If you are preparing for jaw surgery, you probably have a lot of questions about the recovery process. After all, your jaw is one of the most active joints in your body. You use it for eating, speaking, and countless other unconscious actions. Jaw surgery is one of the more extensive forms of facial reconstruction. However, when you receive treatment at our Phoenix, AZ practice, we will guide you through recovery to make your healing as quick and easy as possible. Read on for some common questions about recovery from jaw surgery, and find out what you can expect during the healing process.
Will my jaw be wired shut?
In the past, jaw surgery patients always had their joints wired together after their treatment. While Dr. Day still places wires in some situations, it is less common, thanks to newer surgical methods. With rigid fixation, he will use plates and screws to hold your jaw in place. He will also place elastics between your teeth to keep your jaw in a secure position. This method makes recovery quicker and more comfortable.
Will there be swelling?
Swelling is one of the most common side effects of double jaw surgery. The amount of swelling will vary for each individual, and it will depend largely on your particular procedure. For example, if you have lower jaw surgery or double jaw surgery, you will likely experience more swelling than someone who has upper jaw surgery. Typically, swelling will dramatically subside during the first two to three weeks after your procedure, although it may take several months to go away completely. To reduce initial post-surgical swelling, use ice packs and steroids. You should also sleep with your head elevated. After the first week, heat can also help to minimize swelling and discomfort.
What can I eat?
Even if you do not have your jaw wired shut, your jaw will still have a very limited range of motion. You will need to maintain proper dietary protocol to avoid moving the screws that hold your joints in place. For the first few weeks, you should maintain a liquid diet. It is very important to get as many nutrients as possible, even with a restricted intake. Include protein shakes and supplements, fruit and yogurt smoothies, and smooth soups. After the first few weeks, you will be able to add more foods into your diet. However, you should stick to soft foods, until otherwise instructed by Dr. Day. Expect to lose 5 to 10 pounds during your recovery.
How should I care for my teeth?
Because you will not be able to open your mouth all the way, it will be difficult to maintain proper dental hygiene. However, when you mouth is clean, you will reduce your risk for infection and speed your healing, so you should make a concerted effort in this area. The day after your surgery you can typically remove the elastics to brush your teeth, although you should replace them as soon as you are finished. Use a child-sized toothbrush to access more of your teeth. You should also rinse your mouth with salt water and antibacterial solutions several times a day.
More Questions? Contact Us!
Jaw surgery is a big step, and you probably have many more questions about the procedure. Contact Oral and Facial Surgery Center today for more helpful tips.