Tooth extraction is a common dental procedure. Teeth are extracted for a variety of reasons from severe damage or decay to orthodontic purposes. After a tooth extraction, follow up care is important to avoid a condition called dry socket. Learn more about dry socket and how to prevent it after having a tooth extracted.
What is Dry Socket?
After a tooth is extracted it leaves the socket empty. The socket is the remaining support structures for the tooth, including the jaw bone, cementum, and gum tissue. Once the tooth has been removed, a blood clot will form in the socket that stops bleeding and promotes healing of the tissue. It is important that this blood clot is not disturbed. If it is dislodged or fails to form, dry socket is the result. Dry socket can be painful because the bone is exposed.
What Causes Dry Socket?
Dry socket can occur when the blood clot fails to form or if it comes loose. The number one cause of this condition is drinking from a straw. The sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot, leaving the socket exposed. It is best to avoid sucking on any type of food, such as popsicles, suckers, or hard candy.
How to Prevent Dry Socket
To prevent this painful condition, follow your dentist’s instructions:
- Avoid straws. This may seem like a good time to have a milkshake or smoothie, but you’ll need to eat it with a spoon or right from the cup. Don’t drink from a straw to prevent dislodging the blood clot.
- Avoid sucking on foods. Don’t eat anything that requires sucking. No hard candy, suckers, popsicles, etc.
- Avoid brushing and flossing. You’ll need to avoid brushing and flossing your teeth in the area of the extraction for a few days to avoid dislodging the blood clot.
- Rest and avoid stress. Unnecessary stress or strain could dislodge the clot. Try to rest and relax as much as possible. Don’t do any strenuous activities or exercise.
- Eat soft foods. Avoid hard or crunchy foods that could dislodge the clot. Eat soft foods that will not irritate your gum tissue.
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco can slow the healing process, prevent a clot from forming, or possibly dislodge the clot.
What to Do if Dry Socket Occurs
If you do experience severe pain in the socket after a tooth extraction, you may have dry socket. Contact your dentist for further instructions. You may need to return to your dentist’s office for treatment to relieve the pain of dry socket. Taking over the counter pain medication may help somewhat until you can have your dry socket treated, but it won’t be enough to provide lasting relief.
Suwanee Family Dentistry Provides Tooth Extraction
Teeth sometimes need to be extracted. A tooth that is damaged or severely decayed beyond saving with restorative measures may need to be removed. Overcrowding of teeth in the mouth may require the extraction of one or more teeth. Wisdom teeth often need to be extracted due to lack of space or improper eruption. Whatever the reason you need to have one or more teeth removed, Suwanee Family Dentistry provides tooth extraction services.