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:
- Why should I get jaw surgery?
- Is jaw surgery painful?
- How long does it take to recover from jaw surgery?
- How much does jaw surgery cost?
- What should I buy to prepare for recovery?
After the surgery:
- Will I look different after jaw surgery?
- How much weight will I lose after jaw surgery?
- Will I experience numbness after jaw surgery?
- Will I get all of my feeling back after jaw surgery?
- What can I eat after jaw surgery?
Cries for help:
- Help, I’m experiencing pain!
- Help, my breath is terrible!
- Help, my teeth are no longer touching!
- Help, my jaw movement is not returning!
- Help, I don’t look like myself anymore!
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.
December 23, 2020 at 7:16 pm
Is it normal to have a lisp post surgery and will it go away? Did you have any moments of panic that your new bite looks weird?
I had an open bite / cross bite and I’m 3 weeks out of double surgery. Most of the swelling has gone down but my upper lip is still swollen which gives the illusion of an overbite which has been unsettling. Just got the splint out which I thought would help my speech but now I have a bad lisp. It’s getting better day by day but overall I feel like an awkward kid.
November 6, 2020 at 6:08 pm
hi,im 18 and im 11days post up,the swelling is kinda there but i can guess the overall shape of my face, and i’m not liking it, like at all,,,,,,,,,,,, maybe i shouldn’t have done that,idk. at this point i’m so impatient and sad, not knowing what to do
January 17, 2020 at 4:22 am
I am about to get my braces for my upcoming double jaw surgery. I have had so much fear about the recovery and the possibility of not feeling parts of my face. This blog has helped me understand what to expect. My fear is that it just won’t fix the issues I’m having. And that I’ll lose so much weight I’ll just wither away. I do know that I have one if the best surgeons in Austin, but I still have the overwhelming fear. Did anyone else struggle with moving forward? It’s taken me a year and a half to actually make the appointment for my braces.
March 3, 2020 at 3:07 pm
It’s a bit nerve wracking, I had double jaw surgery a few years ago now, I did loose a little weight, but stick with high protein shakes while wired up, as far as as getting all of the feeling back, I still have some small areas that are numb but it doesn’t really bother me I have no jaw pain or discomfort, and feeling comes back even after long periods of time. I had lots of concerns about the surgery but extremely satisfied and happy I went with it. The recovery is a bit tough and at times ruff but worth it. This site helped me through the whole process.
May 6, 2019 at 10:47 pm
So I had my double jaw surgery on April 30th being last Tuesday. I’m currently one week post op and have been experiencing this metallic taste in my mouth that I can’t get rid of. I asked my doctor if it was a common side effect and she said she hasn’t had somebody tell her that before. I’m concerned because I did blow my nose a couple times because I was unaware that I wasn’t supposed to. Has anyone else experienced this? If so please help.
May 6, 2019 at 10:57 pm
I didn’t have the metallic taste issue but I wouldn’t worry. There are a lot of nerves that get damaged during the surgery that effect taste, and you need to give them time to heal.
May 7, 2019 at 6:34 am
I had the metallic taste come a go for a while post op my surgeon said it was nothing to worry about. Just keep it all as clean the as possible. Use saline spray it helps try to stay away from blowing your nose . Most importantly stay positive!
July 7, 2018 at 2:36 pm
I’m two weeks three days post op lower jaw surgery and they moved my jaw 8mm forward. I love having my teeth in the correct position. The problem I have is no one else notices the swelling anymore but my face looks more round than before surgery and not happy at all with that. I know there’s more swelling to go away but I’m worried this round look will be permanent. Anyone else have this same issue?
May 9, 2019 at 2:20 am
Hello did your face stop seeming round after sometime?
I have the same feeling as you two weeks post op and i am wondering if it will be permanent
May 29, 2018 at 8:43 am
Could someone please give me a little advice or reassurance! My name is Claire and i has double jaw surgery seven weeks ago. Most of my swelling has gone down but there is still swelling around my upper jaw (cheeks, nose) but nothing very visible. My biggest worry is that my top lip is in a completely different position. It is much higher (mainly in the middle under my nose, the sides have pretty much come down to a normal level) which gives me a very strange shaped mouth. I never had very full lips but my top one has practically disappeared! Has anyone else experienced this?
June 30, 2019 at 11:07 am
I had the same surgery 8 days ago and have noticed the same problem. I can’t see it mentioned anywhere else! Did you notice an improvement when the swelling went down?
June 30, 2019 at 2:12 pm
Clare , Anna:
The swelling will last for a while you will probably still notice it for a few months your lips will look off but they will move perfectly once all the swelling is gone you have nothing to worry about.