A dry socket is a painful tooth condition that can develop following the removal of a tooth. If one develops after you’ve had a tooth removed, it can lead to exposure of your bone and nerves and cause pain. Below, we take a closer look at why they develop and how they are best prevented and treated.
The Formation Of A Dry Socket
A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is a complication that occurs after a permanent tooth has been removed. Once the tooth is removed, a blood clot will form at the site to help protect the underlying bone and nerves. However, if this blood clot gets dislodged, these sensitive tissues can become exposed to the elements. This can cause food debris and other material to collect in the socket and cause significant pain in the area or pain that radiates. A dislodged blood clot typically occurs 24-72 hours after the removal of a tooth, so the first three days following tooth removal is a very crucial time in helping to prevent the formation of a dry socket.
Dry sockets are one of the more common complications that occur following the removal of a person’s wisdom teeth. Factors that can put you at an increased risk for the formation of a dry socket after tooth removal include:
- Tobacco use
- Failing to following care guidelines put forth by the dental team
- Tooth infections
- Having dry sockets in the past
- Taking oral contraceptives
Pain isn’t the only problem caused by the formation of a dry socket. Exposure of the soft tissues in the mouth can put you at an increased risk of infection, which can affect your whole-body health. Give up tobacco products and consult with your dentist about the best ways to prevent dry socket formation if you need to have a tooth extracted. You’ll also want to stick to soft foods and avoid using a straw in the first few days after a tooth extraction, as harder foods and the sucking action of the straw can accidentally dislodge the clot.
Dry Socket Treatment
Even when you take preventative steps, dry sockets can still develop, and when this happens, you need to seek treatment. Treatment often includes a dental visit in which the dentist will clean the socket and insert a medical dressing to prevent food particles and other substances from entering the opening. The dressing will need to be changed regularly in order to prevent potential infection and allow healing, and you’ll also be given over-the-counter pain medications to help with discomfort. After a couple days, the area should clot over and healing will continue without the soft tissues being exposed.
So if you are dealing with new pain in the mouth following a tooth removal and you believe the blood clot may have moved, be sure to reach out to your dentist as soon as possible. Dr. Brooks and his team work hard to help prevent dry sockets, but they can also help care for you mouth if you have to deal with the condition. For more information or to set up an appointment, reach out to Smiles For Life Dental in Bloomington today.