December 11, 2018
If you’ve had a tooth extracted recently, then you know that it’s normal to feel a bit of soreness afterwards. Any type of oral surgery is going to require time to rest and call for a soft diet. But if you don’t practice the right aftercare, you can easily get dry socket. This condition can be very painful, but there are ways to manage it and prevent them in the future.
If you’re experiencing a dry socket after an extraction in Falls Church, keep reading.
Do I Have Dry Socket?
When tooth sockets heal after an extraction, they form a blood clot over the surgical site. This clot is meant to protect the bone underneath and allow gum tissue to effectively heal. If you aren’t careful, that clot can easily become dislodged. However, there are some cases where the clot never properly forms and the bone and nerves remain exposed. This can cause significant pain, as well as:
- Low-grade fever
- Swollen glands
- Chronic bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Empty-looking socket or visible bone
- Severe discomfort in the face, jaw, eye, ear and temple
- Chronic headaches as a result of discomfort
What Can I Do About It?
Dry socket needs to be handled by a dentist, so don’t put off calling one if these symptoms apply to you. By visiting a dentist, they can examine your mouth and confirm the next best steps to help you heal. When you arrive, the dentist will rinse your mouth out with saline solution in order to sanitize the area. Then the area will be specially dressed (which should be replaced after a few days.) Dressing the wound allows it to heal more effectively and prevents bacteria from reaching inside it.
You will also likely be prescribed pain medications since over-the-counter painkillers won’t be enough to manage your discomfort. Dry socket on average can take about 7 to 10 days to recover from, and you’ll need to get plenty of rest and listen to all of the dentist’s aftercare instructions.
How Do I Prevent Future Dry Socket?
If you plan on getting another extraction later or you know someone getting an extraction, make sure to:
- Avoid straws within the first 24 hours as they can disturb or dislodge the clot.
- Avoid all tobacco products and smoking in general. Tobacco interferes with the healing process.
- Follow a soft diet consisting of soup, yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, soft-cooked beans and pasta, steamed vegetables and other foods that don’t require lots of chewing.
- Practice daily oral hygiene. During the first day of healing, you may have to avoid brushing or flossing, but only do so if the dentist recommends it. When you do start your oral care, be very careful around the surgical site.
- Do not engage in any physical activities the day of an extraction.
While dry socket after wisdom teeth extractions can be difficult to recover from, you can take the steps necessary to get better. Schedule an appointment with a dentist if you fear you’re suffering from dry socket!
About the Author
Dr. Sanae Berrada has extensive training in a wide variety of dental disciplines, including dental implants and other surgical dental treatments. If you or someone you know is dealing with dry socket but don’t know where to turn, you can rest assured knowing she’ll get you back on the right path to proper oral health. Don’t hesitate to contact her through her website for help.
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