What Is Dry Socket and How To Prevent It?

Preparing for tooth extraction is important for a speedy recovery. If we don’t make plans to properly care for the extraction site a more painful condition could develop called dry socket. 

What is dry socket and how can you prevent it? That’s something we’re going to answer in this article. We’ll also see how you can treat dry socket if you’re already suffering from it.

What Causes Dry Socket?

A dry socket can occur when you have a tooth extracted. Its medical term is alveolar osteitis. After tooth extraction, a blood clot will form over the tooth socket inside your mouth. This is the natural way your body will protect the sensitive bone and nerves inside the socket. 

If the blood clot gets dislodged, the socket will be exposed to the air causing great pain. It will be painful both to eat and drink and you are more likely to get an infection.

When Should I See The Dentist?

If you are experiencing high levels of discomfort after your tooth extraction, you may need to return to the dentist. First, check to see if the blood clot.  Also, be alert to an intense pain spreading from the socket towards the ear. 

These are possible signs that you may have developed dry socket. A bad taste inside your mouth is another indication. These symptoms should not just be covered over with painkillers. Instead, make immediate contact with your dentist or oral surgeon.

What Risk Factors Are Related to Dry Socket?

Some factors will raise the chance of developing dry socket. If you’re due to have your tooth extracted then try avoiding what you can on the list below. Obviously, some things may be out of your control such as which tooth is being extracted or medical history. In that case, be alert and take extra care to prevent dry socket:

  • It is 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?

After the surgery, you should follow the aftercare instructions that your dentist gives you. Being as strict with them as you can will reduce the risk of developing dry socket and contribute to the healing process. The purpose of the instructions is 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

You will be pleased to know that dry socket is not very common. It only occurs in 2-5% of people. Remember to call your dentist immediately if you think it has developed. 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 Stanislaus 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.

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