How Do You Stop Bleeding After a Tooth Extraction?

Team General

So, you had your tooth removed. Congratulations, you made it through the tough part!  Now you can focus on healing. Sometimes that may be easier said than done. If you find yourself dealing with bleeding after a tooth extraction, don’t panic. Rather, review the following:

Assess the Situation

Do not rinse or spit to remove the blood from your mouth.  Instead, there is a good chance your oral surgeon sent you home with some extra cotton gauze squares before you left their office.  Take some clean gauze, and gently swab the loose blood clots from your mouth.  It may help to first moisten the gauze under cold running water to better allow you to cleanse the blood from your teeth and gums.  Once you can see the extraction site, you need to determine if you feel comfortable managing the situation.  If not, you should call the oral surgeon who performed your extraction, and/or call 911 or head immediately to your nearest hospital emergency room.

Stop the Bleeding with Gauze

If you feel comfortable, take a few pieces of clean gauze squares, moisten them under cold running water, fold them in half, and place them directly over the extraction area.  Alternatively, you could moisten a tea bag and place it over the extraction site.  Then, bite down–holding this firmly in place for about 30 to 45 minutes to slow the bleeding. If after this time the bleeding has decreased but not stopped, go ahead a place fresh moistened gauze or a new tea bag and continue biting.

Apply Ice to Your Face

As much as possible, immediately following your extraction, apply ice to your face overlying the area of your extraction site.  Because the area is likely numb from novocaine, you’ll need to give yourself a 20 minute break after applying ice for 20 minutes.  Continue this cycle of applying ice to your face 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off throughout the remainder of the day of surgery.

Keep Your Head Elevated

If you want to slow your extraction site bleeding, then you also need to keep your head elevated. When lying down, blood rushes to your head; so, instead use extra pillows to prop your head up. This is a good idea for the afternoon and evening immediately following your extraction.

Avoid Physical Activity

When you have a tooth extracted, you want to avoid heavy physical labor afterwards. Any bending, lifting, exercise, and so forth can increase the risk of bleeding, as this can increase your heart rate. Instead, relax as much as possible following your extraction to help your extraction site heal. 

Don’t Brush or Touch the Extraction Site

While keeping your mouth clean is important, you don’t want to disrupt the blood clot that has formed at the extraction site.  As tempted as you may be to touch the area with your tongue or to brush the site, this can stimulate bleeding. Instead, leave the area alone so that it may coagulate properly. 

Watch What You Eat

Aftercare instructions concerning what to eat following an extraction are important.  Eating foods that are hard, crunchy, chewy, or sticky should be avoided.  Particularly troublesome are chips, popcorn, pretzels, or nuts.  You don’t want anything to aggravate the surgical area and don’t want any particles to find their way into the extraction site.  Focus on soft, cold foods or liquids instead. This means eating yogurt, pudding, smoothies, ice cream, and so forth. These items are less likely to cause additional bleeding.

Take Steps to Protect the Blood Clot

Your bleeding will eventually slow and clot at the site where the extraction occurred. It is important to help maintain this clot; otherwise, you will not only begin to bleed again but may also develop a “dry socket” with associated intense radiating pain. 

To protect your blood clot, you will want to avoid or minimize:

  • Drinking through a straw
  • Rinsing and spitting
  • Smoking
  • Harshly blowing your nose
  • Drinking hot liquids

Tooth Extractions at Manchester Oral Surgery

Experiencing a tooth extraction may seem scary, but the procedure and recovery most often go routinely, especially with the highly-trained experts at Manchester Oral Surgery. It is important to expect some bleeding after your extraction and know what to do to help control it. If Dr. Abel performed your extraction, and you find that you are still bleeding after following these tips, give us a call and/or call 911 or head to your nearest hospital emergency room. 

Contact us at 603-622-9441 . Or, request a consultation online.