When wisdom teeth are extracted, there is a risk of experiencing a painful condition known as “dry socket” (alveolar osteitis). This condition occurs when blood clots fail to form (or are accidentally removed) before the extraction site has had enough time to fully heal. It is important to be aware of the symptoms of dry socket, and in this blog post Sydney Park Dental will be sharing some preventative measures to minimise your risk of experiencing this condition.
The Risk of Experiencing Dry Socket
It typically takes between 7-10 days to heal after a tooth extraction, and during this time frame there is a risk of developing dry socket. When adult teeth are removed, the bone and nerve are left exposed. A blood clot will usually form around the extraction site to provide protection, but if a clot fails to form or is dislodged then there is a risk of experiencing sensitivity/swelling and infection.
Some pain and discomfort after a tooth extraction is normal, however it is important to be aware of the signs of dry socket. Your dentist will provide you with an estimated timeframe for recovery as well as some preventative measures to reduce your risk of experiencing the condition. However, if you experience significant pain, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible.
Risk Factors for Dry Socket
Lifestyle and health factors which can increase your risk of dry socket include
- Use of birth control
- Poor dental hygiene
- Prescription medications which inhibit blood clotting
Tips for Preventing Dry socket: After a tooth extraction, you may be advised by your oral surgeon to take oral antibiotics and refrain from the following:
- Avoid spitting and rinsing for 24 hours
- Avoid drinking using a straw
- Avoid smoking for at least 72 hours
- Avoid hot food/beverages
- Avoid sticky and crunchy foods
- Avoid alcohol
- Limit physical activity for up to a week
How do Dentists Treat Dry Socket?
Whilst dry socket only affects around 5% of patients, it is important to seek treatment early. Typically, dry socket pain begins a few days after surgery. If you notice any pain or develop a fever, nausea or vomiting you should call Sydney Park Dental immediately.
After cleaning the wound and providing medication to relieve pain, your dentist will replace the gauze. It is important to keep the site as clean as possible, and you will need to allow a few days for healing.
As part of your treatment and recovery process, your dentist may advise the following:
- Use of painkillers (prescription or OTC such as Panadol)
- Topical medication
- Flushing/Rinsing with a special mouthwash to clear away bacteria
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid consuming sugary beverages
- Avoid using a straw
- Maintain good oral care practices
Book an Appointment at Sydney Park Dental Today
Due for a check-up or recently had your wisdom teeth removed and worried about dry socket? Book an appointment at Sydney Park Dental today by calling (02) 8084 7170 , or book online.