Dry socket is an uncomfortable side effect that can occur when you have a tooth extracted. It occurs when the blood clot that forms after the extraction is dislodged or dissolved. If you’ve had wisdom teeth removed, our oral surgeons will provide instructions to help prevent dry socket and how to deal with it if it does occur.
Managing Dry Socket
Any extraction will cause discomfort for a period of time. This can usually be managed with over-the-counter medication. However, if the discomfort is intense, or if it continues for more than a few days, you might have dry socket. You should contact our oral surgeons as soon as possible so treatment can begin. Treatment usually includes:
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication
- Cleaning of the socket
- Special dressing and medication to help healing
You will probably have to see the specialist every day to have the dressing changed until the socket has healed sufficiently. You may also require prescription antibiotics, and we might recommend rinsing with salt water or a special mouthwash to keep the socket clean.
Symptoms and Causes of Dry Socket
When a tooth is extracted, a socket is left behind. This is the hole in the gum and jawbone where the tooth root was anchored. If healing proceeds properly, the socket is filled with a blood clot that protects it. In some cases, this clot becomes dislodged or can even dissolve. Without the clot to protect them, the bone and tooth nerve are exposed to the air. Because the nerve and bone tissue are very sensitive, the result is extreme discomfort.
If you are experiencing discomfort beyond what can be controlled with over-the-counter medication, you should talk to your oral surgeon. You might be able to see that the clot is gone. To avoid dry socket, avoid using a straw, don’t smoke, and closely follow the after-care instructions provided by your oral surgeon.
Is your dentist recommending you to have your wisdom teeth removed? Come see us at Northern Virginia Oral, Maxillofacial & Implant Surgery today. Call to reserve an appointment.