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What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket is a potential complication that can develop after a tooth is removed. When teeth are extracted, a blood clot forms in the empty socket and is an important part of the healing process. The socket creates a barrier, protecting the bone underneath from exposure to fluids, foods and air and allowing it to heal more easily. If the protective blood clot is disturbed or doesn’t form for some reason, the bone and nerves in the empty socket are exposed and can cause discomfort and pain.

It is rare for this condition to develop, as it affects only 2% of people who have routine tooth extractions. The condition tends to most often occur in lower tooth sockets, almost always in lower molar sockets. Dry socket rarely occurs in upper teeth sockets. It is a problem that is more likely to develop if you have a complicated tooth removal such as an impacted wisdom tooth in Whitby. Usually, dry socket is a condition that occurs on the third or fourth day after tooth removal, as any discomfort after teeth are extracted usually reduces after one to 3 days.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dry Socket?
When you look at the empty tooth socket, it may be possible to see the exposed bony surface because the blood clot is partially or entirely missing. You may feel a dull, throbbing or aching pain that spreads to your ear. Frequently, dry socket creates a bad smell, or you might notice you have an unpleasant taste. It’s not a condition associated with infection, so the empty socket won’t usually look red or swollen, and you shouldn’t have a fever.

Who Is More Likely to Get Dry Socket?
Smokers, people aged over 25 and women taking oral contraceptives are more at risk of getting dry socket. Certain activities put too much pressure on the extraction site too soon after surgery. These activities include vigorous toothbrushing or chewing food that can dislodge the protective blood clot. The sucking action of smoking or drinking through a straw can also dislodge the blood clot in the empty socket.

Preventing Dry Socket
If you do need to have a tooth removed in Oshawa, our dental team will talk to you about how to look after the extraction site afterwards. We can advise you on whether it is safe to brush your teeth gently on the first day or if you are better using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. You will need to chew carefully and stick to softer foods that are less likely to become impacted in the empty socket and which could be difficult to remove. Avoid rinsing your mouth to rigorously, smoking and drinking very hot beverages. If you do smoke and find it difficult to quit, you might want to try a nicotine patch for a few days. Sometimes an empty socket is stitched shut after surgery, which can substantially decrease the risk of dry socket. Once the socket has healed, dry socket is no longer a risk, and usually 7 to 10 days after the tooth is removed.

How Is Dry Socket Treated?
If you do develop dry socket, don’t worry as it can be treated here at Margolian Dentistry and treatment will soon relieve the pain. When treating this condition, our dentist can clean out the empty socket and apply a medicated dressing to protect it. Treatment may slow down healing slightly, but you will feel much more comfortable. Dry socket is rare, but if you think you have this condition or are concerned after tooth extraction in Ajax, get in touch with our dental team so we can help you.

Oct 18, 2019 | Posted by

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