Tooth Extraction And Dry Socket Prevention
Getting a tooth pulled rarely sounds fun, but intense pain that lasts for several days after having it done is not normal. It may be an indication of dry socket, and if so, you will need to talk to your dentist.
An Overview of Dry Socket
Dry socket occurs after having a tooth pulled. When a tooth is extracted, the hole in the bone where the tooth used to be, called the socket, is exposed. Our body naturally creates a blood clot in the socket to help protect the bone and nerves. If the blood clot is dislodged or otherwise removed, the bone and nerves are exposed to air, food, and anything else that enters the mouth. This leaves open the possibility for infection and extreme pain that can last for many days.
Some people are more likely to suffer from dry socket than others. If the tooth extraction was particularly difficult, a person smokes or has poor oral hygiene, or a person has a history of the problem after having a tooth pulled, dry socket is more likely to take place. Wisdom teeth that were pulled are particularly susceptible to dry socket issues.
How To Prevent Dry Socket
There are a few things a person can do before the procedure to help prevent dry socket. Smokers should avoid cigarettes and other tobacco use for several days prior to their visit to the dentist. Women who take birth control pills should talk to their dentist, as birth control pills can have an effect on the ability of blood to clot properly. Other medications can interfere with blood clotting as well, so be sure to inform your dentist about the medications you are taking.
After the procedure, you should avoid excessive rinsing or spitting. Also, drinking through straws after a procedure can also increase the possibility of experiencing dry socket.
How To Treat Dry Socket
The pain of dry socket can be treated by over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. However, it is important to see your dentist if the pain persists. Over-the-counter medications aren’t always strong enough to combat the pain.
A dentist is likely to treat a dry socket by cleaning the tooth socket and removing debris from the hole. The socket will be filled with a medicated dressing to promote healing, requiring a repeated visit to the dentist for a dressing change until healing begins or the pain is reduced. It is possible antibiotics will also be necessary, as well as rinsing with salt water.