my jaw on anything, just jarred it from the impact of tripping. I am sure it is fine, just the thought of going back to square 1 doesn’t appeal to me! And nocutting fruit doenst seem nearly as innocent! I get an xray next Wed. before getting the wires cut, so I guess we will see.

  35. Susan July 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm #

    Hang in there everybody. Oh, I want to share some monetary good news. My health insurance company did not cover very much of my wiring treatment since it happened in Hawaii and not in my home state of Washington. I took it up to a Level II appeal and made an in-person presentation of my case that resulted in an added benefit of $850.toward the wiring procedure. Woo hoo. That actually helped my healing process because I finally felt like I was HEARD about how this injury sucks, and that, while I am better, I will never feel the same.

  36. mike August 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    this website is great i too broke my jaw and been in the dumps you guys n gals have given me alot of hope and inspiration

    thnx, mike

    • Sandy August 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

      Good luck to you Mike, hope that your recovery is going well!

      • mike September 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

        i got my wires taken off yesterday it feels great to at least be able to talk correctly but still on a soft diet (better than just liquids & mush like baby food lol) but i can only open my mouth like a fingertip wide how long do u think i got till i can get a good yawn out and my jaw is still sore any good ideas that might help

  37. Ti August 30, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    Hi, I’m only 17 and I had my jaw broken to fix a severe underbite.
    This whole situation is hell..Any suggestions on how to make this not like hell?I have rubberbands in and they are really tight can barely open my mouth but the doctor told me
    he would but looser ones on. Does that mean i will be able to open my mouth at least enough to tell my mouth is open ?

  38. Sandy August 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm #

    Sorry you are having a tough time Ti. The good news is that since your had your jaw broken by a surgeon instead of an accident, your recovery should be more predictable and your function will be better than those who broke our jaws in an irregular way. I’ve had a couple of friends who had orthognathic surgery and they both have normal mouth opening and no weird joint noises or anything. You might want to do a search on orthognathic surgery, I’m sure you will find tons of blogs and other information. Good luck!

  39. Karen September 1, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    Good luck Mike. Sounds like you’re making good progress.I don’t think I could really open my mouth much at all the first day the wires were removed; way too painful. Grew a liitle easier each day.

  40. kaitlyn September 9, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    I broke my jaw 2 months ago. And I still can’t open my mouth wide since the wires came out. Am I ever gonna be able to open my mouth wide again.?

    • Adam Merberg September 9, 2011 at 8:43 am #

      Hi Kaitlyn,

      That sounds rough. It took me a while to be able to open my mouth wide, so I would imagine your opening will also get better over time. (Of course, I’m not a doctor.) How long ago did you have the wires out?

      Best of luck!

  41. Jude September 9, 2011 at 5:57 am #

    Hi Mike,

    One treatment which helped decrease pain and increase range of motion in my jaw after wires were removed was moist heat. This was applied to the jaw several times each day and prior to stretching.

    In case you don’t have a microwaveable heating pad, you can make your own. You need a pair of socks (preferrably longer ones) and long grain rice (not Minute Rice). Open one sock up and pour down 2-3 cups of rice or until the sock feels somewhat filled but is not solid and tight. Tie off sock end. Place other sock over the knot and pull down to knot at the other end (more for security). Put in microwave for one minute, pull out and move the rice contents around, return to microwave for another minute or until it is warm throughout. Place on your achy jaw for 10 minutes and not only does the pain decrease, but the muscles become more extensible – that is, they will stretch a bit more. Then you can work on stretching.

    Almost a year after my accident causing a triple mandible break, I can guarantee you will eat solid foods again and enjoy every bite more than you ever have before! Good luck and best wishes in your recovery.

  42. Karen September 9, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    Jude – That’s a really great suggestion. Too bad my accident preceded yours. πŸ™‚

    Mike – my recollection was that it took me months to get back to being able to open my mouth a reasonable amount and/or without every so often, experiencing a stabbing pain. I didn’t do anything to speed the process along. My motivation to eat and talk helped my progress though.

    Good luck with your recovery. Try to be patient.


  43. Jude September 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    Sorry for posting twice … didn’t see the first one added until after the second one posted. If the first note about the microwaveable sock can be removed, please either do so or inform me how I can remove. Thanks!

    • Adam Merberg September 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      Hi Jude,
      It’s not your fault! Both of your comments were flagged as spam, and I found them in my spam folder this morning. I’ll delete the extra one. Sorry about that.

  44. melinda September 19, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Hi All,
    Thank you so much for posting. My mom broke her jaw in two places last month. She is having the wires removed the day after tomorrow and I don’t think she has any idea that she won’t be having a big bowl of spaghetti upon her return home. I certainly didn’t know. This will give me a chance to prep her for what is to come, so all those disappointment tears you all shed will not go to waste. It will save my mom from being disappointed. She’s 89 and very fit. This has totally exhausted her. Just trying to get 1800 calories in a day has been challenging. She will appreciate knowing she’s not alone. With any luck, she’ll actually start using the Galaxy Tab we got her and she can post, ask questions, etc. with you as you all recover. Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery to you all.

    • Sandy September 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      How is your mom doing? My grandmother broke her jaw the year before I did at age 89 as well. She had a really hard time being wired, but did much better once they removed them and put on rubberbands. She’s absolutely fine now πŸ™‚

      • Melinda September 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm #

        Thank you for asking about my mom. She had the wires removed on Thursday and was immediately in better spirits. And no rubberbands! Her jaw range of motion is remarkable. She was eating, and LOVING real food. Still can’t wait for a salad.
        I found that Bertolli has stars pasta, like the tiny stars from chicken and stars soup. Really mini pasta. She also wanted cheese, mozzarella was soft enough. And scrambled eggs. She proves over and over what a strong person she is.
        The other thing I noticed was the second the wires came off she was not as scared and timid. She said she was so fearful of falling or choking.
        I cannot tell you all how helpful this site has been.
        Big thanks to Adam as well, for keeping it and all of us going.
        My mom sends her best to all of you, as do I.

  45. Tom September 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I was in an auto accident and had my jaws wired shut for 7 weeks. I got the wires off yesterday and i can open my mouth about half of what I used to. I also have several facial fractures from the accident and I don’t know how much of the facial issues are affecting my jaw movement. My teeth do not line up the way they did before and I have many missing. I get the arch bars off next Tuesday and I am wondering how this is done. Will they put me under or will it be a local in my mouth and gums?

  46. Sandy September 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    Hi Tom, it sounds like your jaw is doing pretty good if you can already open 1/2 of normal. This will only get better with time! For arch bar removal, you can either be put under (if your doc offers it as an option) or be given shots to numb you. If they didn’t discuss it with you, I’m guessing they plan to do numbing shots. It can’t hurt to call and ask.

    Sorry to hear about your missing teeth, are dental implants in your future? I almost lost one of my teeth and my oral surgeon said it was no big deal to get an implant. I know they are not cheap though!

    I think many of us experienced our teeth not meeting up correctly. I know some have had their bite adjusted (by filing teeth I presume) and there is also orthodontics. I guess it just depends on how bad it is and how much is bothers you. Congrats on getting the arch bars off, I bet you will see great improvement in your ability to open your mouth over the next couple of weeks.

    • Tom September 25, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

      A few of the teeth that do not mesh like they used to are crowns from previous dental work. I wonder if they can remove the old crowns and make new one to fit the posts and that mesh properly. any thought on this out there?

  47. Karen September 25, 2011 at 8:27 am #

    Hi everyone. It was a year and a half ago for me. I was numbed but by the time they were done giving me that many shots, I wasn’t convinced that it would have been preferable to either be put under or at least groggy or not to bother. But that doesn’t mean either is the way to go. I would just ask more questions next time. Regardless, it’s a very fast procedure to have the wires removed and I was so happy, that overcame any other issues I might have had at the time.

    My bite is still off and I think I grind my teeth even by daytime because of it. The next time I see my dentist, I’m going to ask about my options. He’s already shaved some teeth (which helped). I had decided I would just live with it but now I’m concerned I’ll just grind them to stubs. I’ll keep you posted – I don’t have a dentist appointment for awhile and it’s not at the top of my to do list.

    Good luck!

  48. Sandy September 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Karen – You should totally get braces to fix your bite. And not just because I want someone older than me to have them πŸ˜‰ But seriously they aren’t bad…expensive, but cheaper than the damage you’ll get grinding them down to nubs. Or maybe invisalign?

  49. Karen September 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm #

    Hi Sandy. This is such a great community (thank you Adam!). Did you get them? I asked someone about invisilign. She didn’t like them at all. I had braces as a teen and I can’t say I’m too excited about doing that process again. My stepsons would love it, as they’d probably feel like they got revenge or something for all of the suffering from braces that the parents made them undergo. πŸ™‚

    I do like and trust my dentist a lot, so I’ll run it by him. Thanks much!

    • Ti September 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      Invisiligns are dumb in all honesty, they take longer, they make ur teeth look like denters and they are such an annoyce. Get braces, quicker, easier and simple.

    • Sandy September 25, 2011 at 4:52 pm #

      I was definitely not a candidate for invisalign, my teeth are a mess and invisialign can’t fix all problems. I had a distalizer appliance for 6 months and then got that removed and had braces put on (damon clear on top and metal on the bottom) a few months ago. My teeth are sore sometimes, but its really not a big deal. After being wired shut and wearing those horrible arch bars, its a walk in the park!

      If you decide to go look into it, I’d recommend meeting with a few orthos before choosing one, they often have different plans and some are more pleasant to deal with than others. I wanted to run out of the office of the first guy I met with, total robot doctor πŸ™‚ Good luck, hope you can get the grinding issue resolved!

  50. Karen September 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    Thanks for the input everyone. I can’t believe I need it, since my accident was a year and a half ago.

    I’ll definitely talk to several orthodontists, since the first guy I saw puts braces on everyone before they’ve even entered his office!

  51. AB June 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    I have moved from the UK to China to teach and have been here for 4 months but unfortunately was attacked a couple of weeks ago which left me, among other things, with a broken jaw.
    They said they would either do surgery which would leave scarring on my face by my ear or would wire it.
    Being in China it is very hard to know what is going on and to have any reassurance or information – they simply wired me and let me go without saying anything.
    A few questions – the wires were threaded in between my teeth through my gums and tied around each tooth high into the gum (very painful) and around a thin plate. This was done top and bottom and then more wire was used to wrap around the upper and lower plate to secure them. There is no movement or gap whatsoever and drinking and even breathing is a real struggle. Is this how they normally do it?I’ve had it in about a week and a half now. I can see the gums have been damaged and has left big gaps in between where my teeth where my gums were – is this also normal. Another thing, the pain on my teeth was terrible and now I’m pretty sure they are moving (the front 4 teeth on the top are going crooked and my left front tooth is being pulled downwards and backwards) My bite was fine so they are not trying to move my teeth. Is it normal for them to move and will they go back?
    Lastly, I went back with a translator as I had concerns (still didn’t get many answers) and they said that the bone was not corrected as it was originally and that the bones were overlapping and would heal that way as opposed to sitting on top of each other like normal. I couldn’t tell if this was a problem or not due to the language barrier but am concerned this will cause problems or bad healing. I’ve been having hearing problems since it happened and didn’t know if this could be the cause (It could also be trauma and I’ve had a cold so not sure) once again is this normal and should I be concerned? It is really worrying me and any help/advice would be greatly appreciated!

    • Adam Merberg June 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

      Hi AB,

      I’m sorry to hear about your injuries. Also, my apologies for my slow reply. I’ll try to answer the questions, but my memory on some of them is a little bit hazy.

      I think my gums did recede a little bit while my mouth was wired, but not that much. A couple of my lower front teeth moved a little bit due to the pressure from the wires. Since then, they’ve mostly moved back, but one of them is still ever so slightly out of line.

      I don’t know where you broke your jaw, exactly, but if it was near where my fracture was (the condyle), it seems quite plausible that swelling near the fracture would cause temporary problems with hearing. However, a doctor would obviously be able to provide a less speculative answer.

      Do you have a dentist back in the UK? Would you be able to call that dentist and ask questions? Perhaps they could refer you to an English-speaking oral surgeon whom you could call. Maybe you could even get your x-rays sent electronically.

      Best wishes,

  52. Karen June 21, 2012 at 6:07 am #

    I’m so sorry for all you’re going through. I don’t feel qualified to give you a response to your medical questions. Do you have a physician or dentist you can get in touch with? Where are you from?

    The piece about not being easily able to drink or breathe though was like my experience of having the wires. Regarding the breathing – it helps a lot to stay calm and to talk yourself out of getting anxious about it. You get used to the feeling, though it’s very odd at first. Listen to soothing music or whatever it is that calms you.

    As for the drinking, I couldn’t use a straw either. I could pour liquids through gaps in my teeth and that worked well enough. Also, if you can get an empty syringe, and you can get a blender and/or baby food, you can use the syringe to get very very over-blended foods shot through any gaps in your teeth.

    Also helps immensely if you can get a water pin to get out anything that gets caught in the wires.

    Get a pair of wire cutters but ONLY for emergencies, like if you are vomitting. Even then, you probably won’t need them because you’re only “eating” liquids and everything that might come out will be liquid as well.

    Hang in there. This blog is very helpful, so read away!


  53. Fran Snell June 25, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Well unfortunately I am ready to join this group. About five and a half weeks ago I was walking my dog. She saw a mongoose (I live in Hawaii) and yanked me so hard I fell face first into the street. I broke my jaw and my humeris (upper arm). I have been wired and am now on a soft diet. I have days that are good and days that are hard. I don’t really know what is normal. I felt encouraged knowing I was not alone. I have a follow up appointment next week and will see how things stand. Any advice is definitely appreciated. It is making me look at the whole world with new eyes. There is so much we take for granted.

    • Adam Merberg June 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm #


      Sorry about your accident! I think it’s normal to have some days that are good and some that are bad. (In fact, I find that to be the case, even when my mandible is in one piece.)

      I don’t think I have any advice that I haven’t already written somewhere else on the blog. As Karen says, though, there’s a lot here. You might start with my broken jaw recovery guide. I’d also recommend checking out the other blogs linked on the blogroll to the right (one of which is written by Karen).

      That said, if you have any specific questions, I’d certainly encourage you to ask; somebody might be able to help.


  54. Karen June 26, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    Sorry to hear about your accident and enthusiastic dog! Hang in there. In terms of suggestions, there are a ton of good ones in this blog, so happy reading!

  55. Melinda June 26, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    I am so sorry to hear about your fall and breaks. It’s very traumatic.
    I do have good news to report. My mom fell last August and broke her jaw in two places. When I tell you how old she is, you’re going to think it was some old lady mishap (I guess it was). She turned 90 last month. She has all her faculties. The good news it, she is fully recovered. In 10 months! She even had a steak recently. But no more popcorn, ever. 😦
    So, hang in there. I know it’s easy for me to say, but if my mom used a computer, she’d tell you the same thing. A good attitude helped. My dad helped (he’s 92). But most of all, getting enough nutrition helped. And enough water.
    We made a list of all the things she had to consume everyday. 1800 calories in liquid form is a tough order! And even when she said she never wanted another bowl of soup, she ate it. She says now that all she did for the time she was wired was suck. Morning, noon and night. But she is perfectly healthy. Her only complaints are her lips “don’t feel like before” and her chin is a little tingly. I look forward to hearing about your success!

  56. Fran Snell June 26, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. This is tough but I can’t even imagine doing this when I am 90! Your mom must be something else. It looks like I might have to have arch bars put on. I am feeling like this is never ending. My daughter gets married this weekend and I am not going to do anything before then as I look semi-normal even if I don’t feel it. I so appreciate your positive comments and hope i can pass them on to others when this is all over!

  57. Melinda June 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    How exciting Fran! Have a wonderful wedding day and weekend.
    Don’t forget to eat. A stash of Ensure might be a good idea. And drink enough water.
    Now I’m sounding like YOUR mother!
    I have asked Adam if he can post a recent pic of my parents so you can see my cute mom.
    I wish you all the best.

  58. Karen June 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    Don’t miss your daughter’s wedding. You’ll look back on this; it’ll be over in the blink of an eye; and regret that. Bring a stash of ensure. πŸ™‚

    I went to movies and plays and the gym and work. I’m not saying the gym was easy or that I did much, but I was hell-bent on living as normal a life as I could, and doing so helped me remain much more positive.

    This will interfere, or not, as much as you allow it to.

    A few other things that helped me were: 1) using a blender to pulverize my food and use a syringe to shoot it between my teeth. I could eat yogurt that way too. Added some variety. 2) A water pik will be your best friend.

    Good luck!

    • Adam Merberg June 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      I would second the suggestion to try to live a normal life. Obviously, don’t cut your wires off and try to start chewing all your food, but at least think of a few “normal” things that would be a bit awkward with your mouth wired shut. I made an effort to teach my usual classes after my first week wired, and at the end of a day of teaching I felt like I could do anything. (On the other hand, it’s not clear that the students got as much of it as I did…)

    • Fran snell June 26, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

      Thank you Karen for your words of encouragement. I had no intention of missing the wedding! I am trying as hard as I can to act normally even when I don’t feel it. I am going to bring my own food so that I can keep my energy up. After it is all over I will go back to the oral surgeon and see what is next. I have to see hearing from all of you and reading your experiences is SO helpful. I hope I can do the same for others. I have made a decision to give my dog to my old neighbor who really loves her. It just feels like the right thing to do for now. Thank you all and I will post again soon!

  59. Fran snell June 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Thank you Adam. Your recovery guide does help me. It seems like things just keep changing! First one part hurts and then that feels fine and then it is something else. It is so hard but it has been helpful to read your blog and know that I am not just imagining things or going crazy. My goal is to get through my daughter’s wedding in style. No one will really know what I am going through! I have an appointment a few days after and will see where to go from here as my bite feels way off. I thank you so much for taking the time to write. Once I am healed I hope to do the same for others. I have so much more empathy for all. Thank you for your kindness!

  60. Karen June 27, 2012 at 4:29 am #

    I’m glad to hear about your decision, though saddened about the dog. Our dog brings so much joy into our lives, the trade-off in hassles (can’t say I love the 3 AM romp in the yard!) is worth it. Regardless, I traveled with Muscle Milk (a favorite; I should really get a commission on the stuff); pop top soups I could drink, juice, etc.

    Hey, with all of the people on special diets (juice fasts, gluten free, low carb, high carb…), you’re not injured; you’re a trendsetter!

  61. Karen June 27, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    While I am not a dentist, nor do I pretend to be one on TV, my very excellent dentist suggested doing nothing about my bite for 6-12 months. I was inpatient but followed his advice and am so glad I did!

    It actually took 2 years for my bite to go completely back to normal but I am relieved we didn’t bother with braces, which would have been very expensive and a headache and could have easily created a new set of problems.

    If your dentist pushes for a proactive approach, you might opt for a second or third opinion first.

    • Fran snell July 6, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      Somehow I lost my reply. Karen I loved what you had to say about your dentist having you wait. I am seven weeks out from my injury and healing for sure. My bite is off and I just can’t face doing anything drastic right now. I asked for the least aggressive treatment.
      The oral surgeon put on one rubberband and it feels like it is really helping especially at night when I sleep. I just want to give it time before anything else is decided. Please give me any more details about your journey and how you decided to wait and how your jaw and bite healed. Thank you so much!

  62. Karen July 6, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    Glad my post was helpful. One dentist was ready and waiting with braces. I’m glad I followed the advice of my regular dentist to wait though. I think it took 1.5 – 2 years for my bite and the numbness in my lips to become completely normal again. There was notable improvement by 6- and 12-montsh though. Obviously, I don’t know your details but waiting proved to be a really good move in my case. Good Luck!

  63. AB July 21, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Hi all,

    Thank you for your responses before – for some reason I didn’t think my post had gone through (China is very restrictive and came up with an error message) so I have only just gotten to read your messages.
    I have had my wires out for 6 days now but being here in China unfortunately I can find no solace in any medical persons as everyone seems very quick to dismiss without any helpful information. I had immediate concerns as the doctor told me that the bone itself wasn’t straight (as mentioned before) and that I should have had a plate (he claimed I chose not to even though I was never even asked the question!). Anyway, I can open my mouth about 2 cms now but my mouth is asymmetrical and the left side opens less than the right and the lower jaw automatically veers off to the left. I also cannot move my jaw at all to the right or forward as it feels blocked by the bone at the site of the break. I feel the pressure of the bone at the condylar fracture stopping the movement and it seems to jut out and click as I try to move it in any direction in which it seems inhibited.
    Has anyone else experienced anything similar and is it normal to not be able to move your jaw in certain directions after..and…most importantly…will I eventually be able to move it those ways or will the fact the bone is potentially blocking it mean it’s permanent?
    Also, will the asymmetry in my jaw go?

    I asked the doctor what exercises I should be doing but he just told me to open and shut my mouth and said there was no need for a return visit. So I don’t know what I should be doing and if I am under or over doing it. What exercises should I do?

    When should I go back to work? I have been asked if I’m ready to go back this Tuesday but I don’t know if that’s too soon or not (I’m teaching abroad).
    I also have now realised I have some chipped teeth and potentially some moved teeth which may be contributing to the bad bite. The back tooth has some large chunks out of it and some of my others too but less severe. Do I need to see anyone about this as I am not sure I trust the dentists here in China?
    Another thing (sorry for the rant) Where the break is is very tender and I get shooting pains when trying to move it and I am still having hearing problems as it is so close to the ear – I am worried that if the bone is rubbing and blocking my jaw that it is damaging my ear … any idea if this could be the case. I have also been getting some severe migraines and fatigue (although it could be stress) – could this be related (I am worried about TMJ)?

    Is all of the above normal and are my concerns the same as others have had – will they likely improve by themselves or is it likely to be permanent?

    I am feeling really down and alone at the minute out here and can’t help but feel my experience here in China has been ruined by my attack and that I have made things worse maybe by not coming home to get treatment or at least clarity. I can’t help but dwell back on the night and think if there was something different I could have done to have avoided this and it is making me really miserable. I feel like I have permanently done damage, especially if it hasn’t healed properly, and that I will always have the physical defects to remind me of and to ruin my time here.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post, I would appreciate any advice or comments and thank you all for your time – hope you are well.

    • Sandy July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      Can you get a copy of your x-rays and have a doctor in the UK look at them? Perhaps if you call your primary care doctor back home they could help you find a specialist to check them out. If I were in your position I’d want to get another opinion from a medical system you trust. It could be that you just need time to recover fully, but if you could benefit from surgery to have the bones realigned, it would be better to find out now rather than later. Best of luck to you.

    • vikas September 10, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

      Hi All
      I am also the victim of the jaw fracture….
      Been jaw wired shut for 3 weeks and ended up with 2 mini titanium mini plates inserted into my mandible…
      Its been 2 months since my accident.i can eat soft foods..but some of my teeth still hurting as some of the front tooth are missing and some of the molars are half broken….
      Does any one have the same experience??

      • Adam Merberg September 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

        Hi vikas,

        I’m sorry about your injury. I broke a couple of teeth, too. It seems to me like that’s a separate issue from the broken jaw (even if everything happened at the same time), which you should probably talk to your dentist about. Maybe now that your jaw has healed a bit, your dentist will be able to do more about the broken teeth.

        Best wishes,

      • patricia December 9, 2014 at 12:10 am #

        Hello – My was jaw was broken October 26th. Today is December 9th. Just getting wires off. Which hurt very badly! I was amazed how barbaric that experience was! I was thrilled to have the wires off – wasn’t expecting the stiffness to be this sever! Can barley OPEN my mouth! Forger chewing as I lost three back teeth. Under the teeth I lost was a bridge which needed replacing. So not many teeth on my left side. I keep reliving this acciendent, what could I have done differently, who was at fault … takes a bit to return to gratitude. Could of been worse indeed!!! I’m sadden by the fact my life is changed for ever.I know that sounds a little tramatic. Every aspect of my life has changed. Still cannot chew. Hurts desperately to open my mouth. WIres have been off 4 days. Would like to get my teeth cleaned. THey say not even to think about that for several months down the road. I’m making an appointment ASAP, if nothing else the front of my teeth can b cleaned. I have a large scar I’m hoping will desolve as it is still healing. Feeling is beginning to return on left side of my face. Lips and chin as still numb on left.
        Are there exercises I’m suppose to be doing in order to regain ability to open my mouth? No way I can put shreaded flay bread with hummus of anythng else in my month. This is has an all consuming, isolating experience! Feel intirelly preocupied with the healing process!
        Any suggestions aside from getting up off the pity pot and jump back into life? Amem

  64. Karen July 21, 2012 at 10:54 am #

    I’m sorry you’re going through such a difficult time. I don’t remotely feel qualified to give you medical advice. I do think you can at least call a maxillofacial surgeon back in the states. If it’s too hard to talk, ask a friend to find someone and explain the situation and maybe email is a possibility.

    I’d also like to give a friendly suggestion to get some counseling – it sounds like that might in fact be your first priority. You have a lot on your plate and professional help might be very useful. Again, if you can’t easily talk, there are counselors who will do sessions online.

    Good luck and hang in there.

  65. Karen September 11, 2012 at 4:18 am #

    I didn’t have any plates, and I’m sorry you’re going through this. I can tell you that my experience was that it takes a LONG time to heal and for your mouth to resume to feeling normal. It took at least two years for my right side to stop being numb. Be patient with the process. Good luck!

  66. ee October 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    I had my jaw broken in two places its been maybe six weeks since my surgery. And the fracture closes to my chin is still very swollen. I am so worried that my jaw won’t. Look the same.. I need to know if the swelling ever goes down completely? Eventually will my jaw line will look how it did before the surgery?

    • Adam Merberg October 16, 2012 at 9:53 am #

      Hi ee,

      Sorry to hear about your situation. It sounds like you had it worse than me. I can’t speak to to your specific situation. Certainly my swelling all went away, but I would encourage you to talk to a medical professional.

      Best wishes,

  67. Kathi November 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I tripped on some rebar and bolts left where a handicap parking sign had been removed in a local shopping center. It was dark and I didn’t see them and hit my chin on the curb. I sustained a fractured jaw, a two inch laceration on my chin, multiple bruises, sore ribs, back and neck and lost two teeth that aren’t repairable. I also chipped two other crowns. They are wiring my jaws shut for three weeks and then I will wear rubber bands for three weeks. They will also prep me for the implants. The wiring of my jaws is terrifying me. Did anyone else feel this way? Did you lose weight in the process. I’m so depressed that this happened right before the holidays. I am so fortunate to have such a supportive family and group of friends. They are all offering great liquid diet recipes.

    • Steve November 15, 2012 at 1:47 am #


      It sounds like your accident was pretty similar to mine. Chin laceration, fractured jaw, and cracked teeth. I’m 2 weeks into my 6 week recovery. I wasn’t given the option for rubber bands though. I was told it’s going to be wires for the whole 6 weeks.

      As far as your fear goes, I know exactly what you’re going through. I was absolutely terrified when I was told I had to be wired shut. On top of that, I began to get extremely depressed about the whole situation. However, by the time my surgery day had come, I was looking forward to getting it over with and begin healing properly -I had broken my jaw about a week and a half prior and was tired of walking around with my mouth all but out of commission.

      As soon as I got the surgery, a wave of relief washed over me. The fear and depression had disappeared. I guess I had realized that there was no turning back, and might as well make the best of it.

      As far as weight loss goes, I’ve lost about 12 pounds in the first 2 weeks. I had been drinking nothing but muscle milk the whole time. If you’re afraid of losing too much weight, I researched a little bit and here’s what I found:

      If you’re looking to maintain your current weight, multiply your weight by 12 (15 for men). The result will be the daily caloric intake to maintain your weight. For example, with the initial weight loss, I dropped to 150lbs. Following the formula, 150*15=2250. So I’m taking in 2250 calories per day to maintain my current weight.

      The article said that if I wanted to gain some weight, I should add 500 calories to the formula’s result. Here’s the actual article. It’s about gaining weight with a wired jaw, but it’s got some good general information and lots of related articles on the page:


    • Adam Merberg November 15, 2012 at 7:54 pm #

      Wow, that sounds like a rough accident! It sounds like the construction people could be found liable, if you’re up for suing (and if you’re insured, your insurance company will probably want to sue regardless).

      I also had my mouth wired for three weeks. It wasn’t fun in any sense of the word, but I managed. I actually managed to avoid losing weight, mainly by drinking a lot of smoothies containing peanut butter.

      Best wishes with your recovery.

    • patricia December 9, 2014 at 12:17 am #

      Hello – I to was determned NOT to lose weight. I have gushers beside my bed and I carry them with me everywhe

      re. Like baby food apple sauce, carrot, beets ans such. Easy cap to unscrew, squish into mouth. I put kefir, apple sauce, banaba, yogurt in blender, dilut with chocloate ensure. Still use a squirt bottle to get food into my mouth. It’s alot of work staying healty. Oftem put avacado, cucumber, gar;ic cylantro, little dressing drink it down. Can’t image chewing at this moment – jaw is so so terribly TIGHT!

  68. Steve November 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

    Hi all,

    Let me just say this is the best resource I’ve found in terms of gathering information about recovering from a broken jaw. Definitely different from the tons of websites that are strictly informative.

    So here’s my story… I fell out of a moving car and broke my jaw in 3 places -one fracture right down the middle of the mandible and I snapped off both condyles (sp?). I had surgery a little more than 2 weeks ago. They put a metal plate over the center fracture, which caused the condyles to realign in the process. I’ve got the standard arc bars & wires in place as well. In fact about a week after my surgery, one of the wire loops came off of the arc bar and basically fell out of my mouth. I was able to get it looped back around my arc bars and tightened in about 2 frustrating hours in front of my bathroom mirror. I was scheduled for a follow-up exam with my oral surgeon within a few days, so I figured this temporary fix would suffice. After I explained what had happened to my oral surgeon, he took a look at it and used his hands to move my jaw a bit. As it turns out, he decided my temporary fix would work fine permanently. Aside from some occasional soreness, things seem to be healing pretty well.

    I do have a question for anyone who can answer it. One of my top front teeth feels as though it’s becoming loose. Upon further inspection, I’ve noticed that the gum around the tooth has receded a little bit. I’m told that this may be a reaction to the mouthwash I was prescribed and use daily. Anyone have a similar experience that they can share with me? Does this go away at some point? Should I discontinue using the mouthwash?

    • Adam Merberg November 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

      Hi Steve,

      Your accident sounds terrible; I can’t even begin to imagine falling out of a moving car.

      I didn’t experience anything like the tooth loosening, but my recollection is that I read something to the effect that wires around a tooth can cause gums to recede. That said, I didn’t find a source on that, so you should probably ask a dentist instead.

      Best wishes,

      • Steve November 20, 2012 at 3:42 pm #

        It looks like the tooth loosening was temporary. Every day the tooth and surrounding gums feel stronger and more stable. In any case, thank you for your reply. This site has become an awesome resource I use frequently.

  69. Joanne November 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

    I broke my jaw the beginning of summer june 28 and wired shut until end of August.
    I seemed quick to recover at first but from Sept to now, Dec 1st, it seems i’ve not progressed..i find it hard to eat something like an apple where my top jaw has to protrude and my jaw doesn’t open wide. If I try it hurts….I’m feelling I’m going backwards. Is there exercises I can do?

    • Adam Merberg November 30, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Hmm, apples were one of the hardest things to get back to eating. I did spend a lot of time practicing opening my mouth as wide as I could. Sometimes it hurt, but I did it anyway. It’s hard to know whether it helped, but I was eventually able to open my mouth mostly normally. Talking to your dentist or oral surgeon is probably the best course of action at this stage, though.

  70. Karen December 1, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Hi. Your jaw has been immobile for some time; it really does take a long time to get back to normal. Adsm’s suggestions are good. I went to a physical therapist and although the exercises are incredibly boring (open, close, open, close), they did help. But getting back to where I could open my mouth and chew normally again definitely took months. Good luck!

  71. Angie December 1, 2012 at 7:53 am #

    Hi! I fell about 10/15/12 and went to ER after a week thought it was just upper and lower lip splits and it would heal. Well it didn’t so I went to ER a week later. They told me I only had an infection, gave me a script, sent me home. After the 10 days antibiotic regimen, it still wasn’t better. Went back to same ER, they did a CT Scan and told me and husband jaw was fractured. I was incredulous! I asked them, how did you miss that the first time I was here 10 days ago? Well they referred me to an oral surgeon, went and got wiring done 4 days later. Been on the wires now 2 weeks. Got a blender and it’s great. Got the muscle and nerve spasm on left side. Doc said to expect that. I hate it! But now I’ve adjusted to it. He said about 5 weeks for this wiring and they should be out which would be now to go 3 weeks and 3 days! It’s been very daunting and painful to say the least. I’m most interested in now is how does the procedure in the doc’s office go when they are unwired. I want to be prepared! Thank you for any replys! Angie

    • Adam Merberg December 2, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

      Wow, that’s rough! I went 3 days between my accident and wiring, and those were 3 of the most painful days of my life. I don’t know how I would’ve dealt with that pain for 10 days (though actually I think my oral surgeon wanted to do the surgery later for some reason but a dentist pushed him to do it sooner).

      Regarding the unwiring process, it was quick and simple, but not as liberating as I expected. I wrote about it in this post.

    • Shannon January 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Angie…how did your unwiring go? I’m curious…I have 3 weeks to go but it is all I can think about.

  72. Kelsey Martineau December 21, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    I am going through this right now. Tripped and fell and broke my jaw on both sides and my chin. My jaw is supposed to be wired for 6 to 8 weeks. My bite doesn’t feel anything like it did before, but my oral surgeon is saying it’s right. My teeth on the right side of my mouth don’t meet, and some of the teeth are hurting due to pressure that wasn’t originally there. Is this normal? My dentist seems to think that it’s nothing to worry about, but I am slightly worried.

  73. Chris Castro January 16, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    I have a question. I’ve been unwired for weeks and have had the rubber bands on for a week almost two. I feel totally normal and feel like I can chew again but like most I can’t chew for the whole six weeks. Today I noticed my ark bars were a little loss in the bottom and I could wiggle them. I don’t know if they are supposed to get loss or stay tight the whole process. Another question what’s the earliest you think you can get everything off because I can open my mouth pretty wide even only at three weeks and a couple of days?

  74. Shannon January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    Hello. My name is Shannon and I had a tumor growing in my right bottom jawbone. I had surgery 12/21/12 to have it removed and have been wired shut since then. I spent a week in the hospital because they had to take bone from my left hip to replace the bone they took. It was a major surgery and so far I’ve been doing good staying positive.
    I was told today I can’t get my wires off until 2/11/13 which is another 3 weeks. My mental stability is wearing down. I hate that I can’t communicate as well as I want to. I’m not eating. I eat one Ensure a day and try to get some water in. I know I should be eating more but I don’t have any good recipes and my wires are so tight that I can’t get anything thicker than water through.
    The dr said to take pain meds before I get my wires off. Was this process painful for anyone? What did you guys experience? I was told I will have to wear rubber bands as well for a while because my dr said he is afraid I won’t be able to close my bottom jaw. Did anyone else experience not being able to β€œclose” his or her mouth?
    I would like to say THANK YOU for starting this blog. I know it was years ago, but it is so good to connect to others that are going through the same thing I am.

    • Sandy January 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

      Shannon, try the special k drinks. They aren’t as sweet as the other meal replacement drinks and have fiber in them, which is important when you aren’t eating solids and are on pain meds. I was put under when my wires were removed, so I can’t comment too much on pain, but I didn’t need to take anything after they were removed. Your gums will heal pretty fast too, though mine are a bit different looking in a few places even 2 years+ later. Best of luck to you! You will get through this and life will be normal again!

    • Karen January 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Shannon. Sorry to hear what you’re going through. No one can get more through their wires than liquids; you’re not unique in that regard.

      This blog has some helpful entries about eating – but basically you’ll be drinking all of your meals and snacks. I put chunkier liquids in a blender to make them more liquid and would sometimes use a syringe to squirt the liquid past my teeth. Our local pharmacy was very helpful in giving me empty syringes.

      My friends were convinced I was getting a kickback from the makers of Muscle Milk but it was my favorite of the liquid protein drinks.

      The whole process for me was slow and required a lot of patience and a sense of humor. Oddly, people could understand me better than I expected. I also communicated a lot by writing.

      Hang in there!

    • Sandy January 21, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

      Also, I’d urge you to make sure you get enough calories in. I know it’s not fun, but think of it as taking your medicine. Eat (drink) by the clock instead of by hunger. You will heal faster and feel better mentally if your body isn’t starving. I wasn’t too into blending stuff, so ensure, boost, special k drinks and creamy/cheesy soups were my staples. I know it’s not easy!

    • Fran snell January 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      Hi Shannon,
      I am now on the other side of this and want to tell you that it will get better. It is really important to eat. I lost a lot of weight when I first started and did not have much to lose so I forced myself to eat – protein drinks, milkshakes, soup and lots of jamba juice and smoothies. You do need your strength. I had my wires taken off too early because of my daughter’s wedding. I could not face it being wired. That was in the middle of June. I really haven’t done anything since then and slowly things are working themselves back into place. I can pretty much eat anything except for nuts. My bite is off but I can either face further surgery or learn to live with it. I am going for the learn to live with it for now. It was hard to get through the wired time, but I did whatever I could to make time pass (I also broke my arm). I watched a lot of TV and I am not a TV watcher but it did help pass the time and gave me something to think about. Like everyone else who has gone through this, it is not easy. Not eating enough will make it harder. You really need the energy. Take care and time is your friend.

  75. Karen January 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    One more quick comment: A water pik will be your best friend. It’s the only way to get debris out from the wires and, since you can’t really brush your teeth, is an amazingly good temporary substitute.

  76. Stephanie March 6, 2013 at 6:20 am #

    Hi All – I have been wired for 2 weeks now and am so glad I found this site/blog. It has been a very emotional, alienating, challenging, frustrating experience for me. To make matters worse, one week into the wiring I was so weak from the new “diet” I fell and dislocated my shoulder and ended up back in the hospital. I felt like a complete and total idiot. Good news was that fall did not affect the jaw. I just want to thank you all for your words of encouragement and advice. It has been most helpful. Good luck to all going through this. Trying to decide when I want to return to work because I too am experiencing the fatigue that people have mentioned above. Thanks again!

  77. Karen J April 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    My name is Karen. I fell on my face helping a blind woman and broke the right side of my jaw but the hospital did not x-ray. The doctor said if you can talk its not broken. He sewed up my chin and sent me home. A week later in excruciating pain I went to another hospital and they X-rayed and said you definitely have a broken jaw. Sent me to oral surgeon and he says not too bad lets give it a week with nothing. This went on for 3 weeks until the pain was so bad he wired it. Very painful. I’m getting wires off tomorrow after only 3 weeks. The anxiety attacks of wanting to open my mouth are terrible. Thanks for all the posts because now I know what to expect. I have lost 20 pounds and sleep a lot these days. Not like me at all. I drink 6 ensures with extra calories a day but I am no longer hungry. Does your appetite come back? Hope so. Even if its mashed potatoes like before getting wired. Wish me luck. It’s been a terrible experience. Not much trust in the doctors.

    • Karen April 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

      Hi Karen. I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience. I can’t take the place of your doctor but you might want to enlist a second opinion before having the wires removed after such a short period of time. It would be terrible to need them put on again.

      I do understand that anxiety. I forced myself to do deep breathing and other calming things when that would happen, and it really did help the feelings to pass more quickly.

      I slept a lot too. Your body is in recovery mode, so try to respect that. When you can easily eat a pile of french fries again, I suspect, like all of us, you will be eating again and back to your normal weight just fine. πŸ™‚ Be patient; more easily said than done!

      • Karen J April 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        Thank you. I am soooo skinny….I hate it….hope I can eat. Nice to hear that everyone was tired. I was beginning to worry. I am concerned about the doctor’s opinion as well. They have not been very good so far. I went almost a month with a broken jaw and nothing to help it. He says I must have a problem in the night and that’s why it got worse. He blames me for it shifting or whatever it did. Unreal. The he put the wires so tight that it broke my new bridge that I had just put in. I’m 52. He said it was my fault again and just left it so the wiring is loose on the side of the break. Crazy. I will let you know what happens tomorrow.

    • Sandy April 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      Your appetite will come back. I didn’t have much of one after a while due to the boredom of drinking calories instead of eating, and because I was so anxious. Anxiety definitely curbed my appetite. I believe that I was only wired for 3 weeks too. They try to keep you in them as short as possible to limit the loss of range of motion that is associated with being wired shut. They may transition you from being wired to having strong rubber bands, that’s how it worked for me. Best of luck in your recovery, it is hell but you will get through it and live normally again!

      • Karen J April 21, 2013 at 5:59 pm #

        Thank you so much. No one understands unless they have experienced it. Good to know.

  78. Vashti April 23, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    Mine comes back after awhile, honestly I became a bit of a ensure junkie and it seemed weird to eat actual food again – and even a bit painful. All I wanted was ensure, even though i could eat other foods. After you start feeling better you will work up to normal food and a normal appetite. Go from softer foods and work up..smoothies are you friend and just don’t rush it ! You will be good as new in due time.

  79. Fran snell April 23, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Just wanted to write a few words of encouragement. I broke my jaw about 11 1/2 months ago and felt like I would never be normal again or eat regular foods. I also lost quite a bit of weight and am thin to begin with. I can assure you it will get better. I had my jaw set for about three and a half weeks. My bite is still off a bit but I think rather than go through anything else I am just living with very minor discomfort. I can now eat anything. I spent all last summer eating mushy food but after a liquid diet, it tasted great. If you don’t like the people you are seeing you should try to see another oral surgeon. Mine was very helpful, kind and encouraging. Try to keep your strength up through protein powders. I found jamba juice very helpful as well. I watched a lot of TV which I never do but did anything I could to pass the time. I went for daily walks no matter what. The time will pass and you will feel better, but it is hard and no one understands who has not been through it. This site helped me so much and I vowed that I would try to encourage others. Look forward to hearing your progress.

    • Karen J April 24, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Thank you so much. It is an amazing feeling to have the wires off. It actually doesn’t feel too bad. Eating soft foods (mostly scrambled eggs). Starting to crave cake. Lol. My bite is a bit off too but going to let my dentist have a look when I can open wider. I actually feel much better than I thought I would. Just so happy to be wireless. The surgeon didn’t even tell me what to do now but I told him I’ve researched online for tips. He said oh they have that information online? I said yes, that’s how I knew what to do after getting wired and what to expect now. Just wanted to rub it in. Lol.

      • Sandy April 24, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

        Glad you are doing so well! Good for you for getting that dig in. It doesn’t sound like you were taken care of very well by the doctors in general.

  80. Nancy May 15, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    I broke my jaw in two places from a fall in March (show shoveling) and was wired shut for a month, followed by two weeks in elastics. It was an experience to say the least! This blog was a great source of information and comfort, since you “have to be there” to understand what an ordeal it is. I had my first appointment with my regular dentist today since the whole experience, and it went a little better than expected (having my teeth cleaned was great). I do have a few lower teeth (above the spot where I hit my chin when I fell) that the hygienist told me were a “little loose” but she didn’t seem very concerned about it. My dentist seemed most concerned about the fact my bite is off. From the posts here, it does seem one’s bite can improve in the months following the ordeal, so I’m hoping so! I look forward to getting my two chipped teeth bonded soon (may need crowns down the line). I’ve enjoyed being able to read the posts–they’ve helped a lot over the last two months! Thank you to everyone who has shared their experience–I’m sure it is helping many people cope with bein “wired shut.”

  81. cliffor June 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    just had a car accident and my jaws wired shut for about 2 and half weeks. they come off next wednesday (CANT WAIT!!) .. at which point i was told i will be onto elastic bands. does anyone have an idea how long the elastic bands stay on?.. also, does the wires/elastic bands work like braces in the sense they straighten out ur teeth?

    • Adam Merberg July 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      Sorry to neglect this for so long. I had elastic bands for 3 weeks, I think. The wires certainly didn’t straighten my teeth out. In fact, they moved one of my front teeth out of line slightly.

  82. chris July 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I broke my jaw,dentist told me am getting the wires off in 4 weeeks,is that normally?

    • Adam Merberg July 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

      It really depends on your injury. I had my wires on for 3 weeks, but I’ve heard of people having them for only 2 weeks or even for 10 weeks.

  83. Tyler July 21, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    Hi, Im on my elastic a right now, and was wondering if your teeth moved while you had your arch bars on? Mine moved into a shape of a v on the bottom, I honestly don’t know what to do I had invisalgin and was done with the bottoms but now they moved… Will my ortho charge me more to correct that?! I’m so worried.

    • Karen July 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm #

      I’m not in the dental field but I’d be surprised if they would shift that quickly. Otherwise people would happlily get braces and be done in with them in weeks. Since braces normally have to be on for a year or two, it’s hard to imagine yours moving in weeks,

      That being said – Better to bring these concerns directly to yournorthodontist/maxillofacial surgeon. Good luck!

  84. Joe September 23, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Hello to all fellow jaw breakers..i broke my jaw in 2 places..i can tell you all of my story, but alot of it is extremely similar to others written here. The one main point id liie to go into detail is diet… i love food, regular food…once my jaw was wired shut i tried smoothies and pudding…took about 3 days and I WANTED FOOD..the dr that first looked at the crafty work done after a week gave me a syringe, which made me think…which i did…i did not have 400 bucks for a vitamix..so i got a nutribullet…not only that i got a long food syringe with 2 size tubes that were stainless steel..when i looked at my xray i noticed one side of my jaw had one less wisdom tooth on the top from the bottom, so i ground up food and syringed it in SLOWLY…but it worked…i ground up most things like complete chicken wraps and meats and veggies…but you have to keep them separate from each other…my advise is to find a gap in your teeth or go around like i did…you MUST add enough water, but the smile on your face will astound you! I still like real fruit smoothies for breakfast…add cereal and yogurt…grind it to a puree…i only lost 4lbs…i weighed 175 before and

    • Karen September 24, 2013 at 3:30 am #

      Hi Joe. Another syringer! πŸ™‚ I had broken nasal cartridge blocking my airways and couldn’t use a straw. I can’t remember where I read about the syringe technique but it made life much more bearable, since I could ‘eat’ anything I could inject past my teeth and the wires. Glad it worked out for you. Thanks for posting.

      • Joe September 26, 2013 at 10:11 am #

        Thanx karen, my post just stopped?? Weird? Wouldnt let me finish, but you got it well enough…just got “unhinged” 3days ago..i couldn’t take the first night with the braces left on, they were loose as a goose and digging into my gums…i got my small wire cutters and needle nose pliers and removed the wires and braces…yes it hurt and yes did bleed some, but my god do i feel better!!! I donr recommended as i am NOT a dr…

  85. Kelly June 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    My boyfriend was in a motorcycle accident and he was wired yesterday. By reading all these comments we are in for a long recovery. My question is the doctor said wired will stay in 4 to 5 weeks. Once that is done he will get bars and bands?

    • amerberg June 25, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

      You’ll have to ask his oral surgeon to know for sure.

  86. Marcus July 3, 2014 at 3:04 am #

    I am happy to have found this forum. It gives perspective to things and help you to understand the different steps to get back to (ideally) normal.
    I had a vaso vagal experience 5 weeks ago, passed out and fell flat on my face while walking my dog. As I woke up I was bleeding a lot from my mouth and was not sure what had happened.
    A neighbour took me to the hospital and I had an operation the same day. My chin was broken and also the two jaw bones below the ears. The first week was much in a blur at the hospital and the next week, my doctor placed rubberbands to hold together my teeth. These were not too tight so I could open my mouth slightly and eat with a spoon. A week later, he tightened the rubber bands and I remained like this until 3 days ago, so a total of 5 weeks.
    When reading other comments, it seems like less time than most others, also, my teeth were only fully closed for 3 weeks.
    I only put on the rubberbands during the night but it is less tightly than before. On Monday, my doctor will remove the braces if all is well ( he will do another x-ray before).
    The advantage of not being closed for so long is that I can open my mouth relatively well already. Yesterday, I made spaghetti bolognese (overcooked the pasta) and I managed to eat almost the whole plate. It took me 40 minutes πŸ™‚ to finish the plate but it was so great to have some real food (I also had a glass of wine!).
    During the period when my teeth were closed, I also used plastic syringes which was quite convenient. I used them for eating youghurts, purΓ©es etc. I just placed it in an area against my teeth were it could enter easily. I can recommend this!
    Regarding soups etc, I made many different ones as I enjoy to cook. For vegetable soups, I used for example carrots, potatoes, red onions which I fried in butter first, then I sometimes added a bit of white wine to get more taste and afterwards the broth and cut vegetables (green peas, cauliflower, brocolli etc.) What I also did (to get more food), was to buy a fresh filet of fish that I put in the oven beforehand and then put it together with the vegetable soup in the blender. This was very filling and tasty.
    To get more taste, use garlic, grated parmesan cheese, white wine, lemon juice etc and your soups will become quite tasty.
    Another thing that my doctor has recommended me to do is to work with a physiotherapist as of next week to work my muscles around my jaw. I will be doing various exercises to open wide and high for example. Apparently this is very useful for a speedy recovery.
    In total since the accident, my doctor expects 3 months for a full recovery. I cannot wait!

  87. clifford August 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Gosh i just had ma mouth wired..i got double fractures on ma lower jaw..itz been three days yet i consider them as an ugly episode in ma life..but thanks to this blog itz pretty much helpfull..if you guys made it..i can make it too.

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

      Sorry about your injury, Clifford! Hang in there! As you say, it’ll go down as “an ugly episode,” but it’ll get better.

      • franyp13 August 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

        Shock and jaw helped me through as well. It is now a couple years after the fact and my jaw is about 98 percent! Time is your best friend. I found that with my broken arm and broken jaw, they both really wanted to heal! You can do it and someday you can write words of encouragement to someone else! We are in a small club that no one really wants to be in but truly survivors! Best of luck!

        On Sat, Aug 9, 2014 at 9:12 AM, Shock and Jaw wrote:

        > amerberg commented: “Sorry about your injury, Clifford! Hang in there! > As you say, it’ll go down as “an ugly episode,” but it’ll get better.” >

    • Jude August 10, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

      Hang tough Clifford. It will be difficult right now but it shall get easier in time. Limitations stink but remain focused on the time when you can enjoy smiling, eating, and conversing again.

  88. Tina September 22, 2014 at 1:16 pm #

    I had oral surgery to remove my bottom wisdom teeth on 9/12/14, left side was impacted, I was put under general anesthesia, upon awakening and being moved to recovery, even though I was numb, something was wrong on the left side, I informed the nurse and my mother whom had accompanied me to drive me home, I was told, we had to do a lot of work on that side, it is normal. It never got better, as anesthesia wore off, I quickly learned that opening my mouth or chewing was impossible, I was in a lot of pain, I could not sleep, eat, or get comfortable all weekend. I called the surgeons office on Monday to explain that I was certain something was wrong with my jaw and it felt broken or dislocated, the RN told me that I was just experiencing trismus which is normal after surgery and the swelling and bruising ( I was severely bruised from chin area down to breast bone) was all normal, if I wanted to come in and have the doctor tell me the same thing to make me feel better, I could, I said no if it is normal, I guess I will have to deal with it. That night at 2AM as I sat in pain praying I could just get more than an hour of sleep I promised I was going to the dentist in the AM and if it turned out I was just a whimp, so be it, I could NOT go one more night like this. So I call first thing in the AM,I was initially offered a 4:14PM appointment, I kindly inform the receptionist that I have not been able to eat or sleep going on the 5th day and I can not wait until that time, she finds me a 1:30PM appointment, I arrive, the nurse takes me back and gets an x-ray, then tells me the doctor will be in soon. The surgeon comes in & asks what is going on, I tell him my jaw does not feel right, he then informs me it isn’t, said it is broken, brings up x-ray where I see the bottom left jaw is completely broken, he said I have only seen this happen one other time in 20 years, but we will take care of it, scheduled me to have jaw wired next AM, that was 6 days ago, 6 miserable days ago! I am glad I found this forum, but I have not seen where anyone has really complained about the size of arch bars used, I feel like mine are too big, they stick out in my opinion too far and cause unnecessary pain, I also believe I feel one on the roof of my mouth that may have been drilled or pushed in too far. Did anyone else have pain or problems with the size of the actual bars? I can not keep wax on the ends of them, I have tried. I really was not given any expectations, I did not realize until reading this that it will not be all over with in 6 weeks. I also will be getting a water pik, definitely need assistance with brushing!

  89. joe December 15, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

    My jaw is currently broken and im hoping that wjen I go see the doctor they will release ny wires but I was wondering what do they do with the screws that the wires are wraped around like how do they take them out but thanks for the blog these ideas seem really goot to try its better then drinking protein drinks and eating soup an oatmeal all day

  90. Ryan January 21, 2015 at 7:34 am #

    I don’t know if anyone will see this but I’m desperate for some advice, my wires were clipped (arch bars still on) and all my teeth are pretty sore. The teeth around my fracture site, however, are much worse to the point of pain on contact. Would anyone know if this is normal from swelling or if my tooth/teeth are cracked? Thanks for any help, I’m worrying myself to death over here

    • amerberg January 21, 2015 at 7:45 am #

      This sounds pretty normal to me. It takes some time for things to return to normal.

      • Ryan January 21, 2015 at 7:51 am #

        Thanks for the quick reply, do you happen to remember how long it was before your teeth stopped hurting?

  91. Karen January 21, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    It was normal for me, for months or at least weeks. The recovery was slow. Be patient. And also, I’m not a dentist – that would be a good person to ask. πŸ™‚

    • Ryan January 21, 2015 at 8:28 am #

      Thanks Karen, that brings a little peace of mind. I have asked the dentist as well as the surgeon but my brain is getting the better of me and I can’t stop thinking about the what-if’s.

  92. Karen January 21, 2015 at 8:33 am #

    This takes a lot of patience (something I’m typically not known for). I think it really took 6 months to feel kind of normal again. It’s really a slow process, so take a breath; you’re doing great!

  93. Shareef January 22, 2015 at 2:22 am #

    I had reconstructive surgery to repair multiple jaw breaks on Dec. 24th. My jaw was shut with arch bars and lots of rubberbands but no wires. I was under the impression that once I got the hardware removed I would be 100! Well, I just had the bands and bars removed today (4 weeks) and could immediately tell this would be another long, testing process. Perhaps even worse than actually having the jaw shut as I had grown accustomed to the day ins and day outs of life with the jaw shut. A ‘normal’ had come about, and now I have to find that new normal all over again.
    The past few weeks have definitely been emotionally testing and I had really hit a new low today when the hardware came out and my lower jaw did not line up perfectly and my bite did not feel completely natural. A 2am google search brought me here, and I greatly appreciate everyone sharing their stories. I have a renewed patience and positivity. Thank you all.

  94. Karen January 22, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    This is a very helpful community. I was thinking more since I posted earlier this week. I think it took a good 6-12 months to feel normal again (and occasionally a tooth still feels “off” but not enough to do anything about it). The heeling, at least in my case, took a long time. That doesn’t mean it will for anyone else recently injured but being patient has a lot going for it. Hang in there!

  95. Ryan January 22, 2015 at 8:41 am #

    Hey, I’m back, and with bad news. Since the wires have been clipped, I’ve noticed a lot of dull pressure in my temples, and crackling as if I’m on a plane when I swallow or yawn. Did anyone here experience this? I fear it may be TMJ

    • Sandy January 22, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

      Yes, I had something similar, almost felt like bones rubbing together, very disconcerting. That sound/feeling went away with time though. I don’t have TMJ, but the joint will occasionally ache/click if I chew a bunch of gum or something else that requires a lot of chewing. It’s pretty rare though now, maybe 2 or 3 times a year for a day or two. It’s been around 4 years since my accident.

  96. Arthur February 10, 2015 at 9:35 pm #

    Did anyone else experience a cracking in their jaw when yawning? Had my wires off for a month and still experiencing this. Worried it might be tmjd

  97. James Saxton April 10, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    Awesome blog and as comforting as it is to read other folks experiencing similar issues I hope you are all recovering well

    My Story

    I was a victim of unprovoked aggravated assault 4 weeks ago and just found this blog. I was waiting in Houston for a taxi with a friend when he saw a girl being harassed by some guys. He shouted for them to stop but instead they ran over and assaulted me! Talk about unfair. They knocked me out and kicked me in the head while unconscious proceeding to beak my lower mandible along the angle, in line with my wisdom tooth on the right hand side. I knew straight away it was broken but an expensive visit to the emergency room and the doctor indicated following a CT scan all was fine–what a relief right!….. but that a follow up with an oral surgeon would be recommended! How wrong was he….there was an acute fracture (which even I could see on the CT scan and X-rays) that required surgery and plating. 4 days later and i had the surgery…

    I was very ignorant to the process and in all honesty glad I was! I had no idea of what I was in for the next three weeks. Waking up from the surgery was…well lets say….an experience!! It was like waking up in a horror movie (Saw?) with my mouth being held shut with elastics (and I’m talking 20 or so here!) and the dreaded archway brace! OMG….I feaked out and they had to hold me down. All I will say is that once the initial shock is over it does get better. However this is the beginning of phase 1 – the swelling commenced (great to know what Ill look like fat!), I have numbness on my right lip and chin exacerbated since the surgery, sore teeth, eating through a straw (I gave up on the syringe very quickly), and the ventriloquist impressions for the next 3 weeks. Still this became normal very quickly. I did elect to work from home though as I was frustrated at trying to talk….and don’t try running. Not the pain but lack of oxygen was prohibitive lol. Foodwise I blended everything and survived on soup and banana milkshakes!.

    Three weeks later and a significant reduction in the swelling and the oral surgeon removed my elastics but left the darn Archway braces in….the excitement was hard to contain but the reality somewhat tempered that quickly!! I had no idea that my jaw would barely open. He was surprised at the lack of movement and horrifyingly got some wooden splints and proceeded to lever it open! OWWWWWWWW. Anyhow I assumed he knew what he was doing and assured me the healing process was excellent and this was entirely normal. Some tests on my numbness indicated I should expect a very good recovery as I could feel pain in the area indicating likely non permanent damage.

    Well 3 days later, as I write this, and I can now fit one finger in comfortably. I’m using the wooden splints to lever my jaw open 4 times a day and it is sore. but seems to be working. Hoping in a couple of weeks it will be 2-3 fingers! However there are some things I hadn’t expected:

    1 When my mouth was opened I had black fungus on my tongue – gross but entirely normal if you were on antibiotics and used peroxide mouthwash. Got a tongue scaper and it came off with ease
    2 Facial swelling returned I think due to the increase in muscle movement but no where near as much as before. Hoping the facial asymmetry is non-permanent but your mind can wander….
    3 Lots of tingling in my semi-numb chin and lip. I take this to mean there is life in the old dog yet
    4 My upper titanium plate was annoyingly fitted above my lower jaw bone which not painful is weird and will take some getting used to – slight linear protrusion where my right hand wisdom tooth sits (its still below the gumline as it never developed)
    5 Archway Braces are way more painful after elastic are removed as the dig into your gums and cheeks! – I bought some oral brace wax and this seems to help but can’t wait for them to be removed!
    6 Worry around a change in my jaw shape but this may just be the swelling so trying to remain optimistic Ill regain my rugged good looks (modest I am not!)
    7 worry that I’m trying too much too soon
    8 Bite seems to be good but teeth definitely in a slightly different position though hard to remember where they were before! – one of my front teeth has definitely got a new alignment which I will mention to the dentist

    Well I apologise for the lenght of this but it helps to share and I wish you all a speedy recovery.


  98. Karen April 10, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    James – That’s a horrible story. You sound very resilient.Couple of quick thoughts – Try a water pik – it helps when it’s hard to open your mouth. And be really patient. It took months to comfortably open my mouth and a year until all of the numbing stopped (though it decreased) and my bite kind of settled in again. I’m not a dentist but I was glad mine opted to wait and see what happened, rather than putting on braces and maybe fixing one problem and potentially creating a new one. And invest in lots of wax – it helps.

  99. Kira May 18, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

    so grateful to have found this blog. I feel like such a whiney person, complaining to all my friends and family! It’s nice that there’s a community that truly understands. I broke my mandible (1 fracture) while on vacation in Mexico in a bike accident. Was told in Mexico that nothing was broken and just got 4 stitches on my chin, but I had a bad off bite, pain, etc, so I saw an oral surgeon as soon as I got back to the states, and after an x-ray, it was confirmed that I did indeed have a fracture. I had never broken any bones or gotten stitches before this accident, so it’s been a really difficult experience, emotionally and physically.

    This was about 7 weeks ago (when I had the arch bars installed and rubber bands to close my jaw shut). I had the arch wires removed last week (at about 6.5 weeks) and my oral surgeon said I can begin chewing soft foods. They also did an xray at week 5 and the doc said the fracture is starting to fade on the x-ray.

    However, over the past couple of days since I’ve had the arch bars removed, I’ve begun feeling pain, like a dull ache, around where the fracture is. Is this normal? I worry that any progress I made is in regression from chewing prematurely. Or is it just muscle pain? Did anyone else experience this?

    • Angie June 4, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

      Shout out to you, James. That you’re still around is a small miracle. I know it doesn’t feel like it, but you are resilient for sure!

      Kira – you and I are about neck and neck in the process. My jaw was broken (and assorted other insults to teeth and chin) in a run-in with a baseball bat. Like you, I never had had broken bones or stitches either.

      My jaw was wired shut for 6 weeks after surgery and today wires were cut and I now have rubber bands on the arch bars. I could barely, barely, open my mouth – it was super painful and like others have said, I feel like some of my teeth are loose. I have the same dull ache as you and that intensifies if I try to open my jaw. Ask your doctor to be sure, but I haven’t tried to chew anything (still on liquids) and your situation mirrors mine almost identically. I think it’ll go away with time–it may be just atrophied muscle (slowly) getting its groove back. Hang in there. Thanks to all for the encouragement and the generous sharing of stories. It’s a comfort to know others have traveled this path successfully.

  100. Karen June 4, 2015 at 5:33 pm #

    Sorry to hear all you’re going through. I think you’re taking the right approach with being very patient. The recovery is slow (mine was anyway) – 6 months to a year, in fact, before I felt normal again (but that doesn’t mean I was miserable for all 6 months; it’s just a slow process). Hang in there!

  101. Kevin June 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Hi, I recently had my jaw wired shut for about 4 weeks. Wires came off and everything was fine, then about 2 weeks after my jaw started swelling up and the range I could open my mouth before was decreasing. I really don’t want to go back and get wired again. I was wondering if this has happened to anyone else and what are some things I could do to help the infection. I’m currently taking antibiotics but if it’s an infection on the break I’m pretty sure it stops the healing process. Any info would be highly helpful. Thanks

  102. Jessica Dunlap June 21, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    My jaw was fractured in 2 places and I’ve been wired shut for 3 wks now. I experience spasms and earaches more often now. I still have numbness and tingling in my lower lip and my chin. It’s not as bad as it was in the very beginning so I’m hoping I don’t have permanent nerve damage. I may be able to get everything removed in another 3 wks if all goes well. I have the dental wax but some of the bars and wires are cutting into my jaw which is painful. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to eat the day I have them removed?

    • amerberg June 21, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      As usual, your doctor is the best person to answer that question. In my case, I was able to eat as soon as I was unwired, but I couldn’t bite or chew. Basically, I could only eat soft, small things. That was limiting, but not as much so as being wired shut completely. Of course, your milage may vary.

  103. ColleenTheBean August 4, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

    I fainted and fell on my chin that resulted in a 3-part fracture. Vertical fracture on the right, on my chin and a horizontal fracture on the left. I lost 5 teeth behind my canines, and might need to get more removed. I had my jaw wired shut for 6 weeks, and wore rubber bands for 2 weeks. I’ve now had everything removed for a week.
    I’ve been practicing holding my mouth open for 10 seconds at a time and my mouth can open enough to fit a spoon in it, but not too much food on it. What are people’s experiences with getting back to opening up their mouth? I’d like to get a flipper made as soon as possible, but the dentist can’t get in my mouth to take impressions in order to get the flipper made.

    • amerberg August 6, 2016 at 7:28 am #

      That takes time, probably more time the longer you were wired. My oral surgeon gave me some jaw exercises to do after a few weeks of being unwired, so you might ask your surgeon about that.

      Good luck!

    • Marcus D August 17, 2016 at 6:47 am #

      There are specialized physiotherapists who deals with this and can do exercises with you. You probably need to set up about 10 appointments to get your mouth in better shape. Anyway, you have passed the most difficult parts of your recovery, it will get better… Good Luck!

  104. MONI March 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

    Hello just got my wires off and it feels like my teeth are off track and i cant bite down did you experience this?..I’m trying Not to worry because I still have the arch bar around my gums for another 2weeks

  105. Chione May 8, 2018 at 4:49 pm #

    I just spent a while reading through everyone’s comments so I would know what to expect after getting my wires off. My ex boyfriend punched me in the jaw and broke it in three places, requiring me to get my jaw wired shut. It’s been difficult to eat since I have two jobs and am constantly broke, have to move out of my apartment, and don’t have a car anymore. After my surgery my doctor explained nothing except that I would need to be on a liquid diet. I had no idea about upkeep, what I could consume or anything! It’s been almost a month and I see him next week and I’m hoping it’s good news and some wire removal. If so, I hope I am able to open my mouth wide enough to consume slightly thicker foods since I can’t even have most blended foods. I’ve been stuck drinking carnage shakes, V8, chocolate milk, canned tomato soup, and broth and I can tell I’ve lost a lot of weight. It’s hard to keep spirits high, especially after seeing that it’s taken some months to eat slightly tougher foods.

  106. Carmella G November 3, 2018 at 5:44 am #

    I see this post is no longer active…. not too sure if anyone will see this comment. But how long post wire removal were you able to open your mouth fully again? Also is there anything anyone would rccomend to exercise my jaw? I was just told to open my mouth until I felt pressure and continue to do it multiple times holding it for 20 seconds each time….

    • Marcus Daregard November 16, 2018 at 3:07 pm #

      Hi Carmella, I will try to respond based on my experience. I would say that it took me about 3-4 months to “fully” open my mouth but with exercise of your mouth muscles it could go faster. I was told to see a specialized physiotherapist for this but skipped it.
      What you need to do is to excercise not only opening your mouth but also do other movements using all your muscles around it (circular movements, moving lips etc.). It is much similar to what singers do to warm up so maybe you can find ideas on the internet for it.

      For me it was simply such a relief to get rid of the wires so even if it took some time and some pain occurred I felt mostly ok.

      When you go back to the dentist however it might be strenous for your muscles so you need to inform them about this.

      Good luck!


  107. SCOTT MORTENSEN October 4, 2020 at 7:05 am #

    I got lucky in a way and my mouth was just zip tied shut but it was for 30 days and now I’m still on the liquid diet pretty much but I did recently start eating mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, and yogurt about 2 weeks after getting unwired when my mouth would open far enough. I was really anxious about teeth movement because I had braces as an adult and had recently purchased new retainers before the accident after being unwired I was told not to wear my retainers for a week then after that they fortunately still fit which was a lot and off my mind but the new ones are really really tight. The best advice I have is don’t expect to go back to normal anytime soon like for at least 3 months and don’t push yourself either because no one wants their jaw wired shut again .


  1. Words of encouragement from a 90-year-old broken jaw survivor « Shock and Jaw - June 26, 2012

    […] summer sent me this picture of her parents. I first heard from Melinda last August, when Melinda commented, My mom broke her jaw in two places last month. She is having the wires removed the day after […]

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