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Road to Recovery: What to Expect After Orthognathic Surgery

Once you make the decision to undergo orthognathic surgery, you’ll feel excited about becoming the new you. Afterward, countless questions may spring to mind. On top of the list, you’ll want to know all the details of what you can expect following surgery. To help you plan ahead, here’s a quick snapshot of a typical road to recovery:

Swelling: You can expect swelling to be the worst in the first week after oral surgery. It’s usually most noticeable from three to five days after surgery, then it gradually lessens.

Bruising: Bruising often accompanies swelling, and it dissipates as the swelling subsides. As the bruising fades, you may notice it changes color, and it may travel down your neck and chest. The good news is that it typically disappears in one to two weeks.

Numbness: It’s normal to feel a numbness sensation in your face for several weeks as the nerves heal.

Discomfort: Discomfort following surgery is easily controlled with medication.

Diet: It’s important to stick to a full liquid diet (milk shakes, smoothies, non-acidic juices, jello and foods processed with a blender) during the first week. Your oral surgeon will give you a schedule for transitioning to a normal diet.

Post-op Visit: You’ll need to return to your oral surgeon’s office for a post-op visit one week after orthognathic surgery to evaluate your healing progress. During this appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have.

Returning to Normal Activities: If you’re like most patients, you’ll be able to return to work or school from one to three weeks following your oral surgery, depending on how you’re feeling.

Healing: While the initial healing phase is about six weeks, complete healing of the jaws takes between nine and 12 months.

Throughout your healing, it’s important to closely follow your oral surgeon’s instructions. The costs of orthognathic surgery are an investment, and you play a key role in getting the best results.