Why Blood Clots Are Important After Oral Surgery

Drawing of red blood cells traveling through a blood vessel in a patient's body

After an oral surgery procedure, like wisdom teeth removal or a simple tooth extraction, a blood clot should form in the empty socket.

Blood Clots Protect the Wound

A blood clot will start to form right after your surgical procedure as blood cells called platelets clump together with a sticky protein called fibrin. This clotting can occur for the next 24 hours to stop the bleeding and protect your nerves and bone from infection and irritation. Ideally, the clot stays in place and shrinks over the next 7-10 days as the natural healing process closes the wound with new tissue.

Blood Clots Can Dislodge

If the blood clot in your wound does not form properly or is dislodged, you can end up with a painful condition called dry socket. This is when your bone and nerves are exposed, resulting in pain that radiates up your jaw. If this happens to you, please contact us immediately so we can help you manage your pain and prevent infection.

How to Avoid Dry Socket

There are several things you can do to protect your wound’s blood clot, particularly within the first 24-48 hours after your surgery, so you can avoid dry socket during your recovery. Wait to brush the surgical site, rinse, and spit for 48 hours. Rinsing and spitting creates suction, which can pop the clot out. Ease into gentle rinses and gentle brushing of the extraction site. Avoid vigorous physical activity that can increase your blood pressure, straws, and smoking for about a week. However, we do recommend quitting tobacco products entirely for the sake of your oral health and your overall health.

Oral Surgery at Pleasant Plains Dental in Indian Trail, NC

Blood clots play an essential part in wound healing after oral surgery! After your procedure, Dr. Ernst and our team will make sure your wound is beginning to clot properly before sending you on your way. By carefully following our aftercare instructions, your healing process should go smoothly. Please contact us if you have any questions during your recovery of if you do experience any complications, such as dry socket. We are here for you before, during, and after your procedure!


Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay