Dry sockets are the painful result of a dislodged blood clot in the place where a tooth has been recently extracted. Anyone who’s had one will be unlikely to desire a repeat occurrence and those who’ve never experienced one have heard enough to want to avoid them. Today, we’re looking into signs of dry sockets and what to do if you do end up developing one!
Avoidance Is The Best Medicine
Obviously, the best way to deal with dry sockets is to avoid getting one entirely. After having a tooth extracted, you can significantly cut down on your chances of dislodging a blood clot by avoiding smoking and chewing tobacco, avoiding straws, keeping your mouth as clean as possible, and eating soft, liquid foods in the days following extraction. It’s important to rinse your mouth with saltwater, drink plenty of liquids, and avoid strenuous activity for as long as necessary to allow your socket to heal.
Knowing When Something’s Awry
It’s normal to feel some pain after tooth extraction, but this pain should be manageable with over-the-counter medications. If your pain becomes increasingly worse, you may have a dry socket. Since dry sockets directly expose the nerves and bone normally hidden by a clot, this pain can feel almost cold on the nerves or feel like a searing pain in the jaw or cheek. While everyone’s experience will be different, other common symptoms include:
- Very intense pain in the first few days after surgery
- A visible hole at the extraction site, with no clot noticeable
- In some cases, bone will be visible in the socket
- Bad smell from the socket or bad breath in general
- A foul taste in one’s mouth
- Pain that seems to be coming directly from the site of extraction
Your Next Steps
If you suspect that you have a dry socket, you’ll surely want to find relief as soon as possible. See your dentist as soon as you can so they can address the problem, as well as rule out any other possible complications. Even if the pain develops after normal business hours, do not hesitate to call your dentist, as many dentists will be able to refer you to an on-call doctor who can help you immediately. The great news is that dry sockets are treatable and the pain can be managed while you heal! When you get to the dentist’s office, they will likely flush out the socket site to remove debris and check for further problems. They will then pack the socket with medical dressings and prescribe pain medication. After the dentist has helped the injury to begin healing again, it will be highly important to continue following a strict care regimen to avoid opening the clot again.
Dry sockets are a scary prospect after a tooth extraction, but luckily most people can avoid them by following their doctors orders, drinking plenty of fluids, and taking it easy after having a procedure done.
If you have more questions about dry sockets, or if you think you may have developed one, do not hesitate to call us at Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics immediately! Our dentists in Shorewood, Frankfort, Crest Hill and Lockport are always ready to guide you towards optimal oral health.