Reasons for Lopsided Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Surgery

Why Is One Side of My Face More Swollen After Wisdom Teeth Surgery?

If you’re one of the many people who have recently undergone wisdom teeth surgery, you may wonder why one side of your face is more swollen than the other. This is a common question – and thankfully, there is a pretty simple answer. Each tooth is unique in its shape, its position in the tooth, and the way it is taken out of the mouth. These differences cause the body to react differently when it comes to swelling and healing. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into why one side of your face might be more swollen after wisdom teeth surgery. We’ll also provide tips on reducing swelling in the days following your procedure.

Reasons Why Swelling Is Different on Each Side

It’s natural to be concerned if your face is swollen in different places or if one side of your face looks puffier than the other. In most cases, it’s perfectly normal, and here are the primary reasons why this can happen.

Size of the teeth

Each of your wisdom teeth, just likely all teeth in your mouth, are unique in size and shape. If your wisdom teeth are larger, it may take longer for the swelling to go down after their removal. This is because larger teeth may require a more extensive surgical procedure and leave a larger area of damaged tissue, which can result in more swelling.

Location of the teeth

The location of your wisdom teeth can also affect the amount of swelling you experience. If your wisdom teeth are located in a difficult-to-reach area, it may require more extensive surgery, and it may take longer for the swelling to go down. This is especially the case in impacted wisdom teeth, which cannot emerge from the gum line fully. These teeth may require the cutting of gums, bones, and even your wisdom tooth. As a result, impacted teeth may require a more complex surgical procedure to remove them.

The number of teeth removed

If you had more than one wisdom tooth removed on one side of your mouth, it’s possible that that side may be more swollen. This makes a lot of sense since the more teeth you have removed, the more tissue is damaged and needs to heal. Interestingly, many people don’t have all wisdom teeth, and others have more than four wisdom teeth! These are known as supernumerary teeth.

Different locations of blood vessels/nerves

The human face is made up of a complex network of nerves and blood vessels. Blood vessels play a significant role in how swollen your face can be. If your wisdom teeth removal involves cutting near a nerve or blood vessel, it can cause more swelling on one side than the other. Also, it’s possible that one side of your mouth may have more blood vessels or nerves than the other.

The individual’s healing process

Everyone’s body heals at a different rate, and some people may experience more swelling than others after having wisdom teeth removed. If your body is not used to the trauma of having surgery, it may produce more swelling than usual initially. Additionally, certain lifestyle factors can affect healing, including smoking or drinking alcohol.


In extreme cases, if you experience severe swelling on one side of your face and it worsens over time, you may have an infection. If the wound site isn’t kept clean, bacteria can enter and cause an infection. An infection can lead to a fever, more pain and swelling, redness around the gums, and even a bad taste in your mouth. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.

Tips on Reducing Swelling

There are a few things you can do to reduce swelling in the days following your wisdom tooth removal.

  1. Follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s post-surgery instructions: Your dental care provider will give you specific instructions on how to care for your mouth after wisdom teeth removal surgery. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully, as they will help reduce swelling and promote healing.
  2. Use ice packs or a cold compress: Applying ice or a cold compress to the swollen area can help reduce swelling and discomfort. Place the ice pack or cold compress on your cheek for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  3. Keep your head elevated: Keeping your head elevated while you sleep can help reduce swelling. Try propping up your head with extra pillows or sleeping in a reclined position.
  4. Avoid strenuous activity: Avoiding strenuous activity, such as exercise or heavy lifting, can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  5. Take prescribed pain medication as directed: If your dental care provider has prescribed pain medication for you, be sure to take it as directed. This can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  6. Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption: Smoking and alcohol consumption can interfere with the healing process and increase swelling. It can also increase the chance of getting a dry socket, which is extremely painful. It’s best to avoid these activities while you’re recovering from wisdom teeth removal surgery.
  7. Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can help reduce swelling and promote healing. Be sure to drink plenty of water while you’re recovering from wisdom teeth removal surgery.
  8. Eat soft foods: Eating soft foods such as soups, mashed potatoes, and yogurt can help reduce discomfort and swelling. Be sure to choose food that is easy to chew and swallow.


Having wisdom teeth removed can cause swelling on one side of your face more than the other. This can be due to a number of factors, including the number of teeth removed, different locations of blood vessels/nerves, and the individual’s healing process. To reduce swelling, it’s important to follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s post-surgery instructions, use ice packs or a cold compress, keep your head elevated, avoid strenuous activity, take prescribed pain medication as directed, avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water, and eat soft foods. These measures will help reduce swelling after wisdom teeth removal and promote healing.


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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