Emergency Dentist San Diego Explains Dry Socket

What is dry socket? It's a painful condition that can sometimes occur after a tooth extraction. Patients with dry socket often say it hurts even more than the condition that caused the extraction in the first place. When a patient gets dry socket, a hole in the bone forms where the tooth has been removed. During a healthy healing process, a blood clot will form after a tooth is pulled. That clot helps protect the bone and nerves underneath (similar to a scab that forms on the skin after cutting yourself). Sometimes that clot can become dislodged or dissolve a couple of days after the extraction. That leaves the bone and nerve exposed to air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters the mouth. This can lead to infection and severe pain that can last for five or six days.

How do you know if you have dry socket?

If you think you have dry socket, look into the site where the tooth was pulled. If you see the white of the bone or a dry-looking opening instead of a blood clot, you probably have dry socket. The pain typically starts about two days after the tooth was pulled and often hurts more than the toothache you had before the tooth was pulled.

How Do You Prevent Dry Socket?

At emergency dentist San Diego -- On Demand Dentist -- we will go over post-op instructions after any extraction to help you minimize the chance of suffering from dry socket and help you to a speedy, healthy extraction recovery. Smokers and women on birth control are more likely to get dry socket and following the instructions closely will decrease your risk greatly. A few things that help prevent dry socket:
  • Don't suck through a straw
  • Don't brush the extraction site for a couple of days after the extraction (brush the rest of your teeth, though)
  • Don't swish vigorously with mouthwash or (anything else)
  • Don't eat or drink hot liquids for at least 24-hours after the extraction
You can also gently rinse with a natural mouthwash (no alcohols). A product like BreathDr Natural Mouthwash is a good choice. This will help keep the area clean and help promote proper healing.

For more information about dry socket, please watch the brief video, below.

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