Orthognathic surgery, commonly referred to as “jaw surgery,” is used to correct a wide range of both minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, often the misalignment of the jaws and teeth. Patients looking at undergoing orthognathic surgery are often faced with an extensive recovery period, as well as a restricted diet in the beginning of their recovery process. Post-surgery patients are discouraged from chewing to allow the bone to heal and stabilize. Due to the fact that adequate healing can take up to 8-12 weeks, patients will initially be on the “swallowing diet” for a number of weeks.
When it comes to the “swallowing diet,” the name of the game is high calorie, high protein, and low volume. Facing a large volume of liquid each meal that meets both the necessary caloric and protein needs can be overwhelming. Consuming enough calories, as well as enough protein is a necessity to heal in a timely manner. In order to get adequate volume of fluid and nutrition daily, it may require you to eat smaller meals 5-6 times per day, rather than the usual 3 times per day.
Patients who are well prepared for their surgery often have a smoother recovery. Here is an example of smoothie recipe a patient can consume following orthognathic surgery:
Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
- 2 chilled bananas, broken into chunks
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups ice cubs
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
Place bananas, milk, peanut butter, honey, and ice cubes in a blender; blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.
Though patients are faced with a restricted diet post-surgery, it is important to remember to try and maintain a balanced diet. In particular, foods rich in vitamins A and C. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), plenty of vitamin C is one way post-surgery patients ensure a timely recovery!