If you’ve ever had a tooth extracted then you’re likely aware of the discomfort that it can bring. Yet, did you know that something far worse can occur after a tooth extraction? It’s a painful condition called “dry socket”. This article explains just exactly what it is and how you can avoid this painful condition. Also, if you’re reading this and the condition is already causing you discomfort then there are some tips on how you can minimise the discomfort.
What is a Dry Socket?
Dry socket is a painful condition that can sometimes follow an adult tooth extraction. The pain comes when the nerve and/or bone is exposed in the socket that’s left open from the extraction. In normal situations, a blood clot will form to protect the socket. When this doesn’t happen or if the clot gets dislodged then the socket becomes very sensitive. Anything that passes over the area, food, liquid or even air will cause discomfort. It will also be prone to infection.
Obviously you are bound to feel some discomfort after a tooth extraction. However if you feel intense pain and particularly an increasing pain that seems to be spreading towards the ear, as well as a bad taste in your mouth, then contact your dentist.
How to Prevent Dry Socket
There are some risk factors that are associated with dry socket, some you can avoid and some you can’t. They include:
- The tooth extracted was a wisdom tooth
- You’ve experienced dry socket in the past
- You use birth control pill
- You smoke
- The extraction was traumatic (due to infection or trauma)
- You have a history of poor dental hygiene
- You take medication that inhibits blood clotting
After your oral surgery, you’ll likely receive instruction on how to prevent dry socket and care for the extraction site until it’s healed. These include:
- No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
- No drinking through straws
- No smoking for 72 hours
- Avoid hot foods and drinks
- Avoid crunchy foods like chips, popcorn and nuts.
- Avoid alcohol
- Limit physical activity for 5-7 days
How to Treat Dry Socket
Dry socket is very unlikely after an extraction. It happens only in 2-5% of patients. If it does happen to you though then it’s best to contact your oral surgeon for tailored treatment. Typically it may include:
- Taking painkillers
- Flushing or Rinsing
- Avoid drinking through a straw
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding sugary drinks
- Following good oral practises
If you need to have a tooth or teeth extracted then get in contact with the oral surgeons at Rotary Way Oral Surgery. They perform single wisdom teeth extractions or full mouth extractions in the case that you will be fitted with dentures or dental implants. Their office is conveniently located in Vallejo, CA and serves patients in and around the area. Book an appointment now.