Dry socket is a rare but uncomfortable condition that occurs in about 2 to 5 percent of all tooth extractions. If you are experiencing radiating pain from where your tooth was pulled, running a slight fever or have swollen lymph nodes in your neck and face, you probably are suffering from dry socket.
You want to heal as fast as you can. What can you do?
What Is Dry Socket?
After a tooth is removed, a blood clot forms in its place to protect the underlying nerves and jawbone so the area can heal. When the blood clot that fills the hole where the tooth once was comes loose, the result is dry socket. It exposes the nerves and jawbone, causing pain, swelling and bad breath, and makes the area susceptible to infection.
This condition strikes usually within five days of a tooth extraction.
How Can Your Oral Surgeon Help?
If you believe you have dry socket, call your oral surgeon immediately. Explain your symptoms and schedule an appointment.
They will clean out the socket and pack it with gauze to protect it from bacteria. They may prescribe an antibiotic to treat or prevent infection. You may have to come back to the office a few times during the healing process for them to check on your progress.
You may be able to treat discomfort with over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. But if you are in severe pain, explain the condition to your oral surgeon. They may write a prescription for a stronger medication that helps you cope while your mouth heals.
Stay hydrated to hasten the healing process. Use an ice pack for swelling, get plenty of rest and avoid hard, chewy foods.
Prevention Is Key
You are much more likely to experience dry socket if you smoke or chew tobacco. Drinking through a straw could also dislodge the blood clot. Preventing dry socket is easier than treating it, so after a tooth extraction, make sure you follow your oral surgeon’s instructions. Keep your teeth clean and follow a soft-foods diet until you have passed the critical healing stage.
Are you suffering from dry socket? Don’t hesitate to call Northeast Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery for guidance on how to handle this condition, and get the treatment you need to heal fully and quickly.