Many of us have had a tooth pulled before by our dentist or oral surgeon; whether it was a tooth that couldn’t be saved or your wisdom teeth. While getting a tooth pulled isn’t the most enjoyable experience, it’s important to understand the risks that could evolve during the recovery. When pain becomes intense and isn’t relieved a few days after surgery, there’s the possibility that it could be a symptom of dry socket.
Dry Socket, also known as Alveolar Osteitis, is the inflammation of the alveolar bone and usually occurs where the blood clot fails to form or gets lost in the socket. While the percentage of those who develop dry socket is rare—about 2%-5% of people—it’s rather important to know why it happens and to determine if you may be more prone to it.
Someone who doesn’t have dry socket would see a dark blood clot near the area where the tooth was pulled. An area that might have dry socket wouldn’t be dark, but rather just whitish bone.
Some of the most common symptoms for Dry Socket are:
-Aching and throbbing pain in the area of the socket
-Pain near the ear, eye, temple and neck
-Bad Taste in the mouth
You’re more likely to get dry socket if the one of the following applies to you:
-Have a pre-existing infection in the mouth
-Practicing poor oral hygiene
-Those who have gotten Wisdom Teeth pulled
-If you have a greater-than-usual trauma during the extraction surgery
-If you use Birth Control pills
-Have a history of dry socket after having teeth pulled
After learning the harmful symptoms of dry socket, it is no surprise that you may want to take any precautions to avoid it. Dr. Krueger suggests the following post-operative instructions:
-Take recommended medications
-Avoid hot fluids for 1-2 days after oral surgery
-Drink cold fluids, as they facilitate with formation and prevent disintegration of the socket
-Do not drink through a straw, the pressure leads to an increased chance of clot instability.
While dry socket can be painfully unpleasant, it is easily treatable. Treatment usually includes a combination of cleaning and packing the infected area. Some patients may also need antibiotics for the socket as a preventative measure. The pain should then decrease about 4-5 days after and is typically healed in less than two weeks. If you believe you have developed dry socket from your tooth extraction, contact our office for specific treatment details.