Some discomfort is to be expected after surgery. Dr. Dale Gallagher and our team want you to have a comfortable and speedy recovery, so we have put together some information to guide you through the next through days.

Bleeding

Some bleeding or drainage from the nose is to be expected for several days. This is a normal part of the healing process. Do not blow your nose, but gently wipe it clean. You may swab the inside edge of each nostril with Vaseline or antibiotic ointment to keep the area moist. Our oral surgeon in Austin, Texas, will be happy to see you daily if needed to remove excess drainage.

Swelling

After surgery, swelling is normal. The majority of swelling occurs on the second and third days after surgery. Apply an ice bag to the cheek by the area of surgery to minimize swelling. Apply ice to the area for up to 24 hours after surgery in intervals of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off. Resume your normal activities the day after surgery to reduce the amount of swelling. Walking is great exercise and you are encouraged to do so several times a day. After the first 24 hours, ice and moist heat are not needed for the surgical site.

Remember: Swelling is a natural part of the healing process. It’s your body’s way of protecting the surgical area.

Bruising

In some cases, bruising may occur near the surgical site or around the neck or jaw. This is normal, so there is nothing to worry about. Bruising is your body’s way of recycling red blood cells.

Numbness

Dr. Dale Gallagher administers local anesthesia during surgery. Numbness in your mouth, lips, and face may last for several weeks or months. The muscles your body uses to swallow and breathe will work normally, but it may seem difficult to swallow because your skin surfaces may be numb.

Diet

Drink plenty of fluids. A NO CHEW, soft food diet is to be followed for 3 months post-operatively or until instructed by Dr. Dale Gallagher. Some soft food ideas include: ice cream, yogurt, pudding, protein milkshakes, overcooked pastas/vegetables, soups, macaroni and cheese, eggs, pancakes, mashed potatoes, ground meats, baked fish, and chopped BBQ. Make sure you eat before taking any of the prescribed medications to prevent an upset stomach. Any chewing WILL cause damage to surgical sites and will prevent the bones from healing!

Sutures

The sutures in the surgical site generally dissolve on their own in 3 to 4 weeks. If you have discomfort in the area around the sutures, please inform Dr. Dale Gallagher. Your mouth will not be wired shut.

Exercise

Light to moderate exercise the day after surgery will help reduce swelling and help you feel better. Get up, take a shower, move around, and participate in your normal activities as much as possible. The quicker you get back to your normal routine, the better you will feel.

Sleeping

On the first night after your surgery, sleep with your head slightly elevated. Use an extra pillow. After that, you can continue with your regular sleeping habits. You will not damage any area by sleeping on it.

Prescriptions

Dr. Dale Gallagher prescribed you with antibiotics, anti-swelling medicine, and pain medication (take the pain medication as needed). Take your antibiotics and anti-swelling medicines as directed until they are gone to promote healing. Make sure you eat before taking your medication. In addition, it is important to use the mouthwash twice a day (after you brush your teeth).

Rubber Bands

Our oral surgeon will instruct you to wear orthodontic rubber bands for a period of time following surgery to train your muscles into your new bite position. Wear the rubber bands 24/7, removing them only to eat or to brush your teeth. After brushing, place new rubber bands. Each patient is unique and will be instructed by Dr. Dale Gallagher if and when bands will be needed and for how long.

Temperature

Body temperature elevation may occur following oral surgery. If your temperature rises above 100°F, take a fever reducer, like Tylenol, every 4 to 6 hours. The mouth being warm after oral surgery is perfectly normal.

Nasal Spray – Upper Jaw Surgery Only

You will have a congested/stuffy nose the first week following upper jaw surgery. This is a perfectly normal part of the swelling/healing process. Our oral surgeon will instruct you to use nasal spray twice a day. In the morning, spray the left side (2 sprays), and spray the right side at night (2 sprays). You may spray saline solution to rinse your nose as often as you like.

Oral Hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is essential to proper healing. The day after your surgery, use the prescribed mouth rinse after breakfast and before bed. Make sure you rinse for at least 30 seconds before spitting. In addition, use a warm salt rinse (a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) at least 4 to 5 times a day, especially after meals. Brush your teeth! Be gentle when brushing the surgical areas. Do not rinse with water after using the mouthwash!

Reminders

  • No smoking (This will slow the healing process drastically).
  • No carbonated drinks for at least 3 days.
  • No alcohol until all medicines are finished.
  • For upper jaw surgery: Use nasal spray on the left in the morning and right at night.
  • NO CHEWING!
  • Exercise and drink lots of water!

Feel free to contact our office at 512-258-1636 with any questions.