An Effective Guide to Manage Swelling Before and After Tooth Extraction

Dr Kent Tan & Team have years of experience extracting wisdom teeth successfully. Please consult with us if you have concerns; we’re always ready to put your health first. We hope that you find our guide helpful and informative!

It is estimated that between 60-75% of people have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives due to a host of factors that may occur if the wisdom teeth, or third molars, are retained.

Coolamon Dentist Ellenbrook - Wisdom Teeth Removal All 4

Reasons to have your wisdom teeth extracted include:

  • gum disease
  • recurrent abscesses
  • tooth decay
  • spatial problems
  • cysts
  • tumours
  • bone damage

We’re here to provide an understanding of how wisdom teeth case (settle and grow) in the gum and why they’re apt to cause problems. 

This allows you to process the information that one of our dentists shares with you and will provide the necessary confidence needed to make an informed decision.

He/she will advise on the correct treatment to relieve symptoms, like swelling and discomfort, should the teeth erupt.

The wisdom teeth case is in one of three ways.

Each situation has a particular set of circumstances, where treatment is prescribed with the patient’s short- and long-term wellbeing as the foremost consideration.

3 Ways in Which Wisdom Teeth Can Cause Problems


  • The tooth may be angled toward the front of the mouth, causing potential damage to the adjacent bone, gum and teeth.
  • Usually, extraction is prescribed.


  • The tooth is flipped over; its crown faces the front of the mouth in a parallel position.
  • This kind of casement is known as full impaction.
  • It is the most painful to endure because it places huge pressure on the molars around it, causing damage.
  • Speedy extraction is recommended.


  • This type of case might not require extraction because the tooth is in the correct position to emerge – monitoring is advised.
  • If, however, the tooth starts exerting pressure on the adjacent molar or its roots, an extraction might be recommended by your dentists. 

At What Age Can Wisdom Teeth Be Extracted?

The third molars, or wisdom teeth, case during the period spanning the teen years and into young adulthood, between the ages of 16 -26, but exceptions exist. 

There are four wisdom teeth, two at the furthest point in the back of the lower jaw and 2 in the same position in the upper jaw.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth appear in the bottom jaw and not in the upper jaw or vice versa. 

The process might occur in stages, where each tooth swells or erupts individually or all at once. 

There are rare instances where the wisdom teeth are completely absent.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Advice

Usually, people seek treatment when a tooth causes pain. 

Keep in mind that, although the advent of your wisdom teeth might present asymptomatically, a lack of pain or discomfort is not a definitive indicator that the teeth, gums and bones are healthy.

The potential risks associated with underlying problems that are not apparent, the potential risk needs to be assessed by a dental professional.

It is important to note that prior orthodontic treatment to align the teeth does not influence how the wisdom teeth will be configured, immaterial whether extractions have accompanied this particular treatment or not.

Please make an appointment to consult with us. We’ll assess your situation and advise accordingly.

Symptoms Associated with the Coming of Wisdom Teeth

The swelling that occurs with the advent of wisdom teeth is pronounced. It affects eating and causes discomfort in the jaw area. You might suffer from bad breath, added to which is a general sense of fatigue and a lack of energy.

Swelling of the gum occurs in two instances:

  • While the tooth is a casing or when it has erupted (protrudes from the gum)
  • Post-operatively, once the wisdom teeth have been extracted

How to Reduce Swelling before Extraction

One of our dentists will assess whether or not there is cause for extracting the wisdom teeth. 

While waiting for an appointment, take care to keep the tooth or teeth free from potential complications such as abscess, infection, gum inflammation, or trapped food. 

We recommend:

  • Rinsing the mouth with a saline solution made up with a teaspoon of salt in warm water, and gargle for a minute or two. Salt has astringent properties.
  • If the pain becomes debilitating, relief can be sought with Ibuprofen or paracetamol.
  • Avoid foods that have a high chance of becoming trapped under the gum – this includes hard, sugary foods and spicy food.
  • Ask your dentist or pharmacist to suggest an anti-bacterial oral rinse to aid in keeping the mouth free of germs.
  • Consider booking a thorough dental clean with an oral hygienist.

Pre-prepare in Order to Handle Swelling and Avoid Complications

Take some time to prepare for the extraction of your wisdom teeth before your appointment. 

See to it that you stock up on the necessary food items to make your life easier. 

Make sure that you have ice compresses handy for the first 24hrs, and a warm compress, like a water bottle, for the next 24 hrs. 

Remember to add extra pillows to the shopping list if you need them.

The Post-operative Picture – What You should Expect After the Removal of the Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Ellenbrook

You will experience:

  • Swelling, both in the mouth, around the jaw area, and on the face
  • An aching sensation as the anaesthetic wears off in the mouth
  • A tingling sensation around the mouth that may last a few days or a few weeks
  • Discolouration on the cheeks caused by slight bruising
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the mouth and around the jaw once the anaesthetic wears off.

How to Reduce swelling during the first 24 Hour Period After the Wisdom Teeth Have Been Extracted

Apply the Following Measures to Reduce Swelling:

  • Rest
  • Take Ibuprofen for the pain
  • Eat soft, bland foods that do not require chewing, like soups, yoghurt, noodles and pureed foods.
  • Sleep propped up by pillows.
  • Apply cold compresses to the face and jaw – 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off; suck on ice chips.


  • Exercise, go to work or attend school for at least 48hrs after the wisdom tooth extraction.
  • Eat hot food – food should be taken at room temperature
  • Lie flat
  • Gargle with salt water – a gelatinous clot forms over the wound. It is imperative that the clot stays in place. If it is dislodged, a dry socket will occur, which is excruciatingly painful to endure as the bone becomes exposed to air.
  • Suck on a straw – the chances are good that the action might cause the clot to dislodge

Reducing swelling during the Next Stage of Recovery (24-48hrs)

Do Take these Precautions to Further Reduce Swelling:

  • Rest
  • Take Ibuprofen for pain
  • Consume soft foods at room temperature
  • Lie propped up
  • Apply warm compresses to the face – 15 min. on and 15 min. off
  • Gargle with salt twice or thrice a day after the first 24 hrs have passed


  • Brush your teeth vigorously
  • Dislodge the blood clot
  • Suck on a straw

When to Get Hold of Your Dentist

If the following signs or symptoms occur, consult with your dentist immediately:

  • The blood clot covering the wound becomes dislodged
  • Pus collects in the wound
  • The tingling sensation in the face persists 
  • You run a temperature – infection may have set in, which requires 
  • that a course of antibiotics be prescribed
  • Swelling around the jaw and/or the face does not subside after 72hrs
  • Bleeding from the site of the wound persists

We’re always available to address your concerns, pre-or post-operatively. Book a consultation with us at Coolamon Dental Centre.