Jaw Wiring To Lose Weight


When I was younger if someone wanted to lose a lot of weight there wasn't bariatric surgery around to help the individual. Wiring the jaw shut was one of the ways to help the morbidly obese lose weight in the 1970s. I wondered if the procedure was still being done and could this be an alternative to someone who does not want surgery to lose weight. 

Jaw Wiring For Weight Loss
There is a clear difference between jaw wiring and bariatric surgery. As a matter of fact, jaw wiring cannot be regarded as a surgical procedure. However, it is a likely treatment for obesity and excessive eating. 
Jaw wiring is carried out while the patient sits on a dental chair; it is done in less than one hour and it is painless as a result of this there is no need for anesthesia. Jaw wiring is done for the purpose of preventing and controlling the consumption of solid food, resulting in an extreme reduction in calorie intake.

As soon as the desired weight loss is achieved, the removal of the wiring will be done and this will allow the patient to eat as usual. Unluckily, jaw wiring cannot be considered to be a long-term solution to weight loss, this is due to low success rate recorded so far. 

A lot of patients still find it difficult to understand a reformed way of consuming food. So as the jaws are detached from the wire, dieters often resume their formal eating habits which result in weight again.

Furthermore, jaw wiring leads to a fixed position of the teeth and jaws which makes speech and movement a difficult task, most of the times, patients are unhappy about this. Jaw wiring cannot be regarded as the major treatment for weight reduction, although its unattractiveness can be linked to its obsolete image rather than a lack of effectiveness as a weight loss strategy for the long-term. Short-term results show it to be an effective way to lose weight.

Jaw wiring is more rampant in the 1970s and 80s, but presently, this method of weight reduction has been replaced by bariatric surgical procedures such as gastric bypass or Lap-Band 

How does jaw wiring work?
As mentioned above, orthodontic jaw wiring is a method of treating compulsive overeating and obesity. The jaw wiring apparatus includes orthodontic brackets that are attached to the teeth, with a wire wrapped around or through brackets. 

The arrangement of the brackets and wires are done in such a way as to position the lower jaw of the patient in a semi-closed, partially movable resting position. This allows for a moderate amount of physiologic movements of the jaw and a relatively clear speech while preventing the consumption of solid foods.

How Is Orthodontic Jaw Wiring Performed?
It takes about 40 minutes to complete jaw wiring, usually when a patient sits on a dental chair. Anesthesia is not required due to a lack of pain or discomfort. At the beginning of the procedure, the teeth are cleaned. Then the brackets are attached to both the upper and lower teeth, mostly 3 teeth in the upper right and 3 teeth in the upper left, and the same thing is also applicable to the lower jaw. 

Thereafter, a thin wire is used to connect the brackets and hold the upper and lower jaws in place. Upper and lower teeth do not touch each other; they are wired to leave a space between them. They are also removed every 4 to 6 weeks, and most patients usually complete treatment within 6 months.

What type of diet should be taken by the jaw wiring patient?
Patients undergoing jaw wiring should stay away from solid foods, so the required food is a liquid diet. This must be carefully designed to ensure proper nutrition including macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals and sufficient intake of calories. If it is not supervised under medical supervision, the consumed amount of calories should not be less than 1000 a day.

Jaw Wiring and Weight Loss
A lot of jaw wiring orthodontists do not foretell the level of weight loss that will be achieved. Generally, the decision is left with the patients as he/she can decide on the number of calories that will be taken. 

It is important to avoid high-calorie drinks, such as milkshakes and or sports drinks as they can increase the rate at which calories are taken and they can also prevent weight loss. The majority of the orthodontists advise patients to target between 1.5 and 2 pounds per week. This represents a weight loss of 50 pounds for six months.

Recovery and postoperative care after Jaw Wiring
After the procedure, the wires should be removed every 4 to 6 weeks, for 3 to 6 days, in order to make the jaws active and prevent joining together of the jaws. Some of the things that need to be done as helpful exercise include eating solid food and chewing gum; in the event of an emergency, patients are required to take a wire cutter with them, a typical emergency case is vomiting.

People with allergies may have difficulty and they are not a suitable candidate for jaw wiring. This procedure also prevents any activity requiring deep breathing like heavy exercise.

One of the ways to maintain oral hygiene is through mouthwash, antiseptic wipes and as far as the front teeth are concerned, normal washing must be done. You should schedule a regular visit with your orthodontist for check-ups.

Individuals who should avoid jaw wiring
It is only the orthodontist that can determine who is and who not an ideal candidate is for jaw wiring. Below are the lists of people that should avoid jaw wiring:
  • People who have dental or gingival problems, jaw disorders, allergies, any difficulty breathing, anorexia or bulimia
  • Individuals whose job, marital relations may be affected
  • People that are obsessed to floss their teeth, or tighten their teeth
  • Individuals with a psychological disorder that can be worsened by wiring their mouth
  • People whose health may be endangered or influenced by a liquid diet
  • Those that take big capsules as medications.
  • Individuals that drink alcoholic beverages.

Jaw wiring: a type of compulsive liquid diet

After orthodontic jaw wiring, a liquid diet is required of the success of the procedure. Because liquid diets are widely very effective at helping with chronic clinical obesity in order to normalize their weight, this serves to be an indication that jaw wiring is an effective weight loss therapy. However, the majority of the low-calorie liquid diet plans are effective for long-term weight reduction only when observed under strict medical supervision. 

Typically, such a diet program includes advice and guidance on healthy eating and regular exercise without which long-term effectiveness is questionable. That is why most orthodontists practicing jaw wiring claim that the long-term success of the procedure depends entirely on adhering to the patient's dietary guidance and post-surgery practices. However, clinical trials with this weight loss therapy have shown excellent initial results. 

It is of utmost importance that the individual continues or seeks out behavior therapy after losing weight for long-term results. Joining weight loss groups such as Weight Watchers, Food Addicts in RecoveryOvereaters Anonymous, and etc would aid in keeping the weight off especially if the individual is an emotional eater.

Doctors who do jaw wiring surgery

There is one doctor I found that does this procedure and he is located in Portland Oregon and New York City. OJW Weight Control

Another article to check out: Jaw Wiring For Weight Loss Results


  1. I have never seen this before. Other things but never this.

  2. Do anyone no how much it cost for jaw wiring?

    1. It's about $2000. Get more information from the OJW website on prices.

  3. haven't heard of this before

  4. Is it good for the health for our teeth. Instead we can follow some healthy lifestyle and healthy diet to lose weight. You can find more details here in https://www.healthytip.co.in.

  5. This is awful. Barbaric and archaic.


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