Tooth Extractions & Dry Socket – What You Should Know

tooth photo
Photo by fo.ol

Dental extractions worry most patients. Knowing what to expect and following the instructions given by your dentist for both prior and post extraction, can help ensure the extraction and healing go according to plan.
However, sometimes complications do occur. One such complication is dry socket.

What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a painful dental condition which typically occurs after a dental extraction. Once a tooth is pulled out, a blood clot forms at the site. The formation of a blood clot is the body’s natural response to any kind of injury or trauma to prevent infections and to aid in the healing process.
In the case of a dry socket however, this clot is either lost partially or completely, or it doesn’t form. When this happens, the bone and the underlying nerves are exposed and the natural healing process does not kick in.

This can be a very painful condition especially if infection sets in which is usually two to four days after an extraction.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

There are several symptoms which can indicate dry socket. These include:
• An intense throbbing pain.
• Foul taste in the mouth.
• Bad breath.
• Swollen and tender gums.

Who is at high-risk for Dry Socket?

While a dry socket can happen post dental extraction to anyone, there are certain factors which can increase the chances of a dry socket in some people. These factors include:
• Smoking.
• Poor oral health.
• Deep trauma post dental extraction.
• Use of birth control pills.
• Wisdom tooth extractions.
• Anyone above 30 years of age is at risk.
• Previous dental conditions such as periodontal disease.
• Excessive rinsing and spitting after an extraction.

How is Dry Socket Treated?

Although anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can help alleviate the pain, it is best to seek dental intervention to treat dry socket and to prevent the condition from getting worse.

• If pain medication is not sufficient to reduce pain, the dentist might apply a local anesthetic.
• The tooth socket is then cleaned.
• Any debris (food or any other substance) has to be removed and the socket is sanitized with special paste or medicated dressing to aid in the healing process.
• The dentist will prescribe antibiotics to prevent any infection from setting in.
• At home care such as rinsing with salt water or a special mouthwash might be recommended.
• The patient will be required to come back for cleaning and dressing of the socket every few days.

Preventing Dry Socket:

The best way to prevent dry socket is to simply follow the instructions given by your dentist for what to do before and after this process. Keep the following in mind if you are scheduled for an extraction:
• Speak with your dentist about any possible concerns and precautions such as medication dosage, health conditions, and dental history in detail.
• If you are a smoker, reduce or completely avoid any tobacco-based product for a few days post and prior an extraction.
• Avoid excessive spitting and drinking via a straw after this type of dental visit.
• Consume soft, non-spicy foods for a few days after the extraction.
• Make sure you keep up with all you dental appointments as detailed by your dentist.

Are you worried about dental extraction? Do you have questions and concerns regarding an extraction? Or even if you have any other dental conditions, schedule a consultation with Austin based Dr. Dan today!
You can easily reach us at (512) 452-2273 or book an appointment according to your schedule.

Dan Matthews DDS
Dan Matthews Dan Matthews DDS The Park at Eanes Creek,
4407 Bee Cave Road
Building 2, Suite 221
Austin, Texas, 78746
(512) 452-2273
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