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Post-Operative Instructions: Fractures


After Your Surgery

  • Avoid smoking for a minimum of 5 days.
  • Swelling: Apply ice packs to the face over surgical area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours to help minimize swelling. Swelling tends to peak 48 hours after surgery. Assume a semi-upright position with your head elevated above your heart when resting.
  • Discomfort: Take the prescribed pain reliever before the numbness starts to subside making sure you have eaten beforehand (dairy products work best if you are not lactose intolerant). If you develop hives or a rash from any of the medications, discontinue them and call our office.
  • Nausea: Drink small portions of a carbonated drink (e.g., 7Up®, ginger ale, etc.) every hour for 3 or 4 hours. This will usually terminate nausea. Avoid all milk and dairy products as long as nausea is present. If taking a narcotic, you may also take half the dose or break the pill in half.
  • Diet: Maintain a LIQUID DIET ONLY. We suggest a high protein diet. Increase your fluid intake to at least four 8-ounce glasses per day.
  • We recommend drinking protein shakes and blending what you can.
  • If your jaw was wired shut, using a straw to eat and drink will be easiest
  • If you take nourishment regularly, you will feel better, gain strength, have less discomfort, and promote healing.
  • Follow-up appointments will be determined by the surgeon and continued until bone healing is complete, 6–12 weeks.
  • If facial sutures were placed, they will be removed 7–10 days post-surgery.
Day 2
  • You may begin to use heat instead of ice (whichever feels best). Take a warm shower. The warm heat and steam from the shower will help.
  • You may begin to gently brush your teeth. It’s very important to maintain proper oral hygiene during this time.
  • Start the prescribed antibiotics, if you haven’t already, and continue until gone.
Day 3
  • Swelling, discomfort, and possible bruising typically peak on the third or fourth day after surgery and will gradually improve. It is imperative to maintain low physical activity, staying off your feet.
  • Muscle stiffness may cause limited opening of the mouth. Do not attempt to open your mouth wide. Dependent on bone healing, the surgeon will determine when to begin physical therapy on your jaw to advance opening.
  • You may start to experience a slight earache, sore throat, elevated temperature, or flu-like symptoms (this is possible throughout the first week).
Exercise Care
  • Avoid exercise or any vigorous activity and slowly return to regular activities after 2 weeks. Increase of activity too soon can cause swelling and pain to increase or return.
  • No contact sports for the entire duration of healing.
Bone Fragments

During the healing process, you may feel sharp edges in the surgical areas with your tongue. It is probably the bony walls, which originally supported the teeth. Occasionally, small slivers of bone will work themselves out during the first week or two after surgery. They are not pieces of tooth, and if necessary, we will remove them. Please call the office if you are concerned.

What You Should Know if You Had an IV

If you notice any of the following where the IV was removed:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Warm to touch
  • Red Streak
  • Hardened area

You should apply a heating pad or warm, moist towel to the area. If you do not notice improvement within 24 hours, please call our office.

You should not drive, operate heavy or dangerous equipment, or sign any legal documents for at least 24 hours following general anesthesia.

After-Hours Patient Care Information

After-hours prescription refill requests are against company policy. If you feel you might need a refill on your medications, please be sure to contact us during our regular office hours

If you have questions concerning your recent surgery and need to contact us after hours, please call (253) 850-2657. This is the answering service, and the service will notify the doctor on call, who will, in turn, return your call promptly.

We Are Here To Help

Please contact our office if you have any questions or issues with these instructions.

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