What are post-surgical elastics?
Post-surgical elastics are small rubber bands that are placed during the immediate postoperative period of orthognathic / orthofacial surgery. There are two types: the hard ones, which are placed right after surgery, and the soft ones, which are worn once the first week has passed.
These elastic bands are placed either on hooks placed on the orthodontic appliance (if the patient has one) or on temporary attachments adhered to the teeth if there is no orthodontic appliance, and they are anchored with microscrews, which are small titanium fixings. which are placed on the bone.
What are they for?
The purpose of these elastics is multiple:
- to help your jaws heal faster,
- to help slowly stabilize the reconstruction
- to help exercise the chewing muscles
- to promote the advancement of orthodontic treatment
- allow to control muscle tone during the first month (avoiding that the muscles exert pressure towards their pre-surgery position)
I have heard that my jaw may also be closed with wires. Is that so?
Not many years ago, instead of wearing elastic bands, the teeth were wired shut for several weeks after orthognathic surgery, and it was only possible to eat with a syringe that would pour the liquids into the sides of the mouth. Fortunately, times have changed and methods have evolved. Today only a few clinics around the world continue to do this, and it is not a method that is in keeping with our minimally invasive approach that we apply at the Maxillofacial Institute.
How do elastics work?
The first week you will use the hard elastics, which will be fixed and you will not be able to take them off at any time. Then, in the second week, we will change the elastics for the soft ones, and you will be able to remove them to eat, do oral exercises and hygiene. Our team will explain how to remove and replace them, and you will practice in the clinic to make sure you can do it alone without problems.
Some people report joint / ear pain after surgery. This may be due to the stress caused by the elastics. If this happens, do not remove the elastics until you have spoken with your nurse in charge for guidance on what steps to take.
It is very important to use the elastics according to the instructions of our staff, remove them only when indicated, and put them back on immediately, since not doing it correctly can affect the results of the surgery. If the elastics break and you don't have any more to spare, you can go up to 72 hours without wearing them, but try to replace them as soon as possible.
The elastics will be removed when the orthodontist decides, as each case has a different journey.