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Houston Cranio Facial

How Soon Can I Eat After Jaw Surgery?

Jaw surgery is a significant procedure, whether you are having single or double jaw surgery. Therefore, we cannot emphasize enough that each person has a unique rate of healing, and you should listen to your body to determine if you’re ready for the next stage of recovery. Dr. Eric Payne, our experienced craniofacial plastic surgeon, has provided the following general guidelines to assist you. If you have any questions, please reach out to our team for more specific instructions or aid.

For most types of jaw surgery, you can expect to follow a liquid diet for the first two to four weeks. That means no soft foods whatsoever. These fluids will help your body heal and give your jaw time to repair itself before being tasked with more difficult foods. Some examples of liquids you can enjoy include: water, soft drinks, Gatorade, clear broths, milk shakes, protein drinks, and anything you can drink from a blender.

The next stage is non-chew food. If you can easily squish it between your fingers, it’s probably ok to eat. If it’s crunchy (makes noise when you eat it), you’ll have to wait a bit longer. Examples of non-chew food include: scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soft fish, and soft (overboiled) pastas cut into small pieces. The non-chew diet should be followed for about three weeks, as well.

Soft foods are next, and even these should be cut into small, easily chewed pieces. We recommend fish, white rice, bananas, mangoes, white bread, pureed fruits and vegetables, canned chicken, avocado, cottage cheese, soft beans, and meatloaf.

During the next two weeks you can gradually introduce normal foods and chewing. Again, cut these items into small pieces until you’re comfortable taking larger bites. Hard or crunchy foods or extremely chewy foods, such as pizza, apples, popcorn, peanuts and nuts, and tough meats, should still be avoided for the first three months after surgery.

Dr. Payne can provide modifications to this schedule based on your treatment plan and rate of healing. You should have regular checkups to review your progress, at which point he can provide adjustments as warranted. If you have a question about a particular food, please call our office for more information.