A wired jaw is a jaw that has been wired shut after being broken or dislocated. The jaw is wired in these cases to promote healing. Sometimes, in rare cases, a doctor will wire a patient's jaw shut so he or she can lose weight. The procedure is usually done by putting brackets on the back teeth and lacing wire between the top teeth and the bottom teeth. Doing this can help keep a person from opening and closing his mouth while healing is taking place.
In the case of a broken or dislocated jaw, a wired jaw is one method of treatment a doctor may choose to promote healing. Just like a cast will keep the bones of an arm or a leg still so they will heal straight, so too does wiring a jaw shut. The person with a wired jaw will have a limited amount of movement, so the bones are better able to be kept in alignment while the body repairs them.
Healing is not the only reason for wiring a person’s jaw shut, however. Some doctors will wire a jaw shut in order to help a person lose weight. Without being able to open his or her mouth to chew, a person with a wired jaw is often forced to reduce his or her calorie intake. In response, the body typically will take the energy it needs from other sources, such as fat stores. The patient's diet should be planned under a doctor's supervision to ensure he or she is getting adequate nutrition. The patient should also be sure to carry wire cutters with him at all times, so he can free himself in the case of an emergency.
One of the biggest problems a person must deal with when their jaw is wired shut is how to eat. Without having the option to open his or her mouth, a person is usually resigned to a liquid diet. The foods that are normally chewed and swallowed would have to be pureed until thin enough to drink through a straw. Some diet possibilities include tomato soup, broth, fruit smoothies and protein drinks. The individual's diet generally must be carefully monitored and planned, so the person will get enough of the proper nutrients. This is especially important for those who have a wired jaw as the result of an injury because the body will require certain nutrients to heal properly.