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Dentistry/72 Hours Post-Extraction


Extraction Site
Extraction Site  
QUESTION: I had my #32 (lower right wisdom tooth) extracted two days ago and it's the first time I've had a tooth pulled on the bottom. I've had my upper wisdom teeth and my #5 bicuspid pulled with no problems. My #32 was broken and the dentist had quite a bit of problems pulling it out, which as it turned out, was because there was an abscess forming on the root. He sutured it, gave me gauze and a prescription for penicillin, and sent me on my way.

Today I decided to check on the site to make sure the clot was still there and I noticed that it seemed to be covered in white film that looked like pus. I was wondering if that was normal or if it was something to be concerned about.

ANSWER: Lisa -  In your picture I really don't see pus, but I do see debris in the socket. I don't know what instructions you were given, but you should be rinsing with warm salt water in the area for about 2-3 minutes, 3-5 times a day.  So it does not look infected or inflamed, just filled with debris.  Do the warm salt water rinses, continue the medication and you should do well.  If the pain  increases, then inflammation is developing.  If so, get back to the dentist for an evaluation, but now just rinse and it should heal.

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72 Hours Post-Extraction
72 Hours Post-Extracti  
QUESTION: Thank you so much for your quick reply Dr. Teig... you're a great person for offering your services to all of us online.

I'm a bit paranoid about dry socket or the abscess bacteria traveling into my jaw bone. I've swished gently with warm salt water and this is what the site looks like today, 72 hours post-extraction. After swishing, most of the white film is gone and it looks black in the hole. I also have this horrible taste in my mouth and a bit more of an ache today than yesterday. I tried to look up what the clots look like during the healing process with no avail, so I just wanted to make sure that it's progressing normally. Also, what would it look like if the clot fell out?

Lisa -  Of course, without examining you I cannot be sure if you truly are suffering from a degeneration of the blood clot and developing a dry socket.  Dry sockets are unique in having the following (tremendous pain, bad breath and horrible taste).  A little soreness usually indicates that a dry socket does not exist.  Dry sockets usually develop 3-5 days after the extraction. So it is a little early to be sure.  Do the warm salt water rinses now and if the pain increases, throbs or just gets worse and contact the doctor who did the extraction.  If the dentist is not a surgeon, you might need to see a surgeon to correct the problem if a dry socket does develop.

I hope it just gets better, but be aware of any negative changes.  


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Joel S. Teig, DMD, Diplomate ABOMS, retired


I am a board certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon and I am available to answer questions related to tooth extractions, implant insertion, facial recontruction, facial and oral tumor removal, TMJ dysfunction and various successful treatments, including surgery if all else fails, and occlusal discrepancy requiring orthognathic or jaw surgery.


Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon practicine for over 20 years. Assistant Clincal Professor and State University School of Dentistry.

American Dental Association, American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

BA -University of Connecticut DMD - University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

Awards and Honors
National Honor Society (OKU), Philadelphia County Dental Society, Mosby Book Award, Oral Surgery Honors, Summa Cum Laude

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