1. What’s a Dry Socket?
2. How Common is Dry Socket?
3. What Causes Dry Socket?
4. Who Is Likely to Get Dry Socket?
5. What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket?
6. What Are the Possible Complications of Dry Socket?
7. What Is the Treatment for Dry Socket?
i) Clinical Treatment
ii) Home Remedies
8. How to Prevent Dry Socket?
When you go to the dentist for a tooth extraction, you prepare yourself to bear a little pain. Having a continuous, numbing pain after you have a tooth extraction isn’t something that you would generally experience, but is somewhat symptomatic of a condition that develops after an extraction, known as Alveolar Osteitis, or in layman’s terms, “dry socket.”
- What’s a Dry Socket?
A dry socket is a hole in the bone where the tooth has been extracted. Primarily, a dry socket develops when a tooth has been removed, and a blood clot fails to develop, or gets dislodged from the place where the tooth has been extracted. This condition can lead to having an exposed bone and nerve endings at the site of the tooth extraction, making it a painful ordeal.
- How Common is Dry Socket?
A very small percentage, i.e., 2% of patients who get tooth extractions, tend to be vulnerable to getting dry sockets. However, in a wisdom tooth extraction, the risk rises to 20%.
- What Causes Dry Socket?
Several factors make you vulnerable to developing a dry socket:
- Extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth raises your chances of developing a dry socket.
- Smoking can increase your chance of developing a dry socket.
- Hormonal factors can make you more vulnerable. Women tend to experience dry socket more frequently than men.
- Older people are more susceptible if they have dense jawbone.
- Aggressive sucking on straws before the extraction has healed can lead to dry socket.
- Pre-existing periodontal conditions can also leave you more vulnerable to dry sockets.
- Who Is Likely to Get Dry Socket? What Are the Risk Factors of Getting Dry Socket?
You stand a higher chance of developing a dry socket if:
- You smoke or use tobacco. These chemicals can slow down the healing process at the site of the extraction. Sucking on a cigarette might dislodge the blood clot at a premature stage.
- The use of oral contraceptives can lead to higher estrogen levels and disrupt the normal healing process.
- Failure to follow at-home care instructions from your dentist leaves you in a more vulnerable position to develop a dry socket.
- Having a dry socket in the past means you are more likely to develop it after another extraction.
- Having a pre-existing tooth or gum infection will also increase the risk of developing a dry socket.
- Patients over the age of 30 with an impacted wisdom tooth have an increased risk of developing a dry socket.
- What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket?
You are at a risk of developing a dry socket till 7 to 10 days after your tooth extraction, till the spot of the extraction heals properly.
- You’ll experience severe pain at the site of the tooth extraction, and you will notice an empty-looking dry socket, where the bone is visible.
- Dry socket will also cause a sharp pain that will radiate from the socket to the eye, temple, and jawline on the site of the tooth extraction.
- Exposed nerve endings will leave you more vulnerable to bacterial infections at the site of the extraction — this is the reason a dry socket might also cause bad breath and an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
- What Are the Possible Complications of Dry Socket?
Dry socket lasts anywhere around a week to 10 days. Though it is not a dangerous condition in itself, it can lead to many severe complications if it is not treated correctly.
Patients can be more vulnerable to bacterial infections at the site of the extraction, which can spread to the bone. Dry socket can also cause delayed healing, which means more time living on liquid food and tolerating the pain related to the tooth extraction.
- What Is the Treatment for Dry Socket?
Dry socket treatment needs to be generally overseen by a dentist. Your dentist will first clean the site of the tooth extraction with sterile saline or chlorhexidine. Then put a numbing gel on the site to deal with the pain and pack it with a cotton gauze, which will need to be changed several times during the treatment.
Your dentist will prescribe you pain relief gels and antibiotics as a part of the dry socket treatment.
You’ll also be required to main a strict oral hygiene routine throughout the dry socket treatment to maximize the healing process.
If your dry socket pain is at a manageable level, then you can try these home remedies for dry socket treatment:
- Try over-the-counter pain medication.
- Apply clove oil on the site of the dry socket, which acts like a pain-numbing gel.
- A cold press will also help you deal with the pain.
- Applying honey to the site will help you manage the pain.
Remember that it’s important to maintain an oral hygiene routine to make sure the site of the dry socket it free from food debris and is clean so that there is no possibility of bacterial infection at the site of the dry socket.
- How to Prevent Dry Socket?
Here are a few steps that you should keep in mind to prevent dry socket:
- After your tooth extraction surgery, take adequate rest.
- Drink lots of water after tooth extraction surgery. Your dentist will advise you on when you can resume drinking alcoholic, caffeinated, and aerated beverages.
- Stick to eating yogurt or applesauce until your dentist gives you the green flag to resume your regular diet.
- Avoid tobacco use at least 48 hours after surgery, and as long as you can after that. Tobacco can cause a delay in the healing process.
Your dentist can advise you on the best practices to be carried out at home so that you can prevent dry socket. Picking a dentist or an oral surgeon experienced in tooth extractions can make a world of difference — and if you are looking for a skilled dentist in Goodyear AZ, visit us at Joshua Hong DDS.