How to Reduce Swelling after Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are something that most people will have to have removed in their lifetime. Wisdom teeth come in around a person’s teen years or their early 20s. They are most usually misaligned and can break through the gums. These teeth will need to be removed when this happens, and that is when people get the common procedure of a wisdom tooth being removed. These procedures are quick and simple and often without complication, but that does not mean that they do not leave lingering pain and soreness. In this article, we will talk about how to reduce swelling after wisdom tooth extraction.

How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Tooth Extraction by Time

Deciding how to reduce swelling after wisdom tooth extraction depends a lot on how much time has passed since the extraction took place. We have taken this into account in the following sections that detail how to reduce swelling after wisdom tooth extraction.

Reducing swelling during the first 24 hours

Getting your wisdom teeth out is something that is known as a necessary evil. It is important that you get them out so that they do not grow in, in a strange way and move your teeth. They also tend to just get in the way and crowd your mouth.

When they are coming in they can be painful, so this helps deal with that issue as well. Your wisdom teeth can be removed in a single procedure. While all of that is great, you are going to be left with a bit of pain, soreness and swelling that you will need to deal with. This is especially true during the first 24 hours.

In the first 24 hours, there will be a lot of swelling at first. Since you want to reduce the swelling right away, the first thing that you will want to do is use cold before you use heat. It is recommended that you apply cold packs to the area on the outside of your face where you had the extraction done. You can do this essentially right after the surgery is complete.

During the first 24 hours

  • Fill up a surgical glove or a sturdy zip lock bag with a few ice cubes. You can also use a frozen bag of peas to accomplish this. Whatever you want to use, wrap it up in a dishtowel; this will help to get the cold through without shocking your face with the direct cold.
  • Hold the apparatus of your choice to the side of your face for around 15 minutes. Remove the ice pack and wait 20 minutes to let the face rest. Then, put it back on your face. Repeat this until around 24 hours of your surgery has passed.

It works because the cold makes the blood vessels in the area clench up. This stops the total amount of fluid that can come through the tissues so that the swelling is reduced.

Reducing swelling after 48 to 72 hours

In order to reduce the swelling after 48 to 72 hours, you are going to need heat instead. The cold will help you to bring down the swelling considerably during the first 24 hours. You can make it even more effective by using something hot during the final part of your healing.

It is said that the swelling is the worst and reaches its peak between the hours of 48 to 72 hours after the removal has taken place. That is when you should start the heat.

Get a heat pack from the drug store. You can also make a hot water bottle or a heated wet towel for this. You want to warm up the area that is swollen, but you do not want to burn it. For this reason, you do not want to use a heating pad; that is not safe. It is also recommended that you wet the towel to get it warm so that it feels better on the skin.

Hold the heated compress against the swollen part of your face. You can keep it there for up to 20 minutes or until the heat wears off. Take the heat away for 20 minutes and then put it back on for another 20 minutes. Repeat this process over and over until it feels better.

Using heat works because the heat allows the blood vessels to dilate. This means that the fluids will be carried away which will cause less swelling.

Other remedies for wisdom tooth extraction pain

You can make sure that you keep your head elevated while you rest and while you sleep. This will help keep the blood pressure in your head down so that you can minimize the swelling further.

This means that instead of lying down, recline yourself in an upright position. When you must lie down, then make sure that your head is elevated at least two or three pillows high.

Again, the swelling will typically start to get better after the three days after extraction have passed. Once this time has passed, it will start to feel better. You just need to make it to that point.


As long as it does not interact with your prescribed pain medicine, taking an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or Advil can help a lot. The inflammation will be reduced, helping with the swelling. When the swelling is taken care of, you can experience relief.

Be sure to talk to your dentist about taking ibuprofen. He or she will tell you if it is safe to take with the pain medicine that they have prescribed for you. If it is safe, they will tell you how much you should be taking. They will also tell you how long you should be taking this anti inflammatory for and how long you can expect it to hurt.


In this article, we have given you some helpful information on how to reduce swelling after wisdom tooth removal. These tips should help make you more comfortable after the procedure is done. Do you have a method that works for you that we have neglected to list here? What is it? Let us know all about your remedies in the comments section that can be found below.

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