Orthognathic Surgery Recovery: What Patients Can Expect

By markplatt on August 21, 2015

A woman in a dentist chairOral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates has established itself as one of the premiere centers for oral surgery and advanced dentistry in the Montgomery area. We offer the latest techniques for achieving wellness, including orthognathic surgery, which reshapes the jaw and uses orthodontics to improve tooth alignment.

We have received a number of questions about the recovery process involved with this procedure lately. Let's go over some of the basics right now.

Activities to Avoid After Orthognathic Surgery

After undergoing orthognathic surgery, patients should avoid eating solid foods. The mouth is very delicate, so patients should be very tender about anything involving the mouth. In addition, traditional brushing and flossing will prove difficult given the work that has been performed, and special instructions will be provided for keeping your teeth clean following orthognathic surgery.

It's also important that patients avoid strenuous physical activities as well as the use of tobacco products and alcohol as these can all have a negative impact on your overall healing and recovery experience. During a consultation prior to your surgery, you will receive detail information about the various do's and don'ts after your procedure.

Common Side Effects After Orthognathic Surgery

Some of the most common side effects after orthognathic surgery include:

  • Pain, discomfort, and soreness
  • Fatigue and grogginess
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Drooling
  • Sore throat
  • Oral and nasal bleeding
  • Jaw and muscle spasms
  • Numbness of the chin, cheeks, and lips

A Word on Your Diet After Orthognathic Surgery

As noted above, your teeth, gums, and jaw will be very sensitive to pain and discomfort, so your diet will have to be altered to adjust to this. In most cases, patients will have to eat a liquid diet administered into the mouth through a syringe or a straw. (This will depend on your oral surgeons' recommendations.)

Patients will slow reintroduce solid foods into their diet gradually, month by month, starting with soft items that do not require much chewing first and then working back to crunchy, chunky, or chewy solids when they are fully healed. Patients need to take this slow.

What to Expect in the First Week After Orthognathic Surgery

In the first days of recovery after orthognathic, patients will experience the most significant amounts of pain and discomfort. Swelling, drooling, and issues with numbness will similarly be most pronounced during this time, as will problems sleeping due to jaw pain. Elastics may be given by your surgeon to limit the amount of jaw movement and ensure proper and rapid healing.

Patients are asked to focus on resting and wellness, using cold compresses/ice packs as recommended to address swelling, bruising, and pain. It's a good idea to have a loved one present with you during the first week of healing in order to help around the home and provide other forms of support as you heal.

What to Expect by the End of the First Month

By the end of the first two weeks, feeling should return to a patient's face and he or she should notice a major improvement in terms of overall side effects. Soreness may still be present, but it will be nowhere near as pronounced as it was in the first week.

By the end of the first month, soft foods such as mashed potatoes or applesauce will be able to be eaten.

What to Expect by the End of the Second Month

Most of the swelling experienced during the first month of surgery should be gone, and patients will be on soft foods. Again, patients should take things slow and not push themselves since they are still healing. Speaking should no longer prove a challenge, and there should be little if any issues with drooling by this time.

What to Expect by the End of Three Months

By the third month, patients should be back on solid foods (though ones that do not cause too much pain or strain) and notice major strides forward when it comes to jaw mobility and overall feelings of wellness. With the oral surgery completed and patients healed, the orthodontic portion of this surgical process can continue, improving dental alignment and the overall appearance of your smile in the process.

Speak with the Dental Health Experts at Our Practice

For more information about how our team can help you achieve all of your dental health goals, be sure to contact our advanced oral surgery center today. The team at Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Associates look forward to your visit and helping you achieve good dental health overall.

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