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Patients recovering after surgery to repair a fractured or broken jaw, cheekbone or eye socket may have metal plates and screws placed to hold the bones in position during healing.

Those requiring jaw surgery may find their teeth are wired closed, which is normally achieved using orthodontic elastics. Wiring the jaws shut helps them to heal more easily and quickly. Wiring the mouth shut also keeps the teeth together during the initial swelling, so healing is more comfortable. As the jaws begin to heal, the elastics are gradually loosened. Usually, dissolving stitches are used, and these will gradually start to disappear after a few days.


It is perfectly normal to see some redness in saliva after trauma surgery, and sometimes there is oozing from the nose. However, if bleeding is excessive or the blood is bright red, please contact us immediately.

Bruising and Swelling

Upper jaw surgery may not produce any significant bruising, but lower jaw surgery can produce bruising that looks quite dramatic and extends down onto the chest area. Bruising should gradually disappear within a week to ten days.

Swelling is a normal reaction to surgery, and the extent of swelling depends on the surgical procedure and the individual. It usually takes two or three days for swelling to reach its maximum point and another seven to ten days to subside. Applying ice packs for fifteen minutes on, fifteen minutes off can be helpful for the first one or two days after surgery.


Patients whose jaws are not wired shut may still need to follow a soft diet for the first six weeks after surgery, avoiding hard, chewy and crunchy foods. These foods can place too much stress on your jaw, causing further discomfort and pain. Instead, opt for foods that require minimal chewing, such as pasta, oatmeal, soup, yoghurt and soft fruit. Patients whose jaws are wired shut will need to obtain nutrients through a straw. Good choices include smoothies and soups, pureed fruits and vegetables. While the jaw heals, it may feel more sensitive than normal, so it’s best to eat lukewarm foods rather than hot food to avoid irritating the mouth.


It is common to feel discomfort after surgery, but we will prescribe pain medication that you can begin taking before the anaesthesia wears off and at regular intervals over the first two or three days. It is extremely important to take the medication as recommended, and you should never exceed the dosage.

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