After you’ve had your wisdom teeth removed, you’ll have to pay careful attention to your aftercare to ensure successful healing. One problem that can develop after extraction is dry socket. By taking good care of your mouth after the extractions, you can avoid this uncomfortable condition.
Taking Care of Your Mouth after Wisdom Tooth Removal
After your have your wisdom teeth removed, your oral surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to take care of your mouth while you heal. Some of the basic guidelines for the first day or two of care include:
- Use an ice pack to reduce swelling
- Use a gauze pad and pressure to control bleeding
- Take any prescribed medications as instructed
- Eat soft foods
- Do not smoke or use a straw
After the first couple of days, you should rinse gently with warm salt water. You should avoid touching the extraction site, and when you begin brushing your teeth again, do so very carefully. All these precautions will help keep you from accidentally dislodging the blood clot that fills the empty tooth socket. Keeping this clot in place is an important part of successful healing.
What is Dry Socket?
After the oral surgeon removes your wisdom teeth, a hole is left behind in the gum and the jawbone beneath it. This is the tooth socket. This hole naturally fills in with a blood clot that helps protect the socket and the bone, which otherwise becomes exposed. If the blood clot is dislodged, the socket is left unprotected. This condition is called dry socket.
Because the bone is exposed and the place where the wisdom tooth once sat is open, dry socket results in extreme discomfort. Nerves in the bone will respond to exposure to foods and beverages or even to air. If you experience discomfort during your healing process and believe you might have dry socket, see your oral surgeon at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial and Implant Surgery as soon as possible for treatment.