Proper care after surgery has an important effect on healing from fractured mandible surgery. Please read the following instructions carefully:
Brush your teeth after every meal and at bedtime. Oral hygiene is extremely important to prevent tooth decay and gum inflammation caused by food build up between the wires and your teeth. Thorough tooth brushing is the single, most important part of good oral hygiene. It is best to use a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush with toothpaste. The head is smaller and will be more comfortable for you. Brush your teeth and wires by using rotating motions directly on the teeth and wires.
If prescribed to you, use the Peridex (Chlorohexidine 0.12%) mouth rinse three times a day after brushing. Swish it in your mouth for thirty seconds then spit it out. You may also rinse your mouth with a salt-water solution (1/2tsp salt in 1 cup of water) several times daily. In addition, run your tongue along the inside of your teeth several times a day to help clean them.
If the wires are rubbing against your lips or cheek and causing pain, irritation or burning, you may find dental wax helpful. Dental wax is available at most drug stores. Pinch off a small piece of wax and apply it directly over the wires that are irritating you. The wax will act as a cushion between the wires and your gum. You should remove the dental wax before brushing your teeth and then replace it as necessary.
If your jaws are wired shut after surgery, you will be taught which wires need to be removed, and how to remove them in the case of an emergency.
During the course of healing, the wires around your teeth or jaws may loosen or break. This is not an emergency, but they should be tightened or replaced as soon as possible. Call the office the next day and make arrangements to be seen.
If you have some minor difficulty breathing, follow these steps to open your airway as much as possible and call for assistance:
A blender or food processor will be helpful to prepare your meals. If you have enough spaces between your teeth, you may sip your liquefied food or use a straw. If you do not have adequate spaces, our office will provide you with a syringe that has a long tube attachment. This will allow you to draw up the liquids and inject them into the space at the very back of your mouth.
Most people prefer foods that are neither hot nor cold. Very hot liquids may injure tender or numb mouth tissues. Very cold liquid may be painful to sensitive, injured or fractured teeth. Basic good nutrition is essential to keep your health, speed up recovery and assist in healing. Even though you cannot chew, you still need to maintain a balanced diet. In addition to your blended meals, you may want to add a commercial nutritional supplement such as Ensure or Boost. These are convenient ways to increase calories and protein.
If the nausea is mild, first try taking an over-the-counter nausea medication (Gravol) and lying on your side. You may take small sips of ginger ale. If the nausea is persisting and you feel you may vomit, follow these steps:
Some amount of discomfort is to be expected following any surgery. If Dr. Bernacki thinks that you will benefit from a prescription pain medication, you will receive a prescription following your surgery. Please follow the prescription instructions carefully.
If Dr. Bernacki thinks that you will benefit from antibiotics to prevent infection, you may receive a prescription for one. If prescribed, take as directed. It is important to ensure you finish the full course of the antibiotic.
Call our office if you notice any signs of infection including:
Swelling around the mouth, eyes, and cheeks is a normal reaction to the surgery and usually takes 2-3 days to fully develop. To help prevent swelling:
As with any surgical procedure, there is always the risk of post-operative bleeding. If it becomes excessive, call the 24-hour emergency number. Do not blow through your nose or smoke cigarettes. You may experience some bleeding when you brush your teeth, but it should be minimal. Nosebleeds are quite common for those who have undergone upper jaw surgery. If you get one, pinch your nose until it stops.
If you are having any upper jaw procedures your nose could be congested. For the first 3-4 days you can use a nasal decongestant as well as an oral decongestant. After a few days, discontinue the nasal decongestant and use saline irrigation. Bloody mucus discharge out of the nose is very common for the first 2 weeks.
If you have undergone a general anesthetic, you should go home and rest for the remainder of the day. Do not drive or engage in strenuous activities (sports) for at least 24 hrs. On average people will take 3-7 days off from normal activity. You may return to work/school when you feel you have recovered.
If you had plates inserted, you will have dissolvable stitches placed in your mouth. Ensure to keep them clean until they dissolve and the tissue is healed.
Complications following repair of a mandibular fractures can occur. The most common complication is an infection or an osteomyelitis (bone infection). Malunion and nonunion of the mandible most often occurs because of failure to maintain the jaws wired together. Malunion (a delayed, incomplete, or faulty union of the bones) following a fracture can also occurs if you cut the wires prematurely after your surgery.
Other factors contributing to a malunion or a nonunion include:
Although it is not common, there is a possibility that a tooth can become devitalized (dead) after jaw trauma. It does not mean that you will necessarily loose the tooth. It can most likely be resolved with endodontic (root canal) treatment.
Your well-being is our primary concern and it is our sincere desire that you experience the least possible amount of discomfort and anxiety. Should you have any questions regarding your recovery, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
If any unusual symptoms should occur, please call our office. If you are calling after our office hours, or on the weekend, the answering machine will direct you of how to proceed. In the event of an unexpected admission to a hospital due to a treatment rendered at this facility, please notify us.