Select Page

Jaw surgery is a procedure which may be considered for the correction of severe irregularities of the teeth and jawbone that cannot be corrected with orthodontics alone. If jaw surgery is recommended, it will only take place once the patient has reached the age where growth has stopped, which is around 17-21 years for males and 14-16 years for females.

Jonathan Alexander-Abt is an experienced orthodontist and holds a Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree from the Royal London Hospital, University of London. The PDF attachment looks at some of the primary health issues which may result in a recommendation for jaw surgery.

Following surgery there are several stages to the aftercare process.

What to Expect

Immediately after waking from jaw surgery, patients can expect to feel uncomfortable and have numb lips. Painkillers, antibacterial mouthwash, and antibiotics are provided to help with this and reduce the risk of infection. Ice packs may be used to help with swelling in the first 24 hours.

Any swelling or bruising should subside within a week or two, although in some severe cases it may take up to 6 months or more to feel normal. Lips will feel dry and the mouth could either feel dry also or produce excessive saliva for some time.

Post-Surgery Nutrition

Eating will likely prove difficult for at least a week or two after surgery, possibly longer. Plenty of fluids are required for healing, and a liquidised food diet is recommended. It is better for patients to attempt to eat small amounts regularly rather than trying to eat their usual three meals per day. Liquidising foods using a blender and eating meals five to six times a day in small portions is recommended. Some people find it easier to drink their blended meals through a straw, while others find a small plastic spoon more comfortable.

The embedded short video introduces some recommended foods following jaw surgery.

Oral Hygiene

Maintaining oral hygiene can be difficult in the aftermath of jaw surgery, but a tooth brushing regimen should be maintained as soon as possible for oral health. As soon as they are able, the patient should start using a soft baby toothbrush and toothpaste to remove debris from the mouth. Antiseptic mouthwash should also be used, and interdental brushes reintroduced as early as comfortable. Regular use of a saltwater mouthwash is also highly recommended to help improve the health of the mouth.