If you have recently had your wisdom tooth or teeth extracted and are struggling with swelling around your mouth, eyes, cheeks, or sides of the face, don’t worry. Swelling after wisdom teeth removal is a healthy and absolutely normal reaction of the human body. However, in certain cases, this swelling may not be apparent immediately.
Also known as post-extraction edema, this swelling can be expected to gradually increase in size and reach its peak point within 48 to 72 hours. It usually starts subsiding by 96 hours with complete resolution towards the end of the first week. If this isn’t the case, you should see your dentist immediately.
How to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal?
The simple yet effective remedies described below can help you minimize this swelling and the associated discomfort as well:
- Use Cold and Hot Compress
As soon as the surgery is done, you can use a cold compress or ice packs on the external side of your face. You can opt for cold packs which are easily available in pharmacies or fill a surgical glove with ice or even use a frozen bag of peas. Wrap the cold compress in a dishtowel and hold it firmly against the external side of your face for a minimum of 15 minutes. Take a 15 minutes break and repeat the process. This should be done for the first 18 to 24 hours post wisdom teeth extraction. The cold constricts the blood vessels hence reducing the total volume of fluids that can be circulated around the affected tissue and eventually minimizing the swelling.
Leave the swelling as it is after 24 to 48 hours post-extraction. Then apply a hot compress. A heat pack or a hot water bottle or a hot towel should be held against the swelling. The process is the same as the application of the ice pack. Take care to only warm the swollen area and not burn it. The heat dilates the blood vessels enabling them to carry the accumulated fluids away from the affected area thus reducing the swelling.
- Elevate Your Head While Sleeping
You can take advantage of gravity to reduce the post-extraction edema. Keep your head slightly elevated when lying down with the help of 2 or 3 pillows. This helps bring down the blood pressure in that area slightly. Also, the excess fluid brought about by the swelling goes back to the bloodstream. All of this eventually leads to a gradual reduction in the swelling.
- Alter Your Diet
A diet comprising an only liquid or pureed foods is best suitable for the first 24 to 48 hours post wisdom teeth removal. For instance, you can choose a protein shake that is high in healthy calories to compensate for your altered diet. Smoothies loaded with green veggies or colorful soups made from carrot, beetroot, or sweet potato are also some great nutrition-packed options. A healthy diet boosts healing which eventually reduces the swelling faster.
At Coral Dental Care we use gentle wisdom tooth removal techniques. Our experienced team can help you with any queries you might have regarding the recovery post wisdom tooth extraction. If you too are struggling with swelling post wisdom teeth removal, call us.
Featured Image – Flickr (Robert Tadlock)
Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. Dr. Isaac strives for quality on a daily basis and this commitment to quality is reflected in her constant pursuit of advanced training. Her firm belief that even experts need to stay updated about what’s new in the dental field, enables her to provide every patient with optimal oral care. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health,recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.