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No Syringe After Wisdom Teeth? Try These Alternatives

If your dentist didn't give you a syringe after wisdom teeth removal, you can use an alternative at home remedy to irrigate the socket.


Syringe for wisdom teeth irrigation
Syringe for wisdom teeth irrigation

Syringe alternatives for wisdom teeth:


The three options listed above will all generate pressure in the mouth which can help flush out food, plaque, and debris which may be stuck in the wisdom tooth hole.


white stuff inside wisdom tooth hole
white stuff inside wisdom tooth hole

Although before we go into each of these alternative methods, you do know that you can purchase your own syringe if your dentist didn't provide one right? They are readily available at pharmacies and online retailers.


Salt water rinse

Vigorous salt water rinsing is the gold standard for keeping the sockets clean and free of food/plaque after an extraction. As a matter of fact, rinsing with salt water is usually sufficient in keeping the socket clean enough that a syringe is not necessary.


Yes, when we say salt water rinse, we literally mean just salt mixed into a cup of water.


salt for salt water rinsing

How to make a salt water rinse for extractions:

  1. Add a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water.

  2. Stir the saline mixture lightly.

  3. Rinse vigorously for 1-2 minutes by swishing around.

  4. Spit out and repeat after every meal.



Pros:

  • Inexpensive.

  • Salt has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Very gentle since it doesn't generate too much intraoral pressure.

  • Readily available since everyone has salt and water at home.


Cons:

  • Less effective than a water flosser which can produce more pressure.


 

Water flosser

The water flosser is a very effective tool that can be used to flush out your extraction socket after wisdom teeth removal. Since it is electrically powered, it is able to generate a lot of irrigation pressure that can remove even the most stubborn stuck food or plaque.


Waterpik water flosser on bathroom sink
waterpik water flosser

Essentially this oral hygiene device is equivalent to the air water syringe that your dentist uses. You know, the same one that they use to shoot pressurized water in your mouth.


How to use the water flosser for socket irrigation:

  1. Change setting to "Massage" for pulsatile water pressure.

  2. Aim water flosser into wisdom tooth hole.

  3. Flip the handle switch to on.

  4. Start with low pressure setting and increase as needed.



Pros:

  • Generates high irrigation pressure.

  • Can adjust pressure setting.

  • Can irrigate with other fluids like salt water or even mouthwash.


Cons:

  • Most expensive option.

  • Not everyone has one at home.


Note: If you're having pain while irrigating the wisdom tooth hole, you should turn the pressure setting down lower. If you have it too high it may cause some discomfort.


 

Plastic pipette

A plastic pipette is very similar to a syringe which you can use to manually apply pressurized water into the wisdom tooth hole. You can purchase this online or at any local pharmacy.


How to use the pipette for irrigation:

  1. Fill up with water or salt water.

  2. Aim it over the wisdom tooth hole.

  3. Squirt with pulsatile pressure.

  4. Repeat as necessary.


Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive.

  • Can fill with salt water for irrigation.

  • Very gentle since it doesn't generate too much intraoral pressure.


Cons:

  • Generates weak pressure.


Although we must make a comment that this one is probably the least effective food removal option for keeping the socket clean. It simply doesn't generate as much pressure as the syringe and definitely much less than the water flosser.


If you were to purchase something to irrigate with, we would actually just purchase a curved dental syringe in lieu of the pipette. It'll be much more effective and the cost would be roughly the same anyway.


Best syringe alternative for wisdom teeth

If you don't have a syringe, the water flosser would be the most effective alternative since it can utilize pulsatile pressure to dislodge stuck food.


Benefits of the water flosser for socket irrigation:

  • Pulsatile pressure is the most effective way to remove stuck food.

  • Can adjust pressure setting as needed for comfort and efficacy.

  • Easy to use and you can use it for flossing afterwards.


The only downside is that not everyone has one at home and it is the most costly option out of the wisdom teeth syringe alternatives. With that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just making a salt water rinse and only using that. That is the gold standard for wisdom teeth aftercare.


You may not believe it but the syringe is actually a bonus. It's more than sufficient to just rinse vigorously with salt water. Most dentist don't even give out a syringe which is how you ended up reading this article to begin with!


Purpose of irrigating socket

Keeping your third molar extraction socket clean is important because it helps to expedite healing and minimize delays. If you leave food or plaque inside of the socket, your body will heal slower because it needs to work around the foreign bodies.


Yes, the gums can still heal over the lodged food but the healing process will take longer. That is because your body needs to break down the food and remove it before it can close over it with new gingiva.


Therefore if you're tired of things getting stuck in the hole and you want to return back to normal as soon as possible, you should keep the socket clean. It will help it close faster.

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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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