What Is Dry Socket

and How To Prevent It?

Little girl with hand on mouth in pain, with text - California Oral and Facial Surgery, CAYou know that if you’re going to have a tooth extracted it’s also going to be somewhat painful. However, there is a far more painful condition that can occur following a tooth extraction called dry socket. If you would like to know just exactly what dry socket is and how you can prevent this painful condition then read on in this article. If you’re reading this article and you already have discomfort inside your mouth then you can learn how to minimize the discomfort.

What is a Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a condition that causes a lot of pain and will sometimes follow an adult tooth extraction. It is otherwise known as alveolar osteitis. Following an extraction, the bone and nerves inside the tooth socket can become exposed which results in pain. Usually, a blood clot will form over the socket protecting it from exposure. If the blood clot gets dislodged or doesn’t form then the socket becomes very sensitive. Then, as you eat or drink it will cause discomfort. There is also a chance of you developing an infection.

Discomfort after a tooth extraction is obviously unavoidable. You may have a dry socket if you notice that the blood clot has been dislodged or if you feel intense pain and particularly an increasing pain that seems to be spreading towards the ear. If this happens to you then contact your dentist or oral surgeon. You may also notice a bad taste inside your mouth.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

Dry socket may occur for a number of reasons. You may be able to adjust some things in order to prevent dry socket but others you can’t. The causes may include:

  • It was your wisdom teeth that were extracted
  • You have a history of dry socket
  • You use birth control pills
  • You use tobacco products
  • The extraction was traumatic (due to infection or trauma)
  • You have a history of poor dental hygiene 
  • You take medication that inhibits blood clotting

Your dentist will give you some aftercare instructions on how to reduce the risk of developing dry socket and aid the healing process. You will basically need to care for the blood clot so that the bone and nerves do not become exposed. These instructions include:

  • Maintain good oral hygiene
  • No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours
  • No drinking through straws
  • No smoking for 72 hours
  • Avoid hot foods and drinks
  • Eat soft foods
  • Don’t eat crunchy foods like chips, popcorn, and nuts.
  • Avoid alcohol 
  • Limit physical activity for 5-7 days

How to Treat Dry Socket

Thankfully, you’re very unlikely to develop a dry socket. It usually occurs in only 2-5% of patients. If you are unfortunate and it happens to you 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 California Oral and Facial Surgery. They perform wisdom teeth extractions and dental implants. Their office is conveniently located in Alameda, CA, and serves patients in and around the area. Book an appointment now.

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