While we do everything that we can to prevent infections, they are still possible and you should contact us immediately for treatment if you suspect that you have one. Swelling is a common side-effect of dental work and is easily treated using cold therapy applied to the swollen area. Bleeding is also a common source of pain and can be treated with a combination of gauze to prevent bleeding and acetaminophen for pain.
Swelling After Dental Work
Swelling is a very common problem following oral surgery and tooth extractions in particular. Tooth extraction can become necessary due to dental problems such as tooth decay or crowded teeth. While swelling can be uncomfortable, it’s usually no cause for alarm. It’s a completely normal and healthy reaction to the stresses of dental work.
Facial swelling usually sets in around 18 hours following a tooth extraction or other form of oral surgery, or the day following surgery. The swelling will usually reach its maximum of two to three days after surgery.
Common areas that can become swollen following a tooth extraction include your:
- Sides of your face
Swelling can be frustrating and even painful. Fortunately, it can also be easy to treat on your own at home. The best way to treat facial swelling following dental work is cold therapy. Cold therapy is when you apply something cold, such as an ice pack or bag of frozen peas, to the swollen area for a short period of time. Just make sure to wrap whatever frozen object that you’re using in a towel or washcloth to prevent any skin damage that could occur.
Hold the cold compress against the swollen area for 25 minutes, then remove it for five minutes. Repeat this process when you’re awake for the first 48 hours following your procedure. Cold therapy is recommended even if you haven’t experienced any swelling as a preventative measure.
Swelling is still possible even if you use preemptive cold therapy. However, its effects are likely to be less severe. If the swelling doesn’t go down or you experience increased pain then you may have an infection. Contact us immediately if this occurs.
Bleeding After Oral Surgery
Like swelling, oral bleeding is a common problem after having dental work done and it’s possible to experience pain at the bleeding site. Post-surgical bleeding usually presents itself as a slight discharge or as blood-tinged saliva. Bleeding is normally present during the first 12 to 24 hours after surgery.
If you experience bleeding after dental work, place a piece of gauze over the area that’s bleeding and gently bite down. This will help prevent further bleeding by applying pressure directly to the area as well as absorb any blood that may be released in the process.
Keep in mind that some types of medication may actually interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood normally. Talk to your dentist about any medications that you may be on, such as warfarin (commonly sold under the brand name Coumadin), since these are actually blood thinners. We will always ask if you’re on any anticoagulants before performing dental work.
It’s also helpful to know the side-effects of over-the-counter medications before undergoing any type of dental work. OTCs such as ibuprofen and aspirin can actually hinder your blood from clotting and result in more bleeding. OTCs containing acetaminophen such as Tylenol won’t affect blood clotting and can also help with any pain you experience following your procedure.
Infection After Oral Surgery
We do everything that we can to help maintain a sterile and healthy environment as possible. Unfortunately, the mouth can never be completely sterile due to it being full of bacteria. This means that you still run the risk of developing an oral infection when you leave our office. Oral infections can occur anywhere in the mouth, including your teeth, gums, and even your jaw bone. They are a serious problem and should be treated immediately by your dentist.
But how do you tell the difference between common post-surgical problems versus an oral infection? Usually, it’s by the severity and length of the symptom. Symptoms of an oral infection tend to be more severe and longer-lasting than regular types of pain after dental work.
Following dental work, be on the lookout for:
- Pain that lasts longer than 48 hours
- Swelling that lasts longer than 48 hours
- A throbbing sensation in the area that was operated on
- Developing a fever or chills
The best course of action for any type of oral infection is to contact us as soon as possible. We can provide you with antibiotics or other forms of treatment to remove the infection and restore your oral health.
Swelling, bleeding, and infection are all possible sources of pain following dental work. Swelling can be treated using cold therapy within the first 48 hours following your procedure. Bleeding can be treated using a combination of gauze and pressure. Contact us immediately if you suspect an infection for the best possible treatment.
Would you like to know more about oral pain after dental work? Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our team!
We believe everyone deserves to have a smile they can be proud of, and we provide that to our patients using the latest techniques in comfortable dentistry. My Family Dentistry is open Monday through Thursday and every other Friday. Give us a call at (865) 947-6453 or you can schedule an appointment online.