Swelling after a tooth extraction is common & natural. However, it is advisable to follow proper post-op instructions to ensure healthy healing.

Swelling After Dental Procedure

Swelling After Tooth Extraction

Watch out for this space to learn how to manage swelling after tooth extraction. [1]

What To Do Immediately After Tooth Extraction?

There are some simple do’s and don’ts you can follow post tooth extraction. These can help you deal with the swelling and discomfort for the first few hours.

Do’s After Tooth Extraction

  • Take painkillers if required
  • Stick to a soft or liquid diet
  • Gently rinse mouth after 24 hours with warm salt water
  • If bleeding occurs, bite down on cotton over the affected area

Don’ts After Tooth Extraction

  • Avoid having solid foods
  • Don’t smoke, as it can cause dry socket
  • Do not eat hot food after the procedure
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours
  • It is advisable not to do any strenuous activities

Source: NHS [2]

How To Reduce Swelling After Tooth Extraction?

Here are a few pointers you can follow to reduce swelling after getting your teeth pulled.

Use Cold Compress

Applying an ice pack after a tooth extraction is the most common practice to reduce swelling and pain. [3]

However, ice packs are only effective for the first few hours.

Take Pain Medication

You can take OTC pain medication to reduce pain and swelling after tooth extraction. [4]

Paracetamol and ibuprofen are commonly used painkillers, especially after wisdom tooth extraction. [5]

Keep Your Head Elevated

When recovering after dental surgery, do not lie flat on your back. Sit up or recline during the day. And, use pillows during the night to elevate your head.

Swelling of the face can be reduced, and adequate blood flow can be aided by keeping your head above your heart. This can help deal with the swelling. [6]

Apply Warm Compress

You can apply a warm compress after 2-3 days have passed. Do this for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off to help soothe the affected areas. [7]

Rinse With Salt Water

Saltwater rinses can help get rid of harmful bacteria and swelling. You can try this after a day has passed after your treatment. [8]

Mix a teaspoon of salt in warm water and hold it for around 30 seconds. Moreover, salt water rinses also help with dry sockets. [9]


Experiencing swelling after a tooth extraction is entirely normal.

But you can follow post-tooth extraction care tips to ease any discomfort.

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Here are a few tips you can follow after wisdom teeth removal. [10]

  • Drink water at room temperature
  • Avoid drinking fruit juices or hot drinks
  • Hold an ice pack against cheek to reduce swelling
  • Take painkillers as recommended by the dentist
  • Avoid having solid foods and switch to soft options like mashed potatoes

Soft foods are recommended after tooth extraction. For example, [11]

  • Smoothies and milkshakes
  • Warm soup or broth
  • Oatmeal
  • Mashed potatoes, bananas, or beans
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Ice cream or yogurt

Swelling may show up within 2 days of the treatment. And it may last for 5-7 days before getting better. [12]

You can follow the tips above to control the swelling.

However, if the swelling persists for over a week, please consult your dentist.

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