118 Where There Is No Dentist 2012
Bleeding from the Socket
When you take out a tooth it leaves a wound, so you can expect some
blood. However, if the person bites firmly against a piece of cotton, it usually
controls the bleeding. To help the wound heal (from a clot), tell the person
not to smoke, rinse with salt water, or spit for 1 or 2 days after you take out
When the first bleeding occurs, put a new piece of cotton on top of the
wound and ask the person to close her teeth against it for an hour. Keep
her there with you, to be sure she continues to bite on the cotton. (If it is
too painful, you may want to inject anesthetic. See Chapter 9.) Change the
cotton if it becomes soaked with blood.
TREATMENT (if the bleeding continues):
1. Take her blood pressure (see Where
There Is No Doctor, pages 410-411). If it
is high, you may need medicine to bring
it down. That can help slow the bleeding.
2. Look carefully at the wound.
If the gum is torn or loose,
put in a suture (pages 167–168).
3. Wrap tea leaves in cotton gauze. Soak the bundle in water and then
put it on the socket. Have the person bite against it. Or, have her bite
against cotton gauze soaked with cactus juice.
Let the person go home only when the bleeding stops. Give her
some clean cotton to use in case the bleeding starts again later
(see page 169).
This is a very serious infection. Tetanus germs enter the body when a
wound, like a wound on the bottom of the foot, gets dirty. Germs can also
be carried to the socket when you use a dirty instrument to take out a tooth.
To avoid this, carefully read pages 86 to 91.
• the jaw becomes stiff and tight
• it is hard to swallow
• the whole body becomes tight,
with sudden spasms
A person with signs of tetanus requires immediate medical help. See
Where There Is No Doctor, pages 182 to 184, if you cannot get help