Bleeding After Dental Surgery
If you have recently undergone dental surgery or a dental procedure, you may experience bleeding in the treated area. Some bleeding is normal, so it is important to be prepared for what to expect. In rare cases, bleeding may be excessive, which signifies a problem your dentist will need to treat. If you will be having a dental procedure in the near future, prepare yourself for potential problems and be aware of how to treat common issues. If you are concerned, speak with a knowledgeable, experienced dentist like Dr. Frantz Backer of Advanced Dentistry of New York, located in Jackson Heights, New York.
What to Expect
Dental surgery is common, but you may still feel anxious about post-operative care. Following your procedure, your dentist will place gauze in your mouth to control the bleeding. Initially, the bleeding may seem excessive, especially if it is mixing with saliva. The amount of bleeding that is normal may vary depending on your procedure, so be sure to speak with your dentist about when you should be concerned. Following the procedure, if it seems as though bleeding cannot be stopped, or is not slowing, you should contact your dentist.
Controlling Normal Levels of Bleeding
Your dentist will pack the treatment area with gauze when the procedure is complete. As the gauze becomes saturated with blood, you should swap it out for a new, clean piece (Your dentist will give you replacement gauze.) Try to leave gauze in place as long as possible, because jostling it can disturb the clotting process. Gauze alone should be enough to provide periods of relief from bleeding, and if you are soaking through the gauze fast enough that you need to stop what you are doing and replace the gauze every few minutes, you should contact your dentist.
Some people prefer to use tea bags on the bleeding spot instead of regular gauze. The bags provide absorption like gauze, but the tannic acid in tea works as a clotting agent. Wrap the bag in a thin layer of gauze and place it over the treated area as you would gauze. If you can do so comfortably, bite down on the gauze or tea bag and apply pressure to keep it in place. The pressure should not be painful, but it should be enough to keep the gauze or tea bag from moving around until the bleeding has stopped.
You may experience pain following the procedure that is eased with over-the-counter or prescription painkillers. You should avoid painkillers like aspirin as they thin the blood and prevent clotting. Your dentist will give you information about brushing, flossing, and rinsing following the procedure, but typically, you will want to wait at least several hours before performing dental maintenance. Avoid spitting for as long as possible because this can disrupt the clotting in the treated area.
When to be Concerned
Your dentist will give you specifics about your surgery and when you should consider bleeding an issue. According to Dr. Backer, “When (the usual) measures are inadequate, immediate help is necessary.” Anytime the bleeding seems to be increasing instead of decreasing, you will want to contact your dentist. If the bleeding is accompanied by pain or burning in the days following the procedure, an infection may have developed. While you do not want to over-react, if you are concerned about your healing, your dentist will be able to answer questions and calm your fears.
A Note about Dry Socket
A common problem related to post-operative bleeding is something called dry socket. This occurs when a tooth is removed from the mouth, and a blood clot does not properly form at the surgical site following the surgery. Dry socket is more common for people who smoke, and happens more frequently to lower teeth than upper. You will not notice any bleeding with dry socket, but you will experience pain that may feel as if it is radiating from your ear. Your dentist will need to temporarily pack the socket with a medicated dressing, and you may be given an irrigation tool to keep food particles from building up in the socket as it heals.
Many dental procedures result in bleeding, but it is important to know what is normal and what should be a concern before you leave the dentist’s office. If you want to know more about bleeding after dental surgery, as well as learn methods for treating normal levels of bleeding, speak with an experienced dentist like Dr. Backer of Advanced Dentistry of New York.
*Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.