The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the complex joint that controls the movement of the jaw. It allows movement in multiple directions. TMJ surgery may be needed to correct the condition when this joint is damaged or diseased.
You can go home after most TMJ surgeries, which are considered minor outpatient procedures. Before you leave, you can expect to spend some time under observation in the recovery room, where your vitals will be monitored, and the staff will confirm that your condition is stable. You will be prescribed pain medication you can take as the anesthesia from your procedure wears off. Numbness and facial stiffness are temporary and will not last longer than a few hours. Only for the most severe cases of TMJ disorders will you need to be under general anesthesia and stay in the hospital afterward.
Expect facial swelling and tenderness; this is normal and can take five to seven days to subside. Swelling can be treated with ice packs for 20 minutes on the first day. Your face may also appear bruised. Keeping your head elevated can help alleviate these symptoms.
After surgery, many patients experience a clicking in the joint. Your bite may also feel different. As you heal from your procedure, these issues should be resolved independently.
Stretching Your Jaw After TMJ Surgery
Your oral surgeon may prescribe physical therapy or stretching exercises to be performed as soon as you can aid in recovery from your procedure. Usually, this is in the first week after surgery. Regular jaw exercises after surgery are essential for regaining function and range of motion.
What Can I Eat After TMJ Surgery?
After TMJ surgery, you must eat a soft diet similar to those prescribed to patients with wisdom tooth extraction or implant surgery. Liquids like soup or smoothies are best at first, and then, as your jaw heals, you may tolerate soft foods like mashed potatoes, oatmeal, and eggs after a few days. Any hard, crunchy, or chewy foods should be avoided as they can damage the areas of the mouth that are healing. It is easier to eat several small meals throughout the day. For patients who have undergone a full joint replacement, it may take as long as eight weeks to return to more normal foods.
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Provide Experienced and Compassionate Surgical Care
At Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, our skilled team uses state-of-the-art technology to ensure your procedure goes smoothly with maximum comfort and safety. Call 856-582-4222 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our South Jersey oral surgeons. Located in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, we serve patients throughout South Jersey.