Dry Socket, or as it’s medically known, alveolar osteitis, is a condition that can occur after a tooth extraction if a blood clot never forms or becomes dislodged. Blood clots are important because they protect the extraction site from bacteria and food particles and aid in healing. To prevent dry socket, it’s important to closely follow your aftercare instructions. Read on in this blog from Skutak Dental to find out how you can avoid dry socket.
To help form a blood clot at the site of the extraction, you’ll be given gauze to bite down on for 30 to 60 minutes after the removal of the tooth. Follow instructions by keeping these gauze in place and biting down.
Then, if you’re still bleeding, you should replace the gauze with some fresh damped gauze or a wet caffeinated tea bag which also encourages blood clotting. You can take anti-inflammatory pain medication for any pain and ice the area to reduce swelling and inflammation.
You will need to stick to a soft-food-only diet for the first week. Stay hydrated and try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth.
You cannot smoke, drink alcohol, suck on a straw, spit, or rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours. We recommend abstaining from smoking until you are completely healed from your extraction. All forms of suction can dislodge a blood clot and so can exercise, so abstain from vigorous activity for the first 24 hours. Do not eat any hard, sticky, or crunchy foods.
After the first 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth with a saline solution a few times a day to remove bacteria and keep the extraction site clean. You can brush and floss like normal but be careful to avoid the extraction site. Antibacterial mouthwash is sometimes prescribed so you can rinse your mouth with that instead of the saline solution.
Sometimes despite your best efforts, dry socket still happens. Studies have shown that if you take oral contraceptives, you have an increased risk of developing dry socket. The signs of dry socket include severe pain at the site of the extraction, visible bone in the socket, foul breath, an absent blood clot, and pain that radiates through your face and head.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you likely have dry socket and you should contact us right away. Not only is dry socket extremely painful and uncomfortable, but it can also delay your healing and increase your risk of infection.
As long as you follow our aftercare instructions, you greatly reduce your risk of developing dry socket. However, if you do get dry socket, we can treat it by rinsing out the socket, prescribing medication, and relieving your pain with pain medication. Contact us at Skutak Dental today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lisa Skutak.