When Can I Start Chewing Gum After Jaw Angle Implants?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I am now three weeks after my sliding genioplasty and jaw angle implants. I have more questions as I am starting to be able to chew and I’m stretching my mouth multiple times throughout the day.

My mouth feels dry all the time is that why my sutures haven’t fallen out yet? Should I constantly swish water around my mouth?

As I’m starting to eat more food I’m cautious to eat anything that could get stuck around the sutures. Could that cause an infection? 

Is it possible to stretch my mouth so hard I mess up a suture? 

Is there an estimate when my mouth will open up normally? I’m fitting about 1.5 fingers in currently.

Will my normal smile return? Is there an estimate time frame of that happening?

Can I chew mastic gum to strengthen my jaw back to normal?

Can I get a tattoo?

Can I resume allergy shots?

Can I start light exercises(push-ups, pull-ups, abs)

When can I start lifting heavy weights?

A: In answer to your post surgery sliding genioplasty and jaw angle implant questions:

1) There is no correlation between mouth dryness and sutures dissolving.

2) You are rightfully cautious about food getting stuck in the sutures in the first month after surgery.

3) Wide mouth opening does pull on the sutures in the lower vestibule.

4) Keep working on stretching and it will eventually return to a normal range of motion.

5) A full smile will return when the tissues in the chin heal and relax. This a function of tissue stiffness/stretch that is temporarily affecting a normal smile movement.

6) Now is not the time to be chewing gum.

7) A tattoo anywhere other than the face is fine.

8) You may resume allergy shots.

9)You can start light exercise any time.

10) I would wait to resume heavy weight lifting until one month after the surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana