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How to Recover From Wisdom Teeth Swelling

Wisdom teeth removal can leave with you puffed out, swollen cheeks. This swelling is normal, and is proportional to the surgery -- if you had all four of your wisdom teeth removed, expect more swelling than someone who only had his upper or lower wisdom teeth removed, for example. The swelling begins to take shape about 24 hours after surgery, and reaches its peak from 48 to 72 hours after surgery. To minimize swelling, as well as the accompanying pain and bleeding, begin at-home remedies as soon as you arrive home from the procedure.

Apply a cold compress, wrapped in a paper towel, to the sides of the face where you had the wisdom teeth removed as soon as you are able. Good compress choices include an ice pack, a bag of frozen corn or peas, or just a baggy of ice. Alternate the cold compress from one side of the face to the other every 15 minutes, or as needed for the first 24 hours. After 24 hours, ice does not help swelling.

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Apply a hot compress to the sides of the face 36 hours after your surgery to reduce jaw stiffness and swelling.

Take your prescription pain pills, and alternate the prescription medication with ibuprofen, as instructed by your oral surgeon. A typical dose is 400 to 600 mg of ibuprofen every four hours.

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Stick to a pureed or liquid diet for the first 24 to 48 hours. Drink only from a cup, not a straw, and have a high-calorie, protein shake to compensate for your altered diet. A healthy diet helps you heal faster from the swelling.

Rinse your mouth with the solution provided by your dentist 24 hours after your surgery, or make your own with 1/2 tsp. table salt and 8 oz. of warm water. Use the rinse every two hours and after each meal for one week after the surgery, or as instructed by your oral surgeon.


If you are allergic to ibuprofen, take acetaminophen to manage the pain. Acetaminophen does not help with swelling, however.

Wait 24 hours to brush your teeth, then resume normal brushing.


Call your oral surgeon or dentist if the swelling worsens after two days.

Fever, severe pain, severe bleeding, pus, a bad taste in the mouth, blood in the nose and a persistent numbness are signs of a problem. Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you experience any of these symptoms.