Immediately after the wisdom tooth extraction, you will be bleeding from the socket of where the tooth used to be. It bleeds because the tip of the tooth roots are actually connected to your body’s blood supply. That’s how it receives nutrients and stays alive.
When you extract the tooth, you’re separating the tooth from your body’s blood supply. Basically there is now a hole where the blood vessels used to connect. You can think of it as a garden hose that just got punctured, it will squirt water. Although in our case you’d be squirting blood.
It is dangerous to let the wisdom tooth hole bleed without any intervention. It may even become life threatening if you leave it as is but that is why you need to get the bleeding to stop.
There are three sequential steps in the protocol on how to stop the wisdom tooth bleeding. You try the first one and then move onto the next if it doesn’t work.
- Bite on gauze.
- Bite on a black tea bag.
- Call your dentist.
Use gauze to stop the wisdom tooth bleeding
The first thing you should do after wisdom tooth removal is to bite on gauze to stop the bleeding. The simple act of applying pressure to the socket with an open wound will get it to stop in due time. That concept remains the same whether its the third molar or any other tooth in your mouth.
How to use gauze for post-extraction bleeding:
- Take 2-3 pieces of gauze together.
- Fold them in half twice into a small square.
- Place the gauze over the wisdom tooth hole.
- Bite down with firm pressure and do not let go.
- Remove the gauze after 30 minutes.
- Repeat steps #1-5 until it stops bleeding or 3 hours have passed.
To keep it simple, all you have to remember is: Take, Fold, Place, Bite, Remove, and Repeat until the socket stops bleeding.
Overall, you can mostly expect it to stop bleeding around 3 hours from when you first started using the gauze. If you’re healthy it may stop sooner and if your health is not so good, it may take a little longer.
How does the gauze stop the bleeding?
It’s not so much the gauze which stems the bleeding but the act of applying pressure into the fresh wisdom tooth socket. The gauze is simply a medium for you to apply pressure because with the tooth gone, you can’t really put pressure into the hole without it.
Essentially, applying pressure with the gauze will accomplish two things:
- Slows down bleeding. Applying direct pressure into the wound will prevent the blood come bleeding out. The act is similar to squeezing a punctured garden hose to prevent water from coming out.
- Provides time for clot formation. The blood clotting process does not happen immediately because all of the components need to travel to the extraction site and that takes time. The purpose of applying pressure with gauze is to buy time until your body is able to form a stable blood clot.
The clotting process
The blood clotting process is called hemostasis and it stops the bleeding in 4 stages:
- Blood vessel constriction. Within 30 minutes of the extraction, the blood vessels start constricting. They narrow so that less blood can flow out.
- Platelet plug formation. The platelets arrive shortly after and adhere to one another. This forms a temporary platelet plug but it’s not very stable.
- Activate coagulation cascade. A coagulation cascade beings which leads to activation the platelets which strengthens them further.
- Fibrin clot formation. The final step of the coagulation cascade leads to fibrin deposition into the clot. Once this happens the clot will finally become stabilized.
Bite on a black tea bag to stanch the wisdom tooth bleeding
If the bleeding hasn’t stopped after 3 hours of using gauze, you should try biting into a black tea bag instead. You’ve probably also run out of gauze by this point and the tea bag is a great substitute for it.
Studies have shown that tea has tannic acids which contains hemostatic properties. In other words, it has an ingredient within it that helps you stop the bleeding.
How to use a black tea bag to stop wisdom tooth bleeding:
- Wet the black tea bag (it can be any brand of tea, organic/non-organic).
- Place it over wisdom tooth socket.
- Bite into tea bag with firm pressure.
- Switch out to a new one every 30 minutes
You should notice the amount of bleeding decrease each time you’re ready to switch out to a new tea bag. The trend should be towards an improvement.
If for whatever reason it does NOT stop after about 3 hours, you’ve an official complication. Please see the next step as to what to do.
Seek professional help
If you can’t get the wisdom tooth bleeding to stop even after using the gauze and the black tea bag, the situation is completely out of your control. The most likely cause is that you probably have an undiagnosed bleeding disorder or a blood clotting condition.
You will need to call your dentist and see them as soon as possible. If they can’t take you, you should go to the nearest urgent care or emergency department. There is nothing more that you can try at home. Delaying it any further will only get more dangerous.
Could the bleeding be due to anything else?
A clotting disorder is one possibility but there are other potential reasons as to why it won’t stop bleeding. Here are the four most common ones:
All four of the above actions create a lot of pressure in the mouth. That pressure can potentially dislodge the blood clot and that is usually when it stops bleeding. If that is the case you need to cease doing all four of these actions immediately!
Right after getting the wisdom teeth out, you can expect it to be bleeding. The first thing you should do is use gauze and bite on it. The bleeding should stop after about 3 hours of doing so. If it still doesn’t stop you can try switching to a black tea bag. It has hemostatic properties so it does help in getting it to stop.
If after 2-3 hours of using the black tea bag and it shows no sign of stopping, you will need to get professional help. Delaying it any longer may be dangerous. Most probably reason is that you may have an undiagnosed bleeding disorder. You will need to see a medical professional for the next step.