Proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental exams are important for your underlying oral health. Unfortunately, you still may require one or more tooth extractions due to decay, gum disease, or injury. While exactions are usually safe, simple procedures, following your dentist's post-surgery instructions is key to reducing your risk of complications. Using this guide, you will understand the symptoms of a dry socket and learn the best options for treatment.

Dry Sockets: Explained

Your dentist will need to make a small incision to remove your tooth.  After removal, small stitches are used to close up the incision, allowing a clot to form over the gum tissue. This clot protects the gum tissue and tooth socket from bacteria. However, if this clot becomes loose, infections may develop, resulting in discomfort and severe pain.  In most cases, you will notice the symptoms of a dry socket within 3 to 4 days.

Tips for Prevention

While dry sockets are common, you can prevent them. Your dentist will most likely give you a list of detailed instructions for recovery, but use the following tips to prevent painful dry sockets:

  • Apply Pressure – As with any wound, you should apply pressure to the site to initiate clotting. Place medicated gauze over the extraction site after the procedure and hold in place for a few hours.
  • Get Rest – Extractions may be minor, but they are surgical procedures. Proper rest is essential for your recovery, since strenuous activity may dislodge your blood clot.
  • Quit Habits – Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco for a few days after your extraction. Both habits can cause the clot to loosen, increasing your risk of a painful dry socket and infection.
  • Eat and Drink Properly – Consume only soft foods the first day of recovery and add different foods each day. Avoid using straws when drinking, as the suction motion will most likely dislodge the blood cloth.
  • Brush Gently – Brushing your teeth is still necessary to remove food particles and bacteria after the surgical extraction. Be sure to use gentle brushing motions and light pressure on your teeth and gums.

Dry Socket: Symptoms

A loose blood clot over the extraction site is the key symptom of a dry socket. In addition, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sensitivity and Discomfort after Eating and Drinking
  • Steady, Throbbing Pain in the Extraction Site, Jaw, and Head
  • Foul Breath
  • Unappealing Taste in the Mouth
  • Fever due to Infection

Treating a Dry Socket

If you are experiencing any symptoms, contact your dentist immediately to rinse food and bacteria from the tooth socket using an antibacterial rinse. Then, you will need to apply pressure over the incision using gauze to help a new clot form. After, your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to treat an infection.

To reduce the inflammation and pain from your dry socket, consider placing a warm compress on your jaw. Use a heating pad or soak a towel in hot water. Wring out the excess liquid before holding on your jaw, nearest to the extraction site. Apply pressure using the warm compress for 15 minutes before removing. The warmth will reduce swelling and pain of your dry socket.

Olive oil is also an effective option for reducing pain and inflammation from your dry socket since it contains phenolic compounds. These natural compounds are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, which is perfectly suited to a painful, swollen, and infected dry socket. To use olive oil on your dry socket, heat a few teaspoons up on the stove or in the microwave. Test to make sure it is not overly hot before massaging onto the extraction site.

Dry sockets may be common after an extraction, but you do not have to suffer with this painful issue. Using this guide, you will understand how to prevent and treat this problem after your tooth extraction. For more information, contact a local dental clinic like Image Dentistry.