The total number of dental implants could increase by 23% between 2020 and 2026. Whether you need dental implants or surgery after sustaining facial trauma, it’s important to have a plan. Your jaw surgery recovery plan can help minimize the risk of complications. 

Here are a few tips that can help you heal after orthognathic surgery. With these tips, you can prioritize your oral health without additional stress.

Read on to learn how to heal after jaw surgery today. 

Take Time to Rest

Try to clear your calendar immediately after your jaw surgery. Avoid strenuous activity for the weeks following your procedure. Instead, take time to rest at home.

Your jawbones will remain wired together to ensure they have time to recover and heal. Try to avoid:

  • Lifting
  • Bending
  • Driving

Otherwise, you could risk dislodging a blood clot, which could lead to bleeding and other complications.

Talk to your dentist or surgery as you develop your jaw surgery recovery plan. They can help you gradually progress the intensity of your movement over time.

Otherwise, try to minimize how often you talk, eat, or drink the day after your oral surgery.

When you do eat, try to break larger meals into smaller ones. Break breakfast, lunch, and dinner from three meals to six and consume smaller portions at each meal.

Try to avoid spitting as well. Otherwise, you could unintentionally disturb the surgical wound.

It takes eight to 12 weeks to heal from orthognathic surgery, though everyone heals at a different rate. Try to remain patient during this time. Protect the surgical area as much as possible to avoid potential issues. 

If there are any problems with the surgical site, make sure to talk to your dentist or surgeon right away. 

Adjust Your Diet

In order to minimize moving your jaw, you’ll need to recognize your food choices.

For the first 10 days after orthognathic surgery, it’s important to stick to a liquid diet.

Consume fruits or veggies by blending or juicing them for easy consumption. You can also consume food supplements if you need to increase your daily calorie intake. Talk to your dentist about foods that are ideal to consume during this time.

In addition to juices and smoothies, you can also consume soup to avoid unnecessary chewing.

Between day 11 and 21 after the surgery, you can begin eating soft foods. You’ll still want to minimize chewing during this time. Try consuming:

  • Small pieces of sandwiches
  • Soft pasta
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Egg

You can slowly start chewing during this timeframe. However, remain cautious as you continue recovering.

Three weeks after the surgery, you can begin increasing your jaw movement. Add soft meals to your diet, such as soft chicken or fish.

It’s likely your jaw will get tired from chewing during the healing process. That’s normal. Remain patient with yourself.

It can take two to three months before your jaw muscles fully heal. During this time, try to stick to small portions. Avoid putting too much pressure on the healing bone. 

Stay Hydrated

It’s normal to feel numbness around or on the lips following jaw surgery. You could experience swelling or facial soreness, too. As a result, you might notice it’s more difficult to drink than usual.

You’ll still need to consume 2 to 3 liters of fluid daily to remain hydrated.

In addition to water, consider fruit juices or milk. 

Try to avoid drinking through a straw during the healing process. Otherwise, sucking through a straw can cause unnecessary force that can disturb the wound. The surgical site might start bleeding.

Instead, use a syringe with a rubber extender.

During the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure, avoid soda, coffee, or tea. Hasten your recovery by cutting out alcohol during the recovery process, too. 

Use Cold and Heat Therapy

Remember, you might notice some bruising and swelling while you heal from your surgery. You can reduce swelling by applying an ice pack to the jaw for 30 minutes at a time. Make sure to give your skin a 15-minute break before reapplying the cold compress.

Wrap the cold compress in a towel to avoid direct contact with your skin. 

You can continue using cold therapy during the first 48 hours after the procedure. During this time, keep an eye out for pus. Pus or a fever could indicate the wound has developed an infection.

Make sure to call your surgeon right away if you experience these complications.

After a week, switch to a hot pack instead. 

Elevate Your Head

You can also minimize facial swelling by keeping your head above your heart. This position can increase and promote proper blood flow. 

In the meantime, try to avoid lying flat during your recovery. Instead, sit or recline to maintain proper blood flow during the day. At bedtime, use a few pillows to keep your head elevated. 

Use Jaw Exercises

During the first 10 days after the procedure, the movement of chewing food will help exercise your jaw muscle. 

Your surgeon or dentist might recommend jaw exercises 10 days after your procedure. Try opening and closing your jaw as often as you can. Move your jaws forward, back, and side to side, too. 

Ease muscle strain as you perform these exercises by applying moist heat to the side of your face. 

Maintain Oral Hygiene

Surgical site infections occur in as many as 33.4% of cases after orthognathic surgery. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential when you’re healing from surgery.

First, make sure to keep the wound clean and free of infection. Use a soft-bristled brush to avoid vigorous brushing. Avoid using a Waterpik, too, which can cause bleeding.

Plan an Effective Jaw Surgery Recovery Process Today

The jaw surgery recovery stage is crucial to ensure you don’t experience complications. Use these tips while you’re healing from jaw surgery. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist or surgeon. 

With a plan in place, you can enjoy the benefits of dental implants after healing from the surgery without additional stress. 

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