If you need to have a tooth extracted, you might hear people talking about the risk of Dry Socket. If you’ve been wondering what is dry socket but were afraid to ask, you have come to the right place. The condition affects less than one in 20 people who have a tooth extracted. In other words, you probably won’t be affected, but there is the outside possibility that you might.
Dry Socket can be easily treated by your dentist, so there is no need to suffer in silence. Let’s get on and find out what it is all about.
Dry Socket – A Simple Explanation
When you have a tooth extracted, there is an empty hole through the gum and right up into the jaw bone where the root used to sit. What typically happens is that the wound bleeds for a little while after extraction, and then the blood clots in the hole. This blood clot forms the first fragile stage of the gum healing up.
It is essential to protect that clot, which is why the dentist tells you to be so careful for a couple of days, and particularly to avoid drinking through a straw or smoking – the sucking action can easily tear the clot away. If, for whatever reason, that clot is lost, it can leave the bone exposed in the empty socket. This can become highly sensitive, sore and tender. This is the condition known as dry socket.
Signs of A Dry Socket
It is common for an extraction site to feel sore and tender for a couple of days, but after that, it should start to feel better as the healing process begins. However, instead, you might suddenly experience a moderate to severe throbbing pain. It might also radiate to the jaw, eye or ear region. Other symptoms, including bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth, often accompany this pain.
These are classic indicators of dry socket. If you are among the unlucky five percent, don’t worry and don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch with us straight away at Glow Dental, and we will be able to ease the symptoms and get you back on the road to recovery.
Treating A Dry Socket
First, the dentist will examine your mouth to check whether it is indeed a dry socket. If it is, the treatment is very straightforward and highly effective. It might vary slightly from one patient to the next, depending on the degree of infection. Still, it generally involves irrigating the socket with anti-bacterial mouthwash to remove any food debris and then placing a dressing in the socket. This is soaked in a blend of anaesthetic, analgesic and a disinfectant.
The dentist might ask you to return after a few days to repeat the treatment, depending on the severity, but you should start feeling relief in hours. It usually takes about a week for new tissue to grow and cover the bone.
Avoiding Dry Socket
The best way to stay in the 95+ percent who do not experience Dry Socket is to follow the dentist’s advice to the letter. Avoid alcohol or hot drinks, do not use mouthwash or spit vigorously, don’t drink through a straw, and if you are a smoker, try your best to resist the urge for 48 hours. Your socket will thank you for it!
Common FAQs In Relation to Dry Socket
This risk of dry socket is present until the wound has fully healed, which will take around seven to 10 days in most cases.
In most cases, it will heal on its own. However, it can be very painful for a week or two. Getting dry socket treated by a dentist will ease the pain.
On the contrary, when the dentist treats your dry socket, the effect will be to relieve the pain. The initial application of the dressing might sting a bit, but that brief discomfort is well worth the overall relief you will feel after a few hours.
Gently rinsing with warm salt water will most likely ease the symptoms of dry socket.