Jason Erasmus - Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Christchurch, New Zealand

Use of Irrigation Syringes (following extraction)

Food-trapping after tooth removal

  • Following tooth removal, it will usually take 4-6 weeks for the gum to heal completely. Until then, food-trapping in the open tooth socket(s) is common.
  • The sockets of lower molar teeth, including those of lower wisdom teeth, are most commonly affected.
  • The trapping of food may delay healing and cause bad breath and a bad taste to develop.
  • Despite this, it is rarely a serious problem, but may be associated with pain and/or swelling.
  • You can reduce the chance of food collecting in the socket(s) by pureeing your food for the first 1-2 weeks and if appropriate, by favouring the other side of your mouth whilst eating.
  • If food-trapping is a problem, your Jason Erasmus may recommend the use of an irrigation syringe.

Irrigating the extraction socket(s)

  • Add half a teaspoon of table salt or a capful of the mouthwash prescribed, to a glass of warm water and draw this up into the syringe.
  • While looking in the mirror, place the tip of the syringe over the socket and irrigate. Any food trapped in the socket should be flushed out.
  • Repeat as required.
  • Usually you will only need to do this for the first 1-2 weeks while the socket is open.

If you have any problems, please contact us:
Office: 03 3551155 or Jason Erasmus: 021 873 783