Archbars & Buttons Removal
Arch-bars, Leonard Buttons and IMF Screws are used to support and stabilise fractured jaws, both
stabilising the jaw and the opposing jaw.  With elastics between the upper and lower jaw, it is hoped
that the teeth and the way they are aligned and bite together will also correct.

Inter-Maxillary Fixation (IMF) or Mandibulo-Maxillary Fixation (MMF) is the concept of providing stabilisation to the jaws by
binding the upper & lower dental occlusal arches (ie how the teeth bite together) to one another.

The most important goal in the treatment of any fracture of the
maxilla (upper jaw) or mandible (lower jaw) is to re-establish
the patient’s pre-injury dental occlusion (ie how the teeth bite together).  
IMF allows the surgeon to set & secure proper

For some fractures, reduction and stabilisation with
IMF provides adequate treatment without internal fixation and is
maintained long enough to allow the fracture (or fractures) to heal.

For many (if not most) jaw fractures,
IMF is a crucial step in the process of open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF). It is
critical to understand that success and failure in fracture treatment are defined by
occlusal outcome.

An apparent anatomic reduction can result in
occlusal imperfection if proper steps are not taken to ensure correct
occlusion first.

Over time, many methods have been employed to provide
IMF (2 are covered here).

The “
first and last” principle for IMF is emphasised for cases treated by ORIF: IMF is applied first to secure occlusion; it is
released last to check occlusion.
Removal of the archbars, Leonard buttons or IMF screws is often done without the
use of anaesthesia.  This is so, as to numb up the mouth would entail multiple
injections for what benefit?  The procedure is quick and though can be slightly sore
at the time, this settles quickly.

archbars are wired to the teeth to keep them in place.  This has the knock-on
effects of:

  • Staining to teeth
  • Early decay around the necks of the teeth
  • Bleeding that is easily provoked with tooth brushing of bleeding from the gums
  • (Marked) Gum recession leading to dentine sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Extrusion of the teeth, with the occlusion needing time to bed in

After the archbars have been removed, you may need to take painkillers for the
following 24 - 36 hours, use antiseptic mouthwashes until the gums appear
healthy, and when circumstances allow, maintain good oral hygiene.
Photos of Archbars that have been wired to teeth.  Elastics or wires are used to bring the archbars
(and hence, teeth and jaws) together.
Last Updated 10th January 2020
Useful Articles:

Natl J Maxillofac Surg 2010.  A new & easy technique for maxillomandibular fixation

JOMS 2010.  IMF Screw -  An Ideal Intermaxillary Fixation Device During Open Reduction of Mandibular Fracture

JOMS 2011.  Are Maxillomandibular Fixation Screws a Better Option Than Erich Arch Bars in Achieving Maxillomandibular
Fixation?  A Randomized Clinical Study

JOMS 2011.  Complications Using Intermaxillary Fixation Screws

Natl J Maxillofac Surg 2011.  A Questionnaire Survey on Postoperative Intermaxillary Fixation in Mandibular Trauma - Is Its
Use Based on Evidence?

Dental Traumatology 2012.  A Retrospective Evaluation of Iatrogenic Dental Root Damage with Predrilled vs Drill-Free Bone
Anchor Screws for Intermaxillary Fixation

Are Arch Bars Necessary for Maxillomandibular Fixation? - a Paradigm Shift

Ann Maxillofac Surg 2016.  Intermaxillary Fixation Screws vs Erich Arch Bars in Mandibular Fractures - A Comparative Study
& Review of Literature

Ann Plast Surg 2016.  Maxillomandibular Fixation by Plastic Surgeons - Cost Analysis & Utilization of Resources

Biomed Pharmacol J 2017.  Comparison of Arch Bar, Eyelets & Transmucosal Screws for Maxillo Mandibular Fixation in Jaw

Int J Rec Sci Res 2017.  IMF Screws - An Alternative to Archbars

Natl J Maxillofac Surg 2018.  Evaluation of Efficacy of Intermaxillary Fixation Screws versus Modified Arch Bar for
Intermaxillary Fixation