Tags Posts tagged with "Swelling"

Swelling

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How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Removal
©Robert Kneschke/Shutterstock.com

Nobody wants to look like a chipmunk after getting their wisdom teeth out, but when their cheeks get swollen, most people do end up looking like a chipmunk!

While some swelling is normal after this procedure, the good news is that you have some control over your swelling.  Here are a few simple things that you can do to reduce your swelling after wisdom teeth extraction.

How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Reduce Wisdom Teeth Swelling1 – Apply Cold & Heat at the Right Time

Many oral surgeons send their patients home with ice packs after getting their wisdom teeth extracted.  There is some controversy over whether or not using ice immediately following wisdom teeth extraction can actually reduce swelling.  Although it may not be proven, it probably wouldn’t hurt to try this method.  Applying heat to your cheeks has been shown to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth extraction, but you have to do it at the right time.

Here’s a time line of when you should apply cold and heat to your cheeks to reduce swelling:

0-24 hours after wisdom teeth extraction: Apply ice for 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off.

24-48 hours after wisdom teeth extraction: Don’t apply ice or heat.

48 hours after wisdom teeth extraction: Apply heat.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t apply ice directly to your skin.  It’s a good idea to have a cloth between the ice and your skin to avoid causing damage to your skin.  If you don’t have ice packs, you can use a bag of ice cubes or frozen vegetables.  Along the same lines, you don’t want to use water that is too hot for too long – you don’t want to burn your skin!  Heating pads and hot water pads are good suggestions.

2 – Keep Your Head Held High

Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Extraction by Keeping Your Head Up
You Can Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Extraction by Keeping Your Head Elevated

Keep your head held high – literally!  By keeping your head elevated above the rest of your body, gravity will be your friend and cause excess fluid to flow down from your cheeks and back into your bloodstream.  This is the reason why your cheeks are more swollen after a good night’s sleep.  By laying down, you don’t have gravity helping you keep your swelling to a minimum.

To use this principle to your advantage, it would be a good idea to keep your head propped up with pillows rather than laying down so that your head is at the same level as the rest of your body.

3 – Use Corticostroids

Certain studies (such as this one) show that steroids can reduce cheek swelling after your wisdom teeth get extracted.

The textbook  Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery recommends the steroid dexamethasone to control “postsurgical edema” (which means swelling after surgery) and said the following regarding using steroids to reduce swelling after wisdom teeth extraction:

Dexamethasone is a long-acting steroid and its efficacy in controlling third molar postsurgical edema is documented.  This drug can then be continued in an oral dose of 0.75 to 1.25 mg twice a day for 2 to 3 days to continue edema control.

There are, of course, several drawbacks to using steroids.  You may want to ask your oral surgeon if dexamethasone is a good choice for you to reduce swelling after you get your wisdom teeth extracted.  He or she will be able to help you weigh the pros and cons.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction - Don't Look Like a Chipmunk!

Why Do Your Cheeks Get Swollen After Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

This article wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the reason for your swollen cheeks.  Swelling after wisdom teeth extraction is simply a natural, healthy response that helps your body heal.  Many times, the oral surgeon has to cut through your gums and drill through bone to remove your wisdom teeth.  You would probably expect to have swelling after any invasive surgery to remove an appendage of your body, and getting your wisdom teeth out is no exception.

To learn more and to find out how long you can expect to have swollen cheeks after wisdom teeth removal, read the article Why You Get Swollen Cheeks After Wisdom Teeth Removal.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about your swollen cheeks and wisdom teeth extraction?  Go ahead and write them in the comments section below.  Thanks for reading!

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Tongue Piercing with Needle
©Charles Knox/Shutterstock.com

I remember vividly a lecture that I had last year in one of my pediatric dentistry classes.  My professor told us a story about how she went down to one of the local piercing parlors and asked if she could take pictures of a tongue piercing.  They let her take some pictures and she showed them to our class.

She commented that if parents actually knew what happens when their kid gets their tongue pierced, there would be a lot less pierced tongues.

I debated about whether or not I should put an image of an actual tongue piercing in this article, but I think it may be too graphic for some people.  If you’d like to see what a tongue looks like as it’s getting pierced with a needle, you can see a photo with an explanation by clicking here.

Keep in mind that there are many risks with piercing your tongue, so I would advise against getting your tongue pierced.  In this article, I’ll simply focus on the process of getting your tongue pierced.

Tongue Piercing Procedure

The Tongue Piercing Procedure

First of all, the person piercing your tongue will use a marker to mark the spot on the taste-bud side of the tongue where the piercing will be.  If you look closely at the photo above, you’ll see a dark blue mark where the ring enters the tongue.

Next, the piercer will hold onto your tongue with some sort of a clamp so that it doesn’t move when it is pierced.  If the tongue moves and the needle goes through the wrong part, it could hit a blood vessel or cause damage to a nerve.

As they are holding onto the tongue, the piercer will stick a thick needle through your tongue without using any anesthetic.  (See a picture of this here – not for the faint of heart!)  Some people say this hurts, others say that as long as you find the right person to pierce your tongue, it shouldn’t hurt.  Since piercers are not licensed medical professionals, they are not permitted to give you any anesthetic to numb your tongue and prevent you from feeling pain.

Then, the piercer will put a long barbell through the hole that was made in the tongue.  Usually the barbell is 18 millimeters (about ¾ inch) long.  The initial barbell needs to be long because your tongue will swell a lot after the piercing.  If a short barbell is used, the tongue could swell around it and trap the barbell inside the tongue.  If this occurs, surgery will be needed to remove the barbell from the tongue.

If your tongue piercing is done in a clean, sanitary environment and doesn’t become infected., the initial 18 mm barbell can be replaced with a shorter barbell.

Conclusion

After your tongue has been pierced, you must leave the barbell in place or the hole can close up.  It can be removed for very brief periods of time without this occurring but there is always a risk.  It’s a good idea to remove any tongue jewelry when you’re playing sports so that you don’t damage your teeth.

Do you have any stories or experiences with tongue piercing?  I’d love to hear about your stories, questions and comments in the comments section below!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Piercing.jpg

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Tongue Piercing Licking Lips
©Beccarra/Shutterstock.com

Oral piercing is a practice that seems to be gaining popularity in the United States.  The most common places to get a piercing in your mouth are the lips, tongue, cheek, and the uvula (the “hangy-ball” thing in the back of your throat.) Tongue Piercing Can Hurt Your Teeth!People want to get their tongue pierced for a variety of reasons.  One of the biggest reasons is to make them look trendy — people want to fit in, and if they can be seen as cool for getting their tongue pierced, then they’ll go for it. Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the many risks associated with getting your tongue pierced.  I think if people understood the dangers of tongue piercing, fewer piercings would be performed. I’m planning on writing a couple of articles about the risks of tongue piercing.  This first article will focus on ten ways that tongue piercing hurts your mouth and teeth.  The next one will talk about the negative effects that oral piercings have on the rest of your body.

The Risks of Tongue Piercing: 10 Ways Tongue Piercing Hurts Your Mouth and Teeth

1 – Tongue piercing causes chips, cracks, and/or fractures in your teeth. Wearing tongue jewelry can not only damage your teeth, but it can damage expensive dental work that you may have already had done. The effect of tongue jewelry on teeth is especially important when participating in exercise and athletic activities.  When in doubt, take the barbell out!  It is important to note that if you leave out your tongue jewelry for more than a few hours, it may be next to impossible to get the jewelry back in.

Tongue piercings are just one of the many ways you can chip or crack your teeth.  To learn more,read 10 Easy Ways to Chip or Crack Your Teeth.

2 – Tongue piercing causes gum recession, also called localized periodontal disease. If you wear a barbell in your tongue, it can rub up against and irritate the gums on the tongue side of your teeth.  This has led to gum recession in many people who have their tongue pierced.  In older adults, periodontal disease (not cavities) is usually the most common cause of tooth loss. 3 – Tongue piercing can wear down your teeth. Out of habit, many tongue-ring wearers often rub their tongue ring up against their teeth. Over time, this can wear down the enamel. Over time, you could expose dentin or experience increased sensitivity or cavities. If you insist on having a tongue piercing, trying out a shorter barbell may reduce the damage that it inflicts on your mouth — although it would be best to get rid of the tongue jewelry altogether!

Concerned about wearing down your teeth? Learn more about the four ways we wear down our teeth.

4 – Tongue piercing can cause speech impediments. Tongue piercing can make it more difficult to talk.  You use your tongue for making a lot of sounds when you talk.  If you get a tongue ring, it makes it a lot harder to speak correctly. 5 – Tongue piercing can cause nerve damage. An inexperienced piercing parlor worker may inadvertently cause permanent damage to the nerves in your tongue or other areas of the mouth depending on how the tongue is pierced.  The person doing the piercing needs to have a sound knowledge of the anatomy of your tongue.  If you do get your tongue pierced, it’s important to find a reputable, high-quality piercing parlor to cut a hole in your tongue. You probably wouldn’t enjoy having parts of your tongue permanently numb.  Many people hate having their tongue numb for a couple of hours after getting a filling — just imagine how hard it would be to not fully enjoy the taste of your food or constantly have your tongue give you that numb, tingling sensation. 6 – Tongue piercing can cause bad breath. Tongue jewelry is a good place for the plaque in your mouth to live.  It’s harder to brush if you have tongue jewelry.  Also, if you don’t regularly clean your tongue jewelry, it can accumulate bacteria that make your breath smell pretty disgusting! Tongue Piercing Damages Your Mouth! 7 – Tongue piercing can cause a space between your two upper front teeth, also known as a diastema. Although this isn’t very common, it does happen as evidenced by this case report written by orthodontists. 8 – Tongue piercing can cause excessive drooling. Tongue piercing can cause an increase in the amount of saliva you make.  Although saliva is good for the teeth, too much can be a problem.  You probably won’t look too cool with a tongue ring if you leave a puddle of spit everywhere you go! 9 – The metal tongue jewelry can cause a metal hypersensitivity reaction. You could end up being allergic to the metal in your tongue jewelry. If you were excited about having metal tongue jewelry and then end up having to wear a plastic barbell, you may be disappointed. 10 – Tongue piercing can cause pain and infection. The tongue piercing itself could cause pain and other complications.  Many people who have had their tongue pierced say that it was quite painful.  Here’s one story about how much tongue piercing hurts from Yahoo! Answers. You might get an infection depending on how sanitary the piercing parlor is. Most people have some degree of swelling after their tongue piercing. If you have a low tolerance for pain, you may want to reconsider.

More Reading on the Negative Effects of Tongue Piercing

I read a LOT of great articles while researching for this post.  Here are a couple you might be interested in:

Conclusion

Keep in mind that of all of the negative effects listed above, the most common are damaging a tooth and causing gum recession. If you’re thinking about getting your tongue pierced, please re-think your decision.  You may look cool around some of your friends, but the damage that tongue piercing does to your mouth isn’t worth it. Although I didn’t mention this above, because it’s not a huge consequence of tongue piercing, think about how much you love tasting your food —  especially with Thanksgiving tomorrow.  Do you really want to damage some of your valuable taste buds by getting your tongue pierced? For all of the Americans reading this, have a great Thanksgiving day tomorrow!  If you have any questions or comments about tongue piercing and oral health, please leave them in the comments section below.

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Wisdom Teeth Cheeks Puffy
©Dan Tautan/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve had your wisdom teeth out, the picture above probably looks familiar.

When I got my wisdom teeth out around ten years ago, our insurance wouldn’t cover all four teeth. Sadly, my family was a little short on cash, so my mom decided that I would get my top wisdom teeth out, then wait until the next year to get my bottom wisdom teeth out. That way, it wouldn’t cost us any money out of pocket.

Plus, I had the experience of getting my wisdom teeth taken out… twice.

Luckily my cheeks didn’t get swollen as badly the second time around.

If you want to know why dentists usually remove wisdom teeth, read the article Why Dentists Extract Wisdom Teeth

Why Your Cheeks Get Swollen After Your Wisdom Teeth are Removed

Swollen Cheeks After Wisdom Teeth RemovalYour cheeks get puffy and swollen after your wisdom teeth are removed because your body is going through a process that will help heal the damaged tissue.  Getting your wisdom teeth taken out can be a traumatic experience for your body.  It responds by trying to heal the extraction site as quickly as possible.  Inflammation and swelling helps this healing occur.

It is important to know that the swelling is a normal, healthy response that your body is mounting due to the trauma from the extractions.

How Long Will You Have Puffy, Swollen Cheeks?

The book Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery reports that swelling reaches a maximum anywhere from 24-48 hours after removal of the wisdom teeth.  One study has reported that cheek swelling after wisdom teeth removal peaks around 24 hours after the surgery (source.)  If the swelling is stillgetting worse three days after the extractions, it could be a sign of infection and you might want to give your dentist/oral surgeon a call.

Note that infections after routine extractions are rare. The oral surgery book listed above states, “The typical signs [of infection] are development of a fever, increasing [swelling] or worsening pain 3 to 4 days after surgery. Infected wounds look inflamed, and some [pus] is usually present.”

The puffiness and swelling will start to decrease approzimately three to four days after the wisdom teeth extraction and should completely subside about one week after the extractions.

It is normal to have more swelling in the mornings and then have it gradually subside throughout the day as you stand up and the fluid drains due to the force of gravity.

How to Reduce Cheek Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Removal

If you don’t want to look like a chipmunk after your wisdom teeth are removed, here are a few suggestions:

Dexamethasone for Relieving Swelling after Wisdom Teeth Removal1 – Ask the oral surgeon if he or she can get you some corticosteroids. There have been some studies (here’s one) that suggest that steroids can reduce cheek swelling after the wisdom teeth are removed.

The book  Contemporary Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery recommends the steroid dexamethasone to control “postsurgical edema” (which means “swelling after surgery”) and had the following to say about this subject:

Dexamethasone is a long-acting steroid and its efficacy in controlling third molar postsurgical edema is documented.  This drug can then be continued in an oral dose of 0.75 to 1.25 mg twice a day for 2 to 3 days to continue edema control.

2 – Heat applied on the third day after surgery can help reduce cheek swelling. Be sure to use water that isn’t too hot – you don’t want to damage your skin!  Heating pads and hot water pads are good suggestions.

Don’t apply heat until at least the third day after wisdom teeth extraction.

3 – Keep your head elevated. If you keep your head elevated, it is harder for the fluid to stay up in your head due to the force of gravity.  If you spend a lot of time lying down in bed,  you may find that you have puffier cheeks!

Conclusion

Do you have any questions or comments about wisdom teeth removal and its associated cheek swelling?  If so, please leave them below in the comments section.