How can we prevent dry socket after tooth extraction? Tips from Vivid Dental Surgeons.
What is a dry socket?
Well, many of you may be familiar with the term wisdom tooth and wisdom tooth surgery. If you aren’t, wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to grow and they usually surface at the back of the mouth from ages 17 to 25 when there is finally enough space in the mouth for them to surface.
Their growth can result in several problems and hence many people have to undergo surgery for them to be removed. However, the wisdom tooth removal surgery itself has its own complications and can result in something called a dry socket. After the tooth extraction, the wound will immediately start to attempt to heal on its own, by forming a blood clot that will aid the recovery process.
However, in some cases, the blood clot may not form or is dislodged before the wound is fully recovered, as it is very sensitive. This will result in a dry socket forming, resulting in intense and throbbing wisdom tooth pain as well as bad taste and smell coming from the empty tooth socket. In this article, you will learn ways to cure a dry socket and also the ways to prevent a dry socket from surfacing.
Symptoms of a dry socket
Before diving into the steps to curb this complication, it is essential that you are able to identify the symptoms of dry sockets in order to help them recover as quickly as possible. While there can be pain and soreness post wisdom tooth removal surgery, the pain experienced should be able to be cured by painkillers and gone after 3 days, unlike the pain of dry sockets.
Some symptoms of dry socket include:
- Intense pain post surgery
- Visible empty socket without blood clot
- Pain that spreads from the socket to the face and head of patient
- Foul breath
- Visible bone in the socket
What you can do to cure and speed up the recovery of the dry socket
- Gently rinse the wound with warm salt water
In addition to the consumption of medication provided, it is highly encouraged that you also rinse the affected area with warm salt water several times a day. Rinsing the wound with salt water can benefit in eradicating any bacteria present and it also reduces or prevents any further infection. Swish and gargle the warm salt water in your mouth for about a minute, or use the warm salt water to flush out the dry socket with a syringe your surgeon gives you. Do this at least three times a day, especially after mealtimes!
- Dress the wound with honey
Honey is known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Using honey dressings for dry sockets can reduce inflammation, pain, and discomfort. It can also be beneficial in preventing further infection from happening. Apply the honey on gauze used for the tooth removal wound and remember to change the gauze regularly and frequently.
- Drink anti-inflammatory tea
Anti-inflammatory tea can help in preventing swelling of the wound and soothe the pain.
Ways to prevent a dry socket
- Refrain from sipping through straws
The use of straws may result in the dislodging of the blood clot that forms to aid in the recovery of the wound after the wisdom tooth removal surgery. This will result in the complication of dry sockets forming.
- Avoid smoking
The action of smoking can result in the dislodging of the blood clot and the products one smoke may contain chemicals that prevent the blood clot from forming, which is highly disadvantages as this prevents your wound from healing. Do refrain from smoking for at least a week post surgery to prevent a dry socket from surfacing.
- Do not aggressively spit or swish liquids in your mouth
While it is encouraged for you to gargle salt water and wash your mouth regularly for oral hygiene post wisdom tooth removal, please ensure that you do so gently. Being too rough and aggressive in swishing liquids in your mouth may also dislodge the blood clot that is very sensitive, resulting in the formation of a dry socket.
- Ensure proper oral hygiene
Keeping your mouth clean is one of the most important ways you can prevent dry socket. It can help get rid of bacteria and prevent infection from breaking down the blood clot. However, be sure to be gentle when brushing your teeth since we wouldn’t want the dislodging of blood clot. It’s possible you may be prescribed an antibacterial mouthwash to use after surgery to ensure proper oral hygiene.
Conclusion on dry sockets
It is important that you follow the steps we mentioned above if you want your wisdom tooth removal process to be as painless as possible, preventing the formation of dry sockets. We hope that with the steps above, you are more well informed on what you can do on your part as the patient!
Here at Vivid Dental Surgeons, we aim to educate and raise awareness for matters and issues regarding oral and dental hygiene. Especially during this COVID-19 period, we believe that it is highly essential that everyone maintains good oral hygiene and be safe.
If you are interested in learning more, click here to read other related articles on our blog. Dr Ryan is also open to answering any questions you have regarding oral health matters, drop him a message here.
Dr Ryan and the Vivid Dental Team wishes everyone well and that you remain safe and virus-free!