Tooth removal is the most common dental procedure. Nearly 5 million people in the United States undergo wisdom tooth extraction. The reasons for pulling out teeth can be an impacted tooth, oral infection, overcrowding, or cavities.   

If you recently have finished up with tooth extraction, you may notice weird white stuff on the healing site. You don’t have to worry about this white thing as it can be granulation tissue, which is composed of WBCs, collagen, and blood vessels. The white granulation tissue is a natural occurrence on the healing site and shouldn’t bring any anxious feelings.    

However, sometimes the white stuff at the tooth extraction healing site can be a cause of concern if it’s accompanied by excruciating pain. This time the white material can be a complication such as a tooth infection or, at worst, a dry socket. 

Read on to learn if the white formation is part of the normal recovery process or is it something to be worried about that needs your dentist’s attention.  

How to know what the white tissue in the tooth socket is?

After you’re done with your wisdom tooth extraction and 2-3 days have passed without any discomfort or pain, the white formation on the surgery site isn’t something dangerous. But if you’re in pain, infection or dry socket may have developed at the site, which needs prompt attention.   

Granulation tissue

After your tooth is pulled from the gum, the natural healing process of the body immediately begins to cover the empty socket. The mouth recovers in the same way any other body part heals after an injury.   

During the first 24 hours post-surgery, the blood clot begins to form that prevents bleeding and bacteria from entering the extraction site. After the clot develops healthily, the body starts forming granulation tissue to protect against the trauma. The tissue has a creamy white appearance and is made up of blood vessels, collagen, and white blood cells.   

Required Action: 

If granulation tissue has formed, congratulations! Your extraction site is recovering normally from the wound. If you experience no other symptoms, there’s nothing to lose sleep.  

Surgical material

To stop the bleeding after pulling the tooth, the dentist will place a gauze over the surgery site. A small piece of gauze can get pushed into the socket, leaving behind a tiny cotton piece that may make you anxious. 

Required Action:

If the stuck gauze isn’t causing any discomfort or pain, do nothing about it. Your body will get rid of it itself.  

Stuck food particles

That white stuff lingering in your empty tooth socket can be the last pieces of food that you ate before the extraction. There’s nothing harmful about the food debris themselves, but they do pose a risk of dislocating the blood clot white the socket is recovering. 

Required Action: 

24 hours after your tooth removal procedure, you can gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water to get rid of the food debris. Take ½ teaspoon salt and mix it with a few ounces of water.   

Dry socket 

While your mouth is healing from tooth extraction, a dry socket is the most common complication that can occur. According to a trusted source, 1-5 % of people who undergo tooth removal develop dry sockets. It occurs if the blood clot over the empty socket fails to develop fully or gets dislodged before the complete recovery of the gum. A dry socket brings out the bone and nerves to open and causes extreme pain and discomfort.        

Some other symptoms of dry socket include:

  • pain traveling from the surgery area to your ear, or eye
  • dislodged blood clot
  • foul taste in your mouth
  • bad breath

Required Action: 

If you suspect a dry socket, immediately consult your dentist or oral surgeon. The main dry socket symptom is excruciating toothache several days after the extraction.    

Oral infection

Sometimes a person may notice a white-yellowish fluid at the healing site. It is pus that indicates infection. If the white pus is accompanied by these symptoms, an infection has developed over the extraction area.   

  • inflammation in the gums for the first 2-3 days 
  • continuous bleeding for more than 24 hours
  • pain that gets worse
  • foul taste in the mouth
  • fever

Required Action:

In case an infection has developed over the surgery site, see your dentist instantly. Your dentist or oral surgeon can make sure if an infection is present and prescribe appropriate treatment.  

Should I be worried if the white material comes out?

If the white stuff at the tooth extraction healing site is causing pain and falls out, immediately see the dental experts at Rodeo Dental & Orthodontics. This is a painful state known as dry socket and the commonest problem patients face after getting their tooth pulled.   

When this stuff comes out, it exposes the bone and nerves resulting in pain that extends from the tooth socket to the other areas of your mouth. Exposure of bones makes it possible for bacteria to compromise the healing site causing infection.   

Here are some factors that can lead to an early dismissal of blood clots making you more prone to forming dry sockets. 

  • smoking cigarettes
  • chewing tobacco
  • spitting
  • sucking with straw
  • forcefully touching socket with tongue 

White film on gums after tooth extraction

Another reason for white stuff appearing around the wound is plaque. It is a sticky fluid made up of bacteria and usually goes away with proper brushing and flossing. However, after tooth removal, you may not be able to brush for several days, due to which a white layer of plaque can develop around the socket. Upon returning to a normal oral hygiene regime, the plaque will go away.  

For some individuals, the gums nearby the surgery site turn white. This happens due to trauma of extraction and gets better a few days after the procedure.

When should you see your dental provider?

After having your tooth pulled, it’s normal to experience slight pain, bleeding, and swelling. If nothing turns out to be bad and there are zero complications, your extraction site will recover within a week or a few more days.   

But, if you suspect a dry socket or infection, call your dentist right away and schedule an appointment. Here are some other symptoms that call for a dental visit:

  • painful swallowing
  • excruciating pain that doesn’t get better with medicine 
  • difficulty breathing
  • pus formation
  • numbness
  • too much bleeding
  • mucus with blood
  • bad taste in the mouth that doesn’t go away
  • swelling that gets worse after 2 or 3 days

Visit or call Rodeo Dental near you. We can thoroughly examine your conditions and advise suitable treatment.