Most people will need to have at least one tooth pulled during the course of their lives, and although it certainly isn’t fun, the pain it causes typically settles in just a couple of days. For a few people, however, the pain does not subside, and could actually get worse because of a condition called “dry socket.”
Alveolar osteitis, commonly referred to as dry socket, does not happen to dental patients as often as you may think. Less than 6% of the population suffers from dry socket after having a tooth extracted. While it’s true that dry socket is often mentioned in association with the removal of your wisdom teeth, it could potentially happen when any tooth is pulled.
It is probably no great surprise to learn that determining whether or not you have developed dry socket is relatively simple. You can usually tell just by looking in your mouth at the area of the extraction or by getting somebody else to look for you.
If you examine the area of your extraction, you will find the hole left behind by your now missing tooth. You should see a small, dark spot but, if you can see the white of your jaw bone, you most likely have dry socket.
Dry socket manifests as terrible pain that progressively worsens during the days following your extraction. The pain can typically be felt across the entire side of your face where the extraction occurred and might even radiate up to your ear.
If dry socket develops, it normally lasts for about a week, as long as it is properly managed. In very unique cases, the patient will develop an infection characterized by chills and a fever, and redness and inflammation around the affected area, which will likely secrete pus. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you call your dental professional as soon as possible.
Usually, when a tooth is extracted, a blood clot develops down in the socket. This blood clot is designed to protect your nerves and the underlying bone. The clot also protects your soft tissue while your mouth heals. If that clot comes loose, dissolves, or doesn’t ever form, your nerves and the underlying bone will be exposed to everything that goes into your mouth, including air, fluids, and food.
At McBride Dental, we want to help you and your family do everything possible to have and preserve healthy teeth and gums. By scheduling regular appointments with your California family dentist and practicing the oral care techniques we teach you, your whole family will easily maintain teeth that are healthy, strong, and effective.
The San Marcos offices of Dr. Michael McBride are staffed with reputable, professional San Diego dentists that are ready to address any concerns you may have regarding common dental procedures, as well as preventative, cosmetic, or restorative dentistry. We also provide sedation dentistry treatments as an option for our patients with severe dental anxiety.
It is our job to help you and your family establish healthy dental habits to make sure that your teeth will always be there when you need them and your smile will always look great.