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Is Ice Safe After Oral Surgery?


Posted on 4/30/2017 by Scott Redlinger
A collection of ice cubes on top of one another.
For many years, oral surgeons told everyone to ice the area of their face nearest their surgical site following surgery. This was done as a way to help lower how much the area swelled. However, is it still what is best following oral surgery?

The answer is yes and no. There are times where ice is a good help, but there are times where it isn't what you should turn to, either.

Granted, your oral surgeon is going to be the best source of information on this, but according to research, a combination of applications is what works best for most patients.

The Best Way to Decrease Swelling is to Combine a Few Techniques

In the first 24 hours following surgery, putting a bit of ice on your cheek that is nearest your surgical site can help keep the swelling down. However, that's not when swelling tends to peak.

It usually peaks around three days after surgery, and by then, ice is typically not very effective. After that 24-hour window, moist heat is often recommended because it tends to help bring down the swelling and increase the healing the most.

Another thing to do is to make sure that whenever you are resting, you keep your head elevated. This helps to keep excess fluid from building up in the surgical area, and it keeps the swelling down.

You should try and do this for the first week following your surgery. It takes about a week for all of the major swelling to come and then go, so give your body the time it needs to rest and recover.

Remember, always do what your oral surgeon says first. This is just a general overview of things that may help. If you have any additional questions, contact our office to ask us!


Scott M. Redlinger, DMD, MD

(775) 430-5355