Everything You Should Know About Dry Socket

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Whenever individuals get their wisdom teeth, or any other teeth, pulled, there’s a possibility that they may develop alveolar osteitis, also known as dry socket. Understanding the possible causes, symptoms, and treatments, will help individuals have a better understanding of what steps to take when dealing with this oral health issue.

What is Dry Socket?

Dry socket occurs when a blood clot does not develop in the tooth socket after a tooth extraction. The issue could also occur if a blood clot dislodges or dissolves before completely healing. A successful tooth extraction occurs when a blood clot forms in the empty socket, which helps protect the bone and nerve endings that are underneath the socket. The clot also enables new bone and soft tissue to grow.

So far, researchers have not found an exact cause for dry socket, but they suspect it’s because of bacterial contamination of the socket or trauma from the extraction.

What are the Symptoms of Dry Socket?

After an individual gets their teeth pulled, it’s important to pay attention to the surgical site just in case dry socket occurs. Some common symptoms include:

  • Pain within a few days of the extraction;
  • Empty tooth socket without a blood clot;
  • Visible bone inside tooth socket;
  • Pain around the surgical site that transfers to ear, neck, eye, or temple;
  • Foul breath; and
  • Bad taste in the mouth.

It’s normal for individuals to experience lingering pain after a tooth extraction. However, the pain is usually managed by medication and ice packs. If the pain prevails despite the use of medication, that’s when individuals must seek diagnosis and treatment from a dental professional.

What Increases the Chances of Developing Dry Socket?

Everything You Should Know About Dry SocketStudies show that 5% of individuals who get their teeth extracted end up suffering from dry socket. There are certain lifestyle choices that put individuals at a higher risk of developing this oral issue, however. Some risk factors include:

  • Smoking cigarettes or other forms of tobacco – Unfortunately, cigarettes and other types of tobacco contain chemicals that may affect the blood clot’s ability to fully develop due to contamination.
  • Oral contraceptives – Oral contraceptives produce high estrogen levels, which disturb the healing process and encourage the development of dry socket.
  • Lack of proper post-treatment care – After tooth extraction, it’s imperative that individuals follow the post-care instructions given to them by their dentist. Otherwise, they increase their chances of developing a dry socket.
  • Previous dry socket – For those who have previously suffered from a dry socket, they’re more likely to develop it again.
  • Oral infection – If there is a previous or current infection around the tooth that was extracted, the chances of developing dry socket increases.

San Diego Preventative Care

At McBride Dental, we offer a variety of preventive care services, as well as other dental services, to help patients maintain good oral health, which lowers the risk of developing any future complications in the event that individuals need their wisdom teeth pulled, or any other tooth extracted.

We also provide recommendations for patients to follow in between their annual visits with us to maintain good oral hygiene, such as brushing twice daily, flossing, maintaining a balanced diet, and using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Following these steps may decrease the chances of developing a dry mouth. If you’re in the San Diego area and are interested in preventative care services, call 760-471-1003 for a free consultation today.

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