What is a Dry Socket?
After the extraction of an adult tooth, the development of a blood clot in the socket is necessary to heal gums and stop bleeding.
Alveolar osteitis, or dry socket, may happen if the blood clot dissolves, dislodges or fails to form before the extraction wound heals. Blood clots protect nerve endings and underlying bone in empty tooth sockets. They also promote new bone growth to facilitate soft tissue development over the blood clot.
What are Symptoms of a Dry Socket?
When nerves and underlying bone are not protected by a blood clot, intense pain will radiate from the socket into your face and jaw. This pain may worsen when you eat or drink, especially if the beverage or food is very hot or very cold. Dry socket pain typically arises within one to three days of extraction.
Other signs of a dry socket include:
- The underlying bone is visible in the empty socket
- Pain may extend into your neck, temple, eyes or ears. Dry socket pain usually remains on the side of your face involving the extraction
- Bad breath due to inflammation or infection of the dry socket
- Unpleasant or odd taste in the mouth
Tooth pulling procedures prone to dry socket complications involve the extraction of wisdom teeth, especially the lower wisdom teeth that have become impacted. Always contact our Collinsville, IL dental office as soon as possible if you suffer severe pain after an extraction.
How to Prevent a Dry Socket
Following a tooth extraction, you can significantly reduce your risk of suffering a dry socket by following these tips:
- Don’t drink with a straw–sucking in cheek muscles and air could dislodge the blood clot
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco–rapidly inhaling smoke may dislodge the clot. Tobacco product chemicals may also delay healing of the extraction and promote infection
- Eat soft foods only after an extraction–avoid crunchy or hard to chew foods for at least 24 hours following a tooth pulling procedure
- Keep your mouth clean by rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash–wait for a day or two before you brush your teeth. Brush gently to avoid dislodging the blood clot. Proper tooth care is vital to the proper healing of the extraction wound.
Dry Socket Treatment
Depending on the condition of the extraction site, your dentist may have to clean the socket and then treat the socket with a medicated paste or dressing to encourage healing. Antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. Rinsing with saltwater at home can keep the socket clean and reduce pain.
If you think you may have a dry socket, please call our Collinsville, IL dental office to schedule an appointment for an examination and treatment.