Jaw surgery is not an easy, run-of-the-mill procedure. Patients must begin preparing months in advance in most cases, then they need time to recover. While you may be able to eat, talk and get back to your normal routine in about six weeks depending on the type of procedure you have, full healing takes nine months to a year.
It’s important to not only be fully prepared for the surgery but to know what to do beforehand to avoid setbacks along the way. Thoughtful planning can help the recovery process move along faster.
Begin Orthodontic Treatment
To achieve the best result and to be able to fit the upper and lower jaws together properly, it’s important that the teeth are aligned. For this reason, many oral surgeons recommend orthodontic treatment, and this will have to start six to 18 months in advance of surgery. You may also need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Plan Your Meals in Advance
Once you know the extent of the surgical procedure, your surgeon will be able to provide a more accurate timeline for recovery. Many patients meet with nutritionists to get ideas and plan meals for the time they will be unable to chew. Following a liquid diet can be challenging, but it’s easier when you have sample menus prepared and perhaps even some soft foods cooked in advance.
Stock Up on Essential Supplies
What to purchase for your medicine cabinet prior to jaw surgery depends on the type and extent of your procedure. Since you will be unable to open your mouth, buy a nasal spray to clear your nostrils to facilitate easy breathing. Make sure to also have ice packs to help with inflammation, and get lip balm too.
Line Up Friends or Family to Help
While you will likely be resting most of the time immediately following surgery, it’s still helpful to have a family member or friend nearby to run to the store for you or help you fill ice packs. Make sure you’re clear with them on what you need beforehand, since it will be hard to speak much directly following the procedure.
Take Enough Time Off
The first few weeks after your procedure, you’ll be in full-heal mode. You don’t want to rush back to work. Tell your employer in advance that you’ll be reserving this time for recovery. Between sick days and accrued time off, make sure you have a large enough block of time to rest and heal fully.
Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery assists our patients from step one onward, fully preparing you for jaw surgery and making sure you heal 100 percent after your procedure. Are you ready to take the next step? Contact us to set up a consultation.