Following corrective jaw surgery, you will need to adjust your meals and snacks as your bones and facial structures heal. No matter if you undergo orthognathic surgery for TMJ pain, sleep apnea or another condition, you should consume mostly liquids and pureed foods during the initial healing stage. Later on in the recovery process, you will be able to introduce soft foods and resume chewing. A reliable blender or food processor is recommended for preparing meals throughout your recovery.
1 to 3 Days Post Surgery
Swelling as well as numbness from the anesthesia are to be expected immediately following your procedure. Both will make it difficult to eat or drink. Stay hydrated by consuming water, juices and other thin beverages.
Weeks 1 Through 4
Thick purees will become a more substantial part of your diet as you heal. Avoid chewing during this stage as your bones are stabilized only by the plates and screws inserted during surgery. Smoothies, shakes and other fruit- or yogurt-based drinks are great options, as are dietary supplements such as Ensure and Sustacal. Supplements will help you maintain a healthy weight during recovery. Create your own meals by blending cooked vegetables or meats with broth and then straining to ensure their drinkability.
Protein powders, milk powders and other smoothie blends are helpful for increasing caloric intake. Plan to eat smaller, more frequent meals and to drink water throughout the day to ensure adequate nutrition and hydration.
Weeks 4 Through 6
As the recovery process progresses, you may begin to introduce soft foods that require minimal chewing. The goal during this stage is to increase menu offerings while limiting the strain caused by traditional amounts of chewing. Plan to add the following types of foods to your menu:
- Mashed potatoes
- Scrambled eggs
- Soft rice dishes
- Soft pasta (cut into small bites)
- Soft sandwiches (cut into small bites)
6 Weeks Post Surgery
At this stage in the healing process, you may attempt chewing soft foods such as chicken, fish and hamburger in small amounts. It is important to avoid putting too much force on the bones, which are still healing. Jaw muscles will tire quickly and begin to strengthen as you continue consuming solid foods. Prolonged chewing should be avoided for several weeks.
Understand Your Choices
At Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona, we want you to understand your options for a better bite and more functional jaw alignment. Give us a call today to at 602-957-0332 in Arcadia or at 480-820-7400 in Tempe discuss any questions you may have about surgery or recovery.