Jaw Surgery Recovery
There are many reasons you could need jaw, or orthognathic, surgery. You may have had an automobile accident, you might have fallen, or perhaps your jaw is misaligned. Whatever the reason, Drs. Scheetz & Rekos: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons of Ohio, can perform your surgery and allow you get your life back. Jaw surgery is major surgery. As such, there will be a recovery period following your procedure.
Pain and Swelling
Pain and swelling are not uncommon after jaw surgery, and the severity coincides with the extensiveness of your surgical procedure. Minor pain is often well managed with over the counter pain medications. However, we will prescribe you stronger pain medication should your pain be more severe. Pain often peaks 3 to 5 days after surgery, and should slowly subside after.
During the first 24 hours, ice packs can help to reduce the overall amount of swelling that you will experience. It can also help to relieve sensitivity. You can continue to use ice 3 to 4 days after your procedure. Swelling often peaks on the fourth day, after which, moist heat can be applied. Swelling will slowly subside over the next 2 weeks. It is not uncommon for a very small amount to remain up to 3 months later.
Bleeding and oozing is also not an uncommon occurrence after surgery. Surgery of the upper jaw can even cause some bleeding from the nose when you tilt your head forward or backward. It should subside within 7 to 10 days.
Bruising and Stiffness
Some bruising is likely to occur. Depending upon which jaw was operated on, the bruising could occur in your upper cheeks and eyes, lower cheeks, or even all the way down to your neck. While alarming, it is normal and should dissipate within 2 weeks.
You may also notice that your jaw is stiff, and have trouble opening it. Do not force it open. You can begin jaw exercises, which consist of opening and closing your jaw and moving it side to side 3 to 4 times a day, 2 weeks after your procedure. It may be difficult at first, but it will become easier over time.
Rest is a must after jaw surgery. During the first 24 hours, you should remain seated or lie down with your head elevated. You can walk and move around, but you should avoid bending and lifting, strenuous activities and exercise of any kind. These activities can increase pain, swelling, and bleeding. After 2 weeks, you can resume light exercises. Avoid more strenuous exercise until 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Stay away from contact sports.
Nutrition is one of the keys to proper and expedient healing. However, the types of nutritious foods you eat matter. Liquid and soft foods will be the most beneficial. Depending on the severity of your procedure, you may want to stick with anything you can drink for the first 3 weeks. Then you can move on to soft foods that are easily squished, such as mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Hard, crunchy and chewy foods should be avoided for approximately 3 months.
It is important to keep your mouth clean after surgery to avoid infection. Brushing should be avoided for up to a week. Salt water rinses and prescription mouthwashes will help to keep your mouth clean. When you can start brushing again, make sure you use a soft bristled brush. Be careful around surgical sites. If you have any braces or wires, be sure to clean them thoroughly, along with your teeth.
Following the instructions you are given after jaw surgery will help to make your recovery smooth and successful. Follow-up visits will be scheduled so that we can monitor your progress. If at any time, however, you experience unmanageable pain, severe swelling or excessive bleeding, it is essential that you call the office right away. If you have any questions about your jaw surgery or the recovery process, don’t hesitate to call Drs. Scheetz & Rekos: Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons of Ohio at (614) 734-1504 today!