Learn How to Stop Bleeding After Tooth Removal

Bleeding after tooth extraction is something that normally happens in a lot of people. When a tooth is pulled out, bleeding is necessary for clot formation which, in turn, is needed for proper healing. However, there are instances where bleeding persists due to inability to form a clot. If this happens, there must be an underlying problem that necessitates further examination by your dentist.

Continue reading to increase your understanding of tooth extraction — how and why it’s done, what to expect after the procedure, and how to manage bleeding and other complications. In particular, we will focus on how to prevent or stop any persistent bleeding after tooth extraction.

Precautions to Keep in Mind After Tooth Extraction

After your kid’s tooth extraction, your dentist will place a small piece of gauze on the extraction site and tell your kid to bite down on it. This puts pressure over the wound and causes the initial bleeding to stop. Your dentist will provide you with extra gauze to bring home, in case your kid needs more to stop the bleeding.

Depending on the severity of bleeding, your dentist might have to replace the gauze once or twice before you leave. When some of the bleeding stops, you will then be sent home on the assumption that the bleeding will completely stop soon.

At home, be sure to check your kid’s gauze every now and then. Replace it once it’s soaked in blood.

How to Stop Bleeding After Tooth Extraction

Avoid too much bleeding by refraining from these activities for a couple of days after the procedure:

  1. Don’t eat hard and hot foods. For the first three days, your kid must stay away from hard or difficult to chew foods such as nuts and seeds, hard vegetables, popcorn, and the like. Hot liquids must also be avoided. Instead, give him/her soft foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, and ice cream. Ice cream is best given after tooth extraction as cold can effectively reduce bleeding.
  2. Don’t use a straw. The suction or negative pressure generated from drinking through a straw might disturb clot formation or dislodge the clot that may have already formed. This could result in a painful complication called dry socket. Make sure that your kid doesn’t use a straw for three days at least.
  3. Don’t brush the extraction site. Like in the straw situation, brushing the extraction site could also disrupt clot formation and compromise healing. Not only that, the brush touching the wound can be quite painful too. Make sure to tell your kid that brushing the area where the tooth was pulled out is a definite no-no.
  4. Don’t touch the area with your tongue. Kids tend to feel the extraction site with their tongue out of curiosity. This should be avoided because doing will disrupt clot formation and slow down healing.
  5. Don’t rinse out your mouth. As tempting as this can be, frequent and vigorous rinsing must be avoided as it can also result in dry socket. To get rid of the taste of blood, use a clean piece of gauze to wipe the blood off your kid’s mouth.
  6. Don’t spit. Like the previous items in our list, spitting can also cause dry socket, so it is best to avoid doing it no matter how tempting it is.
  7. Avoid physical exertion. Strenuous activities, such as sports and playing outside must be avoided for a couple of days. Tell your kid to take it easy, let the wound heal first, and he/she will be back to playing again in no time.
  8. Avoid talking too much. This should be much of a problem, as kids aren’t exactly talkative after having their tooth pulled out. But just to be on the safe side, it is still best to discourage them especially on the first day.

If you’ve followed these tips yet your kid still ended up experiencing profuse bleeding for days, contact your dentist for some instructions on what to do next.

What Are You Allowed to Eat or Drink After Tooth Extraction?

Regardless of whether a baby tooth or all the wisdom teeth were pulled out, postoperative care is very important. You should watch out what your kids eat and tell him/her to avoid chewing for just a couple of days.

What if they’re hungry or thirsty? Here’s a list of what you can give your kid after tooth extraction or surgical removal of the wisdom teeth.

Food and drinks that may be consumed after tooth removal:

  • Applesauce and baked apples
  • Avocados
  • Broths and soups
  • Pasta
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Squash
  • Smoothies (but don’t drink with a straw; use a spoon instead)

Your kid wouldn’t want to eat that much a couple of days after the procedure, but you should encourage him because proper nutrition promotes faster healing. Offer him/her eggs, yogurt, and other high-protein foods.

Does Tooth Extraction Hurt?

Your dentist will administer local anesthesia, so your kid won’t feel anything as the tooth or teeth are removed. For the extraction of wisdom teeth, some dentists will also use sedatives, so your kid will fall asleep during the procedure. When he/she wakes up, the procedure is done but the following should be expected:

  • Bleeding, which should stop after a couple of minutes
  • Discomfort, which tends to persist for a couple of days to a week
  • Mild to moderate swelling

To combat these, your dentist may prescribe some medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. These medications are non-addictive and totally safe even for kids.

What Should I Do During the Recovery Period?

For optimum healing, do your best to ensure that your kid won’t develop dry socket. Dry socket is a painful complication of extraction, which could occur when blood clot on the extraction site fails to develop or is dislodged. Without a proper clot, the bone and nerve are left exposed, making them prone to infections. The signs of dry socket are the following:

  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Lack of visible clot
  • Intense pain that persists for days

Heavy bleeding is also another complication of tooth extraction. Minimal bleeding after the procedure is alright, but if the bleeding gets profuse and uncontrollable, you should go back to your dentist immediately. Your dentist should be able to identify the source of the problem and suggest appropriate care. Excessive bleeding could sometimes indicate a condition known as arteriovenous malformations, or AVM. About 5% of AVMs affect the jaw.

How Long Does it Take for the Extraction Wound to Fully Heal?

If you follow your dentist’s advice and take really good care of the extraction site, the wound should begin to close up after a few days. If the wisdom teeth are removed, wound closure will take a bit longer. After a couple of months, the extraction site should be fully healed and closed.

Bone healing takes at least three months to complete, but your kid won’t notice this once the overlying gums close up. If you see that the extraction site is taking too long to heal or seems to not be healing at all, set up an appointment with your dentist to identify any possible causes.

Why is Tooth Extraction Done?

There are several reasons why a tooth should be removed. The most common reason is extensive tooth decay that renders the tooth impossible to save.  Another is when a baby tooth is retained longer than it has to be, thus impeding the eruption of the succeeding permanent tooth. And for most individuals, the wisdom tooth may have to be removed due to impaction (inability to erupt) or eruption in an odd position.

Although many kids and adults will require tooth extraction at some point in their lives, not everyone has to have their teeth removed. If you encourage your kid to practice proper oral hygiene and take him/her to the dentist regularly, tooth decay and/or misalignment or malpositioning of the teeth will be caught early on. An appropriate treatment will be rendered even before the problem gets worse. As for wisdom teeth, there may be other indications for their removal and these include:

  • Crowding of teeth – If there’s not enough space for the eruption of the wisdom teeth, removable may be necessary to avoid them from pushing and destroying the adjacent teeth.
  • Pain and swelling on the area – Both can be signs that the wisdom tooth is erupting into position, but they may also indicate pericoronitis. Pericoronitis is the inflammation of the gum tissue that surrounds an erupting wisdom tooth.
  • Angulated growth – Most of the time, the wisdom teeth don’t grow as upright as they have to be. If they grow at an angle, they may cause damage to the adjacent tooth.

More often than not, the wisdom teeth are removed even before any symptoms appear to avoid future complications. Take note, though, that some individuals don’t need to have their wisdom teeth removed while others never had these teeth at all.

Wisdom teeth, if they’re going to erupt, will come out anytime around age 17 to 21, or sometime during the mid-20s. If they don’t erupt at this age, chances are they are impacted, or they didn’t form.

Looking for a dentist who can help with tooth extraction? Find a Kool Smiles partner dentist near you!