When you have a tooth pulled, whether a wisdom tooth or other teeth, it can be a painful procedure. The last thing you want to worry about is seeing excessive blood after the surgery.
Some bleeding is normal after a tooth extraction, but it usually stops the day of the surgery. And if you'd like to fast-track the healing process, there are some things you can do to stop bleeding after tooth extraction.
In our guide below, we go over several things you can do to control the bleeding, how to ensure proper healing, and when you should call your dentist.
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How to help a blood clot form at the extraction site
Bleeding is common after your tooth extraction but should stop once the blood clot forms. Depending on the tooth removed or the complexity of the procedure, it may bleed for a few minutes up to a few hours until the formation of a blood clot occurs.
It's important to follow your dentist's instructions after the tooth extraction to make sure that a blood clot forms and you heal properly. Applying gauze immediately after the dental extraction will help the clot form.
It's also important not to make a sucking motion, which means no spitting, no smoking, and no straws. Keeping the blood clot in place is crucial to stop the bleeding and speed up recovery.
How long does it take for bleeding to stop after tooth extraction?
For most teeth extractions, you can expect to bleed and clot within a few minutes. However, a wisdom tooth or a difficult dental extraction could cause bleeding for a little while longer.
This may last until the clot is formed over the extraction hole. If you continue to see blood and a blood clot hasn't formed within 8 to 12 hours after having a tooth extracted, you should contact your dentist.
What to do if tooth extraction keeps bleeding
After your tooth removal, you want to make sure to encourage a clot to form over the hole.
How to control the blood
- Apply pressure on the site with gauze for 15 minutes. You want to apply the pressure in such a way that you can still close your mouth most of the way so your jaw doesn't get tired. Just don't chew on the gauze.
- Maintain the blood clot. You don't want to do anything that will dislodge it, like harsh rinsing, using a straw, smoking, or spitting.
- Try black tea bags. You can place a black tea bag in cold water, put it into a paper towel or gauze, and place it on the extraction site. The tannic acid in the black tea can help the clot to form.
Can I go to sleep if my tooth extraction is still bleeding?
Yes, you can go to sleep if your tooth extraction is still bleeding, though you may want to keep your head elevated to both lower your blood pressure and minimize the blood flow to your mouth.
You may have a bit of residual bleeding for up to 24 hours, so just make sure that the pillowcase you are sleeping on is one that you can get blood on. It's also important to make sure you do not sleep with gauze in your mouth.
My tooth extraction won't stop bleeding
Right after having your tooth extracted, you will experience bleeding. Of course, it can be alarming and maybe even uncomfortable, but it should go away once a clot forms.
You can help to keep the bleeding under control by placing gauze over the extraction site. You want the gauze to be big enough so that pressure can be applied directly onto the hole as you bite firmly on the gauze.
Making sure that you follow some simple steps can help to keep the clot in place.
What to do and not to do for the first 24 hours:
- Don't drink hot liquids, like coffee.
- Don't drink alcohol.
- When rinsing the area, be gentle and use warm water.
- Don't spit or use a straw. Read more about when you can use a straw after extraction.
- Don't smoke after a tooth extraction.
- Rest. This means no strenuous activities.
- Keep your head elevated when you lie down, keeping your blood pressure down.
- Eat a diet of soft or liquid foods.
- Avoid hard or crunchy foods that could get lodged in the hole.
- Take any medications prescribed by your dentist.
If you notice that a blood clot is not forming or it comes dislodged, it's important to contact your dentist to schedule a dental appointment.
You want to try and do everything you can (as advised by your doctor) to help the tooth socket heal quickly and properly. Seeing blood after your dental surgery is completely normal but shouldn't last for too long because a clot should form over the tooth socket.
To aid in the clot formation, you will want to immediately apply gauze to the socket and bite down with pressure, even using a tea bag if necessary to help. Once a clot is formed, you need to focus on keeping it intact to aid the healing process.
That means soft food or liquids (not hot), no straws or sucking motions with your mouth, and getting plenty of rest. Using an ice pack can also help keep the pain and swelling down.
Now you know some ways to stop bleeding after tooth extraction. But, if you notice excessive blood, you will want to contact your dentist so they can check the area and perhaps recommend a treatment option.