Most of us will have a tooth or two removed at some point in our lives, and we all hope that the procedure will go as smoothly as possible. Fortunately, advances in medical technology have made most extractions relatively easy, almost painless, and a routine part of dental work. The trickiest part of an extraction for many people comes after the procedure itself. If you or someone you know has ever had a tooth removed, you’re probably familiar with the concept of dry sockets and know that you’d like to avoid them at all costs. Luckily, there are a few key ways you can work to save yourself from the pain of a dry socket, and today we’re delving into what those are!
You know the term, but what exactly is a dry socket?
After your dentist removes a tooth, your body reacts by forming a blood clot to protect the exposed nerves and tissues, similar to how a scab forms over a small cut. In the same way that removing a scab exposes the damaged tissue below, dislodging a blood clot in the mouth will expose the nerves and bone and leave the area open to infection and pain. This will not only slow down your recovery time, but it is likely to be highly painful, with pain radiating from the exposed area out to the rest of your head. While dry sockets are treatable, prevention is the best medicine when it comes to these clots!
Be Mindful of Your Diet
After an extraction, it’s important to stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods while you heal. If possible, chew exclusively on the opposite side of your mouth from the extraction site to avoid disturbing the clot. Additionally, avoid using straws to drink as the suction could cause your clot to dislodge.
Say No to Tobacco
There seem to be a million and a half reasons to give up tobacco use, and avoiding dry sockets can be added to that list! Tobacco use not only slows the healing process, but the suction of inhaling on a cigarette can have a similar impact to using a straw, causing the clot to pop out. Smoking will also introduce bacteria to your wound, which could lead to infection and larger problems.
While you should avoid brushing the extraction site for the first 24 hours after your procedure in order to allow the clot to set, you can still brush your other teeth and tongue to help minimize bacteria in the mouth. After 24 hours, integrate a mouthwash or saline rinse to help kill bacteria in the mouth that could also lead to infection.
Dry sockets are easily avoidable with the right amount of care and diligence! However, if you think you may be experiencing one, call your dentist immediately to have the issue addressed.
For dry socket concerns or to simply schedule a routine appointment, give us a call at Valley Dental Care of Plainfield today!