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Jaw Wiring for Weight Loss at Dr. Ted’s Office

Introduction and Interview with Sandra Whyte: February 18, 1999

(See also FAQ's)

(See also The Informed Consent for Jaw Wiring)

The service of jaw wiring for weight loss had its inception at my office about five years ago. A patient, 26 years young, who was just about to have her braces removed, asked me if I did the procedure. She told me she had heard about it in Los Angeles, where it is done routinely, she said. She was clinically overweight and had tried many methods without success to bring her weight under control. After much consideration and consulting with a number of medical doctors I agreed to go ahead and wire her jaws together under a carefully supervised program. Since she already had orthodontic appliances on it was relatively simple to wire her jaws together.

Jaw wiring is an easily accomplished simple procedure. It requires bonding/attaching 6 orthodontic brackets (hooks) on each side of the patient’s mouth (3 teeth on top, and 3 on the bottom). Then the patient closes their jaws together into their regular bite position. A wire is lightly woven around the hooks on the left side and tied, and likewise for the right side.

Would-be jaw wired patients are advised to get clearance from their physician before starting. Once the jaws are wired the patient is then restricted to a liquid diet. Speaking is not a problem Understanding the OJW Position of Physiologic Rest, however expressions of anger and rage present some difficulty. Shouting is definitely out of the question. They are also advised to always carry with a small wire cutter (nail clipper) so in case of emergency they can clip wire and free themselves immediately. Every 4-5 weeks they release themselves for 4-5 days to exercise the muscles of the jaws, and then return to the office for a cleaning and rewiring closed.

You might be wondering why anyone would choose to lose weight using this method. Those patients who chose to have this procedure done have tried all other weight loss methods including prescription drugs without any significant success. They do not have the time/desire to exercise and they are looking for some immediate control of their food intake. In a word they lack self-discipline and this approach albeit draconian serves to jump-start their desire to see some weight loss.

Sandra Whyte, who is now wired closed, agreed to be interviewed. Here is that interview. 

 An Interview with Sandra Whyte: February 18, 1999

Dr. Ted: What methods of weight loss did you try before jaw wiring?

Sandra: Mostly pills, both over-the-counter and prescription medicines including Phen-fen.


Dr. Ted: You weren’t successful with pills, how come?

Sandra: After the first week or two they would stop having any effect on me and I would go back to eating as usual.


Dr. Ted: Do you exercise Sandra?

Sandra: Sometimes. When I was first wired I went to gym every day. Now I don’t go as often as I know I should. I’m buying a treadmill for the house.


Dr. Ted: Had you ever considered surgery, like having your stomach made smaller?

Sandra: I never thought of that Dr. Ted, but it is way too drastic an approach for me.


Dr. Ted: Why do you like the jaw wiring approach so much?

Sandra: I have the psychological freedom to take the wire off when I want. (She smiles a bit embarrassed.)


Dr. Ted: Do you ever remove the wires?

Sandra: Yes I do.


Dr. Ted: Why do you need to remove the wires?

Sandra: For special occasions like my birthday and celebrations. Of course I need to take it off just to give my jaw muscles exercise. After a few week in wires my jaw muscles get a bit stiff.


Dr. Ted: Is the wire difficult to remove?

Sandra: The wire is very strong. Impossible to open your mouth no matter how strong you are. However, it is soft enough to cut with a cuticle cutter.


Dr. Ted: Have you ever had any pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums?

Sandra: No pain at all.


Dr. Ted: How often would you recommend that a person return to the office for cleaning?

Sandra: every two – three weeks.


Dr. Ted: I noticed Sandra that when you return to the office your wire is usually not on. Why is that?

Sandra: I like to free myself for 2-3 days because after two weeks my jaw muscles get stiff and I like to exercise them.


Dr. Ted: How do you do that?

Sandra: by talking and eating.


Dr. Ted: Do you eat badly when you release yourself?

Sandra: Let me put it this way: I am much better now than when I first began releasing myself.


Dr. Ted: Has having to talk with your teeth together been bothersome to you?

Sandra: Yes, sometimes, but as you can see my speech is not that much impaired. Anyway my work does not require that I speak. My friends have no difficulty in understanding me at all. Understanding the OJW Position of Physiologic Rest


Dr. Ted: You could release yourself any time so what holds you back from simply cutting the wire off?

Sandra: First off It costs to have the wires replaced. Second, I don’t want to be my own worst enemy. Third I don’t want to things that are self defeating. If you’re stupid then you cheat. As for me, I want results and I’m getting them.


Dr. Ted: Sandra, admit it, do you cheat?

Sandra: In what way?


Dr. Ted: Eating solid foods even with your mouth wired.

Sandra: Yes I do cheat. I try to stick the food through my teeth in the back.


Dr. Ted: Has having your jaws wired closed put a bit of a crimp in your sex life?

Sandra: For some people it might be a big bother, but for me it hasn’t caused me any problems.


Dr. Ted: Have you learned anything about your mouth?

Sandra: Yes. I like to eat.


Dr. Ted: Do you binge?

Sandra: I answered that before. I’ll be more specific. In a word… yes. I notice though my binges are fewer and the amount of food I intake is less now. In other words, I have more control over my cravings. I am definitely more controlled than before I was wired.


Dr. Ted: Did you ever experience nausea and vomiting while you were wired?

Sandra: Yes, both at the same time.


Dr. Ted: Did you cut the wire off?

Sandra: Yes, while I was vomiting? I had forgotten my wire cutters at home and the vomiting came soon after the nausea.


Dr. Ted: Were you scared?

Sandra: Yes I was. The vomit was coming through my nose and mouth at the same time. I was not scared for my life though because the vomit was just liquid because I had only had a liquid diet.


Dr. Ted: How many pounds have you lost.

Sandra: I have lost about 40 pounds in 8 months.


Dr. Ted: Sandra, on a scale of 0-10 how disciplined were you during this time period?

Sandra: 7


Dr. Ted: If you were had been a10 how much weight could you have lost?

Sandra: Easily 2.5 pounds a week.


Dr. Ted: How does your family feel about your jaw wiring?

Sandra: They don’t want me to do it. My boyfriend doesn’t want me to do it either.


Dr. Ted: Do you want to say anything else about this approach for you?

Sandra: Yes. Since I can’t argue the way I usually want to the wire prevents me from being outrageous.


Dr. Ted: Thank you Sandra.


Dr. Ted: You know Sandra they say it’s not over until the fat lady sings pardon me for using that expression. But you know losing the weight is one thing, and keeping it off for as long as you want, that is my definition of "success."

Sandra: That’s too heavy for me Doctor Ted. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Just knowing you’re here now to help me is comforting.

Post Script  August 6, 1999

Sandra returned to the office unexpectedly  late yesterday afternoon to have me remove the tags of glue that has held  her brackets on to her teeth. She had removed all 12 brackets herself, being too impatient to have me remove them. She had been in jaw wiring for about 12 months and lost about 65 pounds. She seemed a bit down, but relieved to rid of the last remains of of her jaw wiring experience. It was too late to query her on the details of why and how etc. I shall provide further details as to Sandra's state of mind as it becomes know to  me

As Sandra finished my day like a parentheses ends some statements, L.K.  appeared almost as unexpectedly to be the first patient of the day. Consequently, I envision her as a "start"  parentheses; bookends as it were to a busy, busy day, a day that began at 7 am and ended at 7pm. She has given permission hopefully  to have the events of her treatment be be publicly recorded. for those who might be interested see  Observations and Treatment Chart of L.K.


(See also FAQ's)

Dr.Ted Rothstein, Specialist in Orthodontics

35 Remsen St. Brooklyn Heights

852-1551; Fax 852-1894

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