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How To Prevent Dry Socket After a Tooth Extraction

June 20, 2024

Filed under: Uncategorized — drbeaty @ 1:32 pm
A woman with tooth pain sitting on a bed using an icepack on her jaw.

When you have a tooth extracted, one of the keys to proper healing is the formation of a blood clot in the space. This clot seals up the wound, stopping the bleeding and protecting the gums, nerve endings, and bone from bacteria and food debris. As the site heals, the clot dissolves. But sometimes during the process, the clot can become dislodged, causing a painful condition known as dry socket. Dry socket doesn’t just hurt, it can put your incision site at greater risk for infection and even prolong your healing time. As a result, you should do everything you can to avoid this outcome.

Symptoms of Dry Socket

So, how do you know if you have dry socket? There are a few symptoms you should keep an eye out for following your tooth extraction, including:

  • Severe pain that occurs several days after removing a tooth.
  • Partial or complete loss of the blood clot at the extraction site.
  • Exposed bone visible in the socket.
  • Pain that spreads throughout your face, originating from the socket and radiating to the ear, eye, neck, or temple.
  • Bad breath or a bad odor emanating from the mouth.
  • A bad taste in the mouth.

How To Prevent Dry Socket

Thankfully, there are ways you can prevent or reduce your risk of developing dry socket:

  • Do not smoke or use tobacco products.
  • Do not use straws, as they can dislodge the clot.
  • Eat only soft foods and avoid hot liquids for at least 24 hours following your extraction.
  • Disclose any medications to your dentist prior to your extraction, as some such as oral contraceptives may increase your risk of dry socket.
  • Practice proper oral hygiene. Your dentist may have specific care instructions for how to clean your teeth until your extraction site has healed, so be sure to follow those instructions as closely as possible.

If You Notice a Problem

Should any of the signs or symptoms of dry socket appear, or if you are experiencing any other complications with your extraction site, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Though dry socket is painful, it can be treated. If you do have dry socket, your dentist will likely clean the wound and apply medication to it. They may also prescribe you painkillers. Your extraction site should start feeling better immediately, and your symptoms should improve over the next few days.

Remember, when it comes to tooth extractions, sometimes accidents happen. If you do develop dry socket, don’t suffer needlessly. Reach out to your dentist at once and get back on the road to recovery. However, preventing dry socket is worth making the effort to have a smoother healing experience.

About Dr. Beaty

Dr. Drew Beaty has been practicing dentistry for over 20 years. He has extensive training in sedation dentistry and has completed all nine levels of postgraduate education at Kois Center for Dental Excellence. Despite his vast education, Dr. Beaty still takes over 100 hours of continuing education each year, an impressive four times more than the amount required by the Washington State Department of Health.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Beaty for a tooth extraction, please visit our website or call 253-201-0124.

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