Dry socket is a complication they can develop after you have a tooth extracted. If you have had wisdom teeth or other teeth removed, you should be aware of the symptoms of dry socket and what to do if it seems to be developing. If you do notice symptoms of dry socket, you should see your dentist or oral surgeon right away.
What Is Dry Socket?
When a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms that fills the socket where the tooth used to be. This blood clot helps stanch bleeding and also protects the exposed nerves and bone left behind after the extraction. However, in some cases, the clot can become dislodged. This is called dry socket.
You should be aware of the symptoms of dry socket so you can notify your doctor as soon as possible if you notice them. Symptoms include:
- Extreme discomfort at the extraction site
- You can see that the blood clot has been dislodged
- Bleeding at the extraction site
Dry socket can be extremely uncomfortable, so if the over-the-counter or prescription pain meds you have been recommended after your procedure seem not to be helping, or if your discomfort increases a day or two after the procedure, talk to your oral surgeon.
Preventing Dry Socket
Many of the aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon are designed to prevent dry socket. After your procedure, you should be sure to follow these recommendations:
- Do not use a straw
- Eat soft foods for a day or two
- Don’t brush your teeth over the extraction site
- Follow any other instructions you have been given
If you do experience dry socket, your oral surgeon will treat it by packing the empty space with a sterile dressing to protect the socket. You might have to go back every day or two to have this dressing replaced. You can greatly reduce your chances of developing dry socket by diligently following your dentist’s aftercare instructions.
Call our office today if you have more questions.