Dr. Rocky Cullens is a doctor of dental surgery focusing on oral maxillofacial surgery. At Stonewood Hills, his private practice in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Dr. Rocky Cullens carries out implant and extraction procedures as well as TMJ and other jaw surgeries.
Procedures involving the jaw may require the patient to have his or her jaw wired shut for as long as six weeks, or to move their mouth as little as possible. In such cases, Dr. Cullens recommends specific nutritional practices to his patients. Such extended periods of severe eating restrictions can result in illness which, among other detriments, can slow oral healing.
Following an oral surgery, Dr. Cullens recommends drinking nothing but water for the first hour. This allows digestion to begin and prevents later stomach ache or vomiting. Following this first hour other liquids can be consumed, but no solid food should be eaten for at least 24 hours. Nutritional shakes designed as meal replacements are a good choice for this period.
When the patient feels ready to begin consuming solid food – no earlier than the second day following surgery – the ideal foods are those that can be swallowed without much or any chewing, such as oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt, and macaroni. One way to determine whether the food is appropriate is to consider whether it can be “chewed” by being pressed between the tongue and the roof of the mouth. This test will help ensure the patient is not over-taxing the jaw or other delicate tissue following the surgery.