Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a very common procedure that the majority of people
have done. Your wisdom teeth—also called your third molars—don’t erupt until some people are nearing the end of their teenage years, and for others still, the teeth may not make an appearance until the early 20s.
Wisdom tooth removal is usually done by an oral surgeon and will take a few days for you to
begin feeling better. In those first hours and days after your wisdom tooth removal, how can
you reduce swelling?
Keep Your Head Elevated
Keeping your head elevated can help reduce swelling to your mouth by promoting proper blood
flow and drainage away from the affected area. Even when resting, be sure your head is
appropriately and comfortably propped up on pillows to help minimize the swelling you’ll
experience after your wisdom tooth removal.
Ice and Heat Therapy
Some patients find relief with hot and cold therapy to reduce swelling. If you choose to try this
method, it’s best not to keep the therapy on constantly. Rather, most oral healthcare
professionals recommend keeping a cold compress on for 20 minutes and then leaving it off for
The same is true for heat therapy. You can use a hot compress on the area for 20 minutes and
then remove for 20 minutes. The removal is important as it will help improve circulation and
keep the swelling to a minimum.
A saltwater rinse provides many benefits after getting your wisdom teeth removed. Not only
can it help dislodge any food particles stuck in your surgical sites, but it can also work to soothe
your wounds and help your mouth feel better.
A good guide is to use one quarter to one half teaspoon of salt in one cup of water; it’s always
best to use filtered or distilled water for this purpose. You may do a salt rinse up to three times
per day for best results.
Another remedy you may decide to try for reducing swelling after your wisdom tooth removal
is chamomile teabags. Chamomile is a very soothing herb that’s free of caffeine and tends to
have a calming effect on tissues.
You can utilize chamomile by brewing chamomile tea with hot water to activate and soften the
tea bag, then after cooling somewhat, put them in your mouth and bite down gently. You may
leave them in for approximately 15 minutes before discarding.
When getting your wisdom teeth removed, it’s essential to follow your oral surgeon’s
instructions both before and after the procedure. Swelling is normal after such a procedure, but if you ever feel extreme pain or believe something you’re experiencing is not normal, never hesitate to call your dentist or oral surgeon to follow up.
For many patients, the swelling will begin to decrease after the first few days—in the meantime, try these remedies to decrease swelling and feel better faster!