How to Prevent Dry Sockets

An extraction can be an effective treatment, but it can sometimes mean your pain gets worse before it gets better, especially if you develop dry sockets. This painful condition occurs after nearly a third of all wisdom teeth removals. With odds like these, it’s no wonder you’re seeking advice on how to avoid dry sockets. 

At All Bright Dental, Dr. Gennadiy Kravets and our staff want you to make sure you avoid this complication. That’s why we want to send you into recovery equipped with the best strategies to keep you as comfortable as possible. 

What are dry sockets?

The hole where your tooth once was is called a socket. A blood clot forms inside the socket to control bleeding and protect the bone, nerves, and tissue below. 

Sometimes, the blood clot becomes dislodged or dissolves prematurely exposing your raw bone and nerve to air, fluids, food, and anything else that might enter your mouth. The result is pain and sensitivity and even the risk of infection. 

While anyone who gets a tooth pulled can get dry sockets, there are a few risk factors that increase your chances. For example, if you smoke, have poor oral hygiene, undergo greater-than-usual trauma during surgery, or use birth control, your chances of developing dry sockets go up significantly. 

The tell-tale sign of a dry socket is severe pain that starts a couple of days after surgery and gets worse over time. You might even notice the pain radiating into your ear. 

Another way to tell if you have a dry socket is to carefully look at the socket itself. If you see a bit of whitish bone poking out instead of a dark blood clot, you might have a dry socket. Dry sockets can also cause your breath to smell and an unpleasant taste in your mouth. 

Treating a dry socket can be as easy as taking over-the-counter pain medications, but Dr. Kravets may prescribe stronger pain medication or anesthetize the are again to make you more comfortable. 

How can you prevent dry sockets?

While treating them can be simple, getting dry sockets is certainly not fun. Here are a few ways you can avoid them. 

Stay away from straws

The sucking motion needed to use a straw can dislodge your blood clot and expose your bone and nerves. Avoid straws for at least a week after your extraction. 

Kick the habit

Similar to using a straw, the sharp inhalation involved with smoking risks the integrity of your blood clot. Do your best to reduce your tobacco intake before your extraction or use it as a jumping-off point for kicking the habit altogether. 

Stick to soft food

It’s not wise to bite into a juicy steak a few days after your surgery. Instead, opt for soft foods that require little to no chewing like apple sauce, yogurt, and mashed potatoes. 

You should also steer clear of soup and other foods that require slurping or sucking to consume and crunchy, sticky foods that could get stuck in your socket. 

Keep up the oral hygiene

Now is not a time to skimp on your daily brushing routine. It’s important that you keep as much bacteria and foreign objects out of your mouth and away from your socket as possible. Dr. Kravets can direct you on how to clean your teeth carefully after your extraction. 

With a little diligence and maybe a good friend or relative to look after you for a few days, you can recover from your tooth extraction with no hiccups. Our team is here to give you the best instructions and management strategies so you can heal quickly and safely. 

If you have more questions or have concerns about your own recovery, call our office or schedule an appointment online today.

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