When your tooth gets knocked out, the first thing you need to do is get to your dentist as soon as possible. There are two ways to handle a hole in your jaw: orally, to reduce the risk of infection, or topically, to reduce the pain and risk of bleeding and allow the tooth to re-grow.
A dry socket is when a tooth is lost; it remains attached but is covered by a piece of gum or healthy tissue. A dry socket occurs when the tissue lining your mouth is no longer anchored in place and starts to recede, exposing the bone underneath. This can lead to irritation, pain, or difficulty speaking, swallowing, or eating.
The National Library of Medicine conducted research. This study aimed to see how effective local therapies are in treating and preventing a dry socket after tooth extraction. One of the findings showed that dry sockets occur in 1% to 5% of routine dental extractions and over 30% of third molars surgically extracted.
Therefore, it’s essential to address a dry socket even after a minor incident. If not dealt with appropriately, it can result in severe pain and complications. Moreover, it’s essential to know more about dry sockets and the recommended treatment plans when going to the dentist.
Here is a detailed guide by Soft Touch Dentistry in Sacramento, California, to help you learn everything about a dry socket.
What Is a Dry Socket?
A dry socket in Sacramento is a medical condition in which a dry cavity or hole forms in one of the jaw’s cheeks or the back of the mouth. It can occur as a result of tooth decay. It is generally a temporary condition and can be treated by moistening the area or applying a local anesthetic. The reason behind dry socket formation is increased pressure in the mouth due to food particles and saliva.
You could have a dry socket if you experience pain two or three days following your tooth extraction. It typically affects the lower teeth of your mouth.
What Does a Dry Socket Feel Like?
When you have a tooth extracted, and the gum gets close to the empty socket, it is natural for moisture in your mouth to drain into this area. A dry socket can be very painful at times. It may make it difficult to concentrate on other tasks. Pain may radiate from your mouth to your ear, neck, or eye. Sometimes, drinking anything cold becomes painful.
What Are Symptoms of a Dry Socket?
The condition of alveolar osteitis, dry socket appears if you get one of your teeth extracted through dental surgery. The purpose of dental surgery is to remove your tooth with minimal pain and risk involved. A blood clot will form in the area where the tooth has been extracted to protect the nerve endings and exposed bone from bacteria.
A blood clot helps in the formation of a new tooth. However, a dry socket may occur if a blood clot does not form. It’s essential to be aware of the symptoms that cause a dry socket so you can avoid aggravating your illness. Let’s discuss a few of them.
- Bad breath may lead to an unpleasant taste in your mouth
- When you see a bone in the extracted area
- Throbbing pain around the extracted area (socket) due to partial or no blood clot
- Pain begins in the extracted area but spreads to the rest of your mouth
Will a Dry Socket in Sacramento Heal on Its Own?
Yes, in most cases, it will go away on its own. The chances of complications are rare and can be treated with proper treatment and care. You may take pain killers such as ibuprofen or aspirin to minimize the swelling and pain. However, if the condition worsens and leads to an infection, it becomes necessary to consult a dentist.
Who Can Get a Dry Socket?
According to the statistics, around 2 to 5 percent of people experience a dry socket after tooth extraction. However, the chances of getting a dry socket are quite less.
Some of the factors that contribute to dry socket include:
Poor Oral Hygiene
One factor that can cause dry socket is poor oral hygiene. This includes food particles that may get stuck in the extracted tooth resulting in severe pain or infection.
Use of a Straw
If you use a straw after tooth extraction, there are chances that this may dislodge the blood clot resulting in a dry socket. It is recommended to avoid straws for one week.
If you have a habit of smoking or consuming tobacco, it can adversely affect your dental health. It can slow down the healing process and cause serious consequences, including dry socket and infections. Moreover, it can interfere with the process of a blood clot. According to research, 12% of the people who smoke following a tooth extraction develop a dry socket.
Had a Dry Socket Before
There are good chances to experience a dry socket again if you have had it before.
Use Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills can interfere with your tooth extraction healing process.
Other reasons for getting a dry socket are gum diseases and clotting issues.
How Long Does Dry Socket Last?
A dry socket usually occurs two to three days after tooth extraction. The pain is quite intense for the first 24 to 72 hours and can last up to 7 days. However, if the pain stays longer than this time frame, it becomes necessary to consult a dentist. If no such symptoms appear during the first few days, you are unlikely to develop a dry socket. It Is observed that 95 to 100% of cases are reported within a week.
Is Dry Socket an Emergency?
A dry socket is a medical condition that affects the oral cavity, causing pain, discomfort, and the need for additional medical care. If you experience severe pain even after taking pain killers, you must see a dentist at your earliest. Moreover, the severity of a dry socket is determined by the intensity of your pain. In some cases, the doctor will help you at your initial appointment.
However, suppose they refuse to do so in the initial visit. In that case, they will prescribe you pain killers based on your condition that can comfort you until the next appointment.
How Can I Prevent Dry Socket?
Dry sockets are not to be taken lightly. Not only can they be excruciatingly painful, but they can also cause long-term damage and require surgery. Here’s how to prevent dry socket:
- Going to a professional dentist is crucial. After all, you do not want to end up in the wrong hands. It’s essential to check the dental record of your dentist. You can also look for reviews online or ask a friend about them.
- Discuss your problem with them in detail before proceeding with the treatment. Tell them about the medications you’ve been taking, as some of them may hinder blood clotting.
- Once you get your tooth extracted, do not rinse or spit, as this can result in a dry socket.
- As mentioned above, smoking can result in a dry socket. Try limiting your nicotine consumption during the healing process.
- Ask your dentist about ways to maintain dental care at home to lower the risk of getting a dry socket.
- Avoid any sugary food and alcoholic beverages.
Following your doctor’s instructions is essential to prevent jeopardizing your dental health. If your immune system has been compromised during the procedure, they may recommend some antibiotics.
How Is Dry Socket Treated?
A dry socket is a medical term for an impacted wisdom tooth. It usually affects the lower third of the mouth and occurs due to an untreated oral injury. Once you realize that you have a dry socket, the next question you will have is how to cure a dry socket?
Your oral expert will treat your dry socket in the following ways:
- The first step in the procedure is to clean out your socket, removing any food particles or other materials that can be a reason for pain or infection.
- Your dentist may fill the socket with a paste or medicated dressing to numb the pain. The severity of your pain will decide how often the dressing needs to be changed.
- Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers if the pain is severe. However, avoid taking painkillers until you are not advised.
- You might also be asked to apply antiseptic solutions to the wound. Moreover, your dentist may also advise antibacterial mouthwash and gel before and after the surgery.
- Another way to reduce pain or swelling is to apply ice to your face. You can ask your dentist how to use an ice pack to get relief from pain.
- There will be a follow-up appointment to assess your condition.
What Can You Do After Surgery?
Once your tooth is extracted, it takes a few weeks to recover. You will receive instructions from your oral surgeon on maintaining your oral hygiene. The following steps will prevent damage to your empty socket and accelerate the healing process.
- Take proper rest and avoid any activities for at least 24 hours. Limit your daily activities for a few days. Follow the instructions given by your doctor on when to resume the day-to-day activities.
- Take soft meals for a while. This may include yogurt, pudding, soup, and mashed fruits like bananas or mashed potatoes. Avoid eating crunchy foods that involve chewing or biting. You can have semi-soft food after some time.
- Your dentist will advise you to drink a lot of water to keep your body hydrated. However, please do not use a straw for at least a week because it can dislodge the blood clot.
- Do not take caffeinated or hot beverages until you are not advised.
- Brush and floss your teeth as usual, but be extra careful of the extraction area for at least 24 hours. Do not rinse your teeth for 24 hours and spit gently. However, you can rinse after 24 hours with a half teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water.
- Avoid smoking for some time, especially in the first 48 hours, as it can result in complications.
- Apply cold packs on your face to lower the pain and swelling as instructed. Typically, it is advised to place an ice pack for 10 minutes.
- Take proper medications as prescribed.
When to Call a Doctor?
It’s common to experience some level of discomfort following a tooth extraction. To lessen your pain, you can take medicines prescribed by your dentist. However, start experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, such as unbearable pain despite medication, fever, nausea, poor breath, or mouth taste. You may be at risk of infection.
A dry socket is a painful dental condition. In most patients, it is caused by oral inflammation that forces the tooth’s roots to detach from the jawbone. It is also known as a periapical abscess or periodontal infection.
The dentist removes an impacted tooth using local anesthesia and numbing agent. However, if the bacteria from the decay enters the bloodstream and infects the soft tissues surrounding the socket, the infection can become life-threatening.
A dry socket is a real problem that can turn into an emergency. Be regular with your dental appointments and avoid risking your oral hygiene, as you don’t want to become yet another statistic.
If you happen to have unbearable pain in your extracted tooth after surgery, contact Soft Touch Dentistry in Sacramento, California. If you need more information about dry socket, get in touch with them. Think you are dealing with a dry socket? Dr. Andrew Owyoung can provide the best possible dental treatment to make you well.