Dry Socket

Preventing & Treating Dry Sockets

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.

Dry Socket Tooth

What Is A Dry Socket And How Is It Treated?

Having a tooth pulled isn’t a very fun experience, but if it goes as planned, most people can grit their teeth and get on with life. However, for about 2-5 percent of the population, a complication known as a dry socket develops after having a tooth removed. This can cause more pain than the original issue that caused the tooth to be pulled in the first place. Below, we take a closer look at why dry sockets develop, and how to prevent and care for them.

Why Dry Sockets Develop

Dry sockets occur after a tooth has been removed. Once a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms underneath the tooth socket to act as a barrier between food particles and the bone and nerves underneath. Every so often, this blood clot dissolves or become dislodged, which then exposes the nerves to air, food and fluids in the mouth. This can lead to severe discomfort in the form of an infection, which typically last for 5-7 days.

Individuals who have a greater risk of developing a dry socket include those who:

  • Smoke
  • Have poor overall oral hygiene
  • Need to have their wisdom teeth removed
  • Have greater-than-expected trauma during tooth removal
  • Are using birth control
  • Regularly drink through a straw or those who spit a lot
  • Have a history of dry sockets

Preventing and Treating Dry Sockets

Preventing dry sockets is best performed by taking a look at the above list and avoiding some of the controllable behaviors. You can also ask your dentist for other prevention tips if you need to have a tooth removed.

Treating a dry socket requires even more care. For starters, your dentist will likely recommend over the counter NSAIDs or even a stronger option to control pain. In an attempt to prevent against an infection, your dentist will have you come in for another visit. During this visit, they will remove any debris and then fill the socket with a medicated dressing or special paste to promote healing in the area.

You may have to return to the dentist’s office in a couple of days to have the dressing changed, unless the first application has helped spur the healing process and decrease pain. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics or medicated mouthwash in order to help prevent against the onset of an infection.

Dentist in Bloomington, MN

As is the case with all health conditions, prevention is preferred to treatment, so avoid smoking, drinking out of a straw and improve your oral hygiene if you need to have a tooth removed. Some of the risk factors cannot be controlled for, but if you take charge of those aspects you can control, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of developing a dry socket. For more information, reach out to Dr. Brooks today.