What Is Dry Socket and How To Prevent It?

Girl holding her mouth in pain because of dry socket, with text - San Jose, CAIf it becomes necessary to have a tooth extraction you may hear your dentist talk about a painful condition called dry socket. You most likely will want to understand what dry socket is and how you can prevent it. This article will explain how you can best prepare for a tooth extraction thereby avoiding this condition.  And, if you are already suffering from dry socket then you can also discover how to treat it.

What Causes Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a condition associated with adult tooth extractions. Your dentist may also refer to it as alveolar osteitis. Usually, a blood clot will form over the tooth socket inside your mouth. This protects the bone and nerves inside the socket from exposure to air. If the blood clot falls out of the socket it will become exposed causing great pain.  Eating and drinking become painful and infection is also more likely.

When Should I See The Dentist?

Don’t be alarmed if you have some discomfort after a tooth extraction, it’s part of the healing process. You should contact your dentist though, if you think that the blood clot has come out or if there is intense pain coming from the socket and spreading towards the ear. In this case, you may have developed a dry socket. You may also detect a bad taste inside your mouth. Don’t just try to cover these symptoms with painkillers. Instead, make contact with your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.

What Risk Factors Are Related to Dry Socket?

There are some risk factors that could lead to a higher chance of developing dry socket. You should try to limit what is in your reach to help prevent dry socket. They include the following:

  • If you are having your wisdom teeth extracted theirs is higher.
  • Those with a history of dry socket are more likely to get it again
  • The birth control pill can increase your risk
  • Tobacco products can aggravate the blood clot
  • If the tooth extraction was needed 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?

It’s important to follow all the aftercare instructions that your dentist gives you. Doing so will reduce the risk of developing dry socket and aid the healing process. Many of these instructions are there to preserve 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

Dry socket is a relatively rare condition. Only 2-5% of people develop it. However, if you have developed dry socket then call your dentist immediately. 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 San Jose 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 San Jose, CA, and serves patients in and around the Santa Clara County area. Book an appointment now.

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