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Reducing Swelling Following a Tooth Extraction

Posted on 12/20/2016 by Andrew Zeiger
A woman suffering from pain after a tooth extraction.
A tooth extraction may be necessary for a number of reasons. It may have broken beyond repair. Tooth decay may have destroyed it. Perhaps it was impacted.

No matter what the reason for your tooth extraction, you will experience some form of swelling. The exact amount is not the same for every patient, but there are things you can do to help alleviate it.

How Much Swelling?

The amount of swelling you experience is going to depend upon the extent of your procedure. Regular extractions that occur without issue usually have little, if any, swelling. Difficult or extensive extractions, however, can lead to mild to severe swelling. This is because more difficult extractions often require more manipulation of the gum tissue or removal of some of the jaw bone.

Minimize Swelling

You can take steps to minimize the amount of swelling you will experience. This can be done with the application of ice to the side of the mouth where the extraction took place. You can use an ice pack, bag of ice or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a dish towel. Hold the ice firmly in place for fifteen minutes. Remove it for fifteen minutes and repeat the process. You can repeat this process as often as you feel necessary for the first 24 hours following your procedure.

It is also a good idea to rest as much as you can. Too much activity can make swelling worse. Sit up or lie back with your head elevated.

Reduce Swelling

Swelling often peaks about 48 to 72 hours after your procedure. By this time, ice has lost its effectiveness. In order to bring down swelling that has occurred, you can use a warm compress. Moist heat works best.

This is because heat opens up your blood vessels and allows them to carry fluid away from the surgical site. A warm water bottle wrapped in moistened dish towel can work well. Hold the source in place for twenty minutes, then remove it for twenty minutes and repeat.

Caution must be used when applying heat. You don't want to burn your skin. Make sure the heat is not uncomfortable when you apply it to your cheek or jaw. Heat can be used as much as you feel necessary until your swelling has subsided.

The exact amount of time you need to heal is dependent upon your procedure. But if your swelling doesn't go away after a week, gets worse, or you experience uncontrollable pain, it is important to contact our office right away.


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Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
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Surprise Smiles, 15128 W Bell Rd, Suite 12, Surprise, AZ 85374-2451 / (602) 842-4864 / / 5/29/2023 / Tags: Dentist Surprise AZ /