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Orthognathic surgery: post-operative care

Post-operative care is crucial to proper healing. Please follow these guidelines as closely as possible, as it will minimize unnecessary pain and complications such as infection and swelling. We encourage you to call our office if you have any questions or if you need assistance.

After Surgery/ Going Home

Following surgery, the jaw is stabilized with orthodontic rubber bands, these bands will stay in place until your surgeon feels they are ready to be removed. You may or may not, have an acrylic splint that has been wired your top jaw (maxilla),·this allows the bottom jaw (mandible) to fall into the new bite that was created. Most patients remain in the hospital for one or two nights to monitor pain, swelling and fluid intake. You will be required to walk to prevent DVT (blood clots) ·from forming. If you feel the need to sneeze, please do so through your mouth. Do not blow your nose. This will only increase pressure and cause damage to the surgical site. You will have a suction catheter that you may use to suction your mouth as needed. Do not spit.
Facial swelling and bruising is expected. This will improve significantly over the first two weeks. However, some swelling may take up to four weeks to completely to resolve. To help reduce swelling and possible bleeding, application of icepacks, head elevation and avoidance of nose blowing will control this. Again, DO NOT BLOW YOUR NOSE.
Numbness of the lips, cheeks, and chin is normal following surgery. This will improve over several weeks and does not interfere with movement of the face.


Your doctor will recommend that you follow a strict diet for four to six weeks while the bone of the jaw is healing. The first part is a liquid diet you will administer liquids by using the red rubber catheter and syringe that was given to you at your pre-operative appointment and in recovery. Over the next few weeks, you will be able to move on to a soft foods diet at the discretion of the surgeon. This diet includes foods such as yogurt, oatmeal scrambled eggs, soft pasta, mashed potatoes, etc.

Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene is very important for adequate healing and preventing infection. You should begin brushing your teeth the day following surgery.

  • You should brush your teeth following each meal. A child’s soft toothbrush pan be utilized for this purpose, paying attention to keeping the brush in direct contact with the teeth.
  • It is very keep your mouth clean as the wounds are healing. You can decrease the accumulation of debris on the inside surface of your teeth and tongue by rinsing with warm tap or salt water after each “meal”. Salt water solution recipe: Mix 1/2 teaspoon table salt into 8 ounces of warm water.
  • Use the Chlorhexidine / Peridex mouth rinse that was prescribed for you. Continue this procedure until healing is complete. Again, DO NOT SPIT, let the mouth rinse fall out of your mouth.
    REMEMBER: A clean wound heals better and faster.

Emotional Considerations

Any major surgery can challenge one’s emotional balance. It is not unusual to feel blue and even depressed after surgery. Patients who come into the operation with a positive attitude generally “bounce back” very quickly from the insult of surgery. You will “turn the corner” and feel both emotionally and physically better. It generally takes about 5 days to appreciate the temporary nature of the physical and emotional insult of surgery at which time you will feel better in all respects.

Seek Care Immediately if you have the following:

  • You have new trouble breathing.
  • You feel your bones in your face move suddenly.
  • You have bleeding from your wounds, nose, or mouth that does not stop.
  • You have clear fluid coming out of your nose or ears.


It is our desire that your recovery be as smooth and pleasant as possible. Following these instructions will assist you, but if you have any questions or concerns about your progress, please call the office 850-565-3911. Taken too much medicine or the wrong medicine. Call the Florida Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222. They will tell you what to do.
Thank you for trusting us with your Oral and Oral Maxillofacial needi