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Have you had your mouth wired shut or been on a liquid diet?

I am going to have major upper jaw, lower jaw and chin surgery next week.  My mouth will be wired shut for several weeks and even after the wires are removed I will still need to be on a liquid/mush diet for 2 months.  Has anyone else ever had to do this?  I will be eating through a syringe and I am planning on having blended soups, smoothies, etc.  Do you have any other suggestions, tips or recipes?  Thanks!

Re: Have you had your mouth wired shut or been on a liquid diet?

  • There's a blog called Oh She Glows which has a lot of "green monster" (very healthy smoothie) recipes.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery!

  • No, but can you update us on your recovery? I'll probably need to have that surgery at some point in the next couple of years. I have a horrifying popping jaw (no pain) that my dentist has promised me will be broken and reset at some point. Crying


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  • Drink lots of Pediasure and Malt-o-meal!  You need to be sure you are getting all of your nutrients which can be hard with a liquid diet. 

  • I'll be happy to report on my recovery.  I'm pretty nervous about the whole thing right now.  They're going to cut my upper jaw in 3 places and move it slightly back and secure it with metal plates and screws, cut my lower jaw in 2 places and move it forward and secure it in place with metal plates and screws and cut my chin and move it slightly down and fill it with a synthetic implant.  I'll be in the ICU for a day and then in a regular hospital room for a few days. 


    Apparently I was born with a really small lower jaw, but it just became apparent in the last few years.  I have some pain, but the majority of my "symptoms" are premature wear and tear of my teeth and it now looks like I have an overbite.


    +v+ - Thanks for the blog.  It looks great!

  • Yikes!  Good luck with all of that and I hope that the time somehow flies by!

    I was going to suggest congee (a Chinese porridge), even just a plain one so you can have something else in your repertoire, but I don't think that's doable through a syringe.  

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  • Oh WOW. That is a lot of surgery.

    Good luck with it!

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  • Wow, sounds like an ordeal!  You should look into that juicing diet (fat, sick, and nearly dead).  They use a TON of veggies.  It probably wouldn't be enough calories for you if you are not overweight, so if it were  ME, I'd supplement with frequent milkshakes.  ;)


    Good luck!

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  • Good luck with your surgery!

    Also, let me remind you that nacho cheese can fit through a syringe. YWIA.


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  • Oh man.  I would use this as an excuse to eat almost anything in milkshake form.  Flashbacks to braces!!

    This may sound odd, but you could check out  They have advice on making nutritious meals into puree form for babies, and you could add spices/flavors to your taste to make them more palatable.

    Thank heavens margaritas can be drunk through a syringe!

    Out of curiosity:  Will you be able to speak very well?  Are you taking time off from work during the recovery?  (And yes, I just tried speaking out loud with my jaw clenched shut to see how this would work).  

  • I would throw some silken tofu, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and/or nut butters into fruit smoothies for protein.  I guess you could puree chicken soup but that sounds gross.

    Blackberries have a lot of fiber so I would use those, too.

    ETA:  Also, it would probably be a good idea to crush up some Flintstones vitamins and take those every day. 

    DS born February 2009 * DD born September 2011
  • Yes, I went through lower jaw surgery (not as complicated as yours) at age 17 and had my mouth wired shut for 6 weeks.  The first week was very depressing as I tried to eat everything I was craving blended up and it all would get stuck in the straw.  I was hungry and frustrated.  Following that I stuck to a regimen of microwave egg custard (easy, google a simple recipe) for breakfast, blended up with enough milk to make it suckable, and for lunch and supper I'd make milkshakes.  I had soup and other stuff here and there, but the egg custard and milkshakes were what got me through.  I neither gained nor lost any weight. 

    My brother recently had surgery of his upper and lower jaws, but his was done without wiring.  He was able to get soft foods in via spoon but he was not allowed to suck through a straw.  He also lost some sensation in his lips for a while but I think it's coming back slowly; it's been a few months now. 

    I wish you the best of luck with your surgery and recovery!

    DD1 5/07 DD2 9/08 mc 7/11 DS 7/12
  • I wish you the best!  I would meet with a nutritionist if possible.  Have they suggested that?  I had a friend in high school who had the surgery and one day in class she was standing up and just collapsed and they had a hard time waking her up. They called 911 and she was taken to the hospital.  Ended up that she was just dehydrated/malnurished and recovered quickly but it was scary. 
  • My brother had his jaw broken and wired shut when we were in high school. I remember he had ensure and mashed potatoes a lot. Basically anything that could be sucked through a straw was game. He could also still talk with his jaw wired. Good luck!

  • I don't know if there is a Culvers near you, but I'd highly recommend their Pumpkin Pie milkshakes.  Holy hell are they good and they'd be a great consolation for having such major surgery!

    Good luck with everything! 

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  • May I ask if insurance is covering this?  I assume it must be!  I have the same problem but was told by an orthodontist that I'd have to pay $60,000 for jaw surgery... er, no thanks! 
  • Invest in some good soup cookbooks.  You might also have luck w/ some cookbooks for head & neck cancer patients and/or dysphagia diets.

    these aren't available retail, but just google or amazon to find them:

    Carnation Instant Breakfast VHC (Very High Calorie) - super high calorie supplement


    Ensure Enlive or Resource (Boost) Breeze - clear liquid supplement if you get sick of the creamy ones 

    Benecalorie - oil based calorie supplement (add to soups)

    Cookbooks (cancer related, but some still apply)

    ?Easy to Swallow, Easy to Chew Cookbook:  Over 150 Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing?, by Donna L. Weihofen MS, RD, Joanne Robbins PhD, Paula A Sullivan MS-CCC-SLP.  256 pages, Wiley, 1st edition (July 19, 2002)  ISBN:  0471200743,


    ?The I-Can?t-Chew Cookbook:  Delicious Sot Diet Recipes for People with Chewing, Swallowing and Dry Mouth Disorders?, By J. Randy Wilson, Mark A, Dmd, MD.  Piper Paperback, 240 pages, Hunter House, 2cd edition (June 1, 2003)  ISBN:  0897934008,


    ?The Dysphasia Cookbook:  Great Tasting and Nutritious Recipes for People with Swallowing Difficulties?, by Elayne Achilles.  Paperback, 176 pages, Cumberland House Publishing. (November 2003)  ISBN:  1581823487,


    ?Swallowing Safely, Swallowing Nutritiously:  A Manual for the Swallowing Impaired?, by Maxine Derieiko, RD, LD and Patricia Stout MS, CCC.


    ?Pureed Foods with Substance and Style? by J. William Richman, Aspen Publishing (April 1994), ISBN:  0834205548,


    ?The Healing Jaw and a Liquid Diet:  A Liquid Diet Resource and Recipe Guidebook for Maxillary Trauma and Reconstructive Jaw Surgery?, or call 1-714-997-7146.


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  • Yeah, I had surgical correction of my underbite senior year of high school.  It suuuuucked.  I think my mouth was wired shut for like 8 weeks -- it was supposed to be done by the time school started, but then it got delayed so I was wired shut for the first two weeks of senior year.  Like I needed to be a *bigger* nerd.  One of the things I remember clearly is that when I woke up, there was a wire poking me and I was in tears thinking it was going to hurt like that for weeks.  Turns out they just forgot to twist one under, so if there's anything like that let them know right away.  They gave me wire cutters for if I had to throw up, which was honestly terrifying to think about, but luckily I never needed them.  In my case there was like a rubber seal between my teeth, but it leaves a fairly big space behind your molars.  The syringe is a big fat one with a thickish tube.  I got desperate enough I think I put a McDonalds biscuit sandwich in the blender and shoved it through.  I lost about 15 pounds, but gained it back pretty quickly as soon as I started eating normally.  Good luck!


  • Black bean soup would also be a good way to get protein. I like this Martha Stewart recipe, which is really easy if you make the garlic-pepper sauce ahead of time and freeze it.
  • My sister had something similar in high school.  A lot of peanut butter shakes from Sonic.  Her favorite "meal" was tamale soup, tamales pureed with broth.  Funny thing, she doesn't like actual tamales.
  • I had neck surgery about a year and a half ago. I couldn't eat solids for a week or so afterwards, so I pretty much lived on vanilla flavored Ensure, Jamba Juice, soup and yogurt (through a straw). On the bright side, I dropped a few lbs! lol

    Good luck with the surgery and recovery!

  • I had an underbite and had to have surgery in high school to correct it. It involved them breaking my jaw and realigning my bite.  I couldn't chew for 8 weeks. The first couple of weeks I really could only eat liquids. They ended up setting up a catheter tube to a syringe and that was how my mom would feed me.

    At first I ate a lot of beef and chicken broth. Then, I worked my way to cream of wheat and other food with the same consistency. I also drank a lot of ensure because I needed to get my nutrients from somewhere. After about 4 weeks I was able to put small pieces of solid food in my mouth and swallow it without chewing.

  • I had the lower jaw portion of what you are describing (to correct a large overbite), but they didn't wire my mouth shut - it was just too painful to eat solids for several weeks.  Some tips:

    1) Liquids that are good are: gatorade, those milkshakes that come in milk cartons, broths.  If you are on liquid codeine after the surgery, get something creamy to drink after you take each dose because the taste is terrible.  Don't try washing your mouth out with gatorade or something non-creamy, it'll just create an even worse taste.

    2) You are probably not allowed to suck out of a straw, especially at first, so don't make anything too thick (like a frozen milkshake).

    3) I like the suggestions of protein powder and blended soups. I also ate lots of custard and rice pudding once I could handle the soft rice.

    4) When I was on to the soft-solid (rather than total liquid) phase, my mom made several "baby food" type dishes that were delicious: cooked steak blended with spaghetti sauce, and cooked chicken breast blended with lima beans and ranch dressing.  They sound awful, but after a week of liquids, they were amazing.

    5) I was the most messy eater ever for about a month.  Like a pp, my lower lip (down to my chin) went completely numb, so it was hard to get food in neatly, and I couldn't feel when I had food on my face.  I also drooled occasionally.  It was hot.  Have lots of napkins on hand and check a mirror after eating.  The feeling came back slowly, but my lower chin area still feels a little weird, more than 10 years later.

    Germany 2012
  • Get whey protein and make protein shakes. You can throw in fruits, cookies, ice cream, or candy. :) Oh She Glows is great for veggie shakes. I love her recipes. The baby food idea sounds like a good one too. 

    GL with recovery.  

  • I had my jaw wired shut for a week... my mom had hers wired shut for 6 weeks. I is hard. Just make sure you find a way to get a lot of fiber otherwise pooping will not be much fun...
  • image dr.girlfriend:

      I lost about 15 pounds, but gained it back pretty quickly as soon as I started eating normally.  Good luck!

    Not that you asked about the whole weight loss aspect...but this was my experience exactly: I wasn't wired shut, elastics only, but also on the typical soft diet. There were plenty of milkshakes from McD's when nothing else sounded good.

    This was probably 15 years ago, so I don't remember exactly what I ate the rest of the time, but I distinctly remember my one blender misadventure which was that I was craving Taco Bell a few days after surgery. My poor mom, who would've done ANYTHING to make me feel a little more human (I had surgery 3 days before Christmas: nice!), tried to doctor a soft taco up by putting it in the blender with...chicken broth (blech!) to make it blend-able. I was SO excited to try it out, but when I did...the saltiness...the was too much: I felt so sick. So, when you're craving something like that...consider this your cautionary tale! Be smarter than I was and stick with things that aren't going to make your stomach nuts.

    ETA: Just saw the comment about lower lip/chin sensation: I'd ditto the advice about having plenty of napkins handy at first. If you're out and about, let whomever you're with know that you can't feel that area (if you can't...and I know I couldn't) and to let you know if you need to, ahem, blot. I have long lasting paresthesia on one side and it's not a huge deal: I'm pretty practiced at it by now, but DH knows and has saved me from being embarassed on a couple of occasions signalling me that I've missed something w/my napkin. No big deal, but it's one of those things that sometimes's easier when your family/friends know to discreetly signal you if it's an issue.

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  • Thank you all so much for the wonderful advice and the good thoughts and wishes!  I really appreciate it.
  • image brieby:
    May I ask if insurance is covering this?  I assume it must be!  I have the same problem but was told by an orthodontist that I'd have to pay $60,000 for jaw surgery... er, no thanks! 


    Yes, my insurance is covering the majority of the surgery.  We are very lucky that my husband's company (pharmaceutical) offers a very generous plan.  BCBS will cover the full surgery, the stay in the ICU and the general hospital stay.  In my case, they deemed it a medically necessary surgery.  I would suggest meeting with an oral surgeon because they will be able to give you a better idea of the costs, etc than an orthodontist.  I did need braces in conjunction with the surgery, which my dental insurance covered $3,000 and I've paid $5,000.

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