5+ Ways to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Removal

How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure that millions of people undergo every year. While the surgery itself is typically very safe and successful, one of the most common side effects is swelling. This can cause discomfort and make it difficult to speak or eat properly. In this article, we will discuss six ways to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal.

How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Removal

Please note that you don’t have to do all of these things. Some people may only need to do a few of the following to reduce swelling while others may have to try several before they find relief.

Take Pain Relief Medication

This one is pretty straightforward. If you are in pain and are experiencing swelling, take pain medication. This will help with both the pain and the swelling.

This can include over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen (Advil) and Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or prescription pain medication from your dentist or surgeon. Typically the prescription pain medication given is Tylenol-3 (acetaminophen/codeine) which is a very effective pain reliever.

Usually, over-the-counter pain medication takes around 30 minutes to an hour to work and will last for approximately four to six hours. If you have severe pain, dentists may recommend taking over-the-counter medication more frequently than recommended on the bottle. Just be sure to check with your dentist or surgeon first as they will know what is best for you based on your individual case.

Some people may be hesitant to take medication because they are worried about becoming addicted or dependent on it. To combat this be sure to follow the instructions on how often you can take the medication.

Use an Ice Pack

An ice pack can be very helpful in reducing swelling and pain immediately after wisdom teeth removal. Applying an ice pack to your cheek reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels. This, in turn, will reduce pain and swelling.

To make your own ice pack, simply fill a plastic bag with ice cubes or crushed ice and wrap it in a thin towel. Apply the ice pack to the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes and then remove it after 20 minutes. Repeat this process as often as needed.

You can also use a bag of frozen peas or corn in a pinch. Just make sure to wrap it in a towel so it doesn’t directly touch your skin.

Sleep on Your Back

This one may be a bit difficult if you are not used to sleeping on your back but it is worth a try. When one sleeps on their side or stomach, they put pressure on the healing sockets which can cause pain. Sleeping on your back will take the pressure off of your healing sockets and allow you to sleep more comfortably.

If you find it difficult to sleep on your back, try propping yourself up with some pillows. This will help take the pressure off of your sockets and allow you to sleep more comfortably.

Of course, sleeping on your back should be done on a case-by-case basis. If you find that your extraction site is oozing or bleeding, it’s best to sleep on your side so that nothing falls backwards into your mouth.

The important thing is that you get rest and allow your body to heal.

Be Gentle When Brushing Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is vital, even in the days immediately following wisdom teeth removal. However, it is important to be gentle when brushing your teeth otherwise you can irritate the gums and cause more swelling. It is important to find a balance between not injuring the extraction site and keeping it clean.

We have an entire article dedicated to brushing teeth after wisdom teeth removal which we recommend you check out if interested. A short summary of the article is making sure you don’t dislodge the blood clot that has formed in the extraction socket, which will cause a dry socket. It also discusses other tips such as taking extra time to brush your teeth and using a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Those having further difficulty keeping their mouth clean after wisdom teeth removal should consider using an antibacterial rinse. This will help keep the area clean and free from infection after removal.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for many reasons but it is especially important when recovering from wisdom teeth removal. When you are dehydrated, your body cannot heal as quickly. This means it will take longer for the swelling to go down and for the extraction site to heal.

Not to mention, when you are dehydrated, your mouth becomes dry. A dry mouth is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow.

Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks as they can cause further dehydration.

Eat Soft Foods

Eating soft foods is important for a few reasons. First, it will be easier on your extraction site. Eating hard or crunchy foods can cause pain and irritation.

Second, eating food in general, like drinking water, will help your body heal. When your body is healing, it needs nutrients to help the process along. Eating a balanced diet will ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to heal quickly and efficiently.

Some soft foods you can eat are:

  • mashed potatoes
  • soup
  • scrambled eggs
  • macaroni and cheese
  • oatmeal
  • yogurt
  • pudding


The contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be substituted for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nothing on this website constitutes the practice of medicine, law or any other regulated profession.

No two mouths are the same, and each oral situation is unique. As such, it isn’t possible to give comprehensive advice or diagnose oral conditions based on articles alone. The best way to ensure you’re getting the best dental care possible is to visit a dentist in person for an examination and consultation.


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