Recovery after jaw surgery

As you recover from jaw surgery, you can expect to have some bruising and swelling of the face and neck region. Bruising varies from one patient to the next, but typically reaches its peak about 2 to 3 days after surgery and quickly dissipates in about a week. There is usually no significant discomfort after surgery and pain medication will be prescribed by your oral surgeon to lessen any discomfort that you may experience.

The more closely you follow instructions given by your oral surgeon and his surgical team, the quicker your recovery will be and you will be looking better very soon. By closely following the oral surgeon’s instructions, the chance of complications will be significantly reduced and discomfort will be kept to a minimum. With good healing, you’ll soon feel comfortable and be back to your regular daily activities.

Immediate post-surgical instructions will be provided by your oral surgeon. Some helpful hints to encourage quick healing and decrease discomfort during your recovery at home include:

  • keep your head elevated with pillows for a couple days, to decrease swelling
  • apply ice compress (crushed ice or frozen peas in a zip-lock bag wrapped in a towel) to your cheeks, alternating 20 mins on/off during non-sleeping periods, for 2-3 days to decrease swelling and bruising
  • use Advil or Ibuprofen for 2-4 days (following manufacturers instructions) to decrease swelling and discomfort
  • avoid any form of strenuous activity and get plenty of rest and sleep
  • begin rinsing with an anti-bacterial mouth rinse prescribed by the surgeon and/or warm salt water 2 days after the surgery and continue rinsing 3-4 times a day for 2 weeks
  • wear your elastics as instructed by the surgeon, this is very important!
  • ensure that you have an orthodontic appointment scheduled for 2 weeks after surgery
  • attend all follow up visits as scheduled by your surgeon