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Alternatives If You Run Out Of Gauze For Wisdom Teeth

If you run out of gauze for wisdom teeth and you're still bleeding, you should either get more gauze or use a gauze alternative.

The most important thing after your wisdom tooth extraction is to achieve hemostasis by getting the socket to stop bleeding. If you don't, there will be dire consequences.

Wisdom teeth gauze biting
Wisdom teeth gauze biting

Procuring more gauze

If you wish to stick to standard wisdom teeth aftercare protocol, you should attempt to procure more gauze if you run out of it.

Where to get more gauze:

  • Ask your dentist. If your dentist is located nearby to you, you can simply walk right in and ask for more gauze. They would be more than happy to give you some extra.

  • Pharmacies. You can purchase gauze at all pharmacies because it's use isn't exclusive to dentistry. You can find it being used in every aspect of healthcare. It should be available at CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, or any local pharmacy.

gauze from cvs
gauze from cvs

Of course the most cost effective option would be to get more of it from your dentist since it wouldn't cost you anything. Purchasing at a pharmacy will probably cost you $5-10 for a box.

Gauze alternatives

When you run out of gauze for wisdom teeth, there are actually plenty of gauze substitutes which you may already have at home. You can use these in lieu of it to stop the wisdom tooth hole from bleeding.

At home gauze alternatives for wisdom teeth:

  • Black tea bag. Yes, you can simply wet a plain ole black tea bag and bite down on it in lieu of gauze. Just make sure you remove the string with the tag on it before using it.

  • Cotton pads. If someone uses makeup, there should be cotton pads in the bathroom that are used for makeup removal. You can simply fold these pads into a small square and bite on it over the socket.

  • Paper towel. Alternatively, you can fold the paper towel into a small square just like how you'd use gauze and bite down on it. It should not only look identical but also function identically as well.

Gauze alternatives
Gauze alternatives

You should have some if not all of these at home somewhere. At the very least, everyone should have paper towels at home right? There is absolutely no excuse for you to stop using gauze because you've run out since there are plenty of viable substitutes.

How to use gauze alternatives to stop wisdom teeth bleeding

Do they actually work?

Yes, all of the gauze alternatives listed above does work and they will get the third molar socket to stop bleeding. The reason they work is because they serve the same purpose as gauze, a disposable viable medium that can apply pressure to the extraction socket.

(2) criteria to be a viable gauze alternative:

  • Disposable. The most obvious reason to use gauze is because it is disposable. After biting on it, it'll be filled with blood and no one wants to wash it out nor reuse it. Therefore, something that is disposable is preferable to a non-disposable material.

  • Viable medium to apply pressure. There is actually nothing special about gauze that will stop the wisdom teeth bleeding. What induces hemostasis is the pressure that is being applied to the wisdom tooth socket. It doesn't actually matter what you bite on as long as it can apply pressure to the hole.

That second criteria of it being a "viable medium" means that it shouldn't result in any injuries to the mouth. You want something that is soft and not hard which may accidentally injury the gums, cheeks, or tongue.

Non-viable substitutes:

  • Plastic objects. Anything that is hard can potentially cause an injury in your mouth.

  • Hard bread. Theoretically bread can soak up a lot of liquids but this wouldn't be appropriate for wisdom teeth removal. You risk getting food stuck in the wisdom tooth hole by using bread or any other food for that matter.

  • Using your finger. You can actually stop the bleeding by applying pressure with your finger but it is impractical due to the location of the third molars. They're too far back in your mouth and your fingers are probably too big to fit back there!

The above are just examples of what wouldn't be appropriate to use but you should get the idea that we're trying to get across.

Best alternative

The most readily accessible alternative would be using the paper towel but if you're having trouble getting the bleeding to stop, the wet tea bag would be the superior choice.

Benefits of using black tea bag:

  • Black tea has tannic acids which inherently have hemostatic properties.

  • Essentially using it can help speed up the blood clotting process.

The downside to biting on wet black tea bags is that you will most likely be getting a lot of extra caffeine in your system. Therefore, if you're sensitive to caffeine, you may not want to use this method.

Can I just stop using gauze?

If you're still bleeding after your wisdom tooth removal, it is NOT recommended to stop using gauze. You must continue to use gauze or an alternative until most of the bleeding has stopped.

The consequence of stopping halfway would be prolonged bleeding and potentially non-stop bleeding, both of which can be dangerous. If you lose too much blood, you may experience bouts of feeling lightheaded and can potentially faint.

It is considered a medical emergency if it does not stop bleeding so please use one of the alternatives or simply procure more gauze.


You may run out of gauze if your dentist didn't give you enough or you're bleeding more than expected. The good news is that you can always get more gauze from your dentist or even purchase them on your own.

However, if you're unable to get more of it, there are alternatives to gauze which you can still use to get your wisdom tooth hole to stop bleeding. These home remedies are readily accessible to everyone since you should have them at home.

You must keep pressure on that socket in order to achieve hemostasis!



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About the author: Dr David Chen, DDS

Hello, I'm Dr Chen and I'm an actively practicing dentist in Long Island City, NY. I graduated from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine in 2016 but prior to going to dental school I was already working in the dental field. It's been more than a decade since I first got to know dentistry and let me tell you, time flies by quickly. Since then I've developed a fondness for writing, which is how this all got started!

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Medical Disclaimer:

This blog is purely meant for information purposes and should not be used as medical advice. Each situation in your mouth is unique and complex. It is not possible to give advice nor diagnose any oral conditions based on text nor virtual consultations. The best thing to do is to go in person to see your dentist for an examination and consultation so that you can receive the best care possible.

The purpose of all of this oral health information is to encourage you to see your dentist and to inform you of what you may expect during your visit. Due to the unfortunate nature of dentistry, there isn't really any true home remedies that will get rid of dental problems. Roughly 99.99% of them require in-person intervention by a healthcare professional.

Hint: That is the reason why you can't eliminate seeing dentists in your life!

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