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Nobody enjoys having a wisdom teeth extraction. Some people’s worst nightmare after tooth extraction could be developing a dry socket and it can be prevented if proper care is taken. When a tooth removal is performed, a blood clot is normally formed protecting underlying bones, tissues, and nerves. In conditions like dry socket, this blood clot is either disturbed or dislodged or maybe never formed in the first place. It is also known as alveolar osteitis and it can be painful and complicated at the same time. A typical scenario for dry socket is the developing throbbing pain for about two to four days after tooth extraction.
It is the most common complication following a tooth extraction. When your tooth is taken out of the jawbones, the risk of developing dry socket is present until you are fully healed. It takes about 7-10 days to fully recover from this depending on your medical history and to be sure, ask your dentist and they will give you the best timeframe for reference. Some of the risk factors include:
• Smoking is a risk factor due to the nicotine found in cigarettes. Exposure to this reduces blood supply available to the healing socket.
• Using chewing tobacco
• Poor oral hygiene
• Using straws after the wisdom tooth extraction
• Previous infections at the site of extraction can predispose an individual to dry socket
Normally, blood clot protects the wound from being exposed to air, fluid, and other anything that enters through the mouth. It heals and promotes new tissue growth. Without this clot over the socket, raw tissue, nerve endings and bones are exposed. Dry socket symptoms include:
• Unbearable pain that can’t be controlled by over-the-counter medications
• Pain traversing through face from where your tooth was pulled
• Visible bone in the socket
• Bad taste in the mouth
• Foul smell from the mouth
• Presence of pus in your mouth,which may be signs of infection
• Missing blood clot at the removal site
It is not unusual to feel sore and swollen after the first day of surgery. You may also see small droplets of blood on your gauze dressing. If the pain increases, doesn’t improve over time or you notice any other symptoms mentioned above, consult your dentist right away
It is highly recommended that you keep pause over your extraction site for at least 30 to 45 minutes after the surgery. It gives blood clot a time frame to form and prevent the site from dry socket. If you smoke then you may ask for special oxidized cellulose dental dressing which prevents dry socket. You should be very careful of what you eat until the site is healed. Eat soft foods and chew on the opposite side of your mouth. After surgery, you should avoid:
– Eating crunchy foods which may get stuck in the socket.
– Drinking hot or acidic beverages such as coffee, soda, orange juice, – which may dislodge the blood clot.
– Vigorous mouth rinsing
– Brushing your teeth surrounding the socket
Usually dry socket pain starts a few days after the surgery. In that case call your doctor immediately if:
• The pain increases suddenly
• You feel fever, nausea, or vomiting
Treatment usually involves emblematic support and in the meanwhile the socket heals. Initially, the dentist will gently flush the socket to remove any food debris. Next, an analgesic medicated dressing or packing is placed within the socket to cover the exposed bone from air, fluid or any other harmful element. This provides immediate relief. This dressing may need to be replaced after some days during the healing process. After the dentist treats in the clinic, the person will need to continue with home care which includes gently flushing the socket with saline solution and continuing to take pain medication as needed.
Dry Socket being the most common complication following a tooth extraction is treatable by a doctor and you will probably feel immediate relief after the treatment. A dislodged blood clot can cause severe pain. Call your doctor to clarify your doubts.
Dr. Anu Isaac, DMD, runs a successful dental practice in Salem, MA. Dr. Isaac strives for quality on a daily basis and this commitment to quality is reflected in her constant pursuit of advanced training. Her firm belief that even experts need to stay updated about what’s new in the dental field, enables her to provide every patient with optimal oral care. As the founder of Coral Dental Care, she is dedicated to creating healthy, beautiful smiles for her patients and also to educating dental and non-dental community with her engaging articles on all things related to oral health, recent dental innovations, and latest treatment modalities.