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.
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 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.
Bad tasting drainage.
Pain in the extraction site.
Erythema or redness around the area.
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.
Signs & symptoms:
Not painful but can be irritating.
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:
Redness around the area.
Bad tasting drainage.
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."
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.
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.
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!
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.