How Long Does Swelling Last After Wisdom Teeth Removal: What You Need to Know

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on September 23rd, 2023

If you’re contemplating wisdom teeth removal or have recently undergone the procedure, one concern you might have is dealing with the inevitable swelling that accompanies it. The duration and extent of swelling can vary from person to person, but knowing what to expect can make the healing process much smoother. In this article, we’ll delve into the nuances of swelling after wisdom teeth removal, from how long it lasts to managing it effectively and when to consult your dentist.

How Long Does Swelling Last After Wisdom Teeth Removal?

If you’re waking up the day after your wisdom teeth extraction and noticing some swelling, don’t be alarmed. This is a completely normal reaction to the surgery. Swelling generally becomes noticeable the day following the surgery and often peaks around the 2-3 day mark postoperatively. While for most people the swelling starts to subside after 2-3 days, it can linger for up to a week or more in some cases. During this period, you might also experience stiffness and soreness, but these symptoms usually diminish within 7-10 days.

display four wisdom teeth over x-ray

Why Swelling Occurs: It’s Normal

Swelling is a common postoperative symptom, not just after wisdom teeth removal but following most types of oral surgery. It’s your body’s natural response to the trauma induced by the surgical procedure. The swelling often peaks two days after the surgery and then starts to improve gradually. The degree of swelling can differ depending on the number of wisdom teeth you had removed and your individual bodily responses. Follow your dentist’s postoperative care instructions diligently to manage the swelling effectively.

How to Effectively Reduce Swelling

Though swelling is a normal and expected part of the recovery process, there are actionable steps you can take to speed up its reduction. For starters, applying an ice pack or cold compress to the affected cheek for 20-minute intervals can help. It’s crucial to avoid using heat on the swollen areas, as that can exacerbate the condition. Furthermore, adhering to the pain medication regimen prescribed by your dentist can also aid in keeping the swelling in check.

When Should You Consult Your Dentist?

While swelling is a standard post-surgery symptom, there are instances when you should reach out to your dentist for advice. If the swelling persists for an unusually long time, say more than a week, or appears to be getting worse, it’s crucial to consult your dentist. The swelling usually peaks between the 3rd and 4th day after surgery and should begin to decline afterward. Yet, if it deviates from this pattern significantly, it may require professional evaluation.

What to Expect During the Recovery Phase

Everyone’s recovery timeline after wisdom teeth removal is unique, but there are some general patterns you can anticipate. You’re likely to experience varying degrees of discomfort, mild pain, and swelling for about 3 days post-surgery. However, this period can extend depending on your personal healing rate and how closely you’ve followed your dentist’s postoperative instructions. If you’re concerned about any aspect of your recovery, don’t hesitate to contact your dental healthcare provider for personalized guidance.

By being informed about what to expect and how to manage postoperative symptoms like swelling, you’re equipping yourself for a smoother and less stressful recovery after wisdom teeth removal.


Editorial Staff

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