What Is Dry Socket

and How To Prevent It?

Young girl with dry socket holding her mouth in pain, with text - Fairfield, CAIf you’re scheduled for a tooth extraction then you should be aware of a painful condition that can sometimes follow it called dry socket. This article will help you prepare for your tooth extraction by explaining what dry socket is and how you can prevent it. If you are already experiencing this painful condition inside your mouth then you can also learn how you can treat it.

What is a Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a painful condition that occasionally happens after an adult tooth extraction. It is clinically known as alveolar osteitis. Once the tooth has been removed the bone and nerves inside the tooth socket can become exposed to air which results in pain. Normally after an extraction, a  blood clot will form over the socket protecting it from exposure. However, if the blood clot gets disturbed then the socket becomes very sensitive. Eating and drinking then become uncomfortable. You may also develop an infection.

Some discomfort after a tooth extraction is to be expected. However, 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 then you may have developed dry socket. You may also notice a bad taste inside your mouth. You should contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately if you have developed these symptoms.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

There are many factors involved in the development of dry socket. While some things are unavoidable, there are still some things you can do to prevent dry socket. The causes may include:

  • Wisdom teeth extraction. It is more likely to occur if 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 due to infection or trauma
  • You have a history of poor dental hygiene 
  • You take medication that inhibits blood clotting

Your dentist will likely give you the following aftercare instructions on how to reduce the risk of developing dry socket and aid the healing process. Your aim is to preserve the blood clot so that the bone and nerves do not become exposed.  These instructions may 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

Dry socket is not a common condition. It usually occurs in only 2-5% of patients. However, if you are one of the few that it does occur then contact your oral surgeon or dentist for specific help. They may instruct you to:

  • Take painkillers
  • Medications
  • Flush or Rinse
  • Avoid drinking through a straw
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid 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 Fairfield 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 Fairfield, CA, and serves patients in and around Solano County. Book an appointment now.

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