Getting your tooth pulled out is definitely not the best experience you can go through. There will also definitely be discomfort afterwards. And this usually just goes away in a matter of hours if not a few days. But sometimes the pain can become very intense and even worse. This is a condition which is known as having a dry socket.
While it is a serious condition, it is not one which is common. In fact from the many cases of tooth extraction ,there are just 2-5% people who will be suffering from dry socket or alveolar osteitis.
It is definitely a very uncomfortable situation and can put you in immense discomfort. But the good news is- it is definitely treatable.
In this article, I am going to be talking in great lengths on how dry socket is one of of those conditions which you can readily take care of.
So let’s begin:
How Dry Socket Happens?
This is basically what we call as a complication that will happen after a tooth extraction.
It is not as common but it is likely to happen. The condition is also very painful. This is something that requires the intervention from your dentist.
What happens is that when a doctor is going to remove your tooth, a blood clot is something that should happen.
This blood clot is actually a healing mechanism. It is basically a shield which is protecting the underlying bone, tissues and nerves as the site will be healing.
What happens is that in certain cases, the blood clot will not be forming properly and it will become dislodged. This is going to leave the bone and the nerves exposed.
This is why a dry socket is a condition which needs your serious attention right away. But the good thing is in most cases you may not even have to suffer.
It is all about making the right choices. You have to take care of your condition and follow certain healing precautions that will make all the difference.
Before anything else, I want to touch about the risk factors of this condition:
Risk Factors of Dry Socket
It is not true that everyone who has a tooth pulled will be suffering from this condition. In fact it is not even clear what is causing this condition. However there are certain factors that will increase its risks. These include:
- Smoking is a common issue. Avoid it, even if for a couple of days
- While smoking can trigger it, if you are chewing tobacco, it will definitely make the condition worse
- Using birth control pills has been determined as a common cause
- If you don’t follow the proper oral hygiene, your tooth can be exposed to a dry socket condition
- If you are having your wisdom teeth pulled out, you are likely to suffer from this
- Having to suffer from infections, that of gum and teeth is a likely cause
- If you had dry socket in the past, it is most likely to recur again
- It is highly likely that using straws can make this condition worse and will not promote healing
Symptoms of Dry Socket
So now that we have a fair idea on the risk factors, let’s now talk about the symptoms. If after the tooth extraction, you are suffering from any of these, you need to get medical attention right away:
- Having severe pain which will not go away
- A missing blood clot is a cause which can just get worse with time
- Suffering from a visible bone at the extraction site
- There is constant foul smell coming from your mouth
- Also having strong, bad taste which just keeps on getting worse
- You will notice that there is pain radiating from the tooth socket and it is travelling steadily to the ear, eye, temple as well as your neck region
The thing about a dry socket is that this pain will start immediately or it can happen for a few days. But it is something that will surely continue for quite a few days.
While it is possible to suffer from pain and discomfort for a few days, but you will be able to identify when this pain is becoming intolerable and needs medical attention and assistance as soon as possible.
So what is the diagnosis process? Read on:
Diagnosis of this Condition
So by looking at the risk factors and the symptoms that follow, you already have a fair idea on how the diagnosis process will take place.
If you are suffering from extreme pain after the tooth removal process, you should know that this pain will subside in a few hours.
If it doesn’t and keeps on getting worse, it is time to call your dentist. Your dentist will then look at the empty socket, analyze the condition and present ways in which it is going to be treated.
There are also some complications which can happen which we will talk about now:
While it is not common to suffer from complications, they can happen if left untreated. These can include:
- A delay in the healing process
- There is noticeable infection in the socket
- This infection is actually spreading through the whole bone region
So now that you have a fairly good idea on what happens when you suffer from dry socket, now let’s talk about the treatment mechanism:
Treatment of Dry Socket
So when it comes to the treatment of this condition, there are quite a few things you should keep in mind. The main area you are actually focusing on is getting on the pain management.
Let’s look at some of the most common treatment options that stand for you:
This is basically the treatment which you get when you have to visit the clinic. The following actions and steps will be performed:
- Flushing the socket so as to remove any debris which is actually causing the irritating effect
- You will have to look at the option to tend the empty socket with medicated dressings. This will make some impact and bring forth a soothing effect
- In some cases, your doctor will simply be prescribing the nonsteroidal as well as other inflammatory drugs which will make a definite difference
Treatment at Home
The good thing is that there are still a few treatment options that you can do right at home. If your case is not as severe, your dentist will first take a look at your condition and then prescribe some home remedies which will make a strong impact.
These you should continue for several days at home to ensure the treatment is done completely and you can make a strong impact.
When it comes to home treatment, it usually consists of flushing the socket first. It is done so with saline solution and you will be heading a medicated rinse which is done for several days. And aside from this, you should continue to take the pain medication for days.
If you have any follow-up appointments, make sure to follow those otherwise you will be suffering from neglected care.
It all comes down to how you are going to manage your own situation.
You also need to adapt certain self-care habits which will be making all the difference in the world when done right.
Let’s check out what these might be:
Lifestyle Tips That Matter
While it is essential to look into ways in which you will need clinical assistance to manage the harmful and serious effects of this condition, adapting simple lifestyle habits can actually make all the difference.
- Stop chewing tobacco
- Cut out or completely stop or avoid smoking
- It is best to rinse the mouth with warm water as recommended by the dentist for at least 24 hours
- You should be drinking plenty of clear liquids
- Don’t eat foods which are going to irritate your area
- Also make sure to steer clear of any carbonated drinks
- It is also advisable that you make use of hot and cold ice packs on the jaw as well as the cheek
So it is just great if you can adapt these simple strategies. They can make a definite difference.
Now let’s talk about the best prevention strategies.
How to Prevent Dry Socket
We have already talked in detail as to what is a dry socket. It is definitely a painful situation but the good thing is that you can manage it well with some prevention tactics. Let’s see what these are:
Before you actually have the procedure, there are some ways in which you can actually reduce the risk of developing this condition. This includes:
- Stop smoking and don’t use any other tobacco products.
- Always get the procedure done from a dentist who is well experienced to extract the tooth
- You should stop using any medications which are actually interfering with the ability of a blood clot forming
Once the surgery is done, there are some post-procedure treatments you should be looking into. These are:
- Pack the affected area with sterile gauze
- Make use of antibacterial mouthwash or even oral gel
- It is also best if you make use of prescribed antibiotics
You should also take plenty of rest after the surgery and not perform any such activities which will impact the blood clot. It is also best that you eat soft foods the day after the surgery.
You should also practice good oral hygiene. As this will help in healing the wound completely.