If you are planning to have jaw surgery, you may be concerned about a lengthy recovery. However, your healing process should be complete around 12 weeks after you have your procedure.
You won’t feel your best immediately following your surgery, but eventually, the pain and discomfort will be a distant memory. At first, you will likely drool consistently, have ice packs regularly applied to your face and be unable to talk. Nevertheless, over time, you will heal and return to your normal activities.
There are things that you can do to make your recovery process easier. Here are a few of them:
It’s important to stay hydrated as you heal. Following your surgery, your bowels may not move until day two or three of your recovery. Thus, it is important to stay hydrated to avoid extreme constipation. To keep your hydrated and help prepare your bowels for elimination, your doctor may suggest prune juice in addition to water. The juice contains fiber that provides bulk to help your bowels function properly.
Keep your lips moist.
Use lip balm to moisten your lips. The skin of your lips will already be dryer than usual, and the lip balm will help keep large amounts of dead skin from accumulating. Not only are dry lips uncomfortable, but if you have braces, the dead skin covering your dry lips can get caught on your brackets.
Regularly apply heat.
The regular application of heat can help improve circulation in your face, resulting in reduced swelling and less discomfort.
Stay on a regular schedule.
During your recovery, you may not be able to participate in all of the activities that you desire, but there are still many things that you can do. You don’t have to lie in bed all day.
Be sure to get up at your usual time in the morning and go to sleep at a normal time each night. Maintaining a regular schedule can help you get the rest that you need to recover, and it can help you avoid becoming depressed.
Although you will be unable to talk at the beginning of your recovery from jaw surgery, eventually, you will be able to move your jaws and start to speak again. Instead of staying isolated, enjoy family and friends. Positive social interactions will lift your spirit and help make your recovery easier.
Drink from a cup sooner than later.
Immediately following your surgery, you will be unable to sip or chew. To help you receive the nourishment that you need, liquids are introduced through a syringe. However, once you can drink from a cup, it will be time to put away the syringes.
Drinking in your usual manner will help you feel more like yourself and make it easier to meet your energy needs. You will likely be encouraged to drink from a cup around two weeks into your recovery.
Chew once you have approval.
Once your physician releases you to enjoy solid food—usually around eight to ten weeks after your surgery—you can start chewing again. Initially, you may be frustrated by the amount of effort it takes to chew your food, but over time, chewing will get easier. The muscles of your jaw will become progressively stronger.
Become comfortable with your new appearance.
After your surgery, you will likely have a new jaw line and the structure of your face will be different. Although the changes may seem unfamiliar, it is important to understand that the structural changes have caused your face to look as it actually should.
Don’t be concerned about your bite or a feeling of numbness.
Your teeth may migrate a bit after your surgery, so their appearance may continually improve. Also, any facial numbness will usually resolve on its own—sometimes suddenly.
Keep in mind why you had the procedure to start with.
Many people have jaw surgery to correct an underbite. Not only does the misalignment of your jaws negatively alter your appearance, but it also has other effects. People with an underbite often speak with a lisp, may only be able to chew with their back teeth, can feel forced to breathe through their mouth, and may spit when they talk. Your jaw surgery can remedy all of these issues. In addition, although the discomfort from the surgery is only temporary, the improvements from the procedure last a lifetime.