Recovery Timeline

Following is a brief timeline of important events regarding recovery from double jaw surgery. If you only had a single jaw operated on, your recovery will be much quicker than this.

Keep in mind that every person recovers at a different pace, and also that every surgeon has their own agenda during the recovery process. This is simply the sequence of important events that took place during my personal recovery.

Day 0 (Surgery)

  • You’ll be eating/drinking through a syringe
  • You’ll be unable to sleep very much
  • You may be freezing all night long due to the ice packs wrapped around your face
  • You’ll feel extremely weak
  • You won’t be able to talk
  • You will drool constantly (but you’ll have the suction tube in the hospital to take care of that)
  • Lots of blood will be churning up inside your nose, mouth and throat
  • Your jaw will randomly spasm (and it will be painful)

Day 1

  • Swelling will begin

Day 3

  • Swelling will peak
  • Your bowels will start working again around this time

Day 5

  • Feeling will begin to return to parts of your face
  • Swelling will start to decrease

Day 7 (1 week)

  • You’ll be able to move your mouth a bit easier, so your talking will become more understandable
  • At your 1-week appointment, you’ll be able to brush your teeth, both inside and out (and it will feel amazing)

Day 10

  • Drooling won’t be as rampant any longer
  • You’ll regain slight control over your lips

Day 14 (2 weeks)

  • Most of the swelling will be gone
  • You’ll be able to start drinking from a cup (although it may be messy at first)
  • You can probably remove a few of the elastics clamping your teeth together, so talking will become infinitely more simple
  • Sleeping through the night should no longer be a problem

Day 15

  • Your elastics will start snapping daily, due to your rapid increase in speaking

Day 18

  • Your breath will become bearable again, due to the fact that you’ve been eating different foods and brushing more often

Day 21 (3 weeks)

  • Your energy will start to come back. Take advantage of it! Go for walks and take your bike out for a spin.

Day 22

  • You’ll be receiving substantial feeling back in your upper lip and cheeks. Your nose, lower lip and chin, however, will remain completely numb.

Day 28 (4 weeks)

  • Talking will hardly be an issue any longer. If you have a splint/bite plate in, you’ll sound ridiculous, but people will be able to understand you.
  • Your desire to be social and spend time with people will return in full force. Make sure you take advantage of it, and remember that your friends are not judging you.

Day 29

  • Feeling will begin to return to your lower lip and chin. That feeling will come in the form of pins and needles, but you’ll appreciate it regardless. If no feeling has returned to these parts yet, don’t worry. Surgeons say that it make take up to 90 days for feeling to begin coming back.

Day 31 (1 month)

  • If your elastics are off, you’ll be able to speak quite well by now
  • You won’t drool or spill any longer while eating

Day 32

  • You’ll have most of your normal energy back by now
  • You’ll begin to feel like you’re ready to take life on again. Be warned though: you’re not quite there yet. Give it another month before you go crazy.

Day 38

  • More patches of feeling will return to your chin and lower lip
  • You should no longer have to wear elastics during the day

Day 42 (6 weeks)

  • You should be able to drink through a straw quite easily by now

Day 45

  • Most of your stitches should have dissolved by now

Day 49 (7 weeks)

  • If you had a splint in, it should definitely be removed by now
  • Be prepared to readjust back into the world of orthodontics

Day 56 (8 weeks)

  • You should be able to eat with a small spoon or fork again
  • Licking your lips should be no problem at this point

Day 58

  • You’ll most likely be allowed to blow your nose again. Be gentle, though, because you don’t want to pop a blood vessel.

Day 70 (10 weeks)

  • If you haven’t been able to eat solid food yet, start now. Even if the task of eating involves mashing soft food up against the roof of your mouth, do it anyway. You’ll never gain your strength back on liquid alone.

Day 84 (12 weeks)

  • You should enjoy the freedom of eating just about anything you want by now
  • Consider practising whistling in order to break up the scar tissue that’s sure to be keeping your upper lip from enjoying its full range of motion

Day 90 (3 months)

  • Your three months have finally come to an end! Enjoy eating, breathing and smiling to their full effect.
  • Changes will be fairly slow from this point forward. The results you find yourself with at the 6-month mark will most likely be the results you’ll live with for the rest of your life.

16 Comments

  1. Hi, my son had his double jaw op and wisdom teeth removed on 3rd October 2015. (so just over 4 months ago). He has been eating and drinking normal for some time now and braces were taken off in middle of December. My concern is his face is still swollen especially his cheeks and in the area below his nose above his upper lip. Is this normal? Thanks

  2. Hi guys,

    So I’m 3 weeks post surgery, a lot of my swelling has gone down but it’s still noticeable and more on the right side. Is it normal for one side to heal slower then the other?

    • Hi Yusraa, having disproportionate swelling is perfectly normal, especially this early in the recovery. Many people experience uneven swelling for up to 3 months. The fact that you are noticing that your swelling decreasing is a good sign, though! 😊

  3. Hi all! I’m 3 weeks post op today and I was finally given the go ahead to start eating soft food. I was excited, as you can imagine. The thing is, although my swelling has decreased dramatically since the early days of recovery, I am still fairly swollen and I’m certain my palate is swollen right behind my front teeth. Also at this stage I’m only able to fit one finger between my teeth so eating proved to be quite the struggle and wasn’t enjoyable at all. Should I just stick to liquids for another week and then try again, or should I just keep challenging myself?

    • Georgina, I would try to start drinking thicker smoothies and eating foods such as mashed potatoes and macaroni. Chewing may still increase your swelling each day, but it will also help strengthen the muscles in your jaw. Basically, let your pain be your guide. If chewing or opening your mouth too wide hurts, then try to avoid doing so. If it does not hurt, continue to try eating soft foods nice and slowly. This will all be much easier in about a month, I promise!

  4. I would love to know more experiences!!
    I am getting this surgery in 4 weeks times, double jaw surgery, upper jaw moved forward, and straightened, lower jaw moved back and rotated! How long before going back to work and feeling human again?? I’ve got a 6 month old baby!!!

    • Sarah

      I wish you all the best. I did exactly what you are doing! The more informed you are the less nervously will be. You will also feel better prepared which will make you go into it with a positive attitude which I think is key!

      Some small tips that I learned from other and as I went along.

      – Depending on your diet start cutting down a bit (I used to eat a lot so I started cutting down) I started having more soups.

      – A&D Oitment was my best friend! You can get it in Walmart it works wonders I didn’t have crazy cracking and drying on lips and the sorrounding area since I always used this. I got into the bad habbit of picking some of the dry skin It would bleed and sting then I would add A&D and the next day it was already healed. It’s my #1 miracle Oitment for only $3.00

      – Breathing was so difficult for me! I cried and got anxiety attacks (horrible) what I did and worked so great was dipping a Q-tip in peroxide water (surgeon suggested) or just water alone. Got a small flash light and right in front of the little I would start cleaning. It would work for a few hours and I had to wake up and keep doing so. I also got those Breath right strips and it helped open up my nostril since the swelling doesn’t help.

      -If you are wired but a baby toothbrush, mouth wash (alcohol free) and those little brushes (go between proxabrush) I would bend the head a bit and I will push the brush with my tongue again my beeth to clean the inside.

      – Lightly massage your face pushing outwards (gets the blood moving/flowing)

      Well there are so many other things I found extra helpful and more that I am discovering as I heal. I AM SO SORRY I WROTE SO MUCH! I am out on dissability and have nothing else to do if you have any questions and if I can help at all let me know.

      I wish you the very best! :-)

    • I had it done 3 days ago so still pretty raw. Im after taking 4weeks off work. Im hoping to start feeling normal again at 2 week post op. It’s going to be hard work with a young baby. Worsed part is eating and drinking. Find it pretty hard to swallow. Swelling suck aswell my census feel like there going burst. Pain is not a problem. Meds are working great. I look like someone out of big momma’s house. Best of luck

  5. Hey All,
    I’m at week 7 (on friday) post bimax (+3 wisdom teeth & turbinectomy) and had my braces off yesterday (YAY). The right side of my face still seems pretty puffy and chin still feels super weird like hardcore pins and needles.
    Oh and my mouth doesn’t open very far mayble like 2 finger width, does anyone know when that comes back to normal…(it does go back to normal right???)
    Also how are we finding macking on??? When can I kiss boys between the lack of feeling and not being able to open up I feel so useless in this department.
    Oh and if I never look at a packet of chicken noodles again, I will be so happy!!
    Thanks Y’all,
    – Stef

    • Stef, it’s perfectly normal to have limited movement of your jaw even after 2 months. To speed up the recovery of your jaw muscles, try whistling a few times each day (this breaks up scar tissue) and chewing gum (but only if you have the strength). You will get your full range of motion back sometime between your third and fourth month.

      As for kissing, you can do this at any point now. As funny as it sounds, kissing will probably help restore the movement of your jaw because it’s good exercise for those muscles. 😉

  6. Hi I’ve been putting my elastics on the wrong hook on one side of my mouth. I’m not sure how long for, I think just a few days, maybe a week. It’s still been in the same pattern, just on the next hook up to the one it’s supposed to be on. I haven’t noticed any changes in my teeth/jaw, so I don’t know if I should worry or not. I see my orthodontist on Thursday for my 3 week post op check so I don’t think a phone call is necessary especially since I haven’t noticed a change and everything still looks fine. Is it better to check and be sure though? I’ve got it on the wrong one today also just because I only realised it today and I’ve been putting it on like that for at least a few days and it seems to not be effecting anything

    • Madison, wearing your elastics on the wrong hook for a short period of time should not be a problem. If you start wearing them in the correct place, your teeth will move back to the desired position in just a few days.

      I understand that my reply is a bit late, so your orthodontist has probably already reassured you. 😊

  7. I had double jaw surgery 3 weeks ago and recovery has been going well, the surgeon is pleased. My biggest problem has been my ability to express myself through my face! When will I be able to smile, frown, essentially let people know what I’m feeling without me having to say “I’m smiling at you right now.” :)

    • Jenny

      I’m glad you had a great recovery! Tomorrow it will be my 4th week and I have recovered perfectly fine. I was actually able to smile in about the second week. I also had double jaw surgery and I will be wired for 6-8 weeks then moving to rubber bands. Now going back to getting feeling back and being able to get facial expressions back I found it super helpful a tip I got from a Girl on Youtube.

      http://youtu.be/uoA2iYyBv4A

      The “massage” method helped so much my swelling went down fast and majority of numbness is gone. Good Luck :-)

  8. I had double jaw surgery exactly three weeks ago, on January 9th, most of the swelling is gone but my upper lip looks giant! Mine looks similar to your lip in the first weeks, when the swelling in that area did dissapear in your case? Sorry for my english

    • Hi! My upper lip was really huge and My doctor had told me to massage it. So what I did was put some Vaseline and massage it in a pinching motion for some time. This really helped for mine and within a day or 2 it was totally down. Hope it works for u too!

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