Wisdom Teeth and Dry Socket

After your dentist pulls your tooth, especially wisdom teeth, some people experience a condition referred to as dry socket. Dry socket is a painful condition that is worse than the discomfort following tooth removal. Thankfully, it can be treated. But it is best if you can prevent it. Typically, having wisdom teeth removed is an orthodontics procedure.

What is a Dry Socket?

A dry socket begins when an adult tooth has been removed and the bone and/or nerve in the socket is exposed. Normally, a clot forms to protect the area, but when it doesn’t, anything that is in your mouth- food, fluids, even air, can make the area sensitive and prone to infection.

It is expected to have a small amount of discomfort after a wisdom tooth is extracted, but if you notice intense pain, especially if it is increasing in intensity and/or radiating towards your ear, and/or you experience a bad taste in your mouth, it’s important to contact your dentist.

How to Prevent Dry Socket

You are at a higher risk for dry socket if you

  • Wisdom tooth extraction
  • Prior history of dry socket
  • Birth control use
  • Smoke
  • Experienced a traumatic extraction (due to an accident or infection)
  • History of poor dental hygiene
  • Take medication that inhibits blood clotting

When you have a tooth extracted, be sure to use any recommended oral antibiotics or antiseptic solutions and follow your oral surgeon’s post-op instructions on how to prevent a dry socket.

These instructions will likely include:

  • No rinsing/spitting for 24 hours
  • Don’t drink from straws
  • Quit smoking for 72 hours
  • Avoiding hot foods/drinks
  • Do not consume crunchy foods (chips, nuts, popcorn, etc.)
  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Limiting physical activity for 5-7 days

How to Treat Dry Socket

While dry socket is relatively uncommon, 2-5% of patients do experience dry socket. If you are one of them, your dentist is the best person to make recommendations on your treatment. These typically include:

  • Pain relievers (over-the-counter or prescribed)
  • Topical medications
  • Flushing/Rinsing
  • Avoiding smoking
  • Don’t consume sugary drinks
  • Refrain from using straws
  • Following proper oral care practices

If you need a tooth extraction, or are concerned about dry socket symptoms following tooth removal, contact Capital Dental today. These problems are preventable with regular cleanings and check ups.

Previous Article

3 Ways to Make Flossing with Orthodontic Work Easier

Next Article

How Do Braces Work?