If you’ve had a tooth extracted recently, you were probably given a list of guidelines to follow to ensure that your recovery process goes smoothly. There are many reasons you should want to follow these instructions, and among them is preventing dry sockets. But what does this issue entail and how can it be avoided—and more so, should you be worried about it? Here’s what your dentist wants you to know.
What Are Dry Sockets?
Dry sockets can occur in the hole in your jawbone where a tooth used to reside, and they’re the result of the blood clot falling out or being unable to adequately protect the wound. When it happens, you’re likely to experience quite a deal of pain, since the bone tissue and nerves are exposed to pretty much anything that enters your mouth. This also puts the area at risk for infection, since nothing prevents the entrance of bacteria and germs. Dry sockets occur in patients who’ve just had teeth extracted—since it can take up to two weeks for these sites to heal, it’s crucial to protect the blood clots during that period in order to avoid the issue.
What Should I Do If I Suspect I Have a Dry Socket?
It’s often simple to determine if you have a dry socket; if it feels like something’s amiss inside your mouth where your tooth was pulled. Instead of seeing the blood clot that’s supposed to be there, you might see bare bone—which could alarm you! Of course, you’ll likely be feeling a good bit of pain, too—it might even cause you to develop bad breath and a foul taste in your mouth.
When these instances unfold, it’s best to quickly contact your dentist; no amount of wishful thinking will cause this issue to resolve on its own! When you return to their office, they’ll clean out the socket and apply a medicinal paste to assist with healing, and if necessary, antibiotics are prescribed. It’s also worth mentioning that prescribed or over-the-counter painkillers can be used to help assist with dry socket discomfort.
Tips for Avoiding Dry Sockets
Dry sockets can sometimes happen even if you do things correctly—but you shouldn’t despair, nor should you live in fear of getting one. That said, it’s still in your absolute best interest to avoid getting a dry socket entirely! Here are some simple tips you can follow that’ll help you avoid getting a painful dry socket:
- Don’t use a drinking straw, as the suction can dislodge the protective blood clots.
- Don’t spit out your saliva; swallow or use a tissue.
- Avoid smoking entirely.
- Be very careful when brushing your teeth around the extraction site(s).
About the Author
Dr. Renee Corbitt received her dental doctorate from the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Dental School, and her practice has proudly served families in the Fort Worth area for several decades. They offer a wide range of preventive, restorative, and cosmetic services that’ll help you and your loved ones achieve pristine oral health. If you have any questions about the blog or you believe you’re dealing with a dry socket, don’t hesitate to contact the practice for assistance! Telephone: (682) 200-8789.