Summit Dentist Helps Prevent Dry Sockets
If you have an upcoming tooth extraction or recently had one or more teeth pulled, a dry socket is something that you’ll hope to avoid. Technically known as “alveolar osteitis,” a dry socket is essentially inflammation of the alveolar bone (in other words, your jaw). Dry sockets occur when the blood clot that forms after an extraction is disrupted or lost altogether, exposing the bone within the socket to oral environment. This opens the door for bacteria to invade and cause localized infection. Dry socket is usually characterized by severe pain, although some patients may only have moderate pain. It is very important to seek treatment for dry socket as soon as possible to prevent a more serious condition. More importantly, how can dry socket be prevented in the first place?
Dry Socket Prevention
There are several steps to take following an extraction to ensure the socket heals completely and without complications.
• Do not smoke. Smoking is one of the leading causes of dry socket. Smoking dries the mouth out, creating a more favorable environment for infection to occur. It also has a “vasoconstrictive” effect, meaning it narrows the tiny blood vessels supplying the blood clot. Most dentists advise abstaining from smoking for at least 3 days after an extraction.
• Do not use straws. As peculiar as this may sound, there is good reason for it. Straws create a vacuum in the mouth, which could cause the blood clot to become dislodged. Smoking also has this effect. Along these same lines, do not spit forcefully when brushing your teeth, as this sudden vacuum effect could break the blood clot.
• Avoid foods that can get trapped in the socket. Foods that are small, or break up into small, grainy pieces can get trapped in the socket. Try yogurt, mashed potatoes, applesauce, and foods of similar consistency.
Dry Socket Treatment
If you do develop a dry socket, there are treatments your Summit dentist can provide. Normally, the first step is to clean out the socket and place a medicated dressing inside. Many people feel quick relief from this treatment. Your dentist may also prescribe medications to help with the inflammation and pain.
Dry socket prevention is relatively easy with a few basic precautions. But if you find yourself in significant pain after a tooth extraction, call your dentist, as an untreated dry socket can turn into a more serious issue if untreated