You’ll be surprised to learn that the gum debris or “gunk” where the tooth was pulled isn’t really black—but dark red because it’s blood.
There is a blood clot “that forms in the extraction socket,” says Robert D. Gehrig, DMD, FAGD, FACD, Academy of General Dentistry.
Black Is an Illusion
Dr. Gehrig explains, “The clot is dark red in color and it may appear black under low light conditions.”
So when inspecting it, you should make sure you are doing so in excellent lighting conditions – which may be difficult depending on where in your mouth the tooth was extracted.
“Over the next several days it will seem to change color to a greyish white color as the red blood cells get washed out of the fibrin clot by the saliva,” explains Dr. Gehrig.
“The clot is important for normal healing, as it acts as ‘scaffolding’ for the gingiva to grow over and close off the wound.”
Do not pick at it no matter how unsightly you think it is.
“Premature loss of the clot interrupts the healing process and can lead to what is commonly known as a ‘dry socket.’ This condition can be very painful and delay healing. It often requires additional treatment and may require antibiotics to resolve.” Black tooth removal gum