Your jaw joints and jawbone play a vital role in your life. They ensure healthy oral function and the ability to chew. Issues with your jaw, such as misalignment, can cause excessive wear on your teeth. In some cases, it can affect your ability to breathe. If you experience these issues, you may need jaw surgery.
Why you might need jaw surgery
Jaw surgery is more complex than a tooth extraction. At SPA Dental Group, our teams, located in New York City and Washington, DC, can diagnose the condition of your jaw and perform oral surgery as needed.
Jaw surgery is also known as orthognathic surgery, which corrects irregularities within the jawbone. Problems in your jaw can be due to:
- A protruding jaw
- Chronic TMJ pain
- Unbalanced facial structures
- An open bite
- A receding lower jaw or chin
- Sleep apnea
- Facial injuries
- Birth defects
If you’re a candidate for jaw surgery, we let you know what to expect. After you have surgery, your after-care is one of the most essential parts of the process.
The after-effects of jaw surgery
After you have a jaw procedure, you need to follow the instructions for your post-operative care. The surgery causes soreness in your muscles and your jawbone. You may also have difficulty eating, drinking, or performing good oral hygiene.
Right after your surgery, you might experience symptoms such as bleeding, swelling, and nausea, which should subside within a few hours. For the first two weeks of recovery, we recommend that you take off from work or school.
You will continue to have swelling and show signs of bruising for 2-3 weeks after your surgery. Your recovery takes up to six weeks, and your full recovery takes up to three months.
What your after-care involves
We send you home with specific instructions, which may include:
Stay home and rest. Don’t drive, bend, or lift anything for a few days. To limit your jaw movement, be careful not to talk too much, and break up your eating into six small portions instead of eating three times a day.
Watch what you eat
For the first 10 days after your surgery, stick with a liquid diet. You should also take supplements to compensate for your lack of calorie intake.
On days 11-12, you can begin to eat soft foods that require minimal chewing, like mashed potatoes or soft pasta.
At three weeks, you can start to move your jaw more and eat soft meats like fish and soft chicken.
Watch what you drink
Though you need to drink 2-3 liters of fluids every day, avoid drinking through a straw. You don’t want to disturb your wound, which can cause bleeding.
Avoid drinking coffee and soda the first 24-48 hours after your procedure, and refrain from drinking alcohol to accelerate your recovery.
Use cold and hot compresses
If you have swelling, apply ice to your jaw for 30 minutes and let it rest for 15. Then repeat. Do this for 24-48 hours after your surgery. After a week, you can start to use warm heat over the surgical area.
You also want to maintain optimal oral hygiene to keep your surgical wound clean, but be cautious your first week after surgery. Be gentle, and use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
To learn more about your recovery after corrective jaw surgery, call our friendly office staff at the location nearest you in the Midtown East area of Manhattan, New York, and Washington, DC, or book your appointment online today.