Tooth extraction can be a painful and complicated procedure that can have several complications after the process as well. One of the most feared complications after extraction is a dry socket. If you have recently had a tooth extraction and experienced much pain, you may be wondering what dry socket is, and why do you have it? Worried about dry socket? Here is all you need to know!
What is a Dry Socket?
Referred to as alveolar osteitis, a dry socket is a problem that arises during healing after the extraction of a permanent tooth. When a permanent tooth is extracted, a hole is left in the gums. Your body then attempts to fill this with a clot. This clot is necessary because it prevents bacteria, food, or other contaminants from entering the hole as it heals. In the case of a dry socket, this clot is either pulled out or has failed to develop as a result of which the hole is left exposed and open. As the hole looks dry, it is called a dry socket.
Unfortunately, enough, a dry socket isn’t a small issue. Apart from being unpleasant, it can become dangerous for tooth extraction healing. This mouth hole left uncovered can increase the risk of gum infection or jawbone at the site of tooth extraction. This hole may also trap food particles while drinking or eating and further increase infection risk.
Symptoms of Dry Socket
Dry socket wisdom teeth occur relatively early in the healing process, usually in a period of two or three days after the extraction. Patients may feel the extraction area getting better and then suddenly it may worsen. With several teeth extracted, the dry socket may feel different and be more painful and inflamed. So, what are dry socket symptoms? The dry socket area has throbbing pain, and aches can emerge from this site. What are the symptoms of dry socket? Let’s have a look at some of these.
- Pulsing, throbbing, and aching pain that worsens all of a sudden.
- Radiating and severe pain
- Swelling or inflammation in the affected area
- Feeling a surge of heat in the extraction area
- Bad breath
- Unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Bone visible in the socket
- Lacked blood clot over the socket
Those who suffer from dry sockets often think “how long does a dry socket last”. A dry socket will often last about 7 days. The pain may start as early as 3 days after tooth extraction.
Dry Sockets: What they Look Like
A dry socket site may seem irritated and inflamed. While the site can be difficult to determine for an untrained person, there are some key details that you need to consider. The gums delay in closing over the site in contrast to regular healing. Here are some dry socket pictures that can help you understand how they look, so it becomes easier to identify them.
When to Stop Getting Concerned about a Dry Socket?
You can stop worrying about a dry socket when you have passed the first week of your tooth extraction without any unusual concerns regarding the extraction site. The risk of development of a dry socket is usually will the hole heals up. Since the gums normally take 7 to 10 days for healing, that is how long the risk usually lasts, but it can vary for many people. Anyhow, you should trust your doctor and stay in touch with them during the healing process. Make sure to communicate with your doctor for follow-up care. If you experience any symptoms of dry socket during healing, make sure to consult your doctor in time.
Treatment for Dry Socket
A commonly asked question when it comes to dry socket treatment is “does dry socket heal on its own?”. The answer to that is that a dry socket is a complicated problem and requires immediate medical attention. Hence, if you are experiencing a dry socket, consider visiting your doctor instead of waiting for it to heal on its own.
A dry socket requires an immediate trip back to your doctor for treatment and diagnosis. As a Dry socket treatment, your dentist will first clean the wound and then apply medicines for pain relief. They may also replace the set gauze and may offer you a detailed guide to keep the site safe and clean. The doctor may also give you special antibiotics, mouthwash, and pain relief medication. Once your treatment starts, dry sockets will start healing. Make sure to follow all the instructions given by your doctor for at-home recovery.
How to Prevent Dry Socket
To avoid concerns about dry socket, it’s better to take preventive measures particularly during the first 24 hours after the extraction. This includes some preventive measures like avoiding using a straw, avoiding poking the site, and avoiding smoking. Be gentle and care for your mouth during the site healing. Eat soft foods and use the opposite side of the mouth. Since you will not be able to tell when the site is completely healed, here are some things to take care of.
- Avoid smoking because dry socket smoking can complicate problems and worsen the issue. You can know, When Can I Smoke After Tooth Extraction?
- Avoid taking seeds, nuts, or crunchy foods that can damage the open socket
- Do not take acidic or hot drinks like soda, coffee, orange juice, etc. that can destroy the blood clot.
- Do not use sucking motions like using a straw or slurping
- Do not rinse mouth vigorously
- Avoid using mouthwash that contains alcohol
- Avoid brushing or flossing around the affected socket.
A dry socket is a common concern that may develop after tooth extraction. Some factors that contribute to a dry socket are smoking, and trauma to the site. Dry socket is a treatable condition that your doctor can offer pain relief for. If you experience any sort of complications emerging after a tooth extraction, make sure to call your doctor without any delay. Just follow your doctor’s advice and the dry socket should heal in a short while.