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RandomGirl's avatar

My face is now bruising 4 days after wisdom tooth extraction. Why? What can I do about it?

Asked by RandomGirl (3352 points ) January 25th, 2013

I had my wisdom teeth out on Tuesday. The swelling reached its peak on Wednesday, and then gradually got better. For the first three days (too long, I know), I was using an ice pack on my cheeks to make the swelling go down. Today (Friday), I realized I should be using heat, so while I was memorizing some stuff for school, I laid on my bed with my cheek on a heating pad. It felt good! When I came upstairs to do some other school, my mom noticed my jaw looked bruised. Just a little bit yellow, but still odd.

I have to work this afternoon, and when I get off, I’m taking a friend to supper. I don’t want to look like I got (symmetrically) slugged in the jaw!

Why is it doing this? Was it a reaction to the heat?
Will it go away? What can I do to get it to go away faster?
Can I still use heat? It felt really good, and I think the swelling went down, even though the bruising started.

Thanks for your answers :)

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9 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Nothing you did caused it. It is just natural. Nothing you can do will make it go away. You can try to cover it with make-up.

wundayatta's avatar

Aw, leave it uncovered. It makes for a good story! Be proud, not ashamed.

gailcalled's avatar

…and remind yourself of just how much pain you endured before the teeth were pulled.

The discoloration is only temporary and shouldn’t hurt much.

CWOTUS's avatar

Assuming it doesn’t get worse, a bruise is a result of subcutaneous (beneath the skin) bleeding. Having your wisdom teeth removed (congratulations on finally being able to have it done, by the way) is a major “insult” (injury, even though performed by a professional and for the right reasons) to your jaw. Your jaw is still bleeding a bit from the trauma, and it should go away soon enough, as long as you follow the dentist’s recommendations for care.

If the bruising / bleeding does get worse (darker, more swelling, more pain or tenderness), then it would be worth an “emergency” call to the dentist to see if you need stitching to aid the healing of the wound.

JLeslie's avatar

Nothing much you can do. Just make sure not to take any aspirin, or other medication that might cause your blood to thin. Also, no alcohol.

Coloma's avatar

The bruising is from the trauma of, literally, yanking those teeth out of your jawbone. It is normal and natural. The force needed to extract living teeth anchored in the jaw bone is tremendous. It will fade away soon.

lillycoyote's avatar

I really don’t think there is anything you can do about it at this point except wait for it to heal.

But for anyone who is contemplating or who may need to have your wisdom teeth pulled in the future, I would advise that you discuss possible swelling and bruising with your dentist beforehand.

I had my wisdom teeth pulled so long ago that I don’t remember all the details, but this I remember, absolutely, because it was actually pretty funny.

I arrived for the first extractions; the dentist’s practice was to extract the upper and lower teeth on one side on the first appointment and extract the other two wisdom teeth two weeks later.

I arrived at the office for my first appointment and the first thing I asked the receptionist/dental assistant was about how much swelling I should expect, and she kind whipped her head around, looked me straight in the eye, and said clearly and firmly, with a tone of voice that seemed to insinuate that I had mildly insulted someone, and said: “Dr. Knauss’ patient do not swell!”

I was like, O.K. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that Dr. Knauss was such a butcher, and so ham-fisted a dentist that he would allow his patients to swell!

After that, I retreated to the waiting room, with my tail between my legs, feeling quite admonished.

But the thing was, I actually had absolutely no swelling and no bruising whatsoever.

After the extractions they sent me on my way with a prescription for Tylenol 3, a prescription for Prednisone, to prevent swelling, and a syringe with kind of a curved, pointed end to use to clean food debris from the “pockets” where my teeth were extracted so they would heal properly.

I missed one day of work, because of the pain. That’s all. The Tylenol 3s weren’t quite enough but I found that if I “boosted” them with a couple of hot toddies in the evening I was quite comfortable.

Then I went back two weeks later to have the other two wisdom teeth extracted, with the same result.

So, at least from my personal experience, the swelling may not have to happen at all.

snowberry's avatar

Swelling can cause bruising, and you were greatly swollen for a long time. Then you had surgery, which added to the problem now. The discoloration is from dead blood cells that are disintegrating. and now they are being reabsorbed into your blood stream. At this point, your body is repairing the problem the only way it can. This discoloration is natural. The only way you can improve things is try to bring more blood to the area to make the process go faster.

Cold packs on the area would be appropriate for a new injury, but it’s been many days since you had your surgery. At this point, I’m thinking hot compresses or a heating pad on the area as you have been doing will accomplish that. You might also look for rub-on ointments that would work to bring the blood to the area. These ointments have a strong smell and can get on your clothes, so be sure not to wear stuff that will be ruined by it. I don’t know if it would work, but it’s something you could try.

The good thing is that your body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.

An interesting side note is that the discoloration follows gravity and drains downward. So it drains down your neck when you are upright, and around to the back of your head if you sleep on your back.

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