What Is Dry Socket

and How To Prevent It?

Girl holding her mouth in pain because of dry socket, with text - San Leandro, CAGetting a tooth extraction can always be a worrying time because of the uncomfortableness that it can bring. At the same time, if you’re not careful a more painful condition could occur called dry socket. What is dry socket and how can you prevent it? Read on to learn more so that as you prepare for a tooth extraction you can avoid this condition. The article will also explain how you can treat dry socket if it’s already happened.

What Causes Dry Socket?

Dry socket can sometimes occur when your teeth are extracted. You may also hear the term alveolar osteitis. Ideally, a blood clot will form over the tooth socket inside your mouth. This covers sensitive bones and nerves inside the socket from being exposed to the air. If the blood clot gets dislodged from the tooth socket the protection is gone causing great discomfort.  Eating and drinking become difficult and infection is also more likely.

When Should I See The Dentist?

Some discomfort is to be expected after a tooth extraction, it’s part of the healing process. 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 then you should see the dentist. It is likely you may have developed dry socket. It’s possible that you also detect a bad taste inside your mouth. It’s not a good idea to cover these symptoms with painkillers. Instead, make immediate contact with your dentist or oral surgeon.

If the blood clot gets dislodged from the tooth socket the protection is gone causing great discomfort.

What Risk Factors Are Related to Dry Socket?

There are some risk factors that increase the chance of you developing dry socket. If it’s possible to avoid these things then it might help you prevent dry socket. Otherwise, be aware and take extra care. They include the following:

  • It is your wisdom teeth being extracted
  • You have a history of dry socket
  • You are on the birth control pill
  • You use tobacco products
  • If the tooth extraction was necessary 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?

Most importantly you should follow all the aftercare instructions that your dentist gives you. This will give you the best chance of reducing the risk of developing dry socket and aid the healing process. By doing so you will protect 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

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 then you should see the dentist.

How to Treat Dry Socket

Dry socket is not so common. Only 2-5% of people will suffer from it. If you think you have 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 Estudillo 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 Leandro, CA, and serves patients in and around the area. Book an appointment now.

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