Nutrition and Diet Tips During Jaw Surgery Recovery


Jaw surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is an intricate procedure used to correct severe cases of dental and facial misalignments and can enhance facial harmony as well as correct irregularities of the jawbone. After surgery, it’s normal to experience some discomfort but with rest and attention to dietary choices, recovery can be smooth. Our team here at Northenden House Orthodontics have years of experience in jaw surgery, so if you're seeking orthognathic surgery in Manchester, the below information could help ensure your diet remains healthy throughout.


The Process of Jaw Surgery and How it Impacts Diet

The operation is carried out under anaesthesia and comprises lengthening and shortening the jaw bones and moving them to the desired position, helping the teeth and jaw function properly. Jaw bones are secured into place with plates and screws and elastic bands are used between the top and bottom braces, to help guide the teeth into their new bite position.

For the jaw bones to correctly heal alterations to your diet will be necessary, and for the first few days, it is normal to experience some discomfort, swelling, and stiffness. During this time, it’s advised to use a plastic syringe, small spoon, or straw to eat and drink, meaning that a diet of liquids is advised at the very beginning. After a few days, the elastics holding your jaw together may be taken off at mealtimes and you could start to introduce pureed foods into your diet. Chewing needs to be kept to a minimum for at least 6 weeks after surgery, but as you begin to heal, a soft diet can be introduced, alongside healthy snacks.


How a Staged Diet Could Help following jaw surgery

Following the below diet stages could help in keeping your diet healthy.

The Initial Liquid Diet

Recommended straight after surgery and for the first few days, as well as ensuring you drink plenty of fluids.

  • Nourishing drinks such as fortified milk which is high in calories and can be used in milkshakes, coffee, hot chocolates etc.
  • Soups made by boiling vegetables and adding cooked meat before using a blender to puree. Tins of creamed soups and instant soups made with milk or condensed soups diluted with milk.
  • Fresh juice and cordials, sugar-free for extra hydration.
  • Yoghurts including drinking yoghurts and full-fat yoghurt for extra nutrients.
  • Supplement drinks such as Meritene and Complan in milkshake form and as soups.


Pureed Diet Phase.

Once some of the discomfort eases, it’s advisable to start eating pureed foods, that are healthy and easy to digest. 

  • Breakfasts and light meals including full-fat porridge, scrambled egg with cheese, wheat biscuits with full-fat milk and smooth full-fat yoghurt with mashed banana or fruit puree.
  • Main meals could include finely minced or pureed meat or fish such as pureed cottage pie, or pureed fish and parsley sauce, beef casserole, curry, and cauliflower cheese, smooth soups such as vegetable, cream of chicken, tomato, and lentil, and pureed pasta or rice with tomato or cheese sauce.
  • Desserts could include smooth, thick yoghurt, fromage frais, instant whip or mousses, rice pudding, semolina, or custard, stewed, pureed fruits with custard or cream and crème caramel, jelly and ice cream, blancmange, or fruit fools.


Soft Food Phase.

At this point eating should be more comfortable, with opening and closing your mouth feeling easier which means that softer foods can start to be introduced. 

  • Breakfast such as porridge with full-fat milk, scrambled, boiled, or poached egg with soft, crustless bread, wheat biscuits, puffed rice or corn cereals soaked in milk and mashed banana or tinned fruit with full-fat yoghurt.
  • Light meals including omelette with cheese, soup with soft, crustless bread and butter, the inside of a jacket potato with tuna mayo, cheese, or tinned spaghetti, pasta in sauce and soft bread sandwiches with crusts removed such as tuna mayo, soft cheese, pate, egg mayo or hummus.
  • Main meals including risotto and casseroles with soft, slow-cooked meats in sauce such as cottage pie, curry, or boneless fish in sauce.


Nourishing Snacks

It’s normal to feel your appetite reduced after surgery, so we recommend eating 2 or 3 nourishing snacks in between smaller meals, instead of just 3 large meals a day. If you have a sweet tooth, try rice puddings, jelly, full-fat yoghurt and soft fruit with cream or custard, and soft cake or gateaux. Nourishing savoury snacks could include soft, spreadable cheese such as brie or camembert on soft, crustless bread, dips such as hummus and guacamole or soups with cheese.


Seeking Jaw Surgery in Manchester? Northenden House Orthodontics Can Help

Maintaining oral hygiene throughout the recovery process is also vital ensuring that you thoroughly rinse your mouth after meals and snacks and gently brushing morning and night. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed after surgery but our team here at Northenden House Orthodontist will be only too happy to help you through surgery and recovery.

If you’re seeking jaw surgery in Manchester, call our friendly, passionate, and enthusiastic team of professionals today for a consultation.

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  • Mohammad Malik
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