Post Operative Swelling

Your gums swell up when something is wrong with them and they need time to heal. Swelling is an immune response, and is completely automatic and cannot be controlled. If your gums get a certain kind of stimulus, they start to swell up. This is their natural response to bacterial infections, to trauma, to the loss of a tooth or any negative stimulus. By puffing up they protect themselves, and they let white blood cells into the area to clean it up. If a stimulus persists, the gums will keep on expanding, and they can get frightfully large indeed. Here are a few tips on how to spot and stop swelling that has gone out of control after an operation.

Swelling after extraction

It is very common to have your gums swell up after an extraction. This swelling will get potentially worse and worse for the first 24 to 48 hours. Usually, the swelling wills top and start to revert after a day or so, but until then the tissues will slowly but surely swell up. When you experience swelling, pu an ice pack on it, or something else that is cold, and this should make the swelling go down. This can be done the moment the swelling starts, and the sooner you start cooling the area, the sooner the swelling will stop and the smaller the swelling will be. 

But swelling is not a necessary part of the healing process, and many times it never appears at all. This is normal, as long as you have your blood clot in place, and you are not bleeding and the extraction site is not painful, then you are in the clear, and should not have any trouble at all, even if there is no swelling.

The problems start if the swelling is hard, does not go down when an ice pack is on it, is discolored, or continues to get bigger after 48 hours. Sadly, bacterial infections also start out with swelling, and if after 2 days you are still swelling up and getting bigger, it is time to go and see a dentist, as you probably have an infected extraction site. Any discoloration aside from the initial bruising that may be a part of the extraction is also suspect.

Swelling after oral surgery

Oral surgery is a little bit more complicated than a simple extraction. Swelling near the surgical site can be expected,a s well as swelling of the cheek, under the eye, in the sinus, and the entire side of the face is not uncommon. These swellings may start much later than an extraction swelling, as it may take 24 hours just for the body to normalize itself and stop bleeding. The swelling will occur afterwards, and can continue to swell for 2 to 3 days before reaching its apex. Using an ice pack is beneficial, but only for the first 24 hours, after that, it can still be used for comfort, but will not reduce swelling at all. A warm compress may feel good and may be able to reduce swelling.

If you are still swelling after 3 days, contact a dentist immediately. You should be quite sore after oral surgery, and you maybe in down right pain depending on the surgery, but this should also get less and less painful, and if you hurt more than you initially did, you should contact a dentist. Remember that swelling should be proportional to the surgery performed, and if after a little surgery you are getting a lot of swelling, than you probably have either an adverse immune reaction, or an infection of some sort. Ask your dentist how much you should swell, and if you swell more, go back and have them see you. 

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