Recovering from orthognathic (jaw) surgery will be a lengthy process that will be greatly influenced by your adherence to the post-operative instructions that are provided by our surgical team. Following these guidelines will keep you safe and comfortable, speed healing, and position you for a successful outcome.

Pain Management and Swelling

If you received prescriptions for anti-inflammatory medications, narcotics, and/or antibiotics, please follow the written instructions without skipping or altering the prescribed regimen. These medications will keep you comfortable and they also play an important role in reducing post-operative swelling.

Swelling can also be managed by applying a cold compress to the face during the first 48 hours after surgery. After 2 days, a moist heat compress is recommended. Keeping the head slightly elevated and using a head wrap during the first 72 hours will also help to decrease swelling.


Mild, occasional bleeding is to be expected after surgery. If the bleeding becomes heavy or uncontrollable, please contact our office immediately. Strenuous activity can trigger bleeding and should be minimized during the healing period, but patients are encouraged to move around and avoid lying in bed for extended periods of time in order to reduce the risk of a life-threatening embolism.

Smoking, spitting, and drinking through straws should be avoided until bleeding has subsided.

Sutures and Rubber Bands

If reabsorbable sutures are used, they should begin to fall out after a few days, otherwise, your stitches will be removed during a scheduled post-operative appointment.

If rubber bands are used to hold the teeth together after surgery, you will need to limit your diet to liquids and smoothly blended foods.

Oral Hygiene

It will be important to keep the mouth clean after surgery by gently brushing the teeth that can be reached at least twice each day. A mild saltwater solution or an antimicrobial mouth rinse might also be recommended several times daily after surgery.

Post-Operative Follow-Up Care

You are not alone after surgery. We want to ensure that you enjoy a healthy recovery and we will plan to see you 7-10 days after your surgery to evaluate your progress. If you experience any complications or simply have additional questions, please contact our office for assistance immediately.