There’s a general rule for how long after a molar is removed that active bleeding should last and how long seeping should last, plus how to treat and what to expect.

A lot of bleeding after molar extraction can be unnerving. Here’s what you need to know.

“Just like no two individuals are the same, no two extractions are the same,” says Gigi Meinecke, DMD, FAGD, member of the Academy of General Dentistry with a private practice in Potomac, MD.

“But in general, once your tooth has been removed, the dentist will place a thick piece of gauze at the extraction site and have you bite down on it,” continues Dr. Meinecke.

“You’ll be instructed to stay closed on the gauze for 20 minutes before removing it. That puts pressure on the area and helps stop the bleeding.

“During that time you should refrain from talking or any other mouth movements that would release the pressure on the gauze.”

That means you may want to turn off your cell phone to avoid the temptation to respond to incoming calls.

“You should swallow like normal during this time since any spitting will loosen the clot,” continues Dr. Meinecke.

“I tell my patients that the gauze does have an odd taste, but you should ignore it and swallow as usual.

“After the 20 minutes has gone by and you’ve removed the gauze, if there is still some bleeding your dentist will have given you a pack of extra sterile gauze. You can place new gauze in the area and bite on it again for 20 minutes – no peeking!”

What if the bleeding after molar extraction won’t stop after 20 minutes?

“If that 20 minutes goes by and you still have some bleeding or oozing of blood, you should get a tea bag – any generic tea will do – moisten the tea bag with water and place it at the extraction site and bite for another 20 minutes,” says Dr. Meinecke.

“Tea contains tannic acid which will help clot the blood. In total, 60 minutes of biting down on either the gauze or tea bag should be enough to stop any active bleeding.

“Don’t be alarmed if you see blood on your pillow the next morning. This is common, and remember that your blood is mixed with saliva which makes it appear more impressive, but it’s usually nothing to worry about.

“However, you should contact your dentist immediately if your mouth is filling with blood.

“Active bleeding should end within 20 minutes after extraction, and mild seeping of blood can go on for 12 hours.”

Dr. Meinecke uses state-of-the-art sterilization procedures to ensure patient safety. In addition to comprehensive dental care, you’ll be treated in an ultra-modern dental office utilizing many of today’s latest dental technologies.