5 Tips to Speed Your Recovery After Jaw Surgery

No matter what type of surgery you’re having, no doubt you’re feeling a bit nervous and anxious. This may be especially true for jaw surgery, since it may affect how and what you eat.

But knowing what to expect may help calm some of your nerves. At Pacific Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Center in Oakland and the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California, Dr. Brandon Kang and Dr. Matt Chroust always provide patients with the details they need to ensure a smooth recovery following jaw surgery. 

We share some of our best tips for jaw surgery recovery to help you get back to doing the things that bring you joy -- including eating at your favorite restaurant -- as quickly as possible. 

1. Drink your meals

When it comes to jaw surgery, one of the biggest concerns most of our patients have is about their diet. They may worry about whether they’ll be able to eat at all and if so, what.

Contrary to what you may have heard, we don’t wire your jaw shut to speed up the healing process. However, we do want you to be careful about using your jaw after jaw surgery. 

Depending on the type of jaw surgery performed, you may need to follow a liquid diet for a set period of time. Your liquid diet not only reduces jaw use, but may also minimize unwanted pain. 

You don’t have to limit your liquid diet to water, juice, and milkshakes though. With a good blender or juicer you can turn anything into a liquid meal, including soups, stews, carrots, and apples. 

2. Add easy-to-chew foods

Once you get the go ahead for solid foods, you’ll want to start off slowly with foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. Some easy-to-chew foods to start with include:

Though we do ask that you be careful when it comes to chewing after jaw surgery, we don’t want you to be too cautious. Adding more solid food to your diet speeds up recovery by restoring jaw muscle strength and flexibility. 

3. Keep pain under control

We will prescribe medication to help keep your pain under control, but we also recommend applying a warm compress to your face to soothe any discomfort. Regular application of heat not only reduces pain, but may also decrease swelling. 

Your prescription pain medication and limited diet may also place you at risk of developing constipation. To prevent this unwanted side effect of your jaw surgery, be sure to drink plenty of water and consider adding prune juice to your daily fluid intake to keep things moving. 

4. Take care of your lips

Chapped lips are another unfortunate side effect you may endure after your jaw surgery. Be sure to have lip balm at the ready to keep your lips moist. 

Drinking plenty of fluids may also prevent your lips from drying and cracking. The Mayo Clinic says healthy adults need more than 12 cups of fluids a day. 

5. Give yourself the recovery time you need

In order to recover quickly from your jaw surgery, you need to allow your body to heal. What does this mean? That depends on the specifics of your jaw surgery, but we may recommend you take a few days off from work to support your recovery process. 

You can pass the time by catching up on your reading or binge watching a season or two of your favorite show. Sleep is also important.  

Like with your diet, you want to ease back into your usual activities to prevent unnecessary pain and discomfort. However, movement is an important part of your recovery plan. Though you may need to skip strenuous workouts for a few weeks, we encourage you to take walks or use hand weights or resistance bands to keep your body in good health.

Jaw surgery requires a few lifestyle modifications, but following our guidelines ensures a quick recovery. To schedule a consultation with our experienced oral and maxillofacial surgeons at our state-of-the-art facility, contact us by phone or online today.

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