Whether you had a tooth removed, a gum treatment or a root canal swelling following oral surgery is 100 percent normal and should be expected. Your goal following oral surgery should involve managing swelling in two phases.
The first of the phases extends from 24 to 48 hours following the procedure, where your goal should be to minimize the total amount of swelling that takes place.
The second phase extends from 48 to 72 hours following the procedure, where your goal should be to attempt to alleviate the swelling that has occurred as quickly as possible.
How to Manage Swelling Following Oral Surgery
Swelling does not always occur following oral surgery, but it should be expected. Generally speaking, the more involved the extraction or serious the trauma, the more likely the area is to experience swelling. How much swelling will occur varies greatly from patient to patient.
Swelling following oral surgery typically peaks around day 2 to 3 after the procedure. Swelling will be present on the same side of the face that the procedure was performed on and may even be accompanied by some light bruising. By day 4 following surgery the swelling and bruising should begin to subside.
In order to help manage swelling it is recommended that you ice the area 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off for at least the first two days. Additionally, take care to keep your head propped up when lying down to reduce blood flow to the area and promote faster healing and less swelling.
As a general rule of thumb keep your body inclined by using 2 to 3 pillows under your head and always take care to ensure that your head is above your heart.
After the 72-hour mark following oral surgery your goal is to reduce the swelling as quickly as possible. Applying moist heat to the area will aid you in this goal. Use the same "15 minute on 15 minute off" method and ensure that whatever your source of heat is not hot or scalding, just warm enough to heat the area slightly.
Please contact us if you have any questions about managing your swelling after an oral surgery.
John C. Shillingburg, DDS
Certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons
Dr. John Shillingburg is proud to be a native Texan. After graduating from Texas A&M with a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Science and from the University of Texas Dental School in San Antonio with a doctorate degree in dental science, Dr. Shillingburg completed a general dentistry residency at Fort Carson in Colorado. Read more.
is located in a beautiful new building right off of Long Prairie Road in Flower Mound, TX. With close parking and easy accessibility. Contact John C. Shillingburg, DDS, at our Flower Mound, TX 75028-1795 location. We are here for you. (972) 539-1491