Dental extractions are a fairly routine procedure performed with little or no complications. However, they aren’t 100% problem free. For a very small amount of people, a very painful problem known as dry sockets can occur after a tooth has been removed. Luckily, it is a problem that can be prevented.

Understanding More about Dry Sockets

With a successful dental extraction, the tooth is removed and a blood clot forms in the space that has been left behind. Unfortunately for some people that doesn’t happen.

For some people, the blood clot loosens. When this happens a giant hole is created that leaves the nerves and bone exposed. Over time, food, bacteria, and saliva gather in the hole which creates a feeling of extreme pain and discomfort.

If dry sockets develop you will need to go in for additional treatment. Additional treatment involves having your dentist or oral surgeon go in and remove any debris that has gotten lodged in the hole. Once the debris is removed, the hole is cleaned out and a medical paste is put on to help with healing. The paste will need to be reapplied every couple of days to help treat with the dry sockets.

Tips and Advice to Help Prevent Dry Sockets

Following these tips and advice can help you avoid experience dry sockets after a dental extraction.

Ways to prevent dry sockets include:

  • Brushing at least twice a day – your oral surgeon will provide you with instructions on when you can brush around the extraction site, but make sure you brush the other teeth in your mouth in the meantime
  • Floss at least once a day – continue to floss as directed by your oral surgeon
  • Follow instructions for use of medicated rinses – some oral surgeons will prescribe a medicated rinse to help you heal after a dental extraction
  • Don’t play around the extraction site – it may be tempting to poke or touch the area where the tooth was but try and leave it alone. Only go near it when you need to change any gauze.
  • Avoid smoking – stop smoking for anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the extraction
  • Avoid foods that have small pieces that can get stuck around the extraction site. Examples of foods that can get stuck include popcorn, pasta, and peanuts. It is a good idea to avoid these types of foods for at least four days.
  • Stick to eating softer foods that don’t require you to move your mouth a lot.
  • Stay away from carbonated sodas and waters as they can dislodge the blood clot
  • Carefully rinse your mouth out with warm salt water. Make sure you don’t spit after rinsing. Instead, let the water slowly dribble out of your mouth.
  • Avoid spitting.
  • Try to avoid coughing, sneezing, or other sudden movements.

Be Aware of the Symptoms of Dry Sockets

Even if you take every precaution, you still may experience dry sockets. It is important that you know the symptoms of dry sockets so you can get them treated as soon as possible. The sooner they are treated, the less pain you will be in and the faster they will heal.

Some of the symptoms of dry sockets include:

  • Extreme pain that feels as if it is coming directly from the area where the tooth was located
  • Throbbing or dull pain that develops several days after the extraction
  • Wounds near the extraction site that appear dry or as if there isn’t a blood clot present
  • Developing bad breath that is often accompanied by an unpleasant taste

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your oral surgeon immediately. He or she will ask you to come in for an appointment so they can examine the extraction site and see if you are suffering from dry sockets.

Have additional questions about dry sockets? Call Sedaros Oral Facial Surgery & Dental Implants and ask to speak to one of our friendly staff members. Dr. Sedaros and his staff will be willing to help answer any questions or concerns you may have about dry sockets. Call us today!