If you’re going to have corrective jaw surgery done, you may be wondering what the recovery timeline will look like. Understanding the procedure and recovery process will help you recuperate more rapidly. At Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona, the types of procedures range from skeletal or TMJ jaw surgery to rhBMP-2 jaw reconstruction. Regardless of the procedure, the general advice is the same, and most patients gain complete strength and health after just six weeks.
The Days Following Surgery
To help recovery along during the first few days after surgery:
• Consume plenty of fluids and take your medication. We recommend at least 64 ounces of water each day. Your surgeon will let you know how to take your medications.
• Put an ice pack on the area and keep your head up so that it will not swell. You may not be able to move much, so take it easy. If you notice light bleeding, that is normal.
• Rinse your mouth twice daily with an antibacterial mouth rinse called Peridex. Carefully and gently brush your teeth.
After the first 24 hours, you’ll likely feel sore. The swelling will be fair during those first couple days, which is nothing to be worried about. Simply apply ice to the area to lessen the swelling, and after five days, it should begin to go down.
The Weeks Following Surgery
During the first week after your surgery:
• Resume light housework and activities, but remember to keep it low-key. Each week, gradually do a little more as long as it doesn’t put any strain on your jaw.
• Continue to rinse and brush your teeth, but avoid the area where the wound is so as not to cause a rupture or infection. If the pain is still fairly bad, rinse with warm salt water.
• Continue to take any prescribed medications. For pain and swelling, 600 mg of ibuprofen can be taken every six to eight hours. Make sure to speak with your surgeon about combining medications.
• Only take in liquids that are not acidic, alcoholic, sugary, or carbonated. Most of your regular food can be blended and eaten like soup. During the next couple weeks, eat solids that are soft enough to gum up and swallow. You’ll know when something is too hard to chew.
After six weeks, you should see the surgeon for a follow-up visit. During this time, your surgeon will take a look at the progress of your healing to let you know what, if any, additional steps need to be taken.