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While some amount of bleeding is expected after a wisdom tooth removal, excessive bleeding is considered a complication. Here are some of the things to look out for and steps to take in case it happens to you or someone you know.

Wisdom tooth removal is more complicated than other extractions in general. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt into the mouth and they often are unable to find the necessary space to function properly [1]. In fact, wisdom teeth are now considered vestigial remnants in our body because we don’t need them. This is why they are extracted proactively or at the time of appearance of some problematic symptoms [2].

Getting a tooth extraction procedure performed can be a scary thing without being told that a wisdom tooth extraction is more complicated. That is the truth, however, because wisdom teeth often remain embedded in the bone and have to be removed surgically.

Like any surgical procedure, there are some potential complications that can occur like infection after wisdom tooth removal, numbness, or excessive bleeding [3]. Here we will deal with the reasons why excessive bleeding can occur after wisdom tooth removal and some steps that can be taken to help control the situation.

Bleeding after wisdom tooth removal

Some amount of blood loss is expected after any kind of extraction. In fact, the loss of a tooth is treated as an injury by the body and bleeding is a normal first response [4]. So, how does a patient determine whether the amount of bleeding they are having is normal or not?

As a rule of thumb, bleeding after a wisdom tooth extraction should slow down to a trickle a couple of hours after the procedure has been completed. This holds true even if stitches have been given and the wisdom tooth removal required a surgical procedure to be performed.

For some people, this small amount of bleeding will continue until the next day as well. If, however, people find their entire mouth being filled with blood after the procedure then they need to get in touch with their dentist at the earliest.

How to control bleeding after wisdom tooth removal?

There are certain things that can be done by the patient before they seek professional intervention. The first thing is to avoid spitting after the wisdom tooth removal. Spitting or rinsing vigorously can dislodge the clot that has formed and can cause fresh bleeding to occur as well as the formation of dry socket [5].

An easy way to control excessive bleeding is to apply pressure on the extraction site for a minimum of ten minutes. This can be done by using clean moist cotton. There is a tendency for patients to keep checking if the bleeding has stopped every couple of minutes. For a clot to form consistent pressure must be applied and so constant checking should be avoided [6].

Biting on a moist tea bag is also a good idea because the tannic acid present in the tea helps control the bleeding. Patients should avoid taking part in strenuous physical activity, lifting weights, yoga, or other sporting activity for three to four days after the wisdom tooth removal has been done [7].

If even after following all these steps, the extraction site continues to bleed profusely then you should get in touch with your dentist.

Reasons for excessive bleeding after wisdom tooth removal

If bleeding continues profusely even after following all the post-extraction instructions properly then there has to be another underlying cause. Some of the possible reasons include the presence of an unknown bleeding disorder. Certain conditions can prevent the normal clotting mechanism from taking place and can result in excessive bleeding [8].

It is, therefore, recommended that a blood test to determine normal bleeding and clotting time be done before a surgical extraction.

Patients may also be on blood thinners without actually knowing their purpose and so may not have disclosed this information to the dentist before the procedure. Make sure that all medication being taken should be informed to the dentist so that any possible complications can be avoided [9].

In a few cases, a major blood vessel may be hit during the surgical extraction and that can cause an increased amount of bleeding. If this is determined to be the case, then the dentist may have to use clotting agents to help arrest the bleeding, use lasers or electrocautery to stop the bleeding, or maybe a combination of the two [10].   

Just the fact that a major blood vessel has been hit does not necessarily mean that the dentist has committed a mistake. The position of the tooth could be such that the force applied to the tooth may damage the blood vessel no matter what.

Conclusion

Wisdom tooth removal infection, numbness after surgery, or excessive bleeding are some of the most common complications that patients may encounter after a wisdom tooth removal. These are, however, still quite rare in occurrence and the healing will occur without any incidence in the overwhelming majority of cases.   

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