How To Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

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A wisdom teeth extraction surgery comes with some side effects. Swelling is a frequent side effect of this surgery. It usually becomes visible two to three days after a procedure and can be a very unpleasant part of recovery. 

The pain from swelling can make the healing process seem slow and ineffective. 

Although you cannot prevent this natural response, you can take some simple steps to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth extraction.

Did you remove your wisdom teeth? This article shows tips for reducing mouth swelling and speeding up the healing process.  

Wisdom Teeth Extraction

What Helps Swelling Go Down After Tooth Extraction?

After having a tooth extracted, you can do a few things to reduce swelling and speed up the healing process. 

  • Firstly, apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes. 
  • You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers. 
  • Then, rest for at least 24 hours and avoid strenuous activity. 
  • To avoid putting too much pressure on the extraction site, drink plenty of fluids and eat soft foods. 

Finally, following your dentist’s instructions for cleaning the extraction site and taking any antibiotics prescribed is very crucial.

Effective Ways to Reduce Swelling After Tooth Extraction

It is important to obey your dentist’s care instructions after having a tooth extracted. Here are some tips that have proven to reduce swelling after tooth extraction.

The First 24 Hours

Most aftercare is required within the first 24-48 hours of extraction. This is when the blood clot begins to form to stop the bleeding. Sutures are used to aid in tissue healing. You will feel pain and minor bleeding, and the swelling will peak around 24 hours.

Allow the gauze to remain in your mouth for several hours to allow the blood clot to form. You can change it whenever you want. It is normal to see blood traces in your saliva.

Rest for at least 24 hours and keep your head elevated when lying down. Asides from these, you can also try a few aftercare steps regularly. 

Apply a Cold Compress

Ice packs or compresses should be used to relieve swelling and pain for the first 24 hours after oral surgery. Wrap a few cubes of ice, an ice pack, or even a bag of frozen vegetables in a towel to keep the cold from coming into direct contact with your skin. 

Hold the cold source against your jaw, closest to where the surgery occurred, for 15 minutes. Then take it out for another 15 minutes and repeat.

If you had surgery on more than one area of your mouth (for example, if you had wisdom teeth removed on both sides), you could alternate between the two swollen areas using the 15-minute cycles. After 24 hours, cold therapy loses its effectiveness, and the next step in reducing swelling is to use heat. 

Avoid Hot Drinks and Hard Foods

As your dental extraction site heals, avoiding any foods that may be difficult to eat is best. For example:

  • Seeds and nuts
  • Dried fruits
  • Caramel or taffy candy
  • Granola bars

Eating soft foods or sticking to a simple diet for at least the next day or two is crucial. 

Avoid alcohol and hot or cold beverages. For at least 24 hours, drink from a spoon rather than a straw. Sucking can put pressure inside your mouth and dislodge any blood clots that form to stop the bleeding.

After 24 Hours

Apply a Warm Compress

Swelling will be at its peak two to three days after surgery. It would help if you started using heat to reduce swelling and discomfort (but do not use heat before this point). 

Moist heat is gentler on your skin and allows blood vessels to relax, carrying away the fluids that cause swelling. Wrap a heat source (such as a hot water bottle) in a towel. Then apply it to the swollen area in 20-minute intervals, as with cold treatments. 

Apply heat for 20 minutes, then turn it off for another 20. It may take several days for the swelling to go away completely, but moist heat will help speed things up. 

Eat Soft Cool Foods

For the first 24 to 48 hours, consume only liquids and soft foods such as yogurt, apple sauce, and ice cream.  Cold foods such as Jell-O, smoothies, and ice cream may provide some relief. Soups and smoothies high in nutrients can aid in healing.  But Soups in particular.

Rinse with Salt Water

A salt water rinse is useful as it aids in keeping the surgical site clean. The salt acts as an antibacterial agent, killing bacteria that might otherwise infect open wounds. It can even draw out any brewing infection. 

The rinse also works well for reducing swelling. Rinse four times a day with one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. To avoid interfering with the healing process, avoid rinsing too forcefully.

Do’s and Don’ts After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

To reduce the swelling and hasten the healing process, there are certain rules you should follow. They are the “Dos and Don’ts of Wisdom Tooth Removal Aftercare”.


  • Rest: Take it easy for the next few days. However, this does not imply that you must be completely bedridden.
  • Keep your head elevated: This will help to reduce swelling.
  • Intake of soft foods and liquid: For example, applesauce, jello, mashed potatoes, yogurts, and smoothies, to mention a few.
  • Take medicine as prescribed by your dentist: For the pain, your dentist may prescribe over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Make sure to take it according to the prescribed dose and avoid skipping it.
  • Brush gently: Brush your teeth starting the second day after surgery. However, do not brush the extraction site of the wisdom teeth. Do not brush with toothpaste as it can be hard to rinse off without dislodging the clot.


  • Don’t drink through a straw: Sucking on a straw may cause the blood clot to dissolve.
  • Do not consume hot liquids: Hot liquids may cause swelling. Limit your alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption may affect healing.
  • You should not smoke: Smoking may cause the blood clot to dissolve. This may result in a painful tooth socket, also known as a dry socket.

How To Prevent Wisdom Teeth Swelling

If your swelling is caused by a piece of food stuck in the area, thoroughly rinse your mouth. Your dentist may recommend warm salt water or an antiseptic oral rinse. Your swelling should subside after the food has been washed away.

Other methods for dealing with wisdom tooth swelling include:

  1. Apply an ice pack or cold compress directly to the swollen area or the area of your face closest to the swelling.
  2. Suck on ice chips while keeping them on or near the swollen area. Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen over-the-counter (Advil, Motrin)
  3. Avoid things like alcohol and tobacco that can irritate your gums.

Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

How To Reduce Wisdom Teeth Pain Before Surgery

Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that most people acquire in their late teens or early twenties. These teeth may grow normally for some people. However, others may experience pain from their wisdom teeth.

If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, you can do a few things to alleviate the situation. 

  1. Take over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  2. You can also apply an ice pack to your jaw. If the pain is excruciating, you may need to consult a dentist or oral surgeon to have your wisdom teeth extracted. 
  3. Use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the area around your wisdom teeth clean.
  4. Brush and floss your teeth twice daily, paying special attention to the area around your wisdom teeth.
  5. Avoid sugary and sticky foods that can lead to cavities.
  6. Schedule regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist.


How Long Does The Swelling Last After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Swelling of the mouth and cheeks should subside in 2-3 days. However, stiffness and soreness should subside in 7-10 days.

How Do You Make Swelling Go Down Fast?

Any type of cold therapy can be beneficial, such as ice packs, ice baths, and ice machines that deliver cold water to wraps. 

Apply ice a few times daily for 20-30 minutes to reduce swelling.  

How Do You Get Rid Of Swollen Cheeks After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes. After 24 hours, switch to a hot compress. If necessary, you can also take over-the-counter pain relievers. Rest for at least 24 hours and avoid strenuous activity.

When Can I Start Salt Water Rinse After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Begin using saltwater rinses the day after surgery and keep them up for a week. 3-4 times per day, rinse with warm salt water. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in a small glass of warm tap water to make the saltwater solution.


Yes, in many cases, you are put to sleep or given sedation during wisdom teeth removal to ensure comfort and minimize pain and anxiety. The specific method used may vary depending on the complexity of the procedure and your preferences.


Although it may be uncomfortable, you will eventually get used to the feeling of having a tooth extracted. You may even notice that your gums begin to heal more quickly after a wisdom tooth extraction.

However, if swelling or pain persists for more than 48 hours, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for further advice. This can be due to infection, excessive bleeding, or an anesthetic complication. 

Ensure you consult an experienced dentist if you have any concerns following a tooth extraction or want your wisdom tooth extracted. Reach out to My Wisdom Tooth Dentist, our dentists are always available to attend to you.

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