Whether you are preparing to have your wisdom teeth pulled or preparing for another tooth to be extracted, you have undoubtedly heard about dry sockets and how uncomfortable they can be. While most people do not develop dry sockets after extractions, they can be bad news for the 2-5% of people that do. What causes a dry socket and how can you prevent yourself from getting one?
What is a Dry Socket?
First things first, the socket is the place in the bone where the tooth has been extracted. A blood clot will form in the socket to help start the healing process, protect the bone, and shield the nerves that live there. When the blood clot gets dislodged or removed within a few days of the extraction, that is called a dry socket. Dry sockets can lead to infections and pain.
Who is Most Likely to Get a Dry Socket?
While everyone is at risk, certain people are more at risk for developing dry sockets after their extractions. People who smoke, have bad oral hygiene, or who use birth control have a higher-than-average risk for dry socket. If the extraction involves any trauma to the tooth or wisdom teeth, the chances of getting a dry socket are also higher. Pay attention to the post-op instructions from your dentist to further prevent any difficulties or dry sockets.
How Can You Tell If You Have a Dry Socket?
Look at the area where your tooth was pulled and see what is in the socket area. Is there white or dark material? White material could be bone and dark material is most likely the blood clot. Pain from a dry socket usually begins within 48 hours of the extraction and can last days.
What is the Treatment for a Dry Socket?
If you think you have a dry socket, call your dentist or oral surgeon immediately. Chances are, they will ask you to take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen to lower the swelling and make you more comfortable. If your pain is severe, your doctor can prescribe you something stronger or anesthetize the socket area.
Prevent Dry Socket with Expert Care from Catonsville Dental Care
Whether you need a wisdom tooth extracted or a professional cleaning, Catonsville Dental Care has the experience and understanding to diagnose and treat your problem as quickly and painlessly as possible. We offer a suite of services including dental implants, cleanings, Invisalign, and routine preventative dental treatments. We look forward to helping keep you smiling all year long. To schedule an appointment or consultation, visit us online or give us a call at (410) 747-1115. For more tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.