Having any tooth extracted is typically not a pleasant experience; however, having a wisdom tooth taken out can be more stressful and problematic than the norm. Sited at the back of your mouth, wisdom teeth may not be in an easy position for your dentist; their removal may take more work, especially if the tooth is impacted or isn't growing straight.

You may also find it harder to deal with a wisdom tooth socket after extraction. A straightforward extraction may not be too much of a problem; however, if your dentist had to battle to get the tooth out, you're likely to be bruised, sore and swollen. If you're about to have a tricky wisdom tooth removed, it may be worth thinking about problems that may arise and how to deal with them. While your dentist will give you aftercare advice, you may be able to boost the healing process yourself by making sure you have some tea bags at home. How can a tea bag help you deal with extraction problems?

Tea Bags and Bleeding

Your main aim after having any tooth removed is to allow a blood clot to form on the socket. This clot effectively closes the wound, protecting its nerves and bone. Typically, your dentist will wait until your main bleeding stops before you leave the clinic; however, your extraction site may seep blood for the first day after you've had the tooth removed. You may also have some bleeding from the gum if your dentist had to cut it to access the tooth.

Your dentist will give you advice on how to control any minor bleeding after your procedure, usually by holding a piece of gauze or tissue against the wound to help your blood clot. However, this may not work all the time. If you still have blood seeping out of the site and no sign of clotting, then this is where your tea bag comes in.

The tannin in tea helps your blood clot by constricting your blood vessels. If your bleeding won't stop with gauze, try putting a tea bag in warm water for around five minutes. Give it a small squeeze to remove some of the excess liquid and then put the bag over your extraction site and gently bite down on it. If you hold the bag in place for around 30 minutes, it should stop the bleeding and encourage the clot to form.

Tip: Don't allow the tea bag to go dry in your mouth. A dry tea bag may stick to your wound site and pull off a clot when you remove the bag.

Tea Bags and Dry Socket

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your blood clot won't stick or doesn't get big enough to do its job. If your extraction site doesn't have adequate clotting protection, you may end up with a dry socket. This problem typically happens a few days after an extraction and can be very painful – your nerves and bone may be exposed to air, giving you pain that extends over the side of your face.

While a dry socket requires dental treatment, a tea bag may give you some relief until you can get to your dentist. Again, you should soak a tea bag in warm water for a few minutes before putting it on the extraction site and biting down. The warm tea may soothe your pain a little; the tea bag also covers the socket hole, giving the hole some protection.

While a simple tea bag can be useful in your post-extraction care regime, you should see your dentist if you can't manage bleeding or pain. For example, you may need professional help if you have excessive bleeding that continues a few hours after an extraction and won't stop. You should also see your dentist even if a tea bag kills your dry socket pain. The pain is likely to return unless your dentist treats the socket with medicated dressings.