POst – Operative instructions following                orthognathic jaw surgery

After you have undergone jaw surgery, attention must be directed to several aspects of post-operative care to help you make the recovery as quick and easy as possible. Since surgery produces soreness in the muscles and bones of the jaw as well as the lips, nose and other areas of the face, some difficulty is encountered in performing such tasks as eating, drinking, and cleaning your teeth. However, each of these things must be performed continuously and carefully to avoid post-operative problems.

SWelling

  • Swelling and some bruising can be expected.
  • ICE for the first 48 hours to minimize swelling.
  • HEAT after 48 hours to relieve stiff and achy muscles.
  • You may choose to alternate between hot and cold therapies to suit what feels best for you after 48 hours.

Medications

  • For moderate pain Ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil may be used. You may take 2 to 4 (200 mg) tablets every 4 to 6 hours.
  • For severe pain, take the pain medication as prescribed. The prescribed pain medication will make you groggy and will slow down your reflexes. Do not drive an automobile or work around machinery. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Pain and discomfort following surgery should subside more and more everyday. 
  • Antibiotics: You will be given a prescription for an antibiotic such as Amoxicillin, Keflex, etc. These should be taken at the appropriate interval as described on the bottle. Be sure not to miss any doses until the medication is gone. 

Diet

  • Be sure to drink a lot of fluids. DO NOT DRINK WITH A STRAW FOR 2 WEEKS.
  • NO CARBONATED BEVERAGES FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS.
  • You will need to limit yourself to soft diet for 4 weeks. 
  • DO NOT DRINK OR EAT HOT FOODS/LIQUIDS FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS.
  • Sometimes pain medication may cause constipation. It is important to drink fluids and eat foods high in fiber to prevent constipation. You make also take an over the counter stool softener.

Elastics (rubber Bands)

  • Sometimes elastics (small rubber bands) are used during the time immediately after surgery. If rubber bands are not placed immediately after surgery, they will be placed at your first follow up appointment. The doctor will provide you with a hemostat, which is an instrument that will help you to secure the elastics around the hooks on your braces at the follow up visit. 

Oral hygiene

  • DO NOT RINSE OR SPIT FOR THE FIRST 24 HOURS.
  • 24 hours following surgery, you should start warm salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt to an 8oz glass of warm water) after every meal and before bedtime.
  • You may start to utilize a water pik 24 hrs after the surgery. 
  • You may resume brushing your teeth with a small soft toothbrush the day following surgery at your comfort level but avoid brushing the surgical area.
  • DO NOT SMOKE FOR 1 WEEK.
  • You should avoid blowing your nose for 1 week.

Sutures

  • Sutures will dissolve approximately 2 – 4 weeks after surgery.