Our oral surgeons and team are committed to providing you with all the resources you need to make informed decisions about your oral health as well as help you recover without complications following your procedure.

Please follow these post-op instructions after jaw surgery to help you recover:

Day 1

  • Avoid smoking
  • Swelling: Apply ice packs to the face over surgical area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours to help minimize swelling. Swelling tends to peak 48 hours after surgery. Assume a semi-upright position with your head elevated above your heart when resting. We recommend applying an over-the-counter steroid cream on and around your lips.
  • Discomfort: Take the prescribed pain reliever before the numbness starts to subside making sure you have eaten beforehand (dairy products work best if you are not lactose intolerant). If you develop hives or a rash from any of the medications, discontinue them and call our office.
  • Bleeding: Minor bleeding following surgery is to be expected. If you are having upper jaw surgery, a minor nosebleed may be expected for a period of 1-2 weeks following.
  • Nausea: Drink small portions of a carbonated drink (e.g., 7Up®, ginger ale, etc.) every hour for 3 or 4 hours. This will usually terminate nausea. Avoid all milk and dairy products as long as nausea is present. If taking a narcotic, you may also take half the dose or break the pill in half.
  • Diet: Maintain a liquid diet. Increase your fluid intake to at least four 8-ounce glasses per day. Maintaining sufficient volume of fluids post-surgery is vital to your recovery and well-being.
    • We recommend drinking protein shakes and blending what you can.
    • If your jaw was wired shut, using a straw to eat and drink will be easiest.
    • If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and promote healing.
  • Weight Loss: Anticipate a weight loss of 5-15 lbs during your post-operative period. By 2 weeks following surgery, you may notice a sufficient increase in your appetite and begin to gain weight.
  • Speech: The ease with which you can communicate and be understood is not predictable; speech only improves. Slow your rate of speech and be patient.
  • Nasal Stuffiness: A combination of nasal sprays (Afrin® Nasal Spray) and cleansing of the nostrils (with Q-tips®) is recommended to reduce stuffiness. This will resolve within 1-3 weeks following surgery.
  • Follow-Up Appointments: You will be seen in our office once you are discharged from the hospital or within 48 hours at the latest and continue on a weekly basis until healing is complete.

*Follow all discharge instructions given to you by the hospital*

Day 2

  • You may begin to use heat instead of ice (whichever feels best). Take a warm shower. The warm heat and steam from the shower will help.
  • You may begin to gently brush your teeth. It’s very important to maintain proper oral hygiene during this time.
  • Start the prescribed antibiotics, if you haven’t already, and continue until gone.

Day 3

  • Swelling, discomfort, and possible bruising typically peak on the third or fourth day after surgery and will gradually improve. It is imperative to maintain low physical activity, staying off your feet.
  • Muscle stiffness may cause limited opening of the mouth. Do not attempt to open your mouth wide. Dependent on bone healing, the surgeon will determine when to begin physical therapy on your jaw to advance opening.
  • You may start to experience a slight earache, sore throat, elevated temperature, or flu-like symptoms (this is possible throughout the first week).

Exercise Care

  • Avoid exercise or any vigorous activity and slowly return to regular activities after 2 weeks. Increase of activity too soon can cause swelling and pain to increase or return.
  • Avoid contact sports for the entire duration of healing.
  • If you have questions concerning your recent surgery and need to contact us after hours, please call your surgeon.

Post Jaw Surgery Nutrition Guide
We have also provided a nutritional guide for you to use following jaw surgery so that you can receive the nutrients you need without difficulty. You can access a copy of this guide by following the link provided below.

Post Jaw Surgery Nutrition Guide

If you have any questions about our nutrition guide for post-corrective jaw surgery in Glendale, Arcadia, Mission Hills, Newhall and Pasadena, California, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Cho, Dr. Hammoudeh, Dr. Kim, Dr. Odono, Dr. Tung, Dr. Urata or Dr. Yip, please contact Pacific Coast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery today.