Recovering from a tooth extraction isn’t something most patients look forward to, but when it’s necessary making the best of it and keeping in mind that it will soon be over, makes everything a little easier. However, if the pain seems especially persistent and the symptoms you’re experiencing seem more severe than you were prepped to expect, you could be suffering from dry socket.
What Is Dry Socket?
After a tooth extraction a blood clot forms over the extraction site protecting the nerves beneath. The clot ensures that the healing process happens the way it should and prevents liquids, food, air, bacteria and other harmful agents from entering the vulnerable socket. When the clot is dislodged the socket is liable to become infected, and delay healing time. Certain things can make you more susceptible to dry socket, such as:
- If you’re a smoker
- Wisdom teeth are more likely to cause dry socket than are other extractions
- If you have poor oral health and are experiencing any other sort of tooth or gum infection at the time of your extraction
- Drinking from a straw following the procedure
- Using an oral contraceptive
- Trauma during surgery
What Can I Do to Avoid Developing Dry Socket?
Only 2-5% of people develop dry socket after tooth extractions, though it becomes more common following wisdom tooth removal. Make sure to follow your doctor’s post-surgical instructions in order to avoid getting a dry socket. To summarize, eat soft foods, drink cool liquids, maintain good oral hygiene, and take the prescribed medication.
What Do I Do If I Have a Dry Socket?
If you think you’re experiencing dry socket it should be relatively easy to confirm. Looking at the site of the extraction you should either see a reddish blood clot, or a darker hole. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of dry socket (i.e. bad taste in mouth, intense pain at the site of the extraction, possibly pain in ears or neck), you should immediately call your oral surgeon. Your oral surgeon will most likely clean out the socket to prevent any infection and dress it to allow for healing. Eventually another blood clot will form and you’ll be back on track!
If you have any questions or concerns regarding tooth extractions or dry sockets, don’t hesitate to contact Austin Oral Surgery. Our amazing team of oral surgeons has extensive training in the full scope of oral surgery services, including wisdom teeth removal and dental implants. Call today.