Post-op Instructions for TMJ Surgery

Post-operative Issues and Instructions for TMJ Surgery, download a PDF copy here.

What to expect after:
• There will be an element of pain as with any surgical procedure. This is well controlled with baseline paracetamol and ibuprofen with the option of an opioid such as codeine.
• You may have stitches around the joint to secure the wounds for approximately 5 days and will usually be removed in our office. For open procedures and total joint replacements, the stitches are usually “buried” and do not require removal.
• Frequently, you will have numbness around the surgical site with swelling and an occasional “droopy” face due to temporary facial nerve weakness. In most cases, this resolves in a short period of time.
• You may start physical therapy within 48 hours in order to maintain movement and help healing. This is an imperative part of the treatment regime.
• You may experience a temporary change in your bite. If so, this will usually resolve in 5-7 days.
You may notice clicking in your jaw joint that was not present before. This may be normal and is not a cause for con-cern. .
• Our practice will usually contact you for a follow up appointment shortly after discharge
Do and Do not’s
• Your jaw movement may be limited for several weeks so you must maintain a diet of liquid and soft foods during this time.
• Do not touch the wounds for at least 1 week. It is extremely important to maintain clean wounds. You can shower but avoid wetting the surgical sites under the dressings.
• Please take all medications as prescribed. This is may be a concoction of analgesics (pain killers) and antibiotics. Anti-biotics are not usually prescribed for arthroscopic surgery.
If you need ice packs on the surgical site, only place it over the dressing and not directly over the wound. By week three or four, light exercise is allowed, but do not participate in contact sports until you cleared specifically for them.
• Even if you’re starting to feel better, do not excessively exercise. For the first week, you can take short walks, but do not overestimate your ability.

Helpful Hints and Tips

Stock Up on Vitamin Shakes
• During the initial weeks of recovery, good proper nutrition is required to facilitate healing. Get a supply of vitamin-enriched shakes. These can help relieve hunger and stimulate your digestive system as well.
• You also can make smoothies from fresh fruit.
Use Towels for Drooling
 It is not unusual to drool excessively after such procedures. Keep a towel on hand to wipe your mouth and chin, and to wipe up any spills from drinking.
Keep Your Head Elevated
• Try to sleep in the reclined position by propping yourself up by pillows. Keeping your head elevated can help the swelling subside faster.