1. Immediately following surgery:
Since surgery causes soreness in the muscles and bones of your jaw, movement may be difficult initially. We do not recommend any specific exercises during the first week to ten days after surgery. However, simply attempting to open your mouth and move your jaw side to side several times a day may help increase movement.
2. Ten days to four weeks after surgery:
Stand in front of a mirror and attempt to open and close your jaw as much as possible. At ten days after surgery you should be able to get one finger in between your teeth, and this should increase to two fingers by four weeks. Simply move your jaw forward and backward, side to side, and open and close, attempting to increase your mouth opening with your jaw muscles only. Moist heat placed on the side of your face before and during these exercises may make them more comfortable and more effective. Do not use finger pressure on your teeth to help stretch your jaw opening at this time.
3. Four to eight weeks after surgery:
During the fourth to eighth week after surgery you should be able to get two fingers in between your front teeth very comfortably and can begin using very gentle finger pressure between the back teeth on each side of your mouth to help gently stretch your jaw muscles. Again, doing these stretching exercises as well as moving your jaw side to side and forward and backward will help. Moist heat can also be used at this time. Use of a millimeter ruler to help measure jaw opening will help you monitor your progress and improvement. By the eighth week you should be able to place three fingers between your front teeth. It is also very important to move the muscles used for facial expressions.