A wisdom tooth is actually a molar which appears at the back of your jaw after you already have own set of permanent teeth. It’s called as such because you are supposedly wiser by the time the wisdom tooth arrives, usually between 16 to 25 years old. Here at our Pennsylvania dental practice, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future.
Swelling is a healthy and natural reaction of your body whenever a skin is cut and injured. It is part of the inflammatory process, together with redness and heat. While wisdom tooth extraction is intentional, it could still be classified as injury as it breaks into the skin’s surface. However, you don’t need to worry as swelling is actually a sign that your body is healing itself.
While some dentists recommend applying ice, alternating hot and cold compresses are shown to work better in reducing swelling. When using cold compress, do not apply the ice directly to the area. You can wrap it with piece of cloth or choose to use frozen vegetables. On the other hand, avoid using compresses that are too hot to burn your skin
You can follow this timeline to structure your alternate compresses:
24 hours within the extraction – apply ice for 20 minutes then leave it off for another 20 minutes. Repeat cycle.
24 to 48 hours after the extraction – leave the swelling alone and do not apply any hot or cold compress.
48 hours after extraction – apply heat until the warmth subsides
Use gravity to your advantage! By elevating your head than the rest of your body, the excess fluid brought about by swelling will go back to your bloodstream which will keep the swelling to a minimum.
So spend the next few days post-procedure propped in your pillows rather than lying down with your head at the same level of your body.
Corticosteroids are known to reduce swelling but you need to be extra careful as it could have adverse effects. Consider asking your dentist about it.
If you’re interested in having your wisdom teeth extracted, our doctors have locations at:
Call us at (215) 938-7860 for an initial consultation.
You can also opt to fill out this appointment request form. We look forward to your visit!