What to Do After Orthodontic Oral Surgery: A Comprehensive Guide to Recovery

 Asad A | March 12, 2024

Orthodontic oral surgery can be significant in achieving proper dental alignment and resolving various oral health issues. However, it is important to follow certain rules to heal properly and get the best results.

This guide will look at the important steps and suggestions for what to do after orthodontic oral surgery to help you recover smoothly.

What is Orthodontic Oral Surgery?

Orthodontic oral surgery, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a special branch of oral and maxillofacial surgery focused on correcting irregularities of the jaw and facial structure to improve bite function, facial aesthetics, and overall oral health. This type of surgery is often performed in conjunction with orthodontic treatment to address severe malocclusions (misalignments of the teeth and jaws) that cannot be adequately corrected with braces or other orthodontic appliances alone.

Common Reasons for Orthodontic Oral Surgery

Common reasons for orthodontic oral surgery include:

  • Correction of severe overbites, underbites, or crossbites that cannot be effectively addressed with orthodontic appliances alone.
  • Treatment of skeletal discrepancies, such as asymmetry or abnormalities in jaw growth and alignment.
  • Correction of facial asymmetry or disproportion caused by jaw irregularities.
  • Resolving issues related to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, including pain, dysfunction, and limited jaw movement.
  • Correction of breathing problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea, by repositioning the jaws to improve airway function.
  • Enhancing facial aesthetics and harmony by achieving proper balance and alignment of the jaws and facial structures.
  • Resolving issues related to facial trauma or injury affecting the function and aesthetics of the jaws and structures.
  • Addressing congenital defects or developmental abnormalities affecting the jaws, teeth, or facial bones.
  • Aligning the teeth and jaws to facilitate proper chewing, speaking, and swallowing improves overall oral health and function.
  • Enhancing the stability and long-term success of orthodontic treatment by addressing underlying skeletal issues that may contribute to relapse or instability.

What to expect during an Orthodontic Oral Surgery Procedure?

During orthodontic oral surgery, the oral surgeon carefully repositions the jaws to attain proper alignment and balance. The procedure may involve repositioning the upper jaw (maxilla), lower jaw (mandible), or both jaws to improve bite function and facial aesthetics. 

Orthodontic oral surgery is performed under general anesthesia in a hospital or surgical center, and patients typically require a period of recovery following the procedure.

What to Do After Orthodontic Oral Surgery?Braces

After undergoing orthodontic oral surgery, it's crucial to follow these post-operative instructions for a successful recovery:

Manage Pain and Discomfort:

Follow the instructions from your surgeon about taking pain medicine to feel better. Use ice packs on the swollen area to help it go down and reduce any redness.

Follow a Soft Diet:

Eat soft foods that are easy to chew to avoid bothering the area where you had surgery. Try foods like smoothies, mashed potatoes, soups, and yogurt.

Practice Good Oral Hygiene:

Brush your teeth softly and rinse your mouth with salt water or the mouthwash your doctor gave you to keep the surgery spot clean. Don't brush right on the surgery spot to avoid irritation.

Attend Follow-Up Appointments:

Attend all your appointments with the surgeon to check how well you're healing. The surgeon will take out any stitches and fix any devices if needed.

Rest and Relaxation:

For the first few days after surgery, allow yourself plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activities. Relaxation aids in the healing process and minimizes the risk of complications.

Stay Hydrated:

Drink enough water to stay hydrated and help your body heal. Avoid alcoholic beverages and carbonated drinks, as they can irritate the surgical site.

Avoid Smoking and Alcohol:

Don't smoke or drink alcohol while you're healing because they can slow down the healing process and make complications more likely.

Follow Dietary Restrictions:

Follow any dietary restrictions provided by your surgeon, such as avoiding hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that can irritate the surgical site.

Communicate with Your Surgeon:

Contact your surgeon immediately if you experience persistent pain, swelling, or other concerning symptoms. Open communication ensures prompt treatment of any issues that may arise during your recovery.

Be Patient and Positive:

Healing after orthodontic oral surgery needs time, so be patient with yourself. Keep a positive attitude and think about the good things the surgery will do for your oral health and how you'll feel overall.

What to Avoid After Orthodontic Oral Surgery?

Some important don'ts after the surgery are:

Avoid Exertion:

Refrain from pushing yourself too hard. Take the time to rest and recover, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for the initial days following your oral surgery.

Steer Clear of Hot Foods and Drinks

Hold off on consuming hot foods or drinks until the numbness wears off to avoid accidental burns to your mouth. Adding burns to your discomfort during recovery from oral surgery is unnecessary.

Stay Away from Hard or Crunchy Foods:

For the first 6 to 8 weeks after your oral surgery, skip hard, crunchy foods like popcorn and carrots in the area where the procedure occurred to avoid disrupting the healing process.

Avoid Brushing and Flossing:

Brush and floss in the surgical area only after your doctor gives you the green light. When you resume oral hygiene practices, be extra gentle to avoid irritation.

Say No to Smoking for 24 Hours:

Steer clear of smoking for at least a full day after your oral surgery. Ideally, consider quitting smoking altogether to improve your overall health. Seek assistance from your oral surgeon if you need help quitting.

Skip Alcohol for 24 Hours:

Avoid alcohol for the initial 24 hours following your oral surgery, as it can hinder the healing process. Additionally, refrain from alcohol consumption while taking pain or antibiotic medications to prevent interference with their effectiveness.


Knowing what to do after orthodontic oral surgery is essential for a smooth and successful recovery process. By following the post-operative instructions provided by your oral surgeon, managing pain and discomfort, maintaining a soft diet, practicing good oral hygiene, attending follow-up appointments, and avoiding strenuous activities, you can promote optimal healing and achieve the best possible outcomes from your surgery. Remember, your oral surgeon is your partner in the recovery journey, so don't hesitate to reach out with any concerns or questions.

Schedule Your Appointment at Invisalign Toronto on Front Street West, Toronto, ON

If you've undergone or are considering orthodontic oral surgery, schedule an appointment with Invisalign Toronto, located in Front Street West Toronto, ON, to discuss your options and ensure a successful recovery. New patients can call us at (647) 931-2983, while all other callers can reach us at (416) 551-4401. Book your appointment today and take the first step toward a healthier smile!


How long does it take to recover from orthodontic oral surgery?

Recovery times vary, but most patients can expect to feel better within a few days to a couple of weeks after surgery. Full recovery takes several weeks to months.

Can I resume normal activities after orthodontic oral surgery?

Avoiding strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and vigorous exercise for the first few days following surgery is essential. Following your surgeon's recommendations, gradually ease back into your normal routine as you feel comfortable.

What should I do if I experience persistent pain or swelling after oral surgery?

If you experience persistent pain, swelling, or any concerning symptoms after oral surgery, contact your surgeon immediately for evaluation and guidance. Prompt attention to any issues can help ensure proper healing and prevent complications.

Skip to content