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Jaw Surgery Pain Management

Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal ant-inflammatory medication.  The  brand name is Motrin or Advil like medications. It is not only an analgesic but also anti-inflammatory.  It has a greater benefit in recovery than the narcotics.  Please get the soft gel capsule version.  It will be easier to swllow or to cut and mix with foods.

Norco is a narcotic that comes in a tablet form

Generic name:  hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablet form is10mg/325mg.   The maximum dose is 6 tablets/day.  You can break the tablet in half

Acetominophen.  The  brand name is Tylenol.  Use the Extra-strength 500mg/capsule.  Generally take 1000 mg (2 capsules) every 6 hours.  Remember that Aceominophen is NOT anti-inflammatory.  Suggest geeting the capsule (gel version if available). Tablets can be crushed.  The maximum dose is 3000mg (maximum of 6 per day for 500mg tablets extra strength.


  • It is not possible or safe to eliminate all pain.

  • It can be reduced to a tolerable level.

  • Stay on top of the pain.  Do not allow the pain to become out of control.

  • Alternate the pain medications every 3 hours, especially the first 3 to 7 days after surgery

  • It is better to take the pain medications in capsule form.  The liquid equivalent can be a large volume and difficult to swallow.

  • Take the pain medication with food: Crush/cut and mix in chocolate pudding or yogurt or apple sauce

  • Use the prescribed narcotic to take away the pain, but the Ibuprofen will help reduce the inflammation from surgery.  The narcotic does not help with this.

  • The narcotic can cause nausea, vomiting and constipation. These are side effects not an allergic reaction. Limit its use.

  • By the second week after surgery, try to use only the Ibuprofen. Use the narcotic sparingly.

  • By the end of the second week, the vast majority of our patients are off of all pain medications with only the occasional use of ibuprofen.

  • By the third week, many of our patients are returning to school and to work. They will use gel or tablet form of the Ibuprofen as needed. Do not take narcotics at school or work.

Sample Pain Management  Regimen

The following is only a sample timetable to be adjusted for dosage and times for each patient.  After the first 3 days, narcotic should be minimal or none. Please instead use Ibuprofen and Acetominophen


The First 3 to 4 days at Home

Alternate the Ibuprofen with Acetominophen every 3 hours.

Adjust the amount and timing


6AM       Ibuprofen   200mg (2-3 capsules) = 400-600mg

9AM       Acetominophen Extra strength 1000mg (2 tablets)

12Noon  Ibuprofen   200mg (2-3 capsules) = 400-600mg*

3PM       Acetominophen Extra strength 1000mg (2 tablets)

6PM       Ibuprofen   200mg (2-3 capsules) = 400-600mg*

9PM       Narcotic Prescription (Norco) if needed


After the first 3 to 4 days at Home

Please limit the use of narcotics.

Adjust the amount and timing of Ibuprofen

Begin using the gel or tablet form of Ibuprofen

*If the Ibuprofen is not enough then use narcotic

Many of our patients tell us they use the narcotic only in the evening.


The Third Week at Work/School

By now you should only need Ibuprofen. Do not take narcotics at school or work or while driving.


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