Jaw Surgery Post Operative Instructions
Oral hygiene is very important after jaw surgery. Keeping your mouth and teeth clean will help you heal better and reduce the chances of developing infections or cavities.
- Brush your teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush (child size works well). Use a circular motion and angle the brush at 45 degrees toward the gum line.
- Rinse your mouth with a solution of warm salt water (1 teaspoon salt in one 8 oz glass of warm water.) Oral rinsing should be done after every meal.
- Avoid the use of mouthwashes except if prescribed.
- Use Aquaphor, Blistex or Vaseline to avoid dry, cracked lips.
- Use orthodontic wax to the end of wires that are protruding or irritating the mouth (wax should be removed before and after eating and brushing teeth). This can be purchased at most pharmacies.
- Keep your skin clean and apply topical antibiotics to any wounds (Neosporin, bacitracin) outside of the mouth.
- Do not smoke! Smoking dries and irritates oral mucosa.
- Avoid alcohol which can cause nausea and dehydration.
You can reduce the risk of dehydration and keep secretions thin by drinking at least ten 8 oz glasses of fluids a day.
- Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day.
- Eat a high protein, high calorie blended soft or liquid diet. Calorie and protein supplements can be used. Drink Ensure, Carnation and Boost. Add protein powders. Protein powder can be purchased at GNC and most supermarkets. Increased protein intake after surgery is vital for maintaining the body’s protective systems and for building healthy new tissue.
- Eat soft foods. Mashed potatoes, blended soups, soft vegetables, pasta etc.
- Eat a lot of snacks. Juices, smoothies, puddings, yogurt etc.
- Using a straw is okay.
Do not participate in sports or strenuous activities or return to work for 2 weeks or until permitted by your surgeon.
- Pain medications may cause alterations of visual perception and impair judgment.
- A side effect of pain medication is constipation. This can be alleviated by getting out of bed, adequate fluid intake, moving around and taking stool softeners if needed.
Numbness in the lower jaw and chin may occur after lower jaw surgery and in the upper jaw along the nose and lip following an upper jaw surgery.
- Avoid excessive hot, cold or sharp items to prevent injury to the area.
You may have moderate swelling which will gradually subside.
- Sleep with head elevated on two pillows.
- Use ice packs immediately following surgery to help decrease swelling.
- Use a warm, wet washcloth on your face to help alleviate discomfort and swelling after the first day.
If you are wired shut, cut wires only if it is an emergency. Notify your surgeon immediately.
Please do not hesitate to call us at (210)696-7500 if you have questions or concerns. Our staff is here to help you.