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Keeping Pain Down After TMJ Surgery

Posted on 2/20/2017 by Dr. Ryan
A woman suffering from pain after a jaw surgery.
When the issues with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) are severe, and no other treatment options have helped, surgery may be your only answer. Surgery is a serious treatment plan, and can often lead to many days of pain while you heal. Here are a few tips on how to keep that pain down.

In some instances, over the counter pain medication can be enough to help ease pain. Pain usually peaks about 4 to 6 hours after anesthesia wears off, so you may want to consider taking some medication before it does, which can help combat pain that might be severe. Avoid taking aspirin, however, as it can contribute to bleeding. If your pain cannot be managed by OTC medication, a prescription pain medication can be taken instead, as directed by your surgeon.

It is recommended that you limit your activity during the first few days following your procedure, especially during the first 24 hours. Bending, lifting heavy objects, elevating your heart rate, or anything else strenuous can not only increase your chances of bleeding and swelling, it can also worsen pain. Instead, rest while you're healing, keeping your head elevated above your heart. As you begin to heal, slowly integrate light activity back into your routine and adjust as necessary for pain levels.

Avoid eating anything hard, crunchy or chewy during your healing process, as these can irritate surgical sites. Stay away from foods that are extremely hot as well. Instead, opt for soft, nutritious foods. You may even want to consider a liquid diet for the first few days, eventually graduating to soft foods as you are able. And don't skip meals. Getting proper nutrition will help speed up your recovery time.

Oral Hygiene

Keeping your teeth clean is still just as important. Use a children's toothbrush, so you won't need to open your mouth quite as wide. And make sure that you use an antibacterial mouthwash to help fight off remaining bacteria, which aids in the prevention of infection.

Pain is to be expected following TMJ surgery, but it doesn't have to be unbearable. However, if you experience pain that cannot be controlled even by prescription medications, contact our office right away.


Robert Cory Ryan, DDS, MD
Mountain Oral Surgery
& Dental Implant Center

7991 Vance Drive, Suite A
Arvada CO 80003
p: (303) 422-2990

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"Had an overall great experience with Dr. Ryan. The staff was very courteous and professional. Most important, the work they did, (two implants, to hold lower dentures) was very secure and I'm free of the hassle and pain. I was concerned at first but he answered all my questions and the whole procedure went well. I definitely would recomend them if you need that type of work done. 2 thumbs up!"
~ Keith I.
"Best doc we have ever been to. My son felt safe and relaxed with him and his staff."
~ George G.

"The office is well run. Everyone I had contact with was friendly and knowledgeable. Procedures were explained and all questions answered. Oral surgery can be an intimidating proposition, but Dr. Ryan and his staff are sensitive to that by providing excellent pain management and results."
~ Lisa S.

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