Recovering from TMJ Disorders
by Dr. Scott Bolding
The goal of TMJ surgery is to make it possible for you to eat the things you love and get your life back. But like with any surgical procedure you need to let your joints recover.
And if you’re trying to decide if surgery is right for you, knowing what recovering from TMJ surgery looks like is important. You want to know how long recovery takes, how much pain there will be, and if there are special post-op instructions to know about.
In this post, we will discuss what you can expect as you recover from TMJ surgery. This information will help you be prepared as you move toward a healthy jaw joint.
Recovery from TMJ Surgery: Post Op Instructions
Pain Management After TMJ Surgery
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It’s the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. The TMJ is just like the other joints in your body and can break down or get damaged. When that happens you have a TMJ disorder.
TMJ disorders can be painful. They keep you from eating the foods you love. More severe cases can keep you in pain that takes you away from your life. TMJ pain can be mild and easy to treat. But if you don’t take care of your joint the damage can get worse.
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Swelling is also very normal. You usually won’t see swelling until the day or two after TMJ surgery. It will last for 3-4 days before subsiding on its own.
You can manage swelling by using ice packs for 20 minutes at a time for 48 hours after surgery. Sleeping with several pillows will also help reduce swelling by keeping your head propped up.
Wound Management After TMJ Surgery
You will have stitches depending on the type of TMJ surgery you had. These stitches will dissolve on their own over time. But until the wound heals you need to take care of it.
You can clean the wound with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Applying Neosporin will also help the wound recover after TMJ surgery.
You can shower after TMJ surgery but be careful not to get the surgical area wet. When you dry off don’t rub your face with a towel. Pat your face dry instead.
Eating While Recovering from TMJ Surgery
Your diet is an important part of recovering from TMJ surgery. Because your jaw will be a bit sore for a few days you will want to stick to a soft food diet.
The food you eat should also be healthy to give your body the nutrients it needs to heal well. You can eat foods like:
- Mashed potatoes
- Soft fruits
Eating soft foods gives your jaw joints a chance to rest, which is crucial for healing. Once your joint heals you will be able to eat the food you love again.
Dellwo, A. (2022, July 15). TMJ Surgery: Preparation, Recovery, Long-Term Care. Verywell Health. Retrieved September 12, 2022, from https://www.verywellhealth.com/tmj-surgery-4172982
Colgate. (2022, February 9). How Long Is TMJ Surgery Recovery Time? Retrieved September 12, 2022, from https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/temporomandibular-disorder/how-long-is-tmj-surgery-recovery-time
TMJ Surgery Recovery Time. (2019, January 24). Gentle Dental. Retrieved September 12, 2022, from https://www.interdent.com/gentle-dental/resources/tmj-surgery-recovery-time/
Get Ready to Leave Jaw Joint Pain Behind
Choosing to move forward with TMJ surgery is a big decision. You want to prepare for what’s ahead. Knowing what recovering from TMJ surgery looks like can help you feel more comfortable with your decision.
Like with any surgical procedure, you need some time to recover. Recovery is the key to successful surgery.
Once you recover from TMJ surgery, however, you will be able to eat the things you love and leave jaw joint pain behind.