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)
- Swelling will begin
- Swelling will peak
- Your bowels will start working again around this time
- 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)
- 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
- Your elastics will start snapping daily, due to your rapid increase in speaking
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
May 13, 2021 at 12:00 am
Hey all , I’m on day 13 post op ! And let me tell you the first week was the worst week of my life !!
I didn’t do much research on double jaw surgery, I didn’t want to freak myself out. Now that I’m almost to my two week Mark everything is getting better day by day. My first week I suffered from so many nose bleeds and my throat filling up with flem and blood ! I would choke all the time. I’m so annoyed with the not eating, even soft foods I can’t even swallow yet. So I eat soup , and drink ensures.and drink lots of water. I lost 15 pounds by day 7, which I’m not complaining about since I had a baby 10 months ago and I needed to get the extra weight off lol. I’m so looking forward to getting these elastics off , and getting all of the screws out of my mouth . I’m still drooling but not as bad & my speech is still kinda hard to understand. But I can talk so it’s nice . My nose is still runny with occasional blood spots in it which is also annoying because I have to keep tissue or a towel near by. But I’m happy , for the first time in my life I have normal bite , and even though the screws are leaving a huge gap in my two front teeth , I’m still excited to see the end result. I put off my surgery for 12 years and I knw I shouldn’t have. But its done now, just prepare yourself and whoever is taking care of you . Your appearance will change. I literally cried every time I looked at myself in the mirror the first week. My eyes were about swollen shut and the choking all day on my own saliva sucked so bad. my doctor tells me I’m healing up perfect, and he isn’t concerned. I wish I would have ate more of my favorite foods before surgery , especially things like pizza and steak as I have been reading and it maybe up to 6 months before I eat those things again. I would love to get the feeling back in my lower lip and chin soon but seems as if I won’t. Don’t take this surgery lightly , but be excited a new smile is on its way 🙂
May 10, 2021 at 7:17 am
For lips I recommend the Bepathen from Bayer. It is a miracle cream. I am on week 4 from my DJS and genioplasty. My first 2 days were quite rough only because I coudn’t sleep that much and had annoying pain in my TMJ when I tried to sleep. I didn’t vomit any blood and Lefort 1 (upper jaw) was basically painless in my case – no nose bleeds at all.
I was surgery only patient – aesthetic BIMAX with CCWr. Everyone’s recovery is different but mine wasn’t too bad.
May 11, 2021 at 5:37 am
One more thing I like to add. Recovery is long and I am still swollen but don’t let some of the worst recovery stories put you off from this magnificent surgery.
All the best for everyone,
April 7, 2021 at 11:31 pm
I’m 7 months post op and everything is going great except my one concern is my right cheek moves more when I talk. It kinda looks weird if I talk directly face to face. I’m a little concerned. Anyone else deal with this? Should I be worried? Only place numb is my chin still, but I notice when talking it is a tiny bit tougher to move my left cheek compared to my right.
April 14, 2021 at 3:44 am
Aah me too! 7 months post surgery and when i try to smile my right cheek is easier than my left cheek i feel much more tightness on my left cheek and my smile doesn’t look balanced
April 22, 2021 at 6:54 pm
Hi! I’m two weeks post op and wondering when you got feeling back in your chin and lower lip!? Reading this it says 1-4 months, my surgeon said 2 wks-4 months so wondering when others might have gotten it back.?!
April 25, 2022 at 2:10 pm
Hi Emily, i’m about 11 weeks into recovery I noticed your post is about a year ago, did you regain feeling in your chin and lower lip? How long would you say it took? Every so often I feel it get very tingly and it feels like it might have feeling back but it doesn’t. I’m a few weeks out from three months so I’m hopeful but getting anxious you know
September 30, 2020 at 12:29 am
Hi Graham! Just came across your blog while searching google for some remedies and tips for my pain from double jaw surgery (to correct my underbite). I am now on day 9 since the surgery. Day 1-3 were the worst for me, I was in the hospital alone (due to covid-19 I couldn’t have any visitors) I had horrendous nose bleeds when i would stand or sit up, I was throwing up a lot of blood during the first few days. I was unable to open my mouth big enough to swallow the pain pills so my nurses were crushing them and putting them in juice which i would drink through the syringe thing. But my lips began to blister (huge blisters on the inside of my lip) after about 5 days after from the pain medication powder getting on my lips. By day 4 I started gaining a little more motivation to move and to watch a movie (For some reason the first few days had me in too much pain to even look at my phone or hear the TV on). Now day 9, I am experiencing excruciating pain when I laugh or smile it feels like the sutures are being stretched or tearing, and the pain lingers for a few minutes after like a tightness + sharp pain (brings me to tears). I also experience a runny nose with some blood. Talking is a little bit of a mission, people are starting to understand me now. But when the stitches start to ache and sting the ability to talk starts to fade. I had an allergic reaction to the bacitracin the doctors provided for my lips which caused a bumpy rash on the corners of my mouth. So i switched to vaseline, but if you have any recommendations for products to use on my lips and corners of mouth that would be so helpful! I’m losing weight like crazy and don’t know what to do to keep the weight on I’ve been drinking Ensure Clear, Ensure Vanilla, blended soups, ice cream shakes, water, and juice. In surgery day I weighed 136lbs and now i weigh 125lbs. I can’t think of anything else to eat while on the liquid diet, there’s only so much i can have. If you have any recommendations for food (aka liquids) options or ideas please let me know! Also what motivated you to stay strong while knowing you can’t eat real food food for a couple of months. I’m only on day 9 and it’s getting hard. I watch food videos on repeat and i crave so much food food. Any tips you have at all for pain, sleeping, the discomfort in the mouth, smiling, laughing, foods, anything that helped you please send them my way! Thank you so much for your blog I read each and every post and it’s helped me feel less alone since no one around me really gets what i’m going through. Have a great day!
October 4, 2020 at 4:17 pm
I didn’t have that many problems, when I had my surgery on September 24, 2020. When I came out of surgery the day of, I threw up blood one time and after that I didn’t do it no more. I have had a runny nose with a little blood, and it wasn’t that much either. After surgery and I went home, I didn’t get Nauseated or anything. It haven’t been 2 weeks yet, but it will be 2 weeks on October 7, 2020. I have already have stop taking pain medicine, because I haven’t been hurting, and I am already drinking out of a cup, but I haven’t progressed to a straw yet. I am so ready to start back eating regular food, because I can’t loose any more weight and plus I was already real skinny before I had the surgery. The first 3 days is going to be the worst, but after that it should be smooth sailing. My doctor told me after the 2 weeks mark you should be almost back to yourself, but still take it easy. You might experience so change in your face, such as the shape and size of your nose. But, I am really excited to see the end result!
October 5, 2020 at 9:00 pm
I had double jaw surgery same day as you so it’s good to connect. I’m still on pain meds but able to eat many soft foods, (no chewing). I’m wiped out tho – I think being 53 makes a difference. My airway was restricted in a big way and the breathing improvement I have experienced is a miracle. I had a bone graft for an implant, too. I had my procedure in office because of sad insurance company denial. Ended up in hospital on day 3 due to infection with 104 fever. Upper cheeks are sore and hard. Upper lip is still real fat. Most jaw swelling is done. Chest bruising is on final yellow color stage. All kinds of things going on but for the most part I’m headed in the right direction. I run out of gas pretty quick. Good luck to you, this is a good forum. Thank you.
December 18, 2020 at 11:33 pm
I’m on week two of my recovery. I can relate with the hospital stay and covid restrictions. Not fun at all. I was in the hospital for 5 days and it was the worst 5 days of my life, no joke. This group is encouraging and can’t wait to Join it and learn more.
March 13, 2020 at 5:57 am
The swelling continued to get worse. I was taking a mix of Ibuprofen and Vicodin for pain. Sleep was hard to get as I was just so uncomfortable. My jaw would clench when I slept and my head would roll uncomfortably from side to side, or up and down. I was up every two hours as I was drooling and bleeding and dealing with shooting pains under my right nostril where one of the incisions was made. I also had a low-grade fever which the Doctor was not concerned about and thankfully it went away pretty quickly. I started taking Miralax since I hadn t pooped since before surgery at this point. I was given a prescription laxative but I read that it was super strong and overkill for a lot of people (Thankfully the Miralax kicked in and worked within 24 hours).
October 4, 2020 at 4:21 pm
Since it have been a while since your surgery, when did you start back to eating regular food? Maybe like fish, or soft shel tacos