Facial swelling is normal after oral surgery. In fact, swollen gums and chipmunk cheeks are to be expected, as swelling is part of the body’s natural healing process.
While you can’t prevent facial swelling after oral surgery, you can take steps to reduce inflammation more quickly. Follow the tips below — and your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions — to reduce facial swelling and get back to looking like your normal self as fast as possible.
Use Ice Packs
Immediately after your oral surgery — and for the next 48 hours — use a towel-wrapped ice pack. Don’t skip the towel, as extreme cold applied directly to the skin could cause damage. Hold the ice on one side of your face for about 20 or 30 minutes, then switch over to the other side.
Once 48 hours have gone by, swap the ice pack for a hot water bottle, applying it on the same schedule. Keep it wrapped in a towel, too, as applying heat right on the swollen area could burn your skin.
Elevate Your Head
Until your facial swelling goes down for good, aim to keep your head above your heart as much as possible. Doing so helps ensure proper blood flow, which works to reduce facial swelling. Sit or recline when resting instead of lying flat, and use pillows to prop your head up.
Avoid Solid Foods
Eating solid food too soon after oral surgery can irritate the oral surgery site, making the swelling last longer. For at least the first few days — or however long your oral surgeon recommends — choose soft foods that don’t require chewing.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your facial tissues will return to normal more quickly with proper hydration. For a fast recovery, try to drink at least eight glasses of water each day — and don’t use a straw. If drinking is difficult, suck on ice chips to stay hydrated.
Refrain from Smoking
Tobacco smoke contains nicotine and several other substances that are known to inhibit healing and prolong swelling. Smoking can also impair blood clot formation, and smokers are at an increased risk for infection. To give yourself the best chance at a speedy recovery, try to stay away from cigarettes as long as you can both before and after your procedure.
Worried about the amount of facial swelling you’ll experience after your oral surgery? Schedule your procedure with an experienced, highly skilled oral surgeon at Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery.
Dr. Garrison and Dr. Kelly have successfully treated central Indiana patients with mouth, teeth, jaw and face issues for more than 40 years. You’ll be in good hands with the Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery team. For more expert advice on how to reduce facial swelling after surgical treatment, contact our Indianapolis office and schedule an oral surgery consultation today.