If you’re dealing with swelling around your teeth and gums, you now that the struggle is real. Things most people take for granted, such as speaking and eating, become a painful ordeal.
The reasons gums swell are varied: Gum disease, canker sores, underlying illnesses, or pregnancy could all be a culprit. But what if it’s your wisdom teeth that are causing the discomfort? Is there anything you can do to reduce the pain and swelling?
In hopes of providing you with helpful answers, we’ve prepared a general overview, below.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are among the molars in the back of your mouth. They have a wide surface and are used for chewing. However, unlike the rest of your adult teeth, molars break through the gums during a person’s late teens or 20s, so they’re not necessarily essential. By that point, you already know how to chew well with your other molars.
What Causes Wisdom Teeth to Swell?
Swelling is caused by bacteria. This has nothing to do with your oral hygiene, and everything to do with the way wisdom teeth can sometimes grow: at an angle, only partially breaking through the gum, or coming through misaligned with the rest of the teeth.
If Your Wisdom Teeth are Swelling Before Removal:
While some people don’t have any issues with their wisdom teeth, other experience pain when swallowing, swelling, puss, a bad taste, pain around the molars, or a fever. In this case, the dentist will generally schedule an appointment to remove them. Prior to the extraction, you can try the following to reduce swelling:
1. Rinse with salt water. Mix two tablespoons of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Rinse the affected area for several minutes at a time. Do it several times throughout the day to disinfect the gumline. This is the most effective at-home remedy to reduce gum swelling.
2. Apply a cold compress. Apply an ice pack to your jaw and hold it in place for 10-15 minutes at a time until your gums become numb and you no longer feel pain.
3. Topical ointment. Most pharmacies sell numbing gels with benzocaine as an active ingredient. This is a local anesthetic that will numb the nerve endings around your wisdom teeth.
4. Baking soda paste. Mix an Ayurvedic toothpaste (any type of herbal, fluoride-free toothpaste) with equal parts baking soda and apply directly on the swollen gum.
5. Anti-inflammatory medications. Any over-the-counter medication with Ibuprofen listed as an ingredient will do. However, this is only a temporary solution. You will still need to see your dentist to have your wisdom removed.
If Your Wisdom Tooth Area is Swelling After Removal
The good news about swelling after removal is that you can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now that the source of inflammation is gone, the remaining swelling is a result of the extraction. This is the body’s normal reaction to such procedures and may last for several days post extraction.
It’s normal to have one side of your face more swollen than the other, as well as feeling numbness in the areas around the wisdom teeth, such as your tongue, the inside of your cheeks, or your lips.
In the meantime, make sure to do the following to maximize the healing process:
– Apply a cold compress for the first few days after removal.
– Keep the area where the wisdom teeth were clean.
– Continue salt water rinses.
– Be very gentle around the area when brushing your teeth.
– Take over-the-counter painkillers as recommended by your dentist.
– Follow all instructions provided by your dentist.
While pain and numbness can last for several days, it is not normal for symptoms to get worse instead of better. If that’s the case, contact your dentist for a follow-up visit.
Contact Impeccable Smiles for Wisdom Tooth Removal and Care
At Impeccable Smiles, we understand that visiting the dentist can make you feel anxious. However, one of our top priorities includes making our patients feel welcome and comfortable.
Call us or schedule an appointment here and let us help you take care of your oral health.