Wisdom tooth extraction can lead to puffed out or swollen cheeks. Always bear in mind that the swollen cheeks are considered normal and proportional to the surgery. If the 4 wisdom teeth are removed, anticipate increased swelling than cases in which only the lower or upper teeth are extracted.
The swollen cheeks start to develop approximately 24 hours after the extraction procedure and reaches its peak from 48-72 hours after the procedure. One way to minimize the swelling as well as the accompanying bleeding and pain is to provide home remedies as soon as arriving home.
Measures to relieve swollen cheeks
- Place a cold compress that is draped with a clean towel or cloth on the affected side of the face where the wisdom teeth were removed as soon as possible. A suitable choice is an ice pack or bag for frozen vegetables. You have to alternate the cold compress from one side of the face to the other every 15 minutes or as needed during the initial 24 hours. After 24 hours, ice is no longer useful for the swollen cheeks.
- Apply a warm compress on the sides of the face 36 hours after the extraction to minimize stiffness of the jaw and swollen cheeks.
- The individual should take the prescribed pain medications and alternate with ibuprofen based on the instructions by the doctor. The usual dosage is 400-600 mg of ibuprofen every 4 hours.
- The individual is required to stick with a pureed or liquid diet during the initial 24-48 hours. It is recommended to drink only from a cup, not a straw and have a calorie-packed protein shake to compensate for the altered diet. Remember that a healthy diet can help promote faster healing of the swollen cheeks due to extraction of a wisdom tooth.
- The mouth should be rinsed using a solution provided by the dentist 24 hours after the extraction or create one using ½ teaspoon table salt and 8 oz. warm water. The rinse solution should be used every 2 hours and after every meal for a week after the procedure or as instructed by the doctor.
Considerations to bear in mind
If the swollen cheeks become worse after 2 days, consult a doctor. Symptoms such as severe bleeding, fever, intense pain as well as bad taste in the mouth, persistent numbness and blood in the nose might indicate a problem. A healthcare professional should be consulted if any of these are present.
In case the individual is allergic to ibuprofen, he/she can be given acetaminophen to manage the pain. Just remember that this medication will not help with the swelling. Remember to wait for 24 hours to brush the teeth and the normal brushing routine can be continued.