After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot will form over the area. This blood clot protects the nerves, bone, and empty socket, allowing the area to heal. However, if the blood clot is dislodged, this can result in a painful condition called dry socket, where the nerves and bones are exposed and the tissues can become infected.
Risk Factors Of Dry Socket
There are several factors which can increase your risk for developing dry socket after a tooth extraction. These factors include:
- Failure To Complete At-Home Care: Your dentist will give you instructions for how to care for your mouth after a tooth extraction. It is important to follow these instructions to avoid dislodging the blood clot.
- Smoking: tobacco can not only slow your body’s ability to heal, but can contaminate the extraction site as well.
- Oral Contraceptives: These can disrupt your body’s normal healing process.
- Gum Or Tooth Infection: Your current dental health can affect your risk for developing a dry socket. Ask your dentist about treating gum or tooth infections before an extraction procedure.
Symptoms Of Dry Socket
If you are showing symptoms of a dry socket, then see your dentist as soon as possible. These symptoms include:
- Intense pain within a few days of extraction
- Seeing bone or the loss of the blood clot at the extraction site
- Swollen lymph nodes (around the neck or jaw)
- Having bad breath or taste in the mouth
Treatments For Dry Socket
Your restorative dentist will recommend the best treatment if you develop a dry socket. Treatment options can include:
- Flushing out the socket to remove debris that can cause pain or infection.
- Placing a medicated dressing over the extraction site.
- Taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or aspirin.