Reducing Swelling after Oral Surgery

Swelling is a common occurrence following oral surgery. Generally, the more extensive the surgery, the more swelling you will experience.

Swelling can be uncomfortable and usually peaks about two to three days following a procedure. You can’t prevent it, but there are things you can do to reduce it after undergoing an oral surgery


Ice should be used during the first twenty-four hours after surgery. After that point, it can be ineffective. Wrap an ice pack, or a bag of frozen vegetables, in a towel and apply it for fifteen minutes to the side of the mouth where your surgery occurred. Then leave the ice off for fifteen minutes and repeat the process.


Heat shouldn’t be used until after forty-eight to seventy-two hours after surgery. Moist heat is less irritating to your skin, and allows the blood vessels to expand, letting them carry away the fluids that cause swelling. Similar to using ice, apply heat for twenty minutes, then leave it off for another twenty and repeat.


Sitting up, or lying down with your head elevated, can help reduce swelling by preventing blood pressure from building up. If your head is flat or even lower than the rest of your body, blood can pool at the surgical site, making swelling worse. By staying elevated, you allow the blood to continue to flow down, away from the surgical site, thus keeping swelling to a minimum.

Salt Water Rinse

A salt water rinse serves a couple of purposes. First, it helps to keep the area clean. The salt acts as an antibacterial agent, killing any bacteria that might otherwise attack vulnerable wounds and even draws out any infection that may be starting. The rinse is also quite effective at reducing swelling.

Swelling is inevitable following any surgical procedure. But you can help keep it down. Speak with your oral surgeon about other ways to reduce swelling and make the healing process as easy and pain free as possible.

Please contact us if you have any questions about reducing your swelling after an oral surgery.