After tooth extraction, a protective blood clot forms over the tooth’s socket. You must prevent dry socket so that your healing isn’t prolonged.
Continue reading to learn about this condition.
Information on Dry Socket
A blood clot protects your bone’s nerve endings after oral surgery. Unfortunately, sometimes the blood clot doesn’t form or becomes dislodged, resulting in bone and nerve exposure. Not only does this condition delay healing, but it’s also painful.
Keep reading to learn about dry socket symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
Feeling discomfort after tooth extraction, such as minor swelling and soreness, is normal. However, if your pain worsens or lingers for more than a week, you may have a dry socket. Symptoms include:
- Missing blood clot
- Bad taste
- Foul smell radiating from the socket
- Aching or throbbing pain in your gum or jaw, which resembles that of a toothache
- Pain that spreads to the rest of your face
Your oral surgeon may recommend the following treatment options:
- Irrigating the extraction site to lift food and debris
- Using a medicated dressing over the site until it heals
- Packing the site with zinc oxide-eugenol paste to reduce pain and swelling
- Prescribing medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Advice to Prevent Dry Socket
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should avoid the following:
Smoking: Smoking can delay healing and increase blood pressure, leading to more bleeding.
Alcohol: Drinking alcohol—which includes swishing mouthwash—for a day. You may need to avoid consuming any alcohol products for a week, depending on your healing journey. If you drink beer or use mouthwash the same day as your surgery, your blood clot is more likely to dislodge. Alcohol can stimulate extra bleeding, delaying your recovery.
Physical activities: Avoid strenuous activities, such as exercise and heavy lifting, for at least one day after surgery to prevent bleeding and allow blood clot formation. For instance, playing jump rope can dislodge a blood clot that’s still forming, causing pain or infection.
Creating suction: Drinking through a straw creates suction, which can loosen your clot and prolong healing.
Vigorous mouth rinsing: You can still rinse your mouth after oral surgery, but you should gently avoid disturbing your clot. Stick to small swishes and warm water.
The best way to care for your tooth extraction site is by following your oral surgeon’s instructions. Specific guidance varies depending on the number of teeth removed, but it often includes the following:
- Avoid chewing on the side of the extraction site.
- Eat soft foods to minimize the risk of damaging your socket. Avoid crunchy foods because they can get stuck in the extraction site.
- Don’t drink hot or carbonated beverages because they can cause a burning sensation in your socket.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah Can Help
Even if you follow our advice to prevent dry socket, you might still develop it. The board-certified oral surgeons at Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah can help you experience relief if you develop this condition and answer all your questions. We specialize in tooth extraction, dental implant insertion, bone grafting, and more.
We have offices in South Jordan, Cottonwood Heights, and Tooele. Schedule your free consultation today.