Having your wisdom teeth removed is never a pleasant experience for anyone. However, it can be even more unpleasant if you develop dry socket following the extraction. Keep in mind that only a small percentage of tooth extractions lead to dry sockets. A dry socket happens when the bone is exposed after the extraction because the blood clot that usually forms over the extraction site becomes dislodged. This exposes the nerves to temperature changes caused by food, liquid and air. The following will help you prevent dry socket or deal with it if it occurs.
Dry Socket Symptoms
If you have dry socket, the pain will begin roughly 2 days after your tooth is removed. This pain can radiate through the jaw and all the way to the ear in some cases. It's usually described as throbbing and dull. Other symptoms include a nasty taste and unusually bad breath in your mouth.
Cause of Dry Socket
The blood clot that forms following a wisdom tooth extraction can be dislodged in several ways, including the suction produced by smoking or drinking using a straw. When the blood clot in the extraction area is dislodged, this provides several avenues for the development of dry socket. One of the main causes of dry socket is that debris (usually food) gets lodged in the spot where the blood clot is supposed to be.
It's important not to try to remove this debris without the right tools. Usually, the dentist is going to send you home with a plastic syringe that you can use to rinse out the area. Other causes of dry socket include bad oral hygiene and touching the area with your finger. Women on birth control medication are also more prone to dry socket.
Treatment for Dry Socket
There are several possible ways that your dentist can choose to treat dry socket.
Your dentist can prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs.
He or she can also apply a medicated pace that encourages healing in the extraction area. This phase has to be reapplied every few days.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if an infection occurs.
Preventing Dry Socket
There are also several things you can do to avoid dry socket in the first place.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene.
Make use of any oral rinse your dentist provides.
Rinse out your mouth with saltwater following meals. This will help to eliminate bacteria.
Except when you are changing gauze, do not touch the extraction area.