It may not be the most pleasant conversation topic, but patients must know what a blood clot after a tooth extraction looks like. A blood clot forming properly in your extraction site following a tooth removal is a sign that your mouth is healing well and you’re on the road to recovery. If you’re unaware of what it looks like and feels like, you may not realize you have an infection or another complication after your tooth extraction procedure.
What is a blood clot?
First and foremost, let’s break down what a blood clot is. If you’ve never sustained an injury or had surgery before, you may not even be aware. Essentially, a blood clot is your body’s way of healing itself. The platelets, blood cells and plasma ooze into the surrounding tissue of a wound to stop it from bleeding. Eventually, a material called fibrin forms to seal the inside of the wound, and once it is healed after several days, it naturally dissolves.
With teeth extractions, blood clots are even more important as they will protect the extraction site from harmful bacteria, air, food and other debris in the mouth. These blood clots will rebuild your gum tissue at about the 12-hour mark following the tooth extraction.
What does a blood clot look like after tooth extraction?
It’s not an aesthetically pleasing image but picture a wet scab. Scabs are essentially external blood clots. Keep monitoring the extraction site for a few days after your procedure with a mirror and a flashlight to ensure it’s getting smaller.
You may notice black marks; this is not a cause for concern as these are just the stitches your dentist or oral surgeon has used to sew up the extraction site.
You may also notice a creamy white gelly tissue. This is called granulation tissue. It is made up of collagen, white blood cells and blood vessels. The appearance of granulation tissue also is not a cause for concern as it indicates the body is covering the wound properly.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Extraction
How long does it take for a blood clot to form in a tooth extraction site?
Within 24 hours following your tooth extraction procedure, the bleeding in your extraction site will stop, and a blood clot will form.
How long does a blood clot last after tooth extraction?
The length of time of a blood clot’s dissolution will vary from patient to patient. Typically, your tooth extraction site will be completely healed anywhere from seven to ten days after the extraction procedure. Once the gum tissue has completely closed around the wound, you could potentially still feel an indent in your gums, but that will feel more normal over time.
What happens if a blood clot comes out after tooth extraction?
When a blood clot is dislodged after a tooth extraction, it leads to a dental condition called “Dry sockets.” This occurs when the nerves inside your gum and your jawbone are exposed under your extraction site. You’ll notice painful and swollen gums. If you experience dry sockets, you must contact your dentist right away as it can lead to infections if left untreated. Rockwest Dental is an emergency dental clinic that can quickly treat patients experiencing dry sockets and get them back on the road to recovery.
How can I protect the extraction site after a tooth extraction?
You can ensure the healing period following a tooth extraction goes smoothly by following your trusted dentist’s instructions.
The following are some general guidelines we recommend to our patients:
- Directly following the procedure, you will need to keep pressure on the extraction site. To do this, you will gently yet firmly bite down on a sterile piece of gauze. Blood clots can’t form until the bleeding in your extraction site has stopped. You will need to keep the gauze in your mouth for about 30 to 45 minutes after the procedure. If the extraction site is still bleeding, replace the gauze pad (your dentist should provide you with an additional one) and continue applying pressure for the next two hours.
- It is imperative to rest after a tooth extraction procedure. We recommend booking at least two days off from work and having a loved one or babysitter watch your kids. You should not do any exercise and keep your head above your heart at all times. This means propping your head up on pillows when you’re lying down.
- The most important thing you can do to help a blood clot form in your extraction site is avoiding any vacuuming or sucking activity in the mouth.
Avoid the following activities for at least 72 hours post-tooth extraction:
- Using a straw
- Smoking or using any other tobacco products
- Vigorously swishing liquid or saliva in the mouth
- Brushing teeth near the extraction site (instead, rinse gently with saltwater solution)
- Chewing near the extraction site
- To avoid dislodging your blood clot, eat only soft foods and drink beverages and broths at room temperature. For more information on when to eat after tooth extraction or what to eat after tooth extraction and what not to eat after a tooth extraction, read our other blog posts.
Rockwest Dental Can Answer Any Questions You May Have About Tooth Extractions in Mississauga
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