How to Prevent Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
People who’ve had a tooth extracted may have heard of dry socket before. Dry socket is a common complication that occurs after a tooth is extracted. So what is dry socket and why should you do everything possible to prevent it after a tooth extraction? Read on and learn how to prevent dry socket after wisdom tooth removal.
What Dry Socket Is
Dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, describes a painful condition that results when the blood clot covering a tooth extraction site is dislodged before the underlying nerve tissues and bone have healed. The premature loss of this protective clot lengthens the healing time and results in a lot of discomfort and pain.
How Do Know You Have Dry Socket?
Dr. Farhat, a dentist in Sterling Heights, MI, explains that it ’s normal to feel some pain after having your wisdom teeth removed surgically. However, this pain is transient and ends a few days after the extraction.
So, patients can suspect that they have dry socket if they experience intense pain that spreads to the face and head days after the surgery. Bad breath may also indicate that one has dry socket, especially if they don’t have a history of halitosis.
The professionals at Dental One Care also advise that patients observe the surgical site in a mirror. Dry socket should be suspected if the surgical site is fully or partially empty (lacking the blood clot which formed after the surgery).
How to Prevent Dry Socket
Don’t use drinking straws. The suction force created as one is using a straw can easily dislodge the blood clot at the tooth extraction site. Dr. Farhat, therefore, recommends that you refrain from using a straw for at least one week after you have had a tooth extracted. That abstinence will allow the site to heal under the protection provided by the blood clot.
Opt for softer foods. It is also wise to opt for soft foods during the days following tooth extraction. The soft foods will cause less stress on the surgical site as you eat. For example, eat mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup in the first two or so days after the surgery. Try harder foods later and revert to the soft ones if you feel pain.
Refrain from tobacco use or smoking. We asked our friend, Dr. Dennis Laurich, a dentist in Canton, MI about how to prevent dry socket. Dr. Laurich says that the risk of dry socket increased threefold for smokers when compared to non-smokers. He says this is because the act of smoking entails a sucking force that can dislodge the blood clot at the surgical site. Additionally, the chemicals in the tobacco and any other substance that one may smoke can also interfere with the body’s healing processes, such as causing the clot to dissolve prematurely. You should work with your dentist in Sterling Heights, MI, to find a way to reduce or abstain from smoking and the use of tobacco until you have healed after wisdom tooth extraction.
Be meticulous in your oral hygiene. Another tip for those who want to learn how to prevent dry socket is that they should be particular about their oral hygiene during this healing period. Oral germs can prevent a blood clot from forming, or they can break it down once it forms. Talk to your Sterling Heights dentist about how you should brush your teeth, as well as the use of antibacterial mouthwash that may be helpful in preventing infection while you heal.
Talk to the dentist about other medications. Discuss any medications that you are currently taking as you prepare for surgery to remove wisdom teeth. You should also consult your dentist in case any medication is prescribed for another condition within the time that you are healing after undergoing tooth extraction surgery. For example, oral contraceptives have been linked to causing dry socket.
Call a dentist in Sterling Heights, such as Dr. Farhat, if you suspect that you have a dry socket. The Dental One Care team will advise you about what you should do next. Otherwise, do everything you can to implement the advice given above on how to prevent dry socket.