Wisdom teeth swelling can be a problem for patients both before and after wisdom teeth extraction surgery. As the wisdom teeth grow in, they can push into other teeth, causing overcrowding and irritation.
Wisdom Teeth Swelling and Impaction
Sometimes wisdom teeth can become impacted. In this case, they are blocked from coming up through the gums by the jawbone or other teeth. Cysts, or pockets of fluid, can form around the tooth, and in some rare cases this can even lead to tumors. As the roots of the teeth lengthen and take greater hold, it's more likely that wisdom teeth swelling will become a problem. (1)
In other cases, the wisdom teeth do not become impacted, and actually manage to fully or partially erupt past the gumline. As this happens, there will likely be some kind of pain, redness, tenderness and swelling around the affected area. (2) The root cause of wisdom teeth swelling is a natural response by the body. When our bodies are injured, or there's an infection or a wisdom tooth emerging from the gum line, your body naturally wants to bring oxygen-rich blood, red blood cells, and necessary nutrients to the affected area. Small blood vessels in the area expand and blood flow to the area increases, resulting in pain and swelling around wisdom teeth so many of us have experienced.
When wisdom teeth come in, the irritated gum tissue can be further disturbed by pieces of food that become lodged in the area. This only serves to increase swelling around wisdom teeth and other symptoms associated with the unique eruption of wisdom teeth.
Reducing Wisdom Teeth Swelling
For wisdom teeth swelling caused or exacerbated by pieces of food lodged in the area, rinsing the mouth out with salt water or an oral rinse recommended by your dentist can remove trapped food and clean the area, allowing your body to reduce swelling and pain. (3)
Other ways to decrease wisdom teeth swelling include cold compresses, ice chips, or ice packs applied to the area or to the face. Over-the-counter pain relievers that contain an anti-inflammatory will also help reduce wisdom teeth swelling, which can make eating, opening your jaw, talking, and everyday life much more comfortable.
As always, however, if you are experiencing wisdom teeth swelling, make an appointment with your dentist to evaluate your situation. It's possible that your wisdom teeth swelling may be due to impacted wisdom teeth, which can cause complications of their own. Cysts, or more rarely, tumors can form around the trapped wisdom tooth. Infection is another complication of impacted wisdom teeth. Oral infections can easily become severe complications or go systemic, damaging your overall health. (4)
Wisdom teeth swelling and bruising are other complications that can arise following extraction surgery. Wisdom tooth extraction surgery, especially in the case of impacted wisdom teeth, can be a traumatic procedure. In time, with the help of ice packs, cold compresses, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, etc., the wisdom teeth swelling you experience will gradually go down. (5)