Prolonged Bleeding After Dental Extraction: What It Can Mean

Dental extractions cause bleeding, but this should be largely under control by the time you leave the dental practice. Your dentist will generally pack the site with sterile gauze to act as a pressure pack and will give you instructions on how (and when) to change the gauze. Your bleeding will rapidly subside; however, you will still produce saliva tinged with blood for a short period. But what does it mean when your bleeding begins to increase?

Post-Extraction Bleeding

Post-extraction bleeding may begin immediately after the extraction (without subsiding), or it can begin several hours afterward. In rare cases, it may begin some days after your tooth was extracted. There are a number of reasons for post-extraction bleeding, although they're all manageable.

A Traumatic Extraction

While a dentist does their best to extract a tooth as gently as possible, a tooth with particularly strong roots may require the use of additional force. A traumatic extraction can cause damage to the blood vessels surrounding the base of the tooth, and the lacerations caused by the extraction can result in prolonged bleeding. It's unlikely, but a traumatic extraction can also cause damage to the bone which anchors your dental sockets.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Excessive, prolonged bleeding can be experienced even when the extraction was not traumatic, but this is typically due to a pre-existing condition. There are some systemic disorders that can make it difficult for the extraction site to clot. These include coagulation disorders (which might be inherited or caused by medication), fibrinolysis, and even diabetes. This emphasizes how important it is to disclose all medical conditions to your dentist. But despite what its causes might be, what action is needed when post-extraction bleeding develops?

Contact Your Dentist

It's important to contact your dentist if you're concerned about your post-extraction bleeding. Your dentist will be able to devise a treatment plan. When only a small amount of bleeding is present, your dentist may advise you to wait. More pronounced bleeding will require a follow-up appointment.

Medical Intervention

If your dentist needs to intervene with your post-extraction bleeding, they have a number of options at their disposal. If it was initially determined that your extraction did not need to be stitched, sutures will be applied. These sutures might be used in conjunction with an anti-hemorrhagic dressing to promote clotting. 

In any event, it's generally simple for your dentist to take additional measures to control post-extraction bleeding, which is why it must be brought to their attention as soon as you suspect that your extraction site isn't healing as anticipated.