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Can Screws Come Loose After Jaw Surgery?

Posted on 3/15/2024 by Weo Admin
A person holding their jaw in painThe risk of screws coming loose after surgery is minimal and mostly related to thin bone or bone deformities. Loose screws are safely removed as they serve no purpose.

Why Do I Need Screws in Jaw Surgery?

Screws are used in rigid fixation surgeries to stabilize the upper and lower jaws after surgery. Rapid fixation jaw surgeries use plates and screws to stabilize jaw bones after repositioning. Repositioning entails the surgeon cutting and moving bone segments as necessary. Jawbone osteotomies, such as maxillomandibular advancement (MMA), rely on screws and plates to offer reconstructive support for jaws.

The main advantage of using screws for reconstructive care support is that they eliminate the need for wiring shut the mouth as they heal. Wires are uncomfortable and restrictive. The only downside of using screws for support is that the procedure to fix them and the plates into the jaws is highly invasive.

Why Do Screws Come Loose After Surgery

Thin Bones and Bone Deformities

In most cases, the reason for screws coming loose is thin or deformed bones. When bones are too thin, they do not effectively support surgical hardware. Also, weak or deformed bones, such as bone that has been surgically operated on several times, lack the density to tightly hold plates and screws in place for the desired period.

Improper Fit

At other times, it is a surgical mistake whereby a surgeon does not fit screws tightly into the jawbone. This commonly happens in the case of maxillofacial surgeries of the upper jaw, where mini-screws are used, and the bone is thinner. Also, the complexity of the upper jaw complicates the screw and plate fixation process.


Bacterial infections also contribute to screw loosening. Screws will easily pop through an infected bone or gum. This necessitates the removal and cleaning of the surgical hardware for healing.

What Happens to Loose Screws

Once a screw becomes loose before full healing, then in most cases, the surgeon will remove it under local anesthesia. In some cases, the surgeon might, however, attempt to refix the screw into the bone. There is no need to worry about a loose screw after 12 weeks of recovery, for by then, the bone has adequately healed.

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