What Exactly Are Dentists Referring To When They Advise Not To 'Create Suction'?

It seems to be relatively common for dentists to admonish their patients not to ‘create suction’ after having endured a bloody dental procedure such as a root canal or a wisdom tooth extraction. When they say this, what specific activities are they proscribing?

I understand that creating a partial vacuum inside your mouth after having had dental surgery could cause some bleeding, but I don’t know of any way to generate a vacuum sufficient to produce bleeding in your day-to-day activities. For example, it would only take a vacuum pressure of perhaps a foot of water to suck a beverage through a straw, which would only be about 1/32 atmospheric pressure. Surely this would not be enough to cause profuse bleeding.

So what do dentists really mean when they use this particular phrase? Could a dentist be slapped for a harassment suit for saying this??


A vacuum in your mouth after dental surgery can cause the blood clots that have formed in the surgery area to break loose, causing a condition known as dry socket.

The suction caused by drinking through a straw can be enough to set this off. Smoking is another leading cause of dry socket.