Tooth extractions can be a necessary step if you have a severely painful, damaged tooth that isn’t restorable via other alternatives. Or it might be that you or your teen is having their wisdom teeth removed. Regardless, after having a tooth pulled, patients are likely to experience some discomfort and swelling.
In fact, swelling is usually the leading cause of post-operative discomfort following a dental extraction. Thankfully, you can alleviate swelling with simple home remedies, including a healthy diet, cold compresses, and taking any prescribed medication as directed.
At Canal Vista Family Dental in Princeton, NJ, we want our patients to have a smooth and comfortable tooth extraction process. Our dentist, Dr. Bestandji, will ensure you have all the necessary information to take care of your teeth after extraction. Here’s everything you need to know about how to reduce swelling after a tooth extraction procedure:
How to Get Rid of Swelling After Tooth Extraction
One of the best home remedies to reduce swelling after tooth extraction is to follow all of the home care instructions on your take-home sheet. Each point on your instruction list is extremely important.
For example, you’ll want to avoid eating any hard or crunchy textures. For the first few days after the procedure, avoid hot and spicy foods that may cause more swelling. Soft foods like mashed potatoes, soups, and smoothies are a great option. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins, especially vitamin C, to support healing. After a few days, you can begin to eat firmer textures if you feel comfortable.
Be sure to drink plenty of fluids and stay hydrated to reduce swelling. But do not drink through a straw.
Keeping the area around the tooth clean is important as well, and gentle rinsing with salt water will help to soothe the wound and minimize the chance of infection by removing food debris. You can brush your other teeth like normal, but avoid brushing near the extraction site for at least a few days.
Additionally, be sure not to smoke, vape, or use any tobacco products, as this will significantly delay your healing.
The other two important things to keep in mind are which medications you’ll need to take and using cold compresses correctly…
Should You Take an Anti-Inflammatory (like Motrin?)
When it comes to managing swelling, anti-inflammatory medication can be highly effective. An over-the-counter drug like ibuprofen or Motrin can help reduce swelling and pain after a tooth extraction. However, it’s important to talk to our Princeton dentist before taking any medication, as it may cause potential complications for some individuals.
It’s essential to follow the recommended dosage and avoid exceeding the maximum amount stated on the medication package. Do not take aspirin or aspirin-containing medications since they can promote bleeding and impair the healing process.
Dr. Bestandji may also prescribe an antibiotic if you underwent a surgical extraction. Antibiotics will help prevent infection or consequential swelling. If you’re given an antibiotic, be sure to take it as prescribed and complete the full dose.
When and How to Use Cold Compresses
Using a cold compress during the first 24 hours is a great home remedy to alleviate swelling. The cold will cause blood vessels to contract and reduce inflammation around the extraction site.
Take an ice pack and wrap it in a clean cloth. Then apply it to your cheek for around 20-30 minutes at a time. Then take it off for another 20-30 minutes (be sure to put the compress back in the freezer.) Repeat this process for the entire first day. This should be done immediately after the procedure to get the most significant benefits.
Warning Signs to Watch For
In most cases, some swelling after a tooth extraction is normal, but certain signs and symptoms indicate the possibility of a complication or an infection. Be alert for any of the following:
1. Pus around the site of extraction
2. A severe toothache that is not improving with medication
3. Increasing pain or swelling several days after the extraction
4. Prolonged bleeding
5. Worsening swelling after the third day
6. High fever and chills
If you notice any of these warning signs, call our dentist in Princeton, NJ, immediately.
After a tooth extraction, it is common to experience swelling around the extraction site. While this is a natural part of the healing process, it can still be a source of discomfort. Thankfully, a cold compress and ibuprofen are usually more than adequate to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
How Much Swelling is Normal? How Long Should It Last?
Swelling after a tooth extraction is perfectly normal and should be expected. It usually peaks at around the third day and gradually decreases thereafter. If your swelling is particularly severe, or if it hasn’t started to improve after the third day, you should call our dentist in Princeton. Dr. Bestandji can help determine if there are any complications and advise you on how to proceed.
For standard dental extractions, most people won’t notice any facial swelling. However, surgical procedures where several teeth or wisdom teeth are removed may be more visible. Aside from wisdom tooth removal, people undergoing a simple dental extraction can usually return to work the next day.
Know When to Call Our Dentist in Princeton
If you experience any of the above-mentioned warning signs after a tooth extraction, call our office right away. Dr. Bestandji and our team of dental professionals will be more than happy to assist you and provide you with the necessary care. If, for any reason, you are experiencing severe facial swelling, it’s important to call 911 or head to the nearest emergency room.
These simple remedies can help make the healing process much more comfortable after your dental extraction. Remember, if you ever have any questions or concerns about your dental health, don’t hesitate to call Canal Vista Family Dental. Dr. Bestandji and our team are always here to help you!