Updated: Nov 16
It is actually a good sign if you see a black hole where the wisdom tooth was removed because it means that it is in the middle of healing. It may seem alarming at first because you see a dark hole but it is a natural progression of the socket healing process.
This article will explain why the wisdom tooth hole is supposed to look black and what causes it to appear that way. We'll also go over what the black hole is not and that should assuage your fears of any potential complications which you may be thinking of.
Table of Contents:
Why the wisdom tooth hole looks black
Immediately after extracting the wisdom tooth, the hole is normally supposed to look black because there is NOTHING in there. What was supposed to be there was your wisdom tooth but since it is gone, the socket is devoid of a tooth. Since there is no longer anything there, you would see a black hole.
Here is a picture of what it looks like right after taking the wisdom tooth out. As you can see, the socket looks pitch black as if you were staring into a black hole. This is absolutely normal and is considered a healthy wisdom tooth hole.
Another reason why it can look black like that is due to how far back your wisdom tooth socket is located. Since it is so far back it is difficult for light to reach there. Since light isn't able to reach into the hole, it will look dark.
Therefore a huge contributor to its color has to do with light optics since wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth. Its simply hard to illuminate into the socket since it is so far back and that is why it appears black.
The appearance of the wisdom tooth hole over the next few days
However, over the course of the next few days the wisdom tooth hole will actually start to look less black. First the blood clot will form and begin the healing process. What you will start to notice is actually white stuff in the tooth extraction hole.
The white stuff is basically granulation tissue and is also a sign that healing is progressing along. What it looks like is glob of white stuff inside of the hole. It may also have little red specks which comes from some of the nearby blood vessels.
As long as you are not feeling any pain, that white substance should just be granulation tissue. However, if you do feel pain then that white stuff is most likely not healing tissue but rather it is purulence. Pus is a sign of infection so make sure there is no pain associated with it because if you are having pain you should see a dentist immediately.
The appearance of the socket after about a week
Approximately about a week or so afterwards, the wisdom tooth socket will actually start to look like a black hole once again. This is because the gums have regrown enough to mostly cover up what is inside of the socket.
Since the hole in the gums is now a lot smaller, it has become a lot more difficult for light to reach into the hole and illuminate it. Due to the light optics, it will once again look like a black hole!
What the black hole is not
A dry socket is on par with root canals for instilling dental anxiety into the hearts of the populace. Fortunately, the black hole in the socket is NOT a dry socket because a dry socket should actually be yellow to white in color.
The reason why it is not black is because a dry socket is a condition where the blood clot is missing which results in exposed bone. Since bone is yellow to white in color, that should be the color that you see inside of the wisdom tooth hole.
Therefore there is no need to worry about a dry socket if you see a black hole in the socket. Aside from that, a tell tale sign of one is extreme pain so if you're not feeling any discomfort, it most likely isn't it.
We would also like to point out that just because you didn't get stitches after the extraction, it will not result in a dry socket. The condition is biological in nature and has nothing to do with physical means. It also means that drinking through a straw will not cause it either.
Could the black hole be food?
If it isn't a dry socket, could it be potentially food that is stuck in the wisdom tooth hole? We would have to say that is unlikely because if you do indeed have food stuck in there, the color should be whatever it was that you were eating.
There aren't too many foods that are black in color so that is why it is highly unlikely for that to be the case. Exception would be if you were a big fan of squid ink pasta since that is black in color.
Nonetheless if you were concerned about your meal getting stuck in the hole... we do have an entire article dedicated on how to get food out of the wisdom tooth hole. You can flush out the hole and see if the color changes!
Whatever you flush out shouldn't be black stuff because food isn't usually that color. It would probably be yellowish in color if we had to guess. Just to remind you, the hole looks black because light is unable to reach inside of it.
Expectations for healing after wisdom tooth removal
To assuage your fears, transparency is the best practice. Therefore we will go over what you should expect after the third molar is extracted.
It typically takes most people about 4-6 weeks for the wisdom tooth hole to close. That is how long it takes for the gums to regrow and cover up the black hole. If you check on the extraction socket everyday, you'll notice it slowly get smaller with each passing day.
It takes about 30 days for it to be fully healed. That number is just based on an average sample size. Some people may heal up faster than others. If you have underlying health conditions, the healing times may be delayed and we see that quite often with diabetic patients.
How to make the wisdom tooth black hole heal faster
Making the gums grow back faster after a wisdom tooth extraction is beyond what you can do at home. However, there are things which you can do which will at least prevent the black hole from delayed healing.
Here are some tips to follow if you want it to heal faster:
Rinse with salt water vigorously after every meal. This helps to prevent food from getting stuck inside of the socket.
Do not smoke for three days but try to aim for seven if you can.
Eat nutritious food with lots of protein, calcium, and vitamin D to help it heal.
Take the antibiotics and finish it if you were given them. It helps to prevent infection.
Avoid spicy and acidic foods, which may hurt and delay healing.
Hopefully that answers why you have a black hole where the wisdom tooth was removed. It looks that way because it is supposed to. The color has more to do with the fact that your wisdom tooth hole is located at the farthest depth of your mouth. That makes it difficult for light to reach and illuminate into the hole and thus gives it a dark appearance.
That is actually a good sign because if you see exposed bone instead you may have a dry socket. A tell tale sign of one is excruciating tooth pain that is almost unbearable. If you are experiencing such symptoms you should make a follow up appointment with your dentist.