Dry socket refers to the inflammation of the alveolar bone or jawbone after your tooth has been extracted and the resultant blood clot is lost either partially or wholly. The loss of the blood clot halts or delays the healing process. This complication can cause you to develop bad breath and a throbbing headache several days after your tooth was extracted. Read on and learn what the experts at Dental One Care in Sterling Heights, MI have to say about what causes dry socket, signs of dry socket, and symptoms, and how it can be prevented.
Causes of Dry Socket
- Bacterial causes. Oral bacteria or infections can prevent a blood clot from forming at the tooth extraction site. Dr. Fadi Farhat, the best dentist in Sterling Heights MI, adds that bacteria present in the mouth can also break down the clot, resulting in a dry socket.
- Chemical causes. Nicotine, found in cigarettes, is one of the most common chemicals that can cause a dry socket. It inhibits blood flow to the extraction site and dry socket will result.
- Mechanical causes, such as rinsing your mouth aggressively, sucking on a straw, dragging on a cigarette or even spitting can all cause you to lose the blood clot that had formed at the tooth extraction site.
- Physiologic factors, such as having a poor supply of blood, having dense bones and hormonal changes, can also result in a dry socket.
Who is at Risk of Dry Socket?
Many risk factors exist for predisposing someone to dry socket. The experts at Dental One Care highlight the following as some of those risk factors:
- History or presence of gum disease
- Extraction of impacted wisdom teeth
- Age. People who are older than 30 years of age are at a higher risk of dry socket since their bones are denser, they have a reduced blood supply to the mouth and the extraction process is likely to be more traumatic than that done on a younger person.
- Being a woman is also a risk factor since the hormonal changes experienced may affect the blood supply to the extraction site.
If you are concerned about the possibility of dry socket when your tooth is extracted, talk to Dr. Fadi Farhat and you will have your concerns addressed, including what measures are available to minimize the likelihood of the problem from developing.
Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket
- A throbbing headache that develops a few days after your tooth is extracted
- A bad taste in your mouth
- Bad breath
- Clearly visible jawbone in the socket
- The tissues around the extraction site become gray
- Total or partial absence of a blood clot at the extraction site
Diagnosis of Dry Socket
When you suspect that you have dry socket and you visit Dental One Care in Sterling Heights MI, Dr. Fafdi Farhat will usually base on the symptoms you describe, as well as a dental exam, to determine whether what you are experiencing is indeed dry socket.
For example, it is normal to experience pain when a tooth is extracted, but that pain subsides over the coming days after the procedure. So, if the pain develops days after the tooth extraction, it is likely that you have developed dry socket. Nearly all cases of dry socket develop within the first week after an extraction, so yours may be a different problem if it occurs more than a week after your tooth was extracted.
Can Dry Socket Be Prevented?
Many measures can be taken to prevent or reduce the risk of dry socket from manifesting. We asked our friend, Dr. Jordan Smith, a dentist in Georgetown, KY to for tips on how to prevent dry socket. Dr. Smith recommends the following:
- Having the tooth extracted while you are in your monthly period (to avert dry socket related to hormonal changes during the different stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle).
- Placing some packing at the extraction site immediately after the extraction procedure.
- Use of sutures to protect the clot from being dislodged
- Avoid smoking, using a straw or any other device that could dislodge the blood clot.
- Refrain from heavy physical activity the first few days after the procedure
- Eat soft foods only to avoid putting pressure on the extraction site.
- Use an antibacterial rinse to keep the extraction site clean.
Don’t worry if you are diagnosed with dry socket after you had your tooth extracted. The condition can be treated and you will heal within 7-10 days. Besides, there is hardly a chance of permanent damage if you suffer from dry socket. The experts at Dental One Care can also treat the symptoms associated with dry socket, so don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment if you notice that the clot has been dislodged as you heal after a tooth extraction.