Yearly Archives: 2019

How To Prepare For Oral Surgery

Oral surgery is usually an outpatient procedure that requires local anesthesia, which means you will be able to go home afterward. Knowing what to expect during the procedure and how to recuperate will help you achieve a speedy recovery. Don’t put off researching and asking your orthodontist questions until the day before surgery, as this will make you more anxious. Continue reading to learn how to best prepare for your big day. 

What Should I Do Before Surgery?

Finalize your transportation arrangements on the night before the procedure. You won’t be able to drive home due to the side effects of anesthesia, so ask a family member or friend for a ride to and from the hospital. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to take care of you the day after because anesthesia can impair your judgment, coordination, and reaction time. 

Additionally, you will have to fast the night before surgery. Your surgeon will let you know for how many hours, but 8 to 12 hours is standard for most oral surgeries. Take any prescribed medications in the evening and morning before your procedure. However, if you’re diabetic, you should eat breakfast; let your surgeon know. 

What Do I Wear During Surgery?

Dress practically for your surgery. Wear a short-sleeved, comfortable shirt if you’re scheduled to have an IV drip. Wear clothes you wouldn’t mind getting stained. Do the following:

  • Avoid wearing jewelry.
  • Don’t wear contact lenses because your eyes will remain shut for an extended period.
  • Don’t wear any makeup, but do bring lip balm because your lips will be chapped after surgery.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne out of courtesy to your surgeon. 

What Should I Do After Surgery?

Preparing for postoperative care is as important as preparing for the surgery itself. You will be bedridden after surgery, so set up extra pillows on your bed so you can rest in a comfortable, reclining position. Set up a list of television shows and movies you want to watch or books you want to read while you’re in bed. 

Anticipate swelling around the surgery site. For the first days after surgery, you will need to place an ice pack over the area for 15 minutes at a time, taking 15-minute breaks in between. Your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and other medications to help you heal. After the first week, start rinsing your mouth four times a day with salt water after every meal. 

Only eat foods that are room temperature right after your surgery. Don’t drink out of a straw or consume alcohol for the first 24 hours. Stick to soft foods, such as soups and yogurts rich in vitamins A and C, for the first two days. Avoid all hard and crunchy foods, such as nuts and popcorn, for six to eight weeks. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

No matter how much you prepare for surgery, it can still be intimidating. It’s essential to turn to an experienced surgeon who will make the process go as smoothly as possible. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah specialize in a variety of procedures, ranging from TMJ surgery to jaw surgery. Schedule your consultation today.

Everything You Should Know About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that won’t go away, and approximately fifty-three thousand Americans are diagnosed with it every year, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Mouth cancer refers to cancer that develops in any part of the mouth, such as the lips, gums, tongue, inner lining of the cheeks, and the roof or floor of the mouth. This condition can be life-threatening if it’s not diagnosed early. Continue reading to learn more about oral cancer

Understanding Oral Cancer

One person dies from oral cancer each hour, resulting in over nine thousand oral cancer-related deaths each year. Of the fifty-three thousand Americans diagnosed with it, only an estimated fifty-seven percent of them will be alive in the next five years. If you expand the definition of oral cancer to include larynx cancer, the numbers of diagnosed cases increase to fifty-four thousand individuals, and over thirteen-thousand deaths per year in the U.S. alone. 

Some countries don’t track cases of oral cancer, so the above figures are bound to increase when you consider unreported cases. The mortality rate of people who live with it is higher than that of cancers that are more talked about, such as cervical or breast cancer. Historically, the death rate of this cancer is alarmingly high because it’s usually discovered late in its development. Even with today’s technology, there’s no comprehensive program in the U.S. to screen for it during its early stages; this is why late-stage oral cancer is prevalent. 

Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Here are the most common symptoms of oral cancer:

  • Swellings, lumps, rough spots, and crusts forming on the lips, gums, or other areas of the mouth 
  • Development of velvety white, red, or speckled patches in the mouth 
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Numbness or pain in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and don’t heal within two weeks
  • Difficulty chewing, speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Feeling like something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Sharp ear pain
  • Change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your dentist or orthodontist immediately. 

Risk Factors Associated with Oral Cancer

Men face twice the risk of developing oral cancer compared to women, according to the American Cancer Society. Unfortunately, men who are over age fifty are the demographic who are most at risk. Other risk factors include:

  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancer is six times more common in people who drink. 
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive exposure to the sun, especially at a young age. 
  • Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smokers

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you suspect you may have oral cancer, consult with your dentist immediately. Your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for a definitive diagnosis. Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah, and our board-certified surgeons will help you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Schedule an assessment today. 

What Is TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome, known as TMJ for short, is a pain in the jaw joint that can stem from a variety of medical problems. Problems in this area can result in headaches, neck pain, facial pain, ear pain, a locked jaw, biting issues, and jaw clicking when you take a bite. Do you think you have TMJ? Continue reading to learn more about this disorder. 

TMJ Basics

The temporomandibular joint connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull (temporal bone) in front of the ear. This joint lets you move your jaw up and down and side to side, which is how you’re able to talk, chew, and yawn. TMJ is also known as Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD for short. 

Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ is known for causing severe pain and discomfort, which can be temporary or last for several years. Women are more prone to experiencing TMJ than men, and it’s most common among people ages 20-40. It might only impact one side of your face, but in severe cases, this disorder can affect both sides of your face. Here are the most common symptoms of TMJ:

  • Pain and tenderness around your face, jaw joint area, neck, shoulders, and inside your ear when you chew or speak.
  • Inability to open your mouth wide
  • Jaws that become locked when your mouth is open.
  • Popping, clicking, or grating noises in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth, which may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face
  • Swelling on the sides of your face.
  • A suddenly uncomfortable bite or trouble chewing, as if your upper and lower teeth no longer fit properly.

Additionally, people who have this disorder experience frequent dizziness, hearing problems, and ringing in the ears, though these symptoms are less common. 

Causes of TMJ

Unfortunately, because the study of TMJ is relatively new, dentists don’t exactly know what causes it; however, they do have suspicions. Some dentists believe the symptoms arise from jaw muscle problems. Injuries to your jaw, the jaw joint, or your head’s muscles can lead to TMJ. People who have recently been involved in a car crash are more susceptible to experiencing TMJ as a result of whiplash. 

Dentists believe other causes include:

  • Grinding or clenching your teeth, which places too much pressure on your jaw joints
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Rough movement of the soft cushion or disc between the ball and socket of the joint
  • Chronic stress, which can lead you to tighten your facial and jaw muscles or clench your teeth unknowingly

TMJ Diagnosis

Many other conditions cause similar TMJ symptoms, such as sinus problems, tooth decay, or gum disease. Your dentist will check your jaw joints for pain or tenderness and listen for clicks, pops, or grating sounds when you move them. Additionally, they will test your bite and check for problems with your facial muscles. 

Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah

If you were diagnosed with TMJ and your condition is becoming severe, you’ll need TMJ surgery. For help managing this condition, contact our board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Schedule your consultation with us today.

What Is Maxillofacial Surgery?

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the branch of dentistry that focuses on treating diseases in the tissues of the head, neck, jaws, face, and mouth. People who experience pain in these areas are referred to as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for treatment by a dentist. “Oral” refers to the mouth, and “maxillofacial” refers to the face and jaws. 

If you ever experience a severe dental emergency, you’ll be in good hands when you visit an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These dental surgeons must complete a four-year graduate degree in dentistry, as well as a four-year hospital surgical residency program; sometimes, the residency program lasts a minimum of six years. 

Are you preparing for an appointment with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, but don’t know what it entails? Continue reading to find out more about these dental specialists. 

What Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Specialize In? 

Being an oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a demanding job. This type of surgeon must understand all the ins and outs of dentistry, such as general medicine and every kind of oral and facial surgery. Think of an oral surgeon as a combination of a dentist and an orthodontist. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons treat hard and soft tissue problems. Moreover, oral surgeons work on sensitive areas such as gums, as well as hard structures like the jawbone and parts of the neck. 

Not only do oral surgeons have to be well-versed in all areas of dentistry, but they must be able to work under intense pressure. Typically, most people only see an oral surgeon when they’re in a crisis that requires immediate attention. For instance, someone who has broken some of their teeth as a result of a car collision or a sports-related accident is likely to be referred to an oral surgeon. Although oral surgeons are equipped to treat bleeding gums and chipped teeth, a patient should consult with a dentist if their injuries are minor. 

What Procedures Do Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Perform? 

Here are a few of the procedures oral surgeons perform daily: 

  • Tooth extractions: Tooth extractions are the most common procedure oral surgeons perform. Patients are referred to an oral surgeon when wisdom teeth are forming in a position where they can’t erupt properly. Minor surgery is required to extract impacted wisdom teeth, even if the teeth aren’t causing any problems. Oral surgeons can perform a tooth extraction in minutes because of how commonplace this surgery is. Surgeons perform this procedure in their office using sedation dentistry techniques. 
  • Corrective jaw surgery: Also known as orthognathic surgery, it corrects a wide range of skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. A person who undergoes jaw surgery usually has their jaw reshaped and repositioned by the surgeon. Successful jaw surgery can improve breathing, speaking, and chewing issues. Oral surgeons use general anesthesia on their patients when performing jaw surgery, and they work closely with orthodontists in planning for this procedure. 
  • Cleft lip surgery: Cleft lip is the separation of one or both sides of the lip present at birth. Cleft lip surgery is reconstructive surgery for people born with this condition, and the operation is typically performed on children. If your child must undergo cleft lip surgery, they will be placed under general anesthesia. 

The thought of going through oral surgery might make you feel uncomfortable, but surgery will improve your quality of life. If you or a family member need oral surgery, schedule an appointment with Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah. Our board-certified oral surgeons specialize in wisdom tooth extraction, jaw surgery, dental implants, and several other procedures. Contact us today. 

   

What The 24 Hours After Wisdom Teeth Removal Looks Like

Congratulations if you’ve gotten your wisdom teeth removed. You’ve undergone a surgery most Americans are scared to undertake. Now what? Postoperative care is necessary because if you don’t take care of yourself after surgery, you’ll experience pain from swelling and infection. Follow the instructions your orthodontist gave you. Here’s what the 24-hours after wisdom teeth extraction feels like. 

Pain

Living with wisdom teeth is a wild ride. From the pain of erupting wisdom teeth, to the fear of surgery and dealing with the resulting pain after surgery, it feels like you’ll never be able to move on. Experiencing pain after any surgery is common, and opening your mouth will cause discomfort. To minimize the pain and discomfort, make sure you take the appropriate amount of medication prescribed by your surgeon. Although you should anticipate a dull pain the first day after surgery, experiencing sharp pains for a whole week isn’t normal. If your pain and swelling worsen after a few days, or if any other unusual symptoms occur, contact your dentist.

Swelling

Your cheeks will swell after surgery, also known as “chipmunk cheeks.” Minimize swelling by using an ice pack on your cheeks; you can either buy one or make one at home. To make an ice pack, fill up two zipper-lock bags with crushed ice. Press one ice pack on each cheek for 20 minutes at a time. Use the ice pack on and off. After the 20 minutes are up, take a break, then 20 minutes later, do the ice pack treatment all over again. Following this method might annoy you because it’s uncomfortable and repetitive, but it’s better to experience mild discomfort from ice instead of the pain that comes with wisdom teeth removal. Expect to swell for the next 36 hours after surgery.

Bleeding

Expect to ooze blood the day after your surgery, so don’t be scared if blood comes out of your mouth. Oral bleeding consists of a little blood with lots of salivae, so you’ll also uncontrollably drool post-surgery. When your mouth starts to bleed, you’ll need to sit upright and avoid all physical activity; this includes walking. Reduce the bleeding by biting on a piece of gauze for one hour. Another way to minimize bleeding is by biting a moistened tea bag for 30 minutes. Teabags contain tannic acid, which helps form a clot by constricting your mouth’s blood vessels. 

Diet 

Avoid chewing foods until your tongue’s sensation and taste buds are restored. Following surgery, avoid popcorn, nuts, seeds, and anything crunchy for the next six weeks. Drink water regularly to prevent dehydration.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a long-winded process, but if you follow your doctor’s orders and take it easy, you’ll successfully recover in no time.

If you don’t notice improvement one week after your surgery, visit your orthodontist. The board-certified orthodontists at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are here to help you with all your wisdom teeth needs. Schedule your consultation today. 

   

Signs Your Partner Has Sleep Apnea

Does your partner’s loud snoring wake you up at night? If your partner frequently gasps for air and has abnormal breathing patterns, then you may have reason to be concerned. It’s likely your partner has sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. The main symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring, so if your partner lets out an audible snore and is tired after a full night’s rest, they might have sleep apnea. 

According to the Alaska Sleep Education Center, more than 20 million adults suffer from sleep apnea in the United States. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to multiple health problems, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, morning headaches, depression, cardiovascular issues, and several more. Unfortunately, many people who live with sleep apnea aren’t aware of their abnormal sleeping habits, so they don’t know what’s causing their health problems. Bring this problem to your partner’s attention so they can schedule a doctor’s appointment. Keep reading to learn more about sleep apnea. 

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Here are the main symptoms of sleep apnea: 

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Not being able to breathe consistently during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (Insomnia)
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Irritability

The two main types of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.  

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common form of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the throat muscles relax. When your throat muscles relax, your airway closes as you breathe in, which results in low oxygen levels in your blood. The brain senses your inability to breathe and briefly wakes you up during sleep to force you to reopen your airway. You might snort, choke, or grasp, and this pattern can repeat itself up to 30 times in one hour. You won’t be able to reach the deep, restful phases of sleep. 

The following factors increase the risk of obstructive sleep apnea: 

  • Excess weight: Being overweight significantly increases the risk of OSA. Fat deposits around your airway can obstruct your breathing. 
  • Being male: Men are three times more likely to experience OSA than women.
  • Family history: Having family members who have OSA increases your risk of experiencing it. 
  • Smokers: Smokers are more likely to experience OSA because smoking increases the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. 

Central Sleep Apnea

Central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing, which means you involuntarily make no effort to breathe for short periods. This type of sleep apnea is less common than OSA. Risk factors of central sleep apnea include:

  • Aging: The elderly are at higher risk of experiencing central sleep apnea. 
  • Heart disorders: Having congestive heart failure increases the risk of central sleep apnea. 
  • Stroke: Being prone to recurrent strokes increases your chances of this type of sleep apnea. 

If your partner was diagnosed with sleep apnea, they’re at risk of destroying their teeth due to constant teeth grinding. Grinding causes tooth wear and breakage, so your partner should consult with an orthodontist before they unknowingly ruin their teeth. Schedule an appointment for your partner with Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah today

How Can I Tell if Dental Implants Are Right for Me?

If you have lost a tooth or are struggling with severely damaged teeth, there are several smile restoration treatments you can try. One of the best restorative options to consider is dental implants, which are artificial tooth roots that provide a permanent base for fixed, replacement teeth. Implants are quickly becoming the new standard in tooth replacement procedures because they fit, feel, and function like natural teeth. 

What makes dental implants the superior tooth replacement option? Orthodontists use a medical-grade titanium implant fixture that fuses implants to the living bone cells of the jaw. Dental implants don’t come with the hassles associated with dentures, which can suddenly slide around the mouth. Instead, implants form a robust and durable anchor for your teeth, so you won’t have to worry about your implants falling out. With all the benefits that come with dental implants, you may be wondering if they’re right for you. Continue reading to find out if you qualify for dental implants. 

Determining Eligibility for Dental Implants

Dental implants are universally considered to be the gold standard solution for tooth replacement, but this doesn’t mean they’re right for everyone. Before you ask your orthodontist for dental implants, you must factor in your lifestyle and age. For instance, people who over the age of 50 aren’t may not be the right candidate for dental implants because implants might damage their fragile gums. If you’re around this age, it’s best to go with dentures because they’re a softer option. 

To qualify for dental implants treatment, you must have excellent physical and oral health. People who live with gum disease and gum recession shouldn’t consider dental implants because the implants will further harm their gums. Patients who have diabetes or other conditions that affect their ability to heal properly after surgery may not receive dental implants. 

You must also have a healthy jaw bone to be able to support dental implants. An orthodontist will create a detailed, 3-D image of your oral anatomy to determine if your jaw bone can handle the procedure. Unfortunately, if you have a small or shallow jaw bone, you won’t be able to adjust to dental implants. However, you may be eligible for bone grafting surgery, which is a procedure designed to supplement the bone mass of a patient’s jaw so the dental implants can be anchored firmly. 

Health Concerns that Don’t Affect Implants

Although dentists and orthodontists shouldn’t recommend implants in certain situations, even individuals who live with the following health concerns may qualify for implant surgery:

Bone loss: Loss of bone tissue is common for individuals who have missing teeth or periodontal disease; however, if the damage isn’t too severe, dental implants can successfully attach to the remaining bone. 

High blood pressure: If you have high blood pressure and are interested in implants, you may be eligible. You’ll have to take extra precautions and schedule frequent dentist appointments, but you’ll be able to live with dental implants successfully. 

Ultimately, it’s up to an orthodontist to determine if you qualify for dental implants. The board-certified surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can provide you with an examination and review your dental history to determine if you’re a candidate for this procedure. Schedule your consultation with us today. 

   

Does Acid Really Damage Teeth?

Sugar isn’t the only substance that causes tooth decay, as high levels of acid found in foods and drinks is just as harmful. Acidic foods and beverages, such as oranges and wine, can wear down your teeth by causing decay, sensitivity, and discoloration.

Although acidic foods harm your teeth, this doesn’t mean you should stop enjoying all foods and beverages that are high in acidity. There are specific methods you can use to eat and drink acidic foods and drinks without experiencing all the issues associated with high levels of acid.

Continue reading to find out how you can protect your teeth from acid-related damage. 

Understanding Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is when the enamel, which is the protective surface of your teeth, wears away. Erosion exposes your teeth’s underlying material, which is called dentin. Exposed dentin is susceptible to plaque and bacteria build-up, which can lead to tooth decay. Unfortunately, dental erosion is irreversible and usually caused by an excessive amount of acids in your mouth. The American Dental Association reports that more than one-third of children and adults worldwide experience tooth erosion. Erosion caused by your diet usually appears as a hollowed-out area on the surface of a tooth. Experiencing tooth erosion is always painful and uncomfortable, and the pain and discomfort will only worsen over time. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist as soon as you notice the first signs of erosion. 

Causes of Tooth Erosion

Calcium is a critical factor in building resilient teeth since calcium is stored in either your bones or teeth. Acid is calcium’s worst enemy, and exposing your teeth to high levels of acid can destroy the calcium in your teeth’s enamel. Acid comes from several sources, which include the following:

  • Fruit juice: Lemon, cranberry, apple, and orange juice are the most acidic juice options.
  • Wine: Drinking white wine or red wine often will soften your enamel. 
  • Candy: All sugary treats are bad for your teeth, but you should especially avoid eating too many sour gummies and candies. 
  • Citric fruits: Snacking on oranges, lemons, and limes daily will wear down your teeth. 
  • Stomach acid: Excessive vomiting and acid reflux can cause severe tooth damage when stomach acid washes over your teeth. 
  • Sugar: Although sugar itself doesn’t contain high levels of acid, it promotes the growth of acid-creating bacteria in your mouth. 

Preventing Tooth Erosion 

Follow these tips to reduce the impacts of acid on your teeth: 

  • Wash acid down with water: Drink water alongside acidic foods and beverages to wash it out of your mouth. 
  • Eat with meals: Save acidic foods for mealtime instead of snacking on them throughout the day. Munching on acidic snacks during lunch or dinner rather than eating them all at once will reduce the acid’s contact with your teeth.
  • Use straws: If you drink acidic beverages daily, you can reduce the acid’s contact with your teeth by using a straw. Don’t swish acidic drinks, such as soda or orange juice, because this will coat your teeth in acid. 

Prevent tooth erosion by taking care of your teeth and drinking more water. If you’re experiencing tooth erosion, you’ll need to consult with a professional to see what treatment options are available to you. Contact Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah to schedule your consultation with board-certified orthodontists. 

Implants Vs. Dentures

Part of aging includes losing some of your teeth. Unfortunately, many people feel less confident after experiencing tooth loss, and some people go through great lengths to avoid smiling in front of others. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, nearly 70% of adults ages 35-45 in the United States have at least one missing tooth due to tooth decay, dental fractures, or gum disease. There are a few ways tooth loss can be corrected, such as investing in dentures or dental implants. 

Dentures, also known as false teeth, are prosthetic devices constructed to replace missing teeth and are supported by the surrounding soft and hard tissues of the oral cavity. A dental implant is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw to support a dental prosthesis such as a crown, bridge, or to act as an orthodontic anchor. Both dentures and implants come with pros and cons, and weighing them out will help you choose the best option for you. 

Should I Get Dentures?

Decades ago, dentures were the only option available to people who experienced tooth loss. Dentures help people improve their chewing and overall mouth appearance, but they’re no longer as popular as they once were. The quality of dentures has improved throughout the years, but they aren’t ideal for everyone because they’re high maintenance compared to advanced tooth replacement options. For instance, you’ll have to worry about having dental adhesive at hand each time you go out. Dental adhesives are pastes, powders, or adhesive pads that must be placed in or around the dentures to keep them in place. Some people with dentures don’t mind continually putting on dental adhesives, but other people find dental adhesives to be an annoyance. 

Without dental adhesives, your dentures might fall out of your mouth while eating or speaking. Can you imagine this happening to you in a public setting? Moreover, dentures might promote decay and infection in other teeth if they aren’t correctly fitted to your mouth; this increases the risk of needing a tooth filling, which comes at a price. Implants for older adults and senior citizens are the superior smile restoration option because dentures are soft enough not to cause gum and jaw pain.

Should I Get Dental Implants?

If you’re missing teeth and have a healthy jaw and gums, you’ll benefit from investing in dental implants. Dental implants are replacement teeth that are surgically implanted into the jawbone. People who only have one or two missing teeth prefer to go with dental implants because they can be properly fitted into your teeth as opposed to dentures, which assume a more general shape. Even if you have several missing teeth, you can still go for dental implants. Best of all, dental implants feel and function exactly like natural teeth. 

Ultimately, the choice between dentures or dental implants if up to you. If you decide on dental implants, the board-certified orthodontists at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are here to help you reclaim your smile. 

   

Having a Dry Socket? Five Tips To Heal Quickly

Undergoing surgery to have your wisdom teeth removed isn’t the most exciting experience, but it’s worse when you end up with a dry socket. Also known as alveolar osteitis, a dry socket is a painful dental condition that can occur after you have an adult tooth extracted. This condition arises when a blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction fails to develop. Typically, blood clots form at the site of tooth extraction to serve as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. Blood clots also promote the development of soft tissue over the clot. 

Unfortunately, some patients who experience post-extraction complications may not know about dry socket. Even if a patient is aware that they’ve developed dry socket, they may not know how to heal it. The following guide is designed to help you understand and treat this unpleasant condition. 

What Causes Dry Socket?

The following are the most common risk factors that will increase your likelihood of experiencing dry socket: 

  • Smoking after tooth extraction
  • Taking birth control after surgery, as estrogen may cause the blood clot to dissolve
  • Tissue trauma as a result of extraction
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Underlying gum disease

After your tooth extraction surgery, your dentist will advise you against the following:

  • Exercise
  • Swishing water
  • Drinking any carbonated beverages (soda, beer, sparkling water, etc.)
  • Using a straw

Dentists believe you should avoid the activities listed above because the pressure from swishing liquids, sucking from a straw, and even spitting can abruptly dislodge your clot. Strenuous exercises will raise your blood pressure and make it difficult for the clot to stay still. 

What Are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

The main differentiator between tooth extraction pain and dry socket pain is timing. You should experience post-surgery pain one day after your surgery should, but dry socket pain usually peaks 3-5 days after the extraction. Moreover, dry socket pain is a sharp, severe pain that will radiate into your ears and the rest of your jaw. Other dry socket symptoms include headaches, dizziness, fever, and insomnia. 

How Can I Heal My Dry Socket? 

For starters, you can reduce your dry socket pain by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. The following five tips will help you treat your dry socket, at least until you can visit your dentist. 

  1. Swish with warm water: Gently swishing with warm water can help cleanse the extraction site and reduce bacteria.
  2. Use honey: Coat your dry socket with honey to help reduce inflammation.
  3. Create a cold compress: Press a cold towel against your cheeks to soothe the pain. 
  4. Drink tea: Drink anti-inflammatory tea to reduce inflammation throughout your body. 
  5. Apply essential oils: Rub a small amount of essential oil, such as tea tree oil, over your dry socket. Only use essential oils when your pain is at its worst because consistently using oils inside your mouth will kill good bacteria. 

Remember, these tips are designed to keep pain at bay temporarily, and not meant to replace a dentist appointment. If your dry socket pain persists after one week, you must visit your dentist.

If you plan on undergoing oral surgery, you’ll need to turn to an experienced orthodontist to reduce your likelihood of having a dry socket.

The orthodontists at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah are board-certified surgeons who will provide you with the best oral surgery treatment available.

Schedule your consultation with our surgeons today.