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Posted 12/29/2022 by Amelia Grant

What to Know About TMJ Surgery

What to Know About TMJ Surgery

Where your jawbone and skull connect, there is a hinge-like joint called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Your jaw may move up and down thanks to the TMJ, allowing you to use your mouth for various activities, including talking and chewing.

A TMJ condition prevents you from using the full range of motion in your jaw by causing pain, stiffness, or lack of mobility in your TMJ.

In the event that less invasive therapies, such as mouthguards or oral splints, are unsuccessful in lessening the intensity of your symptoms, surgery may be utilized to treat TMJ. For certain individuals, surgery could be required to regain full TMJ function.

Types of TMJ Surgery

Depending on your symptoms or how severe they are, a variety of TMJ surgeries may be appropriate.


You receive an arthrocentesis by having fluid injected into your joint. The fluid can help relieve the pressure that makes a joint uncomfortable or stiff by washing away any chemical remnants of inflammation. You may be able to regain some jaw movement thanks to this.

A minimally invasive procedure, this one. Typically, you can return home the same day. The success rate is high, and the recovery time is brief.

Since arthrocentesis is less invasive and has a higher success rate than some of the other, more involved procedures, it is frequently used as a first-line treatment.


Opening one or more tiny holes in the skin above the joint is how arthroscopy is carried out.

The joint is then reached by inserting a small tube known as a cannula into the hole. The arthroscope will then be inserted into the cannula by your surgeon. An instrument with a light and camera called an arthroscope is used to see into your joint.

Your surgeon will then be able to operate on the joint using tiny surgical instruments put through the cannula once everything is ready.

Open-joint surgery

An incision a few inches long is made over the joint during open-joint surgery so your doctor can do surgery on the actual joint.

A discectomy could be done if your disc is too damaged to be repaired. Your own tissue or an artificial disc may be used by your surgeon to entirely replace your disc.

The surgeon may need to remove some of the diseased bone from the jaw joint or the skull when the bony structures of the joint are implicated.

Compared to an arthroscopic operation, open surgery requires more time to recover from, but the success rate is still rather good. 


The length of recovery following TMJ surgery varies by patient and type of procedure. The majority of TMJ surgeries are outpatient procedures, so you'll be able to leave the hospital and return home the same day.

On the day of the procedure, make sure someone is available to drive you home because you might feel a little disoriented or sleepy as a result of the anesthetic.

Leave work on the day of your procedure. If your job doesn't require you to move your tongue a lot, you don't necessarily need to take more than one day off. Take a few days off, though, if you can, so you have time to unwind.

Will TMJ pain return if I’ve had surgery?

Even after surgery, TMJ pain can reoccur. All that is eliminated during arthrocentesis is dirt and extra edema. This implies that the joint's debris could accumulate once more or that inflammation can return.

If you have a propensity of clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism) when you're under stress or when you sleep, your TMJ pain may return.

TMJ pain may return if your immune system targets the joint tissue or if you have an underlying immunological disorder that causes tissues to become inflamed, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

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