White stuff in tooth extraction site is the tissue that often appears a creamy white color and consists of collagen, white blood cells, and blood vessels. Within 24 hours of your tooth extraction, a blood clot will form in your socket to stop the bleeding. Once the clot forms, your body will start building granulation tissue to cover the wound.
Tooth extraction is the most common oral surgery. Each year in the United States, more than 5 million people get their wisdom teeth extracted. Many other people get teeth pulled because of overcrowding, infections, or tooth decay.
If you’ve recently had a tooth pulled, you may notice something white form in your tooth socket. In most cases, this white material is granulation tissue, a fragile tissue made up of blood vessels, collagen, and white blood cells. Granulation tissue is part of your body’s natural healing process and isn’t a cause for concern.
If you’re also experiencing severe pain, the white material in your tooth may be a sign of a complication like an infection or dry socket. Keep reading to find out how you can tell the difference between your body’s natural healing process and other conditions.
If you aren’t experiencing severe pain 2 to 3 days after your tooth extraction, the white tissue you’re seeing likely isn’t a cause for concern. If you are experiencing pain, it may be a sign that you’ve developed an infection or dry socket.
After your tooth is extracted, your body will start its natural healing process. Your mouth heals in the same way as other parts of your body.
Within 24 hours of your tooth extraction, a blood clot will form in your socket to stop the bleeding. Once the clot forms, your body will start building granulation tissue to cover the wound. This tissue often appears a creamy white color and consists of collagen, white blood cells, and blood vessels.
What you should do
The formation of granulation tissue is a sign that your socket is healing properly. It shouldn’t be a cause of concern if you aren’t experiencing any other symptoms.
Surgical packing material
After removing the tooth, your dental surgeon will put gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding. It’s possible that a piece of the gauze can get stuck and leave behind a small piece of cotton.
What you should do
Unless the gauze is causing pain, you can leave it alone, and eventually, your body will take care of it.
A dry socket is the most common complication of getting a tooth extracted. About 1 to 5 percent of people who get a tooth pulled will develop a dry socket. It occurs when the blood clot that forms over your tooth socket either fails to develop or falls off before your gum fully heals.
What Causes a Dry Socket?
A dry socket forms when the blood clot at the site of surgery dissolves or is dislodged.
Common factors that cause dry socket include:
- Bacteria in the area dissolve the clot pre-maturely and may hinder the reformation of a dislodged blood clot.
- Food particles that collect inside the socket and dislodge a blood clot.
- Mechanical motions such as sucking through a straw or cigarette or aggressive rinsing and spitting can cause loss of a blood clot.
- Smoking nicotine, which impairs healing and decreases new blood vessel formation.
- Oral contraceptive pills and menstrual hormones, which increase the risk for dry sockets.
- Alcohol and carbonated drinks can also dissolve a blood clot.
The development of a dry socket can expose bone and nerves.
Symptoms of dry socket include:
- severe pain days after getting your tooth pulled
- pain that radiates from your socket to your ear, eye, or temple
- loss of blood clot
- bad breath
- unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Factors that increase the risk for a dry socket include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- A problematic tooth extraction
- Taking birth control pills, which may interfere with healing and prevent blood clotting
- Smoking or tobacco use, which slows healing
- Drinking alcohol, which slows healing
- Previous history of dry sockets
- Drinking from a straw after the tooth is removed, which can dislodge the clot
- Rinsing and spitting a lot after tooth extraction, which can dislodge the blood clot
What you should do
If you think you may have dry socket, you should call your dentist or oral surgeon right away. The hallmark symptom of dry socket is severe pain several days after surgery.
White spots in your mouth may be pieces of food debris left behind after eating. These food particles aren’t dangerous by themselves, but they do have the potential to dislodge the blood clot while your socket is healing.
What you should do
In some cases, you may notice white or yellow pus after extraction. Pus is a sign of an infection. Other signs of an infection include:
- continued swelling past the first 2 or 3 days
- worsening pain
- bad taste in your mouth
- bleeding that continues for more than 24 hours
What should you do
If you think you may have an infection, you should see your dentist right away. Your dentist can confirm the presence of an infection and prescribe antibiotics.
What Does a Dry Socket Look Like?
A dry socket looks like a hole left after tooth extraction, where exposed bone within the socket or around the perimeter is visible. The opening where the tooth was pulled may appear empty, dry, or have a whitish, bone-like color.
Typically, a blood clot forms over your empty socket. This clot protects the wound while it heals and promotes new tissue growth. Without a blood clot over the socket, raw tissue, nerve endings, and bone are exposed.
The socket bone can be exposed entirely or can be covered by food debris or clumped bacterial material. When surrounded by food debris or bacteria, the socket can appear in various colors, including black, yellow, and green.
A dry socket is treated by a dentist or an oral surgeon, and typically consists of the following steps:
- Clean the socket to flush out food and debris.
- Fill the socket with medical dressings. This helps prevent any new food particles and debris from entering the tooth socket.
- After the dressing is placed, you must visit your dentist regularly to have it changed out during the healing process.
- Your dentist may prescribe you antibiotics, pain medications, a special mouthwash, and/or irrigation solutions to assist in healing. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Rinse your mouth with salt water a few times each day to flush out bacteria and food particles. Most mouthwashes are too harsh. Many of them also contain alcohol,
which can increase the risk of a dry socket.
Home Remedies for Dry Sockets
To prevent dry socket, patients should follow their dentist’s instructions, which may include:
- No smoking
- No rinsing or disturbing the socket area for at least 24 hours
- Changing cotton gauzes over the socket as they become soaked with blood
- To care for a dry socket at home, patients should:
- Take pain medicine and oral antibiotics as prescribed
- Apply ice to the jaw
- Carefully rinse the dry socket as recommended by the dentist
- Apply clove oil to the extraction site for pain relief
- Eat soft foods until fully healed
- Refrain from smoking or drinking alcohol
- Oral antibiotics do not significantly decrease the risk of dry sockets because there are hundreds of bacteria types in the mouth. For that reason, even if patients have good oral hygiene, they may still develop dry sockets.
If the white material you’re seeing is accompanied by pain, you should contact your dentist right away if it falls out. This condition is called a dry socket. It’s the most common complication of tooth extraction.
When this material falls out, your bone and nerves become exposed. Exposed nerves cause pain that can radiate from your socket to the side of your head. Exposed bone leaves you at risk of developing an infection.
A 2016 study looking at 2,214 people who had permanent teeth extracted found that 1.8 percent of people developed a dry sockets.
Any condition (smoking, creating suction in your mouth, playing with the extraction area with your tongue) that results in premature removal of the blood clot formed in the socket of the tooth could lead to an increased likelihood of developing a dry socket.
Plaque is a sticky film made up of bacteria. Normally, brushing your teeth and flossing breaks up this film. However, after several days of not being able to clean your tooth socket, you may notice white plaque forming around the wound. Once you’re able to clean around your extracted tooth normally, the plaque should go away.
You may also notice that your gums turn white around your wound. This is usually caused by the trauma of the surgery and should go away after a few days.
It’s normal to have some discomfort, swelling, and bleeding after getting a tooth pulled. If you don’t have any complications, your socket will likely heal within 10 days after the procedure.
If you think you may have an infection or dry socket, you should call your dentist right away. The dentist can diagnose and treat the issue.
Other signs that you should see your dentist include:
- trouble swallowing or breathing
- excessive bleeding
- blood in your mucus
- persistent bad taste even after rinsing
- severe pain not relieved by medication
- swelling that gets worse after 2 or 3 days
After you get a tooth pulled, a blood clot forms over the wound. Shortly after, your body starts to produce a delicate tissue called granulation tissue to fill the hole. This tissue often appears white.
If you aren’t experiencing pain, the white material you’re seeing in your socket is likely part of your body’s natural healing process. If the white tissue is accompanied by severe pain, you may have developed a dry socket. If you think you may have a dry socket, you should call your dentist right away.
Aftercare for an extracted tooth can vary slightly depending on a few factors. These include which tooth the dentist took out, as some teeth have deeper roots than others and take longer to heal. However, most people find that pain decreases after about 3 days.
One of the most important aspects of aftercare is maintaining the blood clot that forms in the socket where the tooth used to be.
Caring for this blood clot is key to the healing process, and it helps prevent painful complications, such as a dry socket.
Much of the aftercare in the first couple of days following an extraction focuses on allowing a blood clot to form and caring for the mouth in general.
As some experts, low level bleeding for up to 24 hours after an extraction is perfectly normal. However, active bleeding after this point requires treatment.
Here are a few additional tips for the first 2 days of aftercare:
- Get plenty of rest: Expect to be resting for at least the first 24 hours after the extraction.
- Change the gauze as necessary: It is important to leave the first gauze in the mouth for at least a few hours to allow the clot to form. After this, it is fine to change the gauze as often as necessary.
- Avoid rinsing: As tempting as it can be, avoid rinsing, swishing, or gargling anything in the mouth while the area is still clotting. These actions may dislodge any clot that is forming and affect the healing time.
- Do not use straws: Using a straw places a lot of pressure on the healing wound, which can easily dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not spit: Spitting also creates pressure in the mouth, which may dislodge the blood clot.
- Avoid blowing the nose or sneezing: If the surgeon removed a tooth from the upper half of the mouth, blowing the nose or sneezing can create pressure in the head that may dislodge the developing blood clot. Avoid blowing the nose and sneezing if possible.
- Do not smoke: Smoking creates the same pressure in the mouth as using a straw. While it is best to avoid smoking during the entire healing process, it is crucial not to smoke during the first couple of days as the blood clot forms.
- Take pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Use cold compresses: Placing an ice pack or a towel-wrapped bag of ice on the area for 10–20 minutes at a time may help dull pain.
- Elevate the head: When sleeping, use extra pillows to elevate the head. Lying too flat may allow blood to pool in the head and prolong healing time.
- Take any medications that the dentist recommends: The dental surgeon may order prescription medications for complex removals. It is important to complete the full course of treatment.
A person should try to eat soft foods while recovering from tooth extraction.
After the clot has formed, it is vital to keep it securely in place and to follow some extra steps for oral hygiene to help prevent other issues.
Tips for aftercare between the third and 10th day include:
- Saline rinses: When the clot is securely in place, gently rinse the mouth with a warm saline solution or a pinch of salt in warm water. This mixture helps kill bacteria in the mouth, which may prevent infections as the mouth heals.
- Brush and floss as usual: Brush and floss the teeth as usual, but take care to avoid the extracted tooth altogether. The saline solution and any medicated mouthwash that a dentist recommends should be enough to clean this area.
- Eat soft foods: Throughout the entire healing process, people should eat soft foods that do not require a lot of chewing and are unlikely to become trapped in the empty socket. Consider sticking to soups, yogurt, applesauce, and similar foods. Avoid hard toast, chips, and foods containing seeds.
Aftercare for multiple teeth
Sometimes, dental surgeons will need to extract more than one tooth at a time. When extracting multiple teeth, the surgeon is more likely to recommend general anesthesia instead of using a local anesthetic.
The person will, therefore, be unconscious throughout the process. The dentist will also give them some special instructions leading up to the extraction, such as avoiding food for a certain time. After the procedure, the person will need someone else to drive them home.
Caring for multiple extractions can be challenging, especially if they are on different sides of the mouth. Dentists may have specific instructions for these cases, and they may request a follow-up appointment shortly after the extraction.
Aftercare for wisdom teeth
In general, dentists will remove the wisdom teeth when the person is young and likely to recover from the surgery quickly.
However, the healing time for wisdom teeth extraction may still be much longer than that for a regular tooth, and a person may need to take more time off work or school. The surgery typically involves removing multiple teeth, and the person may be under general anesthesia during the procedure.
In many cases, dentists may use other techniques to promote healing after these surgeries, such as dissolvable stitches or clotting aids. Aftercare is similar to that for other types of teeth, but a dentist may provide the person with additional tips to aid healing.
- Don’t rinse the area for the first 24 hours.
- Don’t drink anything hot or extremely cold for the first few days.
- Don’t do any strenuous activities that might accelerate blood flow during the first few days.
- Avoid any activity that causes suction in your mouth during the first few days so that you don’t dislodge the blood clot that starts to form. This includes smoking cigarettes, drinking through a straw, and spitting.
- Don’t drink alcohol or use alcohol-based mouthwash for 24 hours after surgery.
- Avoid eating anything that might become lodged in the hole, such as strawberry seeds or nut particles.
When a tooth is extracted, it leaves a temporary hole in its place that can take anywhere from several weeks to several months to fill in and heal. The first all-important step to healing your tooth hole is the formation of a blood clot. If a blood clot does not form or is dislodged, dry socket may occur. Habits such as drinking through a straw or smoking cigarettes can interfere with healing. Proper aftercare, such as keeping the area clean and getting enough rest, can help accelerate healing.
A dry socket may look like an empty hole at the tooth extraction site. It may appear dry or have a whitish, bone-like color. During the healing process, a red-colored blood clot forms in the socket.
Signs of infection after extraction
The following are signs that someone may have an infection after having a tooth extracted. Instead of the pain getting better from the extraction, it gets worse. The bleeding continues for more than 24 hours. Experiencing an unpleasant or foul smell coming from the mouth.
This tissue — known as granulation tissue — plays a key role in repairing the injury and protecting it from further damage. When you undergo oral surgery like a tooth extraction or gum grafting, granulation tissue forms after about one week to protect the site until the new bone or gum tissue can form.
For soft tissue “gum” grafts, the site(s) may appear white during the healing process (up to 2 weeks), this is normal and not a sign of infection. The tissue will change to a pink color as it heals.
After about 3 days, the empty tooth socket will have mostly healed. There should be no more bleeding present, and swelling should be minimal at this point. You may still experience some tenderness or soreness, but you should no longer feel pain or discomfort.
How Long Does Pain Last After Tooth Extraction? A typical tooth extraction healing process can take between one and two weeks. On the other hand, the pain of a tooth extraction typically fades in the 24 to 72 hours following the surgery.
This risk is present until you’re fully healed, which may take 7 to 10 days in many cases. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot that should have formed in the socket after your extraction is either accidentally removed or never formed in the first place. Dry socket is no longer a risk once the site is healed.
Remember having an increased pain on day 5-7 is not uncommon. To avoid dislodging the blood clot from the extraction site avoid rinsing your mouth, spitting, smoking or using straws with the first 24 hours after extraction. Smoking should be avoided for at least 10 days to reduce risk of postoperative complications.
It is advisable to continue with salt water mouthwashes until your stitches have dissolved and your mouth looks and feels healed. Following your tooth extraction, you may be left with a small pouch/hole in the gum where your tooth was.
The development of black, blue, green, or yellow discoloration is due to blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is a normal postoperative occurrence, which may occur two to three days after surgery. Moist heat applied to the area may speed up the removal of the discoloration.
A membrane called “granulation tissue” will form in the extraction site after about a week following the tooth extraction procedure. Within the first day following your tooth removal, a blood clot forms to stop the bleeding. Granulation tissue helps to protect the clot until the formation of the new bone.