Am I at risk for dry socket after a tooth extraction?

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While the percentage of patients who develop dry sockets after oral surgery or tooth extraction is rare, it can happen. Tooth extraction involves removing the tooth from its socket, leaving a patient at risk of developing dry socket symptoms. In these cases, patients usually incur a dry socket after tooth extraction within 7 – 10 days, before the area is completely healed. Read on to learn helpful information and tips to take every precaution to avoid it from the dental experts at Byers Station Dental in Chester Springs, PA.

What is a dry socket after tooth extraction?

When a tooth is extracted, a blood clot should form over the target site to protect and heal your underlying nerve endings and bone. It should stay in place until your socket or gum tissue is fully healed. Mandibular (bottom) teeth are more affected by dry socket conditions than maxillary (top) teeth. Tooth extraction dry socket pain is more often seen with molar extractions, and especially wisdom teeth, where it can occur almost 30% of the time. When Chester Springs, PA patients experience total or partial loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site, they may notice the following symptoms:

  • Visible bone in the socket
  • Pain radiating from the socket to the eye, temple, ear, or neck on the same side as the extraction
  • Foul odor or bad breath
  • Breathing in the air or drinking cold water can cause discomfort
  • Food debris can collect in an empty socket, aggravating the problem

How painful is a dry socket after tooth extraction?

Generally, after a tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the empty socket. It is the body's natural way of protecting the underlying nerve endings and bone from various stimuli in the mouth. In some cases, the clot fails to form or partially dislodges, a common issue seen with lower wisdom teeth extractions. Patients at risk for dry sockets are women taking contraceptives and smokers. After a tooth extraction procedure, patients will begin to notice painful symptoms from a dry socket about 3 – 4 days afterward, such as foul odor or taste, throbbing pain, and sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures.

Helpful tips to avoid a dry socket after tooth extraction

While dry sockets will eventually heal and won't permanently damage the area, it can be painful. Taking the following necessary precautions can help prevent a dry socket after tooth extraction from occurring:

  • Avoid smoking
  • Do not drink from a straw
  • Avoid hot liquids
  • Avoid aggressively brushing around the surgical site
  • Put pressure on the surgical site

If a dry socket develops, seeing a dentist promptly can significantly reduce your discomfort. The dental team at Byers Station Dental will exam your treatment site and determine the right course of action. A dry socket after a tooth extraction is typically treated with a medicated dressing to relieve any painful discomfort and facilitate the healing process. The dressing will need to be changed every few days until the pain decreases and the socket has fully healed. If you would like to learn more or have other dental concerns, contact our office in Chester Springs, PA and speak to one of our caring team members today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.