What Causes Dry Sockets after Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Are you planning on having your or your teen’s wisdom teeth removed soon? If so, you’ll want to know how to avoid dry sockets. Understanding the causes of dry socket after wisdom teeth removal will help you reduce your risk of this uncomfortable side effect and be back on your feet again in no time.
What is a “Dry Socket”?
A socket is the opening inside of your bone that’s created after a tooth is extracted. Typically, when your wisdom teeth are removed, a blood clot fills this space and your body naturally begins the healing process. But a dry socket occurs when the blood clot is dislodged or does not form for whatever reason, leaving exposed bone and an open socket that’s susceptible to food, debris, and bacteria. Unfortunately, dry sockets are extremely painful. They also lengthen the time needed to recover from your dental procedure. It may take up to double the length of time for a dry socket to heal than it would a normal dental extraction.
Causes of Dry Socket After Wisdom Teeth Removal
The most common causes of dry sockets are going against your home care instructions after oral surgery. Some examples of what not to do after a wisdom tooth surgery include:
- Drinking alcohol or caffeinated beverages
- Drinking through a straw
- Rigorous exercises
- Taking blood thinners like aspirin
- Not keeping your head elevated
- Eating hard or crunchy foods
- Brushing around the extraction site
- Vigorous rinsing and swishing
Although these activities may not seem all that harmful, each one could potentially be enough to disrupt the clot development in your extraction site. If your clot doesn’t “take” quickly enough, you are almost sure to develop a dry socket within the next couple of days. It’s just not worth the risk.
How to Avoid Dry Sockets
The best way to avoid dry sockets after wisdom tooth removal is to carefully follow your home care instructions. You will essentially want to avoid any irritation to that area or activities that can interfere with clot development. By resting, staying hydrated, and sticking to a soft diet, you can minimize irritation to your blood clots and improve your recovery time. Be patient and give yourself plenty of time for rest and recovery.
How Can You Tell if You Have a Dry Socket?
In most cases, it is usually obvious within a few days if you have a dry socket. Since most people feel significantly better about 4-5 days after wisdom tooth removal surgery, any increase in symptoms or discomfort at that point in time usually indicates a complication. Some people also feel extreme pain a day or two after their wisdom tooth removal, which usually is not normal. And if you’re comfortable enough having someone look inside your mouth, they may be able to see the opening in your gums and bone. If you find that you need anything more than an over-the-counter pain reliever to manage your discomfort after the first 24-48 hours, be sure to let our Mission Valley dentist know.
How Does a Dry Socket Heal?
Dry sockets usually require additional time and rest to heal on their own. However, that doesn’t mean you need to feel miserable trying to wait it out. The best thing to do to jump-start your recovery is to call our Mission Valley dentist at the earliest symptoms of a dry socket. That way we can see you in our office, clean the extraction site, and even place medication down inside of the dry socket to help it heal properly. This will reduce your recovery time and help you feel better even more quickly. The longer you wait to talk to a dentist, the longer your recovery time will be.
Cassell Dentistry is committed to a comfortable care experience for each one of our patients. If you’d like to consult with us regarding having a tooth extracted or if you’re seeking fast pain relief because of a dry socket, reach out to us for an appointment. We’re always happy to answer any questions that you may have.