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.

Want to chat live with other patients?

Recovering from jaw surgery can be lonely. That's why several of us hang out in a live chat group where we support each other before the surgery and during the recovery. There are over 75 people from 20 countries chatting right now and it's free to join.

(example of a recent conversation)


  1. Hi Graham,

    I had double jaw surgery to fix my assymetrical jaw back in 2012. Just last night I had a shooting pain from my bottom left gum all the way to my left ear. I am part of the 30 percent that lost a bit of feeling on my lips, gums and chin. Just wondering if you ever went through any pain well after the procedure. I am so worried , it kind of feels like a whiplash that you get on your neck sometimes but instead it’s from my gums to my ear. I’m dreading seeing my surgeon. Thanks again and hope everything is well with you.

    • Mimi, sorry to hear you’re having pain in your jaw and ear again, that’s no fun at all! Personally, I have not experienced any pain since my recovery and I cannot think of anything that would cause this. The bone in your jaw was fully healed a few months after your surgery, so I doubt it is anything bone-related. If your nerves are miraculously healing years later, that should manifest as a “pins and needles” feeling (the same feeling you get when your limbs fall “asleep”).

      Really sorry, but I don’t have any insight in what might be causing this sharp pain. If the pain continues, I would recommend calling your surgeon’s office to ask if anyone else has reported a similar experience. They should be able to tell you if it’s better to see your surgeon or your family doctor.

      If you remember, let me know what you find out. I’m interested to learn what’s causing this. I hope the pain goes away! 😊

  2. I am scheduled to have jaw surgery next week. During your journey you lost a lot of weight. Did all of it come back after being able to eat regularly again? Or did you maintain the weight you had become after the surgery. I have a beer gut and wonder if it will come directly back if I start to eat again when I am able to.

    Thank you

    • Seth, most of the weight I lost was weight I had intentionally put on by working out. Once I was able to eat and lift weights again, I regained almost all of it.

      The being said, if you’re able to find the discipline to eat healthy and exercise daily once your energy returns after surgery, you should be able to keep some of the weight away. I suppose you can treat recovery like a fresh start of sorts. I’ve encountered a few people who have also been able to kick their smoking and drinking habits during recovery due to the forced withdrawal for the first couple of months.

    • Hi seth. I had double jaw biomax surgery last October. Before my op I was a healthy 10stone 5. After surgery I went down to 9stone. About 6months after my surgery I was back to 10.5. Now, I’m sitting at 11stone5 ^_^ . It’s all good and once your jaw is healed and you actually CAN eat. You will put the weight back on in no time. Maybe even some extra. Haha!. Goodluck!

      • I’m trying not to back on the bad weight. I’m hoping this helps me lose some of the extra fat I have gained. Then i can rebuild with muscle. I’m in the military so I’d like to atleast look like it lol

  3. I want to ask u something that can i do travelling after surgert or not i have to do travelling of 4 hours daily.reply soon

    • Saman, if you’re driving a vehicle, I recommend waiting at least 2 weeks after surgery to ensure you have enough energy and will not fall asleep while driving. If you need to fly 4 hours, you may want to wait about a month after surgery for your swelling to go down.

      That being said, remember that I am not a doctor, so it’s best to ask your surgeon what they recommend. 😊

  4. Graham,

    I just left my orthodontist and I now have EIGHT molar bands in my mouth. Is this necessary? Did you have to do this? I have 4 regular molar bands that are required for the wire to fit into and then 4 more. Why is all of this necessary? I literally have no more free teeth.

    • Craig, I must apologize, but I can’t remember how many molar bands I had. I think I also had 8 bands in preparation for the “arch appliance” I had to wear after surgery. This appliance was meant to hold my upper palette in the correct place while my bone healed and since it created a bit of tension on my teeth, my orthodontist had to use molar bands on my back 2 molars on each side to properly attach it.

      If it’s bothering you and you can’t find an understandable reason for the bands online, I recommend calling your orthodontist and politely asking them why your treatment plan requires 8 bands. They are usually happy to explain the reason for the plan they chose. Hope this helps! 😊

  5. Hi! I am due to have double jaw surgery on 17th of October to correct my receding jaw. I have my year 12 graduation just over 4 weeks after the surgery and was wondering what my appearance will be like and will I be able to smile for photos??
    Thanks 🙂

    • Lacey, chances are you will still be quite swollen at the 4-week mark and I think smiling will be difficult. For reference, I wasn’t able to start smiling until 7 weeks had passed. You’ll certainly have enough energy to go to the graduation, but you will likely appear swollen in photographs.

      While it may be frustrating to consider imperfect graduation photos right now, they may very well bring you a few laughs as you look back on them in the years to come and I think you’ll be happy to have this surgery behind you as you pursue university, work, travel, or whatever else life has in store for you. 😊

    • You could be clever and take photographs now 😉 . Then you will be able to use those as reference AFTER your surgery. You can hire the cap n gown if you contact your university/college 😉 goodluck!

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