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Dentistry/Swollen Cheek Behind Wisdom Tooth


Yesterday the cheek area behind my lower left wisdom tooth swollen. There isn't any pain if I don't move my jaw; but if I try to open it more than two finger's breadth the wisdom tooth bumps up against the swelling and causes resistance and pain. This is worse in the morning and gets better throughout the day. The tooth itself dosen't hurt at all, just the cheek behind it. What could have caused it, and will the swelling go down by itself?

Rahul - What you are undergoing is very common with wisdom teeth that are not in a position to keep completely clean.  Bacteria gets caught under the gum around the wisdom tooth and an infection forms.  Warm salt water rinses can reduce the swelling often, but in the long run this episode is a warning that the wisdom tooth needs to be removed.  Sorry to tell you that, but if it is not removed, this problem will recur and get worse.  

So make an appointment with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to evaluate the area and cure the problem.


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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