What Is Dry Socket and How To Prevent It?

Many of us would dread the thought of getting a tooth extraction. The thought of going through the pain is really enough to put most people off! Yet, if we don’t care for the extraction site a more painful condition could develop called dry socket

What is dry socket and how can you prevent it? We’ll explain that to you here. Being fully prepared for your tooth extraction will help you avoid this painful condition. Read to the end to see how you can treat dry socket if you’re already suffering from it.

What Causes Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a condition that can develop when your teeth are extracted. It also has the medical term alveolar osteitis. After your tooth has been extracted a blood clot will form over the tooth socket inside your mouth. This will protect the sensitive bone and nerves inside the socket from being exposed to the air. 

Dry socket occurs when the blood clot gets dislodged from the tooth socket causing great pain. You will then find it painful to eat and drink and there is a greater chance of infection.

When Should I See The Dentist?

You can expect to feel some discomfort after a tooth extraction, it’s part of the healing process. However, there are some things you should be alert to. If you notice the blood clot has come out or you have intense pain spreading from the socket towards the ear then you should go back to the dentist. 

These are the signs that you may have developed dry socket. You may also detect a bad taste inside your mouth. Don’t just cover these symptoms over with painkillers. It’s important to make immediate contact with your dentist or oral surgeon.

What Risk Factors Are Related to Dry Socket?

Some things can increase the chance of you developing dry socket. If you’re going to get your tooth extracted then consider eliminating these things for a while. Other things you will not be able to control but if they apply in your case then be extra careful after surgery. It may help you to prevent dry socket from occurring. They include the following:

  • It’s your wisdom teeth being extracted
  • You have a history of dry socket
  • You are on the birth control pill
  • You use tobacco products
  • If the tooth extraction was necessary because of infection or trauma
  • If you have a history of poor dental health 
  • You are taking medication that inhibits blood clotting

How Can I Prevent Dry Socket?

Your dentist will give you aftercare instructions that you should follow. Doing so will give you the best chance of reducing the risk of developing dry socket and contribute towards the healing process. The instructions are designed to protect the blood clot so that the bone and nerves do not become exposed.  You may be asked to:

  • Follow good oral hygiene practices
  • No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
  • Not to drink through straws
  • No tobacco products for 72 hours
  • No hot foods and drinks
  • Limit diet to soft foods
  • No crunchy foods like chips, popcorn, and nuts.
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Limit physical activity for 5-7 days

How to Treat Dry Socket

Fortunately, dry socket is not so common. Only 2-5% of people will suffer from it. However, you feel that this painful condition has developed then call your dentist immediately. You may be instructed to:

  • Take painkillers
  • Take medications to help with possible infection
  • Flush or Rinse with saltwater
  • Avoid drinking through a straw
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid sweet drinks
  • Following good oral practices 

If You Need A Tooth Extraction

If you need to have a tooth or teeth extracted then get in contact with the oral surgeons at Vallejo Oral Surgery. They perform single wisdom teeth extractions or full mouth extractions in the case that you’ll be fitted with dentures or dental implants. Their office is conveniently located in Vallejo, CA, and serves patients in and around the San Francisco Bay area. Book an appointment now.

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