What Is Dry Socket

and How To Prevent It?

Girl holding mouth in pain, with text - Pinole, CAHaving a tooth extracted is also going to cause a little discomfort. However, if you are not careful in the days following a tooth extraction then you could develop a painful condition called dry socket. This article explains just exactly what dry socket is and how you can prevent this painful condition. Also, if you’re reading this article and the condition is already causing you discomfort inside your mouth then you can read some tips on how you can minimize the discomfort.

What is a Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a painful condition that can sometimes follow an adult tooth extraction. Clinically, it is known as alveolar osteitis. After the extraction, the bone and nerves inside the tooth socket can become exposed which results in pain. In normal situations, a blood clot will form to protect the socket. When this doesn’t happen or if the blood clot gets dislodged then the socket becomes very sensitive. Anything that passes over the area, liquid, food or even air will cause discomfort. It may also lead to an infection. 

Obviously, you are bound to feel some discomfort after a tooth extraction. However, if you notice that the blood clot has been dislodged and you feel intense pain and particularly an increasing pain that seems to be spreading towards the ear then contact your dentist or oral surgeon. Another symptom of dry socket may include a bad taste inside your mouth.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

There are some known risk factors associated with dry socket. There are some things you can do to prevent dry socket and others you can’t. They include:

  • The extraction was one of your wisdom teeth
  • You’ve experienced dry socket in the past
  • You use birth control pills
  • 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 some instructions from your dentist on how to reduce the risk of developing dry socket and aid the healing process of the extraction site. Many of the instructions are designed to care for the blood clot so that the bone and nerves do not become exposed.  These include:

  • Take care of your oral hygiene
  • No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
  • No drinking through straws
  • No smoking for 72 hours
  • Avoid hot foods and drinks
  • Limit diet to soft foods
  • Avoid crunchy foods like chips, popcorn, and nuts.
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Limit physical activity for 5-7 days

How to Treat Dry Socket

Thankfully, dry socket rarely happens after an extraction. Statistics show that it occurs in only 2-5% of patients. If you are one of the unfortunate ones for this to happen to then it’s best to contact your oral surgeon or dentist for tailored treatment. Typically it may include:

  • Taking painkillers
  • Medications
  • Flushing or Rinsing
  • Avoid drinking through a straw
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Avoiding sugary drinks
  • Following good oral practices 

Teeth Extraction

If you need to have a tooth or teeth extracted then get in contact with the oral surgeons at Pinole 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 Pinole, CA and serves patients in and around Contra County. Book an appointment now.

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