Common Questions

Following is a list of the most common questions I’ve received about double jaw surgery. If your question is not answered below, feel free to ask about it in the comments and I’d be happy to respond there.

Before the surgery:

After the surgery:

Cries for help:

Why should I get jaw surgery?

There are several reasons to undergo jaw surgery:

  • To be able to chew with all your teeth
  • To speak without a lisp
  • To speak without spitting
  • To stop your mouth from hanging open
  • To stop breathing through your mouth and start breathing through your nose
  • To change your appearance (side profile)

These reasons are all explained on the Reasons to Get Jaw Surgery page.

Is jaw surgery painful?

Jaw surgery is usually not painful. This may be difficult to believe, but since your nerves become bruised and numb during the surgery, you don’t actually feel any of the pain. By the time feeling returns to your face, most of the pain is gone.

Granted, you’ll experience a bit of pain when you yawn, sneeze and cough. It’ll also hurt when your jaw spasms (and it will spasm for the first month), but for the most part, you should not experience much pain at all.

How long does it take to recover from jaw surgery?

It will take 90 days (3 months) for a full recovery after jaw surgery. Most of your feeling and energy will be back after 2 months, but it takes a full 90 days for your bone to fuse back together. A full range of motion in your jaw will return depending on how much you’re moving it around, so make sure you follow the exercises your surgeon gives you.

How much does jaw surgery cost?

Jaw surgery costs roughly $5000 in Canada, but that price may differ significantly in other provinces and countries. If your surgery is deemed cosmetic (instead of “medically necessary”), the cost will be higher because you’ll be required to cover the hospital bills. Sadly, patients in the US have seen jaw surgery bills in excess of $50,000.

What should I buy to prepare for recovery?

You can find a full list of items that with help you through the recovery at the Must-Have Recovery Products page.

Will I look different after jaw surgery?

You will notice subtle changes in your appearance following jaw surgery. Your overbite/underbite will no longer be present and your cheeks, nose, and chin may take on a different shape as well. My cheeks filled out a lot as a result of my surgery.

How much weight will I lose after jaw surgery?

Most people lose between 5–10 pounds during the first month of their recovery. The general rule of thumb is that you will lose weight until you reach your natural body weight.

Will I experience numbness after jaw surgery?

Yes, you will experience extreme numbness following jaw surgery. During the operation, several nerves in your face and chin have to be moved around. When you move a nerve, it becomes bruised, and when a nerve is bruised, it stops providing sensations, thus giving you that numb feeling (more on this in my Day 20 post).

Will I get all of my feeling back after jaw surgery?

70% of patients regain full feeling, while 30% may experience slightly numb areas in their cheeks, chin and lower lip for the rest of their lives. The feeling you have after 6 months post-op is likely what you’ll live with for the rest of your life.

What can I eat after jaw surgery?

You’ll be on a strict liquid diet following jaw surgery. Buy lots of Boost, Ensure or Carnation supplements and learn to make smoothies, because these will be your staple foods for at least the first 2 weeks. I had to eat them for 8 weeks, but my surgery was a bit more invasive than most. You’ll probably have to administer your food through a syringe for the first week as well.

Once your surgeon gives you permission to start chewing again, you can begin to eat soft foods such as pasta and mashed potatoes. During the weeks following your re-entry into the realm of chewing, you’ll be able to eat whatever is comfortable. Don’t expect to tear into a steak as soon as you’re allowed to chew again, though.

If you have the following implements, you should survive perfectly fine:

  • A reliable blender (this is extremely important, as you’ll be blending almost everything)
  • Smoothie materials (ice cream, yogurt, milk, bananas, strawberries, granola, peanut butter, honey, etc.) — Recipe
  • Soup (you’ll have to blend everything except tomato soup)
  • Ensure, Boost or Carnation (I drank 3 of these per day during my liquid diet phase)
  • Prune juice (you’ll need the fiber in it)
  • Whole milk (you’ll need all the calcium you can get so your bones heal back just as strong as they were before)
  • Water (make sure you drink at least 1 L of water per day; drinking 2 L per day is a much better option)

The most important item on that list is water. If you don’t drink enough water each day, you’ll become dehydrated and sick, and your bowel movements won’t feel good because none of the fiber you’re eating will dissolve into your body.

Help, I’m experiencing pain!

If your pain is chronic (ie. consistent and throbbing), you may have an infection and should schedule a visit with your surgeon just to be safe.

On the other hand, if your pain comes in small bouts, it’s likely your nerves reawakening or your teeth being pulled by the elastics. In this case, just be patient and the pain will subside in due time. If you were prescribed pain medication, that may help as well.

Help, my breath is terrible!

At times, your breath may be indicative of the fact that you are not allowed to brush your teeth or floss during the first several weeks of recovery. To aid in freshening your breath, try gurgling with warm salt water a few times each day. Soon enough, you’ll be given the go-ahead to brush and floss again.

Help, my teeth are no longer touching!

An open bite is a common problem following jaw surgery. Fear not, however, because your teeth will naturally grow until they encounter opposition (in the form of your other jaw), so this problem will slowly correct itself over time.

Help, my jaw movement is not returning!

If you have been given the green light to resume eating regular food, but the movement in your jaw doesn’t seem to be returning, try whistling and chewing gum each day. Whistling will help to break up scar tissue, while chewing gum will stretch the muscles in your jaw.

Help, I don’t look like myself anymore!

This is perhaps the most common fear people have following jaw surgery. Remember that swelling takes a minimum of 3 months to go away, so try to avoid judging your appearance until that point.

Also, keep in mind that you are your own worst critic because you’ve been seeing your face in the mirror every single day for most of your life. While the subtle changes in your appearance seem drastic to you, most people will not even notice that your face changed shape.


  1. Hello All,
    My name is Lecia Stover. I am 16 years old and will be having double jaw surgery to correct my under bite. The surgery is about a week away. I guess one of my biggest concerns is waking up from Jaw surgery, Since i read you will most likely be very congested, Is it hard to breathe? And how long does the bleeding last ? Any tips would be great, thank you !

    • Hi Lecia! Waking up after the surgery can be a bit frightening, but I promise you’ll be okay. You will be quite congested and may taste some blood in your mouth, but this is perfectly normal and you’ll have nurses available to keep you informed about what’s going on.

      The most important thing is to remain calm and try to occupy your mind for the first few days until you’re able to go home. Try to go for walks around the hospital as soon as you’re able as well.

      I recall bleeding only last for the first 2–3 days, so that should not be an ongoing issue.

      Good luck next week and if you have any questions or need to rant to someone, don’t hesitate to post in the comments here or find me on Facebook. 😊

    • Hey Lecia,
      I am 17 years old and had the surgery this past summer. To be honest with you, when you wake up you will indeed be congested. But don’t worry about it!! It will only be temporary and once that fades you might even breath better than you did before the surgery (that’s how it was for me). The bleeding hopefully will not be bad for you. Remember that your fave will be numb, so even if you are bleeding, you won’t feel it.
      Best of luck to you and if you have any more specific questions I’d love to help.

    • Hey Lecia,

      I just had jaw surgery two weeks ago and I am a 19 year old male. I was worried about waking up, too. But, really it isn’t bad at all. This is how it was for me… My surgery started at like 730 in the morning. When I first woke up I was still coming out of the anesthesia and I honestly just vaguely remember it, like seriously barely at all. I even threw up blood… I think… but it is so vague, all I can remember thinking was “Oh, I’m throwing up. but it doesn’t really feel bad… weird”. After slipping in and out of consciousness for a while they gave me some drugs or something and I fell sound a sleep. The next time I woke up it was night time, like 10 or midnight or something. I was a little confused when I woke up, but I felt thirsty. They have you hooked up to an IV that keeps you hydrated, but I still felt thirsty. So, the whole night was me being kind of loopy calling the nurse in, where she would help me get a drink of water, or stand up to go to the bathroom, and then I would fall back asleep.

      Seriously, I was worried about waking up too. The whole not being able to breath thing was actually one of my biggest concerns. But, it was not nearly as bad as I thought. You will be able to breathe just fine. If not out of your nose, your mouth. They will have nurses watching over you until you go home and they will help you with anything you need.

      For me, I went home the next morning, about 24 hours after my surgery. You might stay longer, or you might not. The bleeding I had after surgery was just a bloody nose. It’s not really that bad, and you probably won’t even notice it most of the time when it happens. It mostly only happens when you stand up.

      My biggest tip, ESPECIALLY for the first week, is to drink lots of water. During the day, and through out the night when you wake up. I drank lots of water (through the syringe) and after the first week my swelling had gone down dramatically. The doctor told me it was drinking water that probably helped it go down so much.

      Anyway, good luck with your surgery! Hope all goes well. Get past the first week and you’ll be golden! I hope you have netflix 😉 If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

    • Oh, another tip I just remembered. I suggest getting a water pick. It is amazing! I didn’t have one until day 7 and boy do I wish I had one sooner. I was told by my doctor to get one that had a soft setting. Trust me, you will love being able to clean your teeth with it. Just be sure to ask your doctor about when you can use it and how he recommends you use it, just so you and your doctor are on the same page.

    • Hey Lecia.

      I am post operation about 8 weeks now, from my double jaw surgery, and I feel 10,000,000X better then I did first and second week post-op.

      When I first woke up post surgery, I was very groggy and very congested. I really wanted to blow my nose, but I was told I was not able to because of the stitching inside, and to not disrupt my nasal passage as the surgeon had to do work around my nose area. The nurses will give you all the medications you need to not feel excruciating pain, but you may feel tired and even nauseated – it really depends on the person – every person has different ways of coping with major surgery, and reacts differently to medication etc.

      I had very minimal bleeding and I guess I was very fortunate. Like I said, my nose bled a bit, but it wasn’t too bad. I’ve heard others have a real bad time with bleeding, that they even through up so much blood. I hope that doesn’t happen to you.

      Good luck girl, I’m sure you’ll be fine. I wish I had my double surgery at your age, and not wait until I was 31 to get it done. But I have no regrets, and I love my surgeon – he’s the best – you will be in the best of hands so don’t worry !

    • I just had mine today! The it’s easy to breathe, but trying to eat out of a syringe is an adventure. I’m 17 I just had my lower done to fix my underbite. The pain isn’t really bad my bottom lip is swollen and when I first woke up my tongue was swollen. Don’t be nervous they tell you exactly what there going to. I promise the little jaw pain I’m having tho is nothing compared to what I suffered before the surgery.

  2. Just got double jaw surgery and worried about the appearance, i got the surgery 3 days ago and am worried about how ill look to correct my under bite…

    does anyone here feel like there look got worse after the surgery?

  3. Hi! I had bimax surgery about 3 weeks ago. I brush my teeth a lot every day but my gums are incredibly swollen and I don’t know if that is normal or not. I don’t know who to ask since my doctor seems to avoid my questions and telling me anything. Can someone please help. Is this normal or should I worry?

  4. Hang in there everyone been just over year since double jaw operation best thing i have ever done in my life. Doctors say 6-8 weeks recovery but i was more like 10 weeks well worth it you will see results just be patient

  5. I had double jaw surgery on August 26, 2015. At this point I wish I had not done it. My face is still numb and I’m in my 8th week of recovery. Swelling is better but still hanging on. I’m still sleeping on the couch to keep my face more elevated to help with the swelling. I’m doing therapy at home with tongue depressors. It is the pits. I’m ready to regain my mouth opening like it did before. Think twice before doing the surgery. Maybe by December I’ll have a different attitude, but for now I wish I would have lives with my under bite. Good luck.

  6. I had double jaw surgery 4 years ago for sleep apnea. I hate the way I look. I no longer like having my picture taken. It made my nose a lot wider and my nostrils huge. My surgeon moved my nose in a little with another surgery ( more black eyes and swelling.) I’m numb all along my bottom lip and have no feeling in my chin. Everytime I eat I could food stuck on my upper teeth now so I can’t eat in public unless I don’t smile and head straight to the restroom to clean my teeth. Oh and I still snore’n

  7. My carltlidge tip of my nose feels very soft? Anyone else?

  8. Hi, I’m having jaw surgery in two weeks time, but mine is to move my jaw slightly to the other side of my face by a little, it’s not your usual surgery of an over bite or under bite. Do you think everything on your page will be exactly the same like the healing process?

  9. Stephen and Stephen’s Mom, I had double jaw surgery five weeks ago and only spent one night in hospital, it’s fairly normal I think. I also had to have my palate widened. I could’ve had it done surgically but in the end it was easier that I had that done through orthodontics. The end result is the same though. In terms of eating, especially cheaply, I found home made soups very good, as well as smoothies. As Graham’s blog said, adding peanut butter to heavy cream and milk and ice cream is a good idea to get some liquid calories too. Hope it goes well.

  10. I had MMA for my sleep apnea. I recovered relatively quickly and was on solid (soft foods) after only a few weeks and back to work after 5 weeks. Anyway 3 months later, I’m still in continous acheing pain in my upper and (even more in) lower teeth, they feel like someone is trying to twist and pull them out with pliers all day long.

    Secondly in my left jaw I wake up with jaw ache every day, and think I’m gritting my teeth at night subconsiously to compensate for the third problem.

    My lower and upper jaw teeth don’t align, and only the first molar on the right hand actually touches when I bite. The only way to compensate is to slide my lower jaw sideways somewhat.

    Another side effect of this jaw mis-alignment is that the joint / cartilage in my left jaw socket is “crunching” whenever I open/close. It sounds like someone is grinding up marbles inside my face.

    I spoke to my maxillofacial surgeon and he told me that my jaw is still going through “adaptation”, and it’s perfectly normal. He said that my teeth not touching was perfectly acceptable, and my lateral misalignment was not important, because I would adapt to having to bite slightly sideways even though doing so causes me acheing now.

    Anyone else here ever experienced anything similar?

  11. I just had double jaw surgery and I was only on a liquid diet for a week, however I did lose 7 pounds in that week. I also got bruising down my neck to my chest is that okay? And is there any way to help the swelling go down more? I’ve also noticed many changes I think if anyone is getting surgery it’s definitely a good thing it does suck very much but the changes I’m seeing already in my smile to my nose and chin are great and I just can’t wait till I’m properly healed.

  12. I am writing on behalf of my 17 year old son.He is going to have his double jaw surgery on Sept 23 .His doctor is using the new 3-d imaging during his operation.We go the first of Sept to find out more infor. and all,I plan to spend the night at the hospital with him,the doctor says he can go home the next day.Is that normal? His upper jaw was smaller than his lower jaw,and he had to have his palate stretched which he said opened his ears and helped him hear better.he also had 10 teeth remained as he had to many for his mouth.Because of the 3-d imaging being rather new we have to pay about $ 900 out of pocket.He knows the operation will be painful ,but he’s in pain now,so he knows it will help him feel better.I’ve been stocking up and freezing kale ,fruit of various types to be ready…..I’ve heard about 2 weeks worth 3x’s a day.Should I plan on more,we are rather low,low income and I will have to plan ahead for the food budget.Any information would be helpful at this point in the game.

    Thanks, Stephen’s Mom.

  13. I just had double jaw surgery 4 weeks ago and I have good day and bad days. I am so tired of the liquid diet and eating mashed potatoes and oatmeal. The surgeon said I could eat scrambled eggs and pasta. I struggled with the scrambled eggs because I can’t chew and I am tired of mashing everything on the roof of my mouth.
    I don’t have pain but the needle and pin prick sensation is the worst. The facial swelling is better but there are days where it seems to return and won’t let go. So ice packs are my best friend.
    My surgeon said that I will be off of work at least 12 weeks. So I have picked up walking and experimenting with soups.
    I have started a list of foods I cannot wait to eat when my healing is complete such as steak, shrimp, ribs, hamburgers, hotdogs, salad, fried chicken and the list goes on!

  14. Hi, I had double jaw surgery about a month ago. It is definitely a long and rough recovery, but so far for me it has all been worth it. After a month, almost all of the swelling is gone, my splint is out, I can eat very soft foods, and most importantly I can breath better than I have ever been able to out of my nose. My surgery was about six hours and I was in the hospital for five days. The first two weeks are the hardest, but once you get through the surgery (the scariest part!) you feel ready to conquer the recovery.
    Jon, I noticed a difference in my hearing too. After the first week for me it went away. I think it is from the congestion and pressure created from being operated on near that area. I felt extremely congested and every time I would swallow it would put pressure on my ears. I could barely have the TV volume on because sound felt overwhelming to my ears. It has gotten so much better though.
    Kavitha, do you have a splint in? I had the surgery a month ago and am still getting used to speaking properly. In the beginning it was very hard for me to speak, and very hard for people to understand me. Because the jaw is moved during surgery, I think the rest of the mouth has to get used to speaking in the new position. My speech has gotten a lot better, but I am still working on getting back to where I used to be. I also was very very congested, but hopefully that will clear up soon for you.
    I hope this helps, please feel free to ask me any questions.

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