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How to treat and care for dry socket

When teeth are pulled, especially wisdom teeth, you may experience something that is commonly referred to as, “dry socket.” Dry socket is a painful condition that can accompany the removal of a tooth. It’s treatable, though it’s best if you can prevent dry socket from happening altogether.

Dry socket happens when a bone or nerve in the socket is exposed after an adult tooth has been pulled out or removed. If everything goes according to plan, you would have a blood clot to form that would protect the socket. When this clot doesn’t happen, your mouth becomes prone to infection, especially from the food, drinks, and even air around you. You might notice that you’re suffering from dry socket if you’re noticing intense pain following your wisdom tooth being extracted. However, if you notice that the pain is excruciating and accompanied by a radiating nerve pain heading towards your ear, contact us immediately. This can be a symptom of dry socket.

You are at risk for dry socket if you have had dry sockets in the past. If you have had wisdom teeth extracted, use birth control, smoke, drink alcohol, have poor dental hygiene, or have had an extraction due to an accident or an infection in the mouth, you are at a higher risk for dry socket.

If you take medication that doesn’t allow your blood to clot, it’s important to let us know. Taking medication that inhibits blood clotting can also cause dry socket since the open wound is not allowed to properly clot.

To continuously prevent dry socket, it’s important to follow the oral care plan that your dentist gives you, after your procedure. If you were prescribed oral antibiotics or antiseptics, be sure to use them as instructed. Following your dentist’s post-op plan is one of the first means of preventing dry socket. Some of the methods that you will be given may include not rinsing for 24 hours, not drinking from straws, no smoking, avoiding hot foods and drinks, avoiding anything that’s crunchy such as nuts or potato chips, avoiding alcoholic beverages, and being aware of the amount of physical activity that you are going through for the next week.

While these are not guaranteed ways to ensure you don’t suffer from dry socket, these are the major steps that can prevent dry socket from happening after an oral procedure. If your dentist prescribes or instructs anything else to help, be sure to follow those instructions.

Dry socket is uncommon. In the event that you still suffer from dry socket, there are several ways that it can be treated. Of course, you want to contact us immediately if you are concerned about dry socket. We would be able to give you the best recommendations on how to treat your condition. Some of what we would recommend would include painkillers, topical medication, flushing and rinsing, and going through the same care methods as listed above. You will still have to avoid straws, drinking, smoking, and strenuous physical activity.

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