Jaw and Facial Fractures - Home Care
What to Expect
There are many types of facial fractures.
Your treatment depends upon the kind of
facial fracture you have. Facial fractures
almost always occur from some type of
trauma. Some common symptoms include,
but are not limited to:
• Visual changes like blurred vision
Loosening of the teeth
Some of the treatments include surgery for
closing open cuts and repositioning bones.
Sometimes wires and metal plates are used.
For fractures involving the upper and lower
jaws, they are often fixed through
intermaxillary fixation (IMF). This means
by immobilizing your jaws. You may have
several x-rays and scans, so the doctor can
be sure to line up your jaws and teeth before
fixing them. Arch bars are like braces.
Once your arch bars are in place, the doctor
will then either wire or rubber band your
jaws shut so the break is able to heal
correctly. Your jaws remain this way for 1-4
weeks, but it depends upon what kind of
fracture you have. Sometimes your jaws
may need to be this way for up to 8 weeks.
Your doctor will be able to tell you how
long you can expect to have your jaws in this
manner. During this time you may find it
hard to talk, eat and breathe, especially if
you have a cold. After the fixation is
released, the range of motion of your jaw
will not be the same as before your injury. It
may take more than a year before your range
of motion improves.
What to Do
1. While your jaws are in this fixed
position, you could lose a lot of weight.
You need to make sure you maintain
good eating habits so this doesn't
happen. Good eating helps your body to
heal properly. You will need to eat
foods that are blenderized. You may
need to use a syringe called a Breck
feeder. You may also need to add some
water or milk to your food to thin it out
and make it easier to eat. You will be
given a handout on eating guidelines.
2. It is very important to keep your mouth
clean in order to prevent infection. You
will need to do oral rinses several times
a day with a solution of peroxide and
saline. Although it may be tough at first,
you should brush your teeth many times
day after eating and before bedtime.
3. Check your incision(s) for any signs of
infection. Watch for redness, warmth at
site, swelling, tenderness, or pus-like
4. Raise your head at least 30 degrees when
you lie down. (Use at least 2 pillows to
raise your head 30 degrees). Do not lie
flat in bed.
5. Carry your wire cutters or scissors with
you at all times. You will be given one
before leaving the hospital and told how
to use it.
What Not to Do
Do not cut your bands or wires unless
absolutely necessary. This means if you
are having extreme difficulties breathing.
If you get sick to your stomach most
people are able to vomit though the
bands or wires. You may need to turn
your head to the side to help you to clear
out your mouth. You should only cut
your wires or bands in this case if you
are choking, can't get the vomit out, or
No strenuous exercise.
No driving until ok by doctor.
Do not drink any alcohol.
When to Call Your Doctor
Please call your doctor if you have:
Temperature greater than 100.5 θ F.
Pain that is not relieved by medicine.
Any signs of infection.
If you had to cut your wires or bands.
If your wires are cutting the inside of
If you have problems with nausea and
If you have any questions or problems once
you are home, please call:
Plastic Surgery Clinic, Monday - Friday
from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, at (608) 263-7502.
Nights, weekends, or holidays, this will give
you the paging operator. Ask for the Plastic
Surgery doctor on-call. Leave your name
and phone number with the area code. The
doctor will call you back shortly.
If you live out of the area, please call 1-800-
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #7037.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 2/2017 University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5018