Tooth loss is common, both in children looking forward to a tooth fairy visit, as well as in adults avoiding visits to the dentist. However, if the extracted tooth is causing bleeding, there are a few simple strategies that can be applied, and they usually work to resolve the problem quickly. Just don’t use the advice in this article as a substitute for advice from a dentist or medical professional if the extracted tooth is causing heavy bleeding that can’t be stopped.
Stops Bleeding in Missing Milk Teeth
Let the teeth fall out naturally. Baby teeth that fall out with light bleeding usually indicate that the teeth are falling out early. So, letting the baby teeth loosen naturally until they fall out without any encouragement is usually always recommended and is also the least painful (and no bleeding) method.
Instead of flossing the baby teeth out like your parents used to do, ask your child to wiggle the baby teeth themselves until they come off. The tongue is the best tool for doing this, and this gentle movement will usually work in the end to dislodge the teeth.
If your child needs assistance, simply grasp the teeth with your thumb and index finger covered in gauze and then gently rock them back and forth. If the tooth is difficult to move, it means it is not ready to be extracted.
Consult a pediatric dentist if you are concerned about your child’s teeth loosening but not falling out
Note that some blood will come out. Some baby teeth will fall out without bleeding, but if a little blood comes out it’s still normal. Keep in mind that a few drops of blood mixed with saliva in the mouth can make it look like a lot. So, prepare your child (also don’t overreact) if blood appears in his mouth.
Gargling with cold water immediately after tooth loss can help remove blood from the mouth. However, after that do not keep gargling to help the blood clotting process, not even inhibit it.
Apply a damp, clean gauze pad for 15 minutes. If the bleeding is quite light, as is common with lost baby teeth, you don’t need to do anything. However, if the bleeding is still ongoing after about 1 minute, use gauze to absorb the bleeding and stimulate clotting.
Roll up one or more sheets of clean gauze that have been moistened with water to prevent blood from sticking together. Have the child bite the roll for 15 minutes.
Ask the child not to bite the gauze roll or move it. Have the child continue to bite him. You may find it difficult to convince your child to do it, but remember the gift from the tooth fairy after that.
For younger children, you may need to stretch the roll of gauze, especially if you are worried that he will swallow it.
Check for bleeding on the teeth after 15 minutes. If it doesn’t stop, use a new roll of gauze as before and call your child’s dentist.
Elevate the child’s head by tilting his face slightly downwards. If you have to use gauze to stop the bleeding, elevating your child’s head will reduce blood flow to the area due to gravity. Meanwhile, tilting the head forward will prevent the child from swallowing the gauze lump.
Swallowed blood can cause nausea. This is also the reason why you should tilt your head forward during a nosebleed.
Don’t keep asking your child to gargle. Using warm salt water to rinse your mouth is a commonly used treatment to stop bleeding after a tooth has fallen out. However, if this step is done when the blood begins to clot, the blood clots that have formed can be dislodged or dissolved, resulting in the blood coming back out.
Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol-based mouthwash. Fluids like these can dissolve or release blood clots.
Hot drinks and foods can also make the blood come back out, so avoid consuming soup until the next day. Drinking cold water is the best way to meet the body’s fluid needs after tooth loss for both adults and children.
You can start gargling with lukewarm salt water (made from about 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of water) the day after your tooth fell out to keep the area clean. However, make sure that children are able and willing to bring back the salt water after gargling.
Call your pediatrician if the bleeding continues for more than 15 minutes. This needs to be emphasized again because under normal conditions, a lost baby tooth should not be accompanied by heavy bleeding.
Continued bleeding may indicate that tooth fragments are still left, there is damage to the gums, or that your child has a medical condition that causes problems with blood clotting. Take steps to be safe and call a doctor.
However, a small amount of blood coming out of the location of a lost tooth or a pink spot in a child’s saliva do not indicate active bleeding. If blood doesn’t collect or drip from the wound, waiting is generally safe to do so.
Stopping Bleeding After Permanent Tooth Extraction
Let the dentist remove your tooth. Saving a few tens of thousands of dollars and having pliers ready to remove your aching tooth yourself is not worth the risk. You can actually break the diseased tooth as well as the surrounding teeth, causing damage to the nerves, gums, or jaw, risk of infection, and of course, heavy bleeding.
Let the dentist diagnose the problem with your teeth and treat it properly. Your tooth may even be salvageable.
Follow the dentist’s advice regarding treatment after the tooth is extracted. The recommended treatment may vary according to the tooth being extracted, how it was extracted, your medical history, as well as various other factors.
The following steps provide general care guidelines after tooth extraction, and are not a substitute for the advice of a dentist specifically given to you.
Bite on clean, damp gauze to help the blood clot. The dentist will give this gauze as soon as the tooth is extracted. Usually, the dentist will ask you to bite the gauze in the same location for at least 15 minutes and maybe 30 or 60 minutes depending on your specific extraction procedure.
Bite on the gauze with steady pressure and keep it in your mouth. Do not interfere with the blood clotting process.
If the gauze begins to bleed within 15 minutes, add a new gauze without removing the old one. Again, don’t let the blood clotting process be disrupted.
After 45-60 minutes of the first gauze sticking, you may still need to use the new gauze for another 3 to 5 hours, maybe even longer. Follow your dentist’s recommendations.
Elevate your head by tilting your face down slightly. As explained in the previous section, take advantage of the force of gravity to reduce blood flow to the head and reduce blood flow to the throat.
It’s worth emphasizing again: nausea is a common consequence of swallowing blood, so tilt your head slightly forward every time your mouth (or nose) bleeds.
Try using a tea bag. Do not drink hot tea or coffee, or other hot drinks or foods on the same day (or as directed by your doctor) because they can dissolve blood clots. However, take advantage of the natural effects in black tea that can help blood clot.
The tannic acid in black tea can stimulate blood clotting, so try moistening a regular black tea bag and then biting into it like gauze. Hold this position for 15 minutes and observe if your gum bleeding stops or slows down. Repeat as needed with new tea bags.
The tea may leave stains around your teeth and gums for a while, but these will soon disappear.
Do not gargle with salt water until the next day. Ignore the suggestion that lukewarm salt water will stop bleeding in the mouth because it has a greater chance of dissolving the blood clot at the extraction site. On the other hand, salt water can keep the location clean, so it is also useful.
Gargle with a solution of a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of salt, then spit it out. Or as recommended by a dentist.
In addition to gargling immediately after the tooth has been extracted, avoid gargling and removing the solution from the mouth during the blood clotting process. Peroxide and alcohol-based mouthwashes can especially inhibit the clotting process.
Your dentist may ask you to limit the use of mouthwash for a few days after the tooth extraction to prevent alveolar osteitis ( dry socket ) which occurs when blood clots dissolve and leave holes in the gums after the tooth is extracted. This condition can cause pain or infection.
Call your dentist if the bleeding continues longer than expected. Slight bleeding or spotting for a few days is normal and usually nothing to worry about. However, active bleeding may indicate complications from the extraction or medical problems unrelated to the procedure.
Blood dripping or pooling at the extraction site within 15-20 seconds of removing the gauze indicates active bleeding.
In addition to elevating your head, limiting exercise for a few days is also a way to reduce the chances of continued bleeding. Exercise can increase blood pressure, which in turn increases the chance of bleeding.