Dry socket commonly occurs after the extraction of an adult tooth. The condition is painful and happens when the blood clot does not properly develop in the area from which the tooth is pulled out. While the healing process after the extraction generally goes well, individuals that smoke, don’t have good oral hygiene, or have had complications during the tooth extraction can experience dry socket. In this article, we look into this oral problem.
What are the symptoms of dry socket?
It isn’t very difficult to identify when you have dry socket since there are quite a few signs. The symptoms will always appear in the area where the tooth was extracted from. When examining the area, you will notice it is dry and has a bone-like, white color. Normally, after extraction, the area should appear to as a dark red color, which means there is a blood clot in presence. However, if you don’t notice this, then you need to contact your dentist in Sterling Heights, MI for a checkup to ensure that the area is healing as it should or not.
Individuals that don’t spot the problem at early stages tend to experience the following symptoms:
- Pain and aching at the site of the extraction, this usually starts a couple of days after the procedure.
- The pain can also spread to other parts of the body such as the neck, ears, and face.
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth along with the bad breath.
If at any time after an extraction, you experience any of the symptoms above, you likely have a dry socket. It is important you contact Dental One Care immediately and get treated for it.
What are your treatment options for dry socket?
To combat the pain experienced due to dry socket, your dentist will recommend the use of aspirin or any other anti-inflammatory drug. Most of the time the painkiller will be enough to relieve you of the pain. However, if pain still persists then anesthesia may be the only option. It will be applied to the area of the extraction. But this is just to treat the pain, the dentist will need to treat your dry socket also.
Treatment for dry socket first starts off by cleaning of the tooth socket. Debris will be taken out from the socket and a special paste will be applied to fill the socket. You will then need to monitor the socket to see if a blood clot is formed or not. If after a few days it is still not present, you will need to visit your dentist again to have the dressing changed. The dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent any infection in the socket.
How can you prevent dry socket?
We asked our friend, Dr. Ben Kacos, a dentist in Shreveport, LA, about preventing dry socket. Dr. Kacos says there are a few steps you can take to prevent dry socket. After tooth extraction, there are certain measures you can take that can help prevent dry socket from occurring. These are:
- Avoid straws: The act of suction while using a straw may have an impact on the blood cloth, dislodging it. You can consult your dentist to get an idea of how long you should go without the use of a straw.
- No smoking: You will need to avoid smoking altogether after extraction. If you are an avid smoker and find it hard to stop then look for an alternative like a nicotine patch. You can also ask your dentist to apply stitches on the site of surgery and while smoking apply a gauze over it.
- No gum or hard food: The act of chewing can dislodge the blood clot in the socket. You want to make sure you don’t chew excessively and stick to food that is not too hard.
What to do if you can’t see a dentist for dry socket right away?
If for any reason you aren’t able to go to your dentist but have the symptoms of dry socket, there are steps you can take immediately to help reduce any risk of infection. Don’t think that the problem will solve itself, you need to take the proper measure to help it from becoming a bigger problem. The following tips will help you do that:
Throughout the day, rinse your mouth with warm salt water. You need to do this a few times during the course of the day. If there is swelling, apply a cold pack to the affected area of your face to reduce it. To help with the pain, you can apply a washcloth that has been dipped in warm water to your face.
The best course to take if you have even at the slightest possibility of dry socket is to see your dentist. They can help you treat and prevent any infection in the socket. Furthermore, they can help you manage the pain that may be unbearable for some.