What is Dry Socket?
After a tooth is extracted a blood clot forms to protect the underlying bone and nerves – in some cases this clot loosens, exposing the extraction site causing the pain and discomfort of a ‘dry socket’. When the extraction site is exposed, air and liquids and food come into contact with the bone and nerves, making dry socket uncomfortable. The steps for prevention are straight-forward and minimize the likelihood of it occurring.
How Can I Prevent It?
The first several days following your tooth extraction are when you are at the highest risk for dry socket; after that, caution should continue to be exercised but the risk is much lower. Fortunately, dry socket is uncommon and your risk is greatly reduced by following our aftercare instructions. The most important way to avoid dry socket is preventing a suction from forming in your mouth and disrupting the site. Avoid using straws, vaping, and smoking as they often cause the clot to dislodge. Nicotine also decreases blood supply, preventing the clot from forming effectively, so cigarette or smokeless tobacco users should be especially vigilant. Another cause can be force to mouth or face – any situations where you could sustain injury around the site of extraction should be avoided. Lastly, infection can also cause dry socket in rare cases, so use any antibacterial mouthwashes prescribed.
Dry Socket Treatment Is Easy
If you find yourself with dry socket, there are a few ways we can help. The best medicine is simply a few days’ rest to allow for healing, but it is possible to aid the healing process by gently irrigating the socket to clear it of any debris. We may also provide an anesthetizing dressing to help cover the exposed bone and tissue; it will need to be replaced every few days and helps alleviate the pain.
Dry Socket Home Remedies
Here are a few tips for home to help relieve any of the accompanying pain you may be experiencing:
- First and foremost: ice, ice, baby! Ice can greatly relieve pain by placing a pack on the face above the dry socket area.
- Aspirin or ibuprofen can also be helpful pain relievers, although depending on their efficacy, the area may be anesthetized to ease severe discomfort. OTC pain medications will be your best bet, and some can lessen inflammation to help expedite healing.
Good News Everyone!
Dry socket is generally short-lived and there are rarely any long-term consequences. However, it does mean a few days of discomfort before you are back to normal. If you have an upcoming extraction, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions to promote quick and comfortable healing!
Robbins Oral Surgery