Wisdom Teeth Removal: Swelling And Other Concerns?

wisdom teeth removal swelling
rgerber / Pixabay

Did you know that over 85% of adult Americans have had their wisdom teeth removed? It’s true. Some theorize that these teeth have outlived their usefulness in the current framework of our dentition but were once necessary at a point in our evolution. Whatever the case, these teeth can cause chaos when they become impacted, bringing pain and potential misalignment of the rest of our teeth and so frankly, sometimes they’ve just gotta go. So let’s discuss wisdom teeth removal… the swelling that can follow and other potential pitfalls, as well as how you can properly prepare for the time of healing after you have your own wisdom teeth removed.

Will I have a swollen face after wisdom teeth removal?

You will experience swelling after wisdom teeth removal. Like any surgery, some recovery is going to be required. Luckily we’ve put together a simple timeline. In this article we will detail for you what to expect as well as provide you with some care tips for how you can speed your healing and cut some chunks out of said timeline!

Post surgical timeline:

  • Week 1 -The first day is one to be gentle with yourself. Stay away from crunchy foods and no straws are allowed! This is because you are currently forming blood clots in the extraction site and you don’t want to interfere with this. If you dislodge them, slower healing as new clots form or even complications such as infection become more of a risk. Your jaw will be sore, there might be some bruising, and yes, there will be swelling in the jaw. How long does swelling last after wisdom teeth removal? Actually, that should fully subside within 2 to 3 days. You will also experience some soreness in the area throughout the first week. Don’t worry, this is normal and should pass(typically you are looking at 7 to 10 days.). If your procedure required stitches, your Dentist will likely be taking them out after 7 days. Hooray!
  • Week 2 – This week is much simpler. This is when the bruising fades away and the pain should be gone about 2 to 3 days in. The medication the dentist has provided you should have done most of the heavy lifting in the case of the pain so if you are dreading this surgery… don’t. As we’d mentioned before, over 85% of adult Americans have done it. It’s safe and it’s necessary for your oral health. Please note. If your face is still swollen a week after wisdom teeth removal you will want to contact your dentist to get it checked out, as this could be a sign of infection or other complications

What can I do to speed things up?

There are a number of things that you can do to speed up your healing process. First we will describe a quick ‘kit’ that you can put together to be prepared for your recovery process and to help speed things along. You will want to gather the following:

swollen face after wisdom teeth removal
alan9187 / Pixabay
  • Icepacks – Get a couple of icepacks so that you always have one handy. You can use the icepack for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, alternating between room temperature and the cold. This should help to cut the healing time down on those swelling cheeks after a wisdom teeth extraction.
  • Gauze – The dentist will have packed the site with gauze, however, you might want to have some handy to bite down on for periods of up to 30 minutes at a time until you are sure that the bleeding has stopped.
  • Salt – Half a teaspoon of salt in a small glass of water makes an excellent rinse. Use it 4 or 5 times a day and be careful when you spit it out. It is better to put your head over the sink and let it fall out, as a hearty spit is not a good thing to do when you are in the clotting phase of the first day.

” For the first few days, stick to soft snacks.”


  • Vaseline – The corners of your mouth may be cracked and rather dry after your surgery. A little Vaseline is good to have on hand and can help to soothe this.
  • Ibuprofen – If you aren’t allergic to it, Ibuprofen is a great anti-inflammatory and good for pain as well. Ask your dentist first but if approved, take their recommended dosage every 6 to 8 hours as needed.
  • Mouthwash – A good antiseptic mouthwash will help you to keep the wound clean and thus reduce the chance of complications. Rinse at least 2 to 3 times a day to hasten your healing and keep your breath minty fresh in the process!
  • Soft snacks – For the first few days, stick to soft snacks. Jello, bananas, fruit cocktail.. Keep things nice and easy so that you don’t accidentally abrade the healing site. High protein foods are the best for speeding up your healing rate and keeping your energy up, so consider packing some soft snacks that won’t spoil into your recovery kit.
still swollen after wisdom teeth removal
Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay

So I have to go through the swollen face debacle?


  Yes, after wisdom teeth removal you will have a swollen face. Swollen cheeks after wisdom teeth removal is unavoidable, normal, and should fade within 2 to 3 days. Take those sick days that you have been saving up from work and have a little ‘me time’ at home as you recover. Above all we cannot say enough, don’t worry, that swollen face after wisdom teeth removal is completely normal(and if you are one of the lucky ones, it might not even take 3 days.). This surgery is very important to your oral health and almost everyone has to go through it at some time. By preparing for it you will be starting off ahead of the curve and things should be a breeze. Just follow our tips to hasten your healing and you will be feeling like a champ again in no time. Now go get those wisdom teeth removed!