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White Stuff Coming OUT of Wisdom Tooth Hole

The white stuff coming out of your wisdom tooth hole after an extraction could either be pus or white colored food that may be encased in plaque. It is of utmost importance to be able to distinguish the two because the former is an infection while the latter is harmless.


white stuff in wisdom tooth hole
white stuff in wisdom tooth hole

Do you know which of the two you have?


Last but not least, we wish to clarify the purpose of our article. We are specifically addressing a white substance that may be coming out, oozing out, or leaking out of the wisdom tooth hole. That is different from white stuff that stays put inside of the third molar hole.


What's the white stuff coming out?

The two most likely things that the white stuff which is coming out of your wisdom tooth socket are pus and white colored food. These two substances are at polar opposite ends of the spectrum because one is bad and the other is harmless.


What the white stuff could be:

  • Purulence a.k.a an infection.

  • Food that is white in color.


Pus

Pus is a white colored fluid that is rich in proteins as well as dead white blood cells and bacteria. It is typically present during active infections and when it's left untreated, the build up of purulence will result in swelling which is what we call a full blown abscess.


Pus is analogous to a sea of dead bodies after a war has been fought. In our case, it would be your immune system fighting off foreign invaders (bacteria).


Signs & symptoms:

  • White colored fluid that comes out.

  • Malodor.

  • Bad tasting drainage.

  • Pain in the extraction site.

  • Erythema or redness around the area.

  • Fever.


Therefore, if you see white stuff that is flowing out of the extraction socket it could very well be pus and that means that something went awry. Essentially, the wisdom tooth hole is officially infected and you have a post-surgical complication.


This is a serious condition and you should contact your dentist immediately.


White colored food

Food that may have been stuck in the wisdom tooth hole but got dislodged can potentially be the white stuff that comes out. The reason it is white is because because when foodstuff breaks down in the mouth it also tends to be covered with plaque. The color of plaque is a white-yellowish sticky substance.


extraction socket white fluid

Signs & symptoms:

  • Not painful but can be irritating.

  • Malodor.

  • Bad taste.

  • You noticed it happen after a meal.

  • It comes out if you rinse or flush out the socket.


The good news is that if it is stuck food, it is a harmless condition. You may need to increase your oral hygiene efforts but at least it isn't an infection.


How to tell if it's an infection

Being able to distinguish if the white stuff coming out of the extraction socket is an infection is very important. If it is infected you need to have it addressed immediately so that it doesn't fester and get worse.


Signs of the white stuff being an infection:

  • Pain.

  • Redness around the area.

  • Swelling.

  • Fever.

  • Bad tasting drainage.


wisdom tooth socket complication
wisdom tooth socket complication

Consequences if left untreated:

  • Increased swelling. Infections will not go away on their own, one of the most likely consequences would be the area increasing in size due to swelling.

  • Increasing pain. As the swelling grows in size, the pain increases in unison.

  • Delayed healing. An abscess is the very definition of a non-healing wound. You should expect your wisdom tooth healing to take a lot longer than normal.


White stuff coming out VS white stuff not coming out

After the extraction, the wisdom tooth socket goes through various stages of healing and one of them is when granulation tissue forms. This granulation tissue inside of the third molar socket is white in color and can be mistaken for white stuff that "comes out."


normal progression of healing tooth socket
normal progression of healing tooth socket

White stuff that comes out of the socket is NOT granulation tissue. Granulation tissue is stable inside of the socket and will not come out. Therefore, if the white substance comes out, it cannot be granulation tissue.


Ultimately, anything that is able to leave the wisdom tooth hole is considered unstable. The only two things that would do that are purulence or stuck food that has become dislodged.


What you need to do

If the white stuff turns out to be an infection, you need to see a dentist as soon as possible. However, if it is simply food that was caught in the wisdom tooth hole but loosened, you just need to increase your oral hygiene efforts.


decision tree - what to do for white stuff coming out of wisdom tooth hole
decision tree

Infected socket treatment:

  • Socket debridement. Wisdom tooth hole along with the gums will be debrided with a curette. That involves scraping the inside of it to remove all inflamed tissues.

  • Incision & drainage. If swelling is present, it will need to be physically drained so that the abscess can be removed and the surgical site can finally heal.

  • Antibiotics. You should expect to leave the dentist office with a prescription for a full course of antibiotics. They may give you an antibiotic rinse (chlorhexidine) to use as well.


Removing stuck food from socket:

  • Plastic syringe. If your dentist gave you a syringe, you can use pulsatile pressure to flush out the stuck food.

  • Water flosser. A water flosser is the most effective way to remove food stuck in the wisdom tooth hole since it shoots pressurized water.

  • Salt water rinse. Rinsing vigorously with salt water is the most common and least expensive way to get food out of the socket.


socket irrigation syringe
socket irrigation syringe

Will home remedies help?

Home remedies may be effective for very mild conditions but if you have a legitimate infection, you need professional treatment. If you look at the potential treatments from above, they're all things that you cannot do at home. You need to see a dentist!


Takeaway

If you have white stuff that is coming out of your wisdom tooth hole after your extraction, it could either be an infection or stuck food. The former would be the worse case scenario while the later wouldn't be a terrible outcome.

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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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