Jaw angle augmentation with implants changes the shape of the back part of the jaw. By placing specially shaped implants through an incision in the back part of the mouth, the jaw angles can be accentuated by either making them wider, longer or a combination of both. Different jaw angle changes requires different implant shapes and sizes.
The following postoperative instructions for jaw angle implants are as follows:
1. Jaw angle implants usually have a modest amount of postoperative discomfort. Most patients require pain medication for several days after surgery due to the stretching of the jaw masseter muscles. Take your pain medications as directed and as often as you need them.
2. Your jaw (face) will have a circumferential wrap placed to help swelling right after surgery and as a method to hold cold compresses in place. This wrap is to be left on for the first night after surgery. It may be removed the following morning. Be prepared that your face will get swollen, perhaps even considerably so.
3. Be aware that your jaw will get increasingly swollen over the next few days after surgery, this is normal. Facial swelling does not start to go down until three days after surgery and will many weeks to go away completely. You may continue to use ice packs if they make you feel more comfortable and as long as you like.
4. After taking off the head wrap, you may shower, wash your hair and shave (men) as you desire. The skin over the implants may feel numb for awhile but there is no harm in getting it wet.
5. The incisions inside the mouth have resorbable sutures. You may gently brush your teeth and use ½ strength (diluted) mouth wash for oral hygiene.
6. Your jaw opening will feel a little tight when you open your mouth widely. That will take several weeks to return to normal. You may stretch open your jaw as much as feels comfortable.You may eat whatever you like although chewing foods in the first few days after surgery can be difficult. Focus on liquids and soft foods for the first few days after surgery.
7. There will usually be a small suture on the skin outside of the jaw angle implants where the screw to secure the implants was inserted. There is no special care for that suture. It will be removed one week after surgery.
8. You may return to any physical activity and work as soon as you would like based on your comfort level with pain and your facial appearance.
9. You may drive when you feel comfortable and can react normally and are off pain medication.
10. If any facial redness, tenderness, or drainage develops after the first week of surgery, call Dr. Eppley and have your pharmacy number ready.