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What You Need to Know About Dry Socket

Dental health is super important. Cavities, infections, and other dental health problems are painful and also expensive to fix. Dry socket is becoming more and more common in healthy adults after they extract a tooth.

Keep on reading our dentist‘s article to discover everything you need to know about the condition, dry socket, and how to treat or prevent it from happening again.

Dry Socket

What is a Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a medical/dental condition where the blood clot does not form properly after a tooth extraction. When you get a tooth extraction, the tooth is removed completely, leaving your gums exposed. Usually, this would be a concern, but blood clots harden and form, adding an additional natural layer of protection between your gums and the bone.

When the nerves are exposed, especially the bone, this can cause extreme pain with small movements like eating and breathing. It also opens a large space for the development and spread of bacteria.

Causes of Dry Socket

As common as dry socket is with teeth extraction procedures, no one knows for certain why it develops. However, some research studies have linked dry socket development to bacteria and trauma.

These reasons are likely why dentists recommend eating a light diet without hard or sugary foods. Sugar sticks to teeth, bones, and gums causing dental problems, while hard foods can impact and hurt your gums/bones.

Diagnosing the Condition

As soon as you notice something is wrong or painful, you should immediately consult with your dentist. Don’t wait until you are in extreme pain! Tooth extractions are quick healing, so if you are still experiencing pain and inflammation after 3 days, talk to a medical professional.

You should also be aware of the common symptoms and what dry socket looks like. The most common symptoms of this dental condition are:

  • Empty looking socket
  • Lack of blood clot
  • Extreme pain
  • Tingling sensation throughout your mouth
  • Foul odor from mouth (bacteria development)
  • Eye pain
  • Sight of the bone in the socket

Treating Dry Socket

You cannot treat dry socket on your own. You will need to speak directly with your dentist. First, your dentist will flush out any food particles left inside of the dry socket. With water, they will clean out everything in the area. It is dangerous if you leave food in the open wound, because the bacteria can develop into an infection directly in your bone or blood.

After the flush out, there are some medications that your doctor can give you to apply directly to the open socket. Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching the open and dry socket. There is no way to develop a blood clot, though, but you can decrease the pain and chance of an infection through frequent cleaning.

Preventing Dry Socket

It is not entirely possible to prevent dry socket, especially since scientists and researchers are still trying to unearth the exact cause. However, there are risk factors and groups that are more likely to develop this condition.

For example, heavy smokers have an increased chance of developing a dry socket since they have a harder time with blood clots. If you are a heavy smoker, don’t chew or smoke tobacco for at least 48 hours before and after your surgery. This will help your body heal the tooth extraction area faster.

Drink only water and stay away from high-surgery and carbonated beverages. Drinking from a straw is also not allowed for at least a week. The suction feeling from sucking on a straw can lead to your blood clot dislodging or busting.

Once you have had a dry socket, you have a higher risk of developing another one, compared to those who have never developed one after a tooth extraction. As long as you follow your dentist’s instructions, your socket should heal!

Suffering from Dry Socket? Reach Out to Our Dentist ASAP

Dry socket is an uncomfortable dental health problem that should be fixed as soon as possible. When you do not have protection, bacteria and other objects can hurt the area where the tooth extraction occurs.

If you suspect that something is wrong after your tooth extraction or feel pain after 2-3 days after the treatment, consult with our dentist by reaching out to our dental office.

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Creating Smiles, PC, located in St. John and Valparaiso, Indiana, offers everything you need for a healthy smile and a healthier life. Dr. Kapers and his team can take the anxiety and uncertainty out of dental visits with sedation dentistry, and we're the premier provider of dental implants in the region.