What Is A Dry Socket After A Tooth Extraction

What Is A Dry Socket After A Tooth Extraction?

Team Extractions

A dry socket is a surgical complication that can happen after a tooth extraction. The cause of a dry socket is that the blood clot protecting the extraction site does not form properly, dissolves, or comes out before the area heals.

This blog will explain why blood clots are crucial to the healing process, the symptoms of a dry socket, and how to prevent this problem.

The Importance of Blood Clots

After a tooth extraction, a blood clot should form. The blood clot forms a protective barrier over the vulnerable nerve endings and bone in the empty tooth socket. The clot also contains vital cells needed for wound healing. Disrupting the clot leads to painful symptoms as listed below:

Symptoms of a Dry Socket

  • Severe pain in the socket and side of the face that happens within a few days of a tooth extraction
  • Irritated tooth socket
  • Swelling around the tooth socket
  • Visible bone in the tooth socket
  • Severe bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth

How to Prevent a Dry Socket

Not all dry sockets are preventable, but following your dentist's aftercare instructions can help you increase your chance of a successful recovery.

Avoid Tobacco Use

Nicotine and other byproducts of tobacco use impede wound healing. The physical motion of smoking a cigarette can also force the blood clot out prematurely.

Hormonal Birth Control

If you have high estrogen levels, you may experience difficulty healing. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your physician.

Failure to Follow Post-Surgical Instructions

You may be more likely to encounter a dry socket if you do not follow your dentist's guidelines.

Previous Tooth or Gum Infection

Existing or past infections can persist and get into the tooth socket.

Caring For Your Extraction Site

Avoid using straws, drinking out of a bottle, or smoking for at least 24-48 hours. Do not brush your teeth on the day of your procedure. The next day, brush carefully, avoiding the extraction site.

Rinse your mouth with salt water as the dentist directs after brushing. The dentist will provide an irrigating syringe after the first five days. Using the syringe too soon can lead to blood clot loss and a dry socket.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Extraction

Do I need to avoid using straws after having a tooth extraction?

Yes, avoid sucking on a straw for at least 24 to 48 hours. The suction in your mouth can pull out the blood clot, leaving you vulnerable to a dry socket.

Do dry sockets become infected?

If you receive prompt attention when you develop dry socket symptoms, you should be able to avoid an infection. Your dentist will provide medicated mouthwashes and dressings if necessary.

Call Dentistry of Mendham

If you recently had an extraction and have painful symptoms, call your dentist as soon as possible. While a dry socket does not often cause dangerous complications, it is a painful condition that your dentist can treat. Call our Mendham, NJ, office at 973-543-5700 for help.