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The Trouble with Dry Socket

Why You Never Want It and How to Avoid It

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If you have a tooth that’s badly decayed or damaged, you might need to have it removed. This can also be necessary with wisdom teeth, which don’t always fit properly in the mouth. Usually this is a fairly simple procedure. As long as the tooth is above the surface, it can be performed in the dentist’s office. However, once the tooth is removed, it doesn’t mean that you can just forget about it. After the surgery, you need to make sure that you take care of the site and avoid developing a dry socket if you want the wound to heal properly. To help you with that, here are some tips on dry socket prevention.


What Causes Dry Socket?

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A dry socket can occur after a tooth is removed. After a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms over the exposed bone and nerves that protect the site until it can heal. If this blood clot is disturbed, it can cause pain and infection in the exposed nerves and bone. This is known as dry socket. If you experience this, you will probably have to make another trip to see your dentist so that new dressings can be applied to protect the site. However, by this stage, the damage is probably done and your healing process will be slower and more painful than normal.  That’s why it’s much better to avoid disturbing the blood clot and the trouble of a dry socket in the first place.

The Symptoms of Dry Socket

Dry socket can sometimes be mistaken for normal pain and swelling that occurs after a dental procedure. This can result in the wound becoming infected. If you do have dry socket, it’s important that you identify it right away and go to your dentist for treatment. To help you with that, here are some common signs of dry socket:

  • An increasing pain level days after the surgery.

  • A missing or partially missing blood clot at the site.

  • Bad breath

  • The bone underneath the site becomes visible.

  • Pain that radiates into your jaw and face.


How to Prevent Dry Socket

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After your extraction, your dentist will probably tell you how to protect the site and prevent dry socket. So make sure you follow all of their instructions and make another appointment if you notice any problems. Some easy steps to avoid dry socket are as follows:

  • Avoid hard foods.

Until the wound site is completely healed you should try to avoid hard foods that could damage the site or tear it open.

  • Chew on the other side of your mouth

This seems like obvious advice, but while the wound is still there you should consciously chew on the opposite side to avoid injury.

  • Drink lots of water

If you usually drink caffeinated or sugary drinks you will need to avoid them while you’re healing. Drink water instead. It’s better for your wound and for your body as well. And don’t use a straw at all until the site is completely healed.

  • Avoid tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco slows the healing and introduces bacteria into the wound. If you can’t stop smoking entirely, at least refrain from smoking within 48 hours of your procedure if you want to avoid painful consequences.

  • Don’t brush

Don’t brush the extraction site. You can brush your other teeth, gently, but avoid the wound site. Once 24 hours has passed from the time of the procedure, you can use an antibacterial mouthwash to keep the site clean, but keep your toothbrush away from it unless your dentist advises otherwise.

  • Rest when you need to

Remember that you’ve basically had an operation, so rest as much as you need to in the days after the procedure. This will help to heal your body and the wound site.

  • Take painkillers

If you experience pain, don’t be afraid to take painkillers or anti-inflammatories. This will reduce the discomfort and swelling associated with the wound site.

If you follow all of these tips and listen to your dentist, you can avoid dry socket and your extraction site will heal quickly and without any complications.


Paramount Dental Sydney Says

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If you’re worried about dry socket, make an appointment with us here at Paramount Dental Sydney. Our caring and expert staff can help you find a solution that works for you.